Delaware Gov. John Carney last week issued an executive order establishing state health care spending and quality benchmarks beginning in calendar year 2019. The order also creates a Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council subcommittee to advise the governor and state agencies on adjustments to the annual spending benchmark.
“Our hospitals have always prioritized quality of care and efficiency in health care delivery,” said Wayne Smith, president and CEO of the Delaware Healthcare Association. “Long before any Benchmark discussion we have aggressively been expanding the number of patient encounters that are subject to value based payments as opposed to fee-for-service payments. Legislation we succeeded in enacting this session calls for reaching a goal that 60 percent of patient encounters occur under value based payment arrangements by 2021. Were a Benchmark to serve as a cost cap it would create significant access to care issues in a state that has the seventh oldest population in the nation and is costly to care for based on demographics. The spending benchmark is a target against which the Governor wants to measure total cost of care in the state. It is established by executive order and as such has no penalties nor regulatory requirements. We certainly support knowing the total cost of care in the state as a data point. The benchmark is an arbitrary figure that answers the budget question of ‘how much does the Administration want to spend on health care.’ It in no way answers the vital question of ‘what needs to be spent on health care to ensure the health and well-being of Delawareans.’"