Over the next several weeks and months, DHS Group will feature a few of our friends and partners on the blog, giving readers the opportunity to read expert advice from leaders across the health, analytics and wellness industries. Today’s blog comes from Chris Skisak, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Houston Business Coalition on Health.

Prior to becoming Executive Director of the Houston Business Coalition on Health (HBCH), I worked 20 years for several large Houston energy companies in a variety of health management positions. It was there I witnessed (and participated in) the inefficiencies that result from the fractured management of the “health investment portfolio.”

In short, most employers do not connect the functions, processes and data of the all the separate but synergistic components of this very large investment. As a result, employers have and will continue to see rises in health costs much greater than the rise in inflation unless they assume more ownership of this investment into their employees’ health and wellness. It is local health coalitions, of which HBCH is an example, that prove instrumental in working with all local stakeholders to change this inefficient method of health benefits design and delivery. 

HBCH is one of 50 independent employer-centric coalitions that serve local communities across the nation, which collectively, represent more than 12,000 employers and 41 million lives. Each of these coalitions seeks to improve the cost, quality and experience in health care design and delivery by working locally and nationally with their strategic partners (analytics partners, health plans, health systems, wellness companies, etc.) to facilitate initiatives depending on the interests of their local employers.

Across the country, coalitions focus on using data warehousing to produce actionable information for improved benefits design; others develop and manage accountable care organizations for their employers, while some focus on negotiating directly with health systems and/or pharmacy networks to achieve improved discounts as a result of a collective purchasing power. A current initiative of the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) is to develop an improved structure so that an employer who is a member of one coalition can take advantage of the offerings of other local coalitions in which that employer may have a presence.

Here in Houston the HBCH, which represents 600,000 local employer-sponsored lives and more than 1.5 million nationally – with a membership equally divided among large, mid-sized and small employers, is investigating key initiatives for implementation into the market. Including, the value of data analytics partners, the development of a health and productivity data repository for employers, the design of alternative models of health care delivery and payment and more.

As local coalitions expand across the country, it benefits everyone as employers learn about new technology, best practices and grow from hearing from each other. Each coalition can only be as strong as its collective voice, especially the voice of it local employers.

To find the contact information for your local business health coalition, visit National Business Coalition on Health online.