Medtronic seeks to drive healthcare costs down through value-based model
SAN JUAN – Top executives from Medtronic, the medical device manufacturer, are in Puerto Rico to close agreements with “mayor players” they hope will help drive healthcare costs down locally.
For the past few years, Medtronic has been championing a transition to value-based healthcare, which means developing and deploying products, services and integrated solutions that improve care with reduced costs. Total global healthcare costs for 2013 were $7.2 trillion.
The deals come at a time when Puerto Rico is nearing a healthcare cliff as it loses federal healthcare funds. While the executives did not mention the names of the companies or hospitals they will be partnering with, one of them said they were looking at efforts to better treat diabetic patients, of which there are some 600,000 in Puerto Rico. The idea is to focus on the outcome without forgetting about patients.
“The patient is at the center of the system. What is important is how the patient gets treatment, the best outcome and at the least possible cost,” noted Mike Genau, senior vice president and president of Medtronic’s Americas Region.
Genau said that while the current administration of President Trump wants to move quickly to repeal and replace Obamacare, he believes it will be two years before “something meaningful” is in place.
What the company can do right now is meet with ASES, the Health Insurance Administration, and try to understand what it envisions and what Medtronic can add to design better outcomes for the population at reduced costs, he said.
Miguel Velandia, vice president of Medtronic for Caribbean and Central America, said that with the new government it wants to talk to all stakeholders to see how can it better partner to deal with chronic disease.
The company has already partnered with some Latin American countries. Hugo Villegas, vice president and president of Medtronic for Latin America, mentioned as an example that the company partnered with Fonasa in Chile to advance a pilot project to implement a value-based model at a public hospital.
“We are choosing the pathologies in some patients to determine how we are going to treat the patient. We commit to maximize the outcome and minimize the costs to health care,” he said.
In Colombia, the company partnered with a health care center dedicated to treating diabetes and gets paid only in terms of results and metrics.
Genau said a value-based approach also focuses on optimizing therapy to prevent acute events that, in the end, can add costs to the health care system.