Voices in Healthcare Value - December 2020

December 2020

Welcome to the tenth issue of Voices in Health Care Value, the newsletter of the Research Consortium for Health Care Value Assessment (RC-HCVA). This issue features work from our colleagues that participated in the Higher Health Care Value Post COVID-19 webinar and blog series. We appreciate your comments and inputs to subsequent issues. If you are interested in becoming a Colleague in Value (individuals and groups who work in this area or who are simply interested in its findings) please register here


Successful Blog Series Completed: Higher Health Care Value Post COVID-19

By George Miller

Our last newsletter described an initiative to produce a series of short studies addressing issues related to enhancing health care value during the COVID-19 pandemic. This work was coordinated by Altarum’s Research Consortium for Health Care Value Assessment (RC-HCVA) and funded by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). The seven studies, as well as an introduction to the initiative, were published in October as a Health Affairs Blog short series. The RC-HCVA retained complete independence to select researchers and specific topics; Health Affairs and the RC-HCVA retained all editing rights for the series.

On October 8, the researchers presented their work in a two-hour webinar that was facilitated by Dr. Mark Fendrick, director of the University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design and co-director of the RC-HCVA. The webinar was recorded and can be viewed here.

The following are links to and short descriptions of the eight blogs in the series:

Thanks to all the participating researchers for their contributions and to my Altarum colleagues Paul Hughes-Cromwick, Beth Beaudin-Seiler, and Tad Lee for helping to make this endeavor a success.

RESEARCH CORNER – In Case You Missed It

  • In this viewpoint article published in JAMA by Powers, Jain and Shrank, they offer a framework on de-adopting low-value care services by focusing on evidence, eminence and economics. Read the full article here.

  • In this article published in J Fam Pract by Kate Rowland, she discusses the 10 practices identified by the American Academy of Family Physicians to reduce overuse. Read the full article here.

  • In this article published by EBRI by Paul Fronstin and colleagues, they discuss the prevalence of low-value care services that occur after a patient in a high deductible health plan, meets their deductible. Read the full article here.

  • A Fast Fact sheet on the work from EBRI and Paul Fronstin can be found here.

  • In this NY Times article Gina Kolata discusses the silver lining of COVID-19 in reducing low-value care. Features our colleagues in value, Dr. Allison Oakes and Dr. Jodi Segal. Read the full article here.

  • In this JAMA Netw Open article by Ishani Ganguli and colleagues, they discuss the cascading costs of care and services that occur after annual wellness visits. Read the full article here.

  • In this piece by Kelsey Chalmers from The Lown Institute, she discusses the issue of politicizing health care services and the need to continue to shift the culture from “more is better”. Read full article here.

    THE COMMUNITY – A Spotlight Feature on a Colleague in Value

EBRI logo.png

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) — a nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization — was founded in 1978 for the purpose of contributing to sound employee benefit programs and public policy through independent, objective, fact-based research and education. It has since grown into the most authoritative public policy research organization in the nation on issues of employee benefits and economic security. It has, as intended, made a major contribution to the development of soundly conceived and administered employee benefit plans. Studies have covered Social Security and Medicare, as well as public and private employment-based voluntary health and retirement benefit programs.


Retirement, health, and financial wellbeing benefits serve key functions.  These programs support the security and well-being of U.S. workers, retirees, and their families; play key roles in many employers’ compensation and talent strategies; and represent significant portions of the U.S. economy.

EBRI believes it to be critically important to develop an economy in which as much freedom of opportunity as possible exists for each citizen to achieve his maximum personal development. The Institute believes that employee benefit plans, whether governmental, private, or otherwise, constitute an essential element of such an economy.  EBRI considers well-conceived employee benefit plans to be effective means of developing cooperation between employers and employees and encouraging productive efficiency.

EBRI is dedicated to the purpose of extending soundly conceived and administered employee benefit plans in every practical way.

Ongoing Activities

  • EBRI's Center for Research on Health Benefits Innovation focuses on helping employers assess the impact that plan design, with the goal of increasing consumer engagement, has on cost, quality, and access to health care.  EBRIs recent report “Do People Choose Wisely After Satisfying Health Plan Deductibles? Evidence From the Use of Low-Value Health Care Services” is one example of the kind of work undertaken in the Center.
  • EBRI's Retirement Security Projection Model® (RSPM) simulates the percentage of U.S. population at risk of falling short of the retirement income needed to cover average expenses and uninsured health care costs in retirement (including long-term-care costs).
  • EBRIs Financial Wellbeing Research Center focuses on how retirement, health, and other employee benefit programs contribute to financial wellbeing and broader workforce effectiveness goals — such as productivity or engagement.

Key Staff 

Lori Lucas
President and CEO

Jack VanDerhei, PhD
Director of Research

Paul Fronstin, PhD
Director, Health Research Program



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