It was just a few weeks ago that I wrote about the need for bold ideas in healthcare that could improve patient care by making it more accessible and lowering its cost.
On April 26, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Geisinger Health announced the formation of Risant Health. The Kaiser-controlled but not -owned nonprofit seeks to become a $30 billion to $35 billion organization by acquiring up to six community hospital systems—starting with Geisinger, if the plan passes regulatory scrutiny.
Is this an idea that’s bold but achievable? Industry watchers say we won’t know for some time. But Kaiser CEO Greg Adams acknowledged that there’s nothing like seeing changes to an industry—including outsiders-turned-competitors such as retailers and insurers in your rearview mirror—to spur big moves.
“I do see [Risant] as a counterbalance to some of the disrupters,” Adams told Modern Healthcare finance reporter Caroline Hudson. “As you look at where healthcare is in this country, [as] you look at the dynamics that are playing out, there are new entrants. We’ve got technologies changing healthcare. We’ve got retail. I mean, healthcare is going through certainly the most significant transformation in my career.”
The entity’s name, according to Kaiser, is meant to tie together the goals of rising others up, succeeding in the industry and staying constant in the commitment to value-based care.
Those are lofty goals. If successful, Risant allows Kaiser to orchestrate a national expansion of the integrated care model that is at the core of its strategy, although the system admits it may not translate to every region. And certainly value-based care, a model that prioritizes collaboration and outcomes rather than the traditional fee-for-service model that rewards volume, is getting attention in Washington, D.C., and in hospital boardrooms.
In 2021, more than half of the accountable care organizations in Medicare’s Shared Savings Program produced savings, for a total of $1.66 billion saved in a year of no growth for the program. Changes to spur participation will likely increase that number.
Hospital systems value their independence, but the current environment may have them debating whether Risant and its model might be a good next step. Success must be seen not just through their own lens, but whether it will benefit the communities in which they operate and the consumer, both as a patient and a taxpayer.