Dr. John Butterly recently urged insurance regulators in New Hampshire to recognize the importance of reducing the entire cost of care for an entire patient and an entire population of patients.
Too often, Butterly said, policymakers get distracted by the cost of a unit of care, such as the cost of an office visit or the cost of a cardiac catheterization.
“Unit cost really isn’t the issue,” Butterly said. “It really is about the total cost…. That’s clearly the metric for population health management.”
Today, however, patients usually can’t make decisions based on the likely total cost of their care, because total medical expense costs are even harder for patients to get than unit costs, Butterly said.
Butterly spoke in September at a hearing on health insurance rates that was organized by the New Hampshire Insurance Department.
Butterly, a cardiologist, is the executive medical director at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
The New Hampshire department has posted a hearing transcript on its website.