First Steps in Engaging Employers in Innovative Payment Strategies: Lessons from Wisconsin

As the primary source of coverage for Americans under 65, employers have the potential to be a formidable force in transforming the health care market.

Since 2010, The Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ)—a multi-stakeholder alliance working to improve quality as part of RWJF's Aligning Forces for Quality initiative—and the Partnership for Healthcare Payment Reform (PHPR) have worked with other organizations in Wisconsin to support providers and health plans in experimenting with innovative payment models. As part of that work, PHPR created two pilot projects: a bundled payment for total knee replacement and a shared savings project for adults living with diabetes.

Findings from Wisconsin's pilot projects suggest the majority of employers will approach these changes with caution and there is not an easy way to identify those employers likely to be receptive to new approaches.

Further research is needed to understand better how well the findings apply to other markets and to flesh out the messages and strategies that succeed in overcoming common barriers to employer engagement.