Greg Adams

Pushing prevention

2 minute read

The U.S. health care system is based on a fee-for-service model that drives up costs across the board. Huge disparities in access and quality of care lead to concerning gaps in health outcomes in different populations. 

Kaiser Permanente, a health care system created in the aftermath of the Great Depression in Oakland, Calif., has long championed a different model: prioritizing prevention to reduce disease and health care costs, and relying on practices backed by strong data. In recent years, the organization reinforced its commitment to these principles by creating its own insurance plans that reimburse based on services that have proved to result in better health outcomes. A Kaiser member, for example, is 33% less likely to die prematurely from heart disease than someone similar in the general population, owing to the organization’s support of screening and early intervention with the right treatments. Currently, only about 6% of U.S. health care is value-based, like the Kaiser model is, but a McKinsey report estimated that if 40% shifted to this mode, hundreds of billions could be saved over the coming decade.

In 2023, Kaiser’s CEO Greg Adams decided to take the organization’s mission to the next level by launching Risant Health, a health system that community health care facilities can join to practice the same value-based, prevention-focused care that has guided Kaiser’s success. “We saw community health systems committed to value-based care continue to struggle to achieve their goals and realized that moving more of them along this model requires the support and scale of a Kaiser,” he says. Members have access to Kaiser’s resources and expertise in best medical practices, like decreasing the prevalence and deadliness of major diseases. By using these tools, health systems can improve health outcomes and lower costs that in turn can lead to broader reimbursement from insurers for such value-based services.

Earlier this year, Risant acquired as its inaugural member Geisinger, a health system in Pennsylvania that follows similar prevention-focused approaches to health care. Adams hopes to add four to five more systems over the next five years. “Our goal is to invest in health systems that are value-based, and who have access to the proper resources so they can provide care in a similar way that our clinicians are able to,” he says.

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