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Working Together to Bridge North Carolina’s Health Care Value Gap

| Labor & Workplace

Yesterday, the health care benefit company Aetna announced their plans to expand on an accountable care collaboration with Duke Health and WakeMed Health & Hospitals to provide North Carolinians in 12 central counties with greater access to improved health care coverage options. The new accountable care organization (ACO), Aetna Whole Health–Duke Health & WakeMed, will offer plans that cover the full spectrum of health care services and focus on collaborative, value-driven approaches to improve overall patient health rather than merely treat the symptoms of illnesses.

“This new agreement deepens our long-standing collaborative relationships with Duke Health and WakeMed, and is great news for our current and future customers in North Carolina,” said Jim Bostian, president of Aetna’s operations in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. “We’re thrilled to align our mutual resources to deliver better value through quality, cost-effective and improved population health management.”

The NC Chamber was excited to hear that several of our members are involved in this new development to expand on collaborative, multi-stakeholder models in North Carolina’s health care marketplace. Our state is currently ranked 31st amongst all states in health care affordability and predictability, and research by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the state’s businesses averaged $11,500 in per employee health care costs in 2014. One of the reasons for this is that stakeholders along the health care supply chain – marketers, providers, intermediaries, purchasers and consumers – often do not define health care value the same across the board, leading to a “value gap” in the health care marketplace.

To help North Carolina address this challenge, the NC Chamber Foundation (much like Aetna and its partner providers Duke Health and Wake Med) is currently engaged in efforts to increase collaboration among stakeholders all along the health care supply chain. At our annual Health Care Conference coming up on Sept. 15, the Foundation will release a report it has commissioned with the Benfield Group, a national health care research firm, which aims to kick off a comprehensive discussion among stakeholders that will ultimately allow us to successfully bridge the value gap in our state’s health care marketplace. We hope you will register today to secure your spot in this important conversation on the future of health care in our state.

The NC Chamber and NC Chamber Foundation are excited about working together with stakeholders like you to begin moving North Carolina toward the top of the leaderboards in health care competitiveness. If you have questions about the Foundation’s efforts to support collaborative health care initiatives, contact Cassi Zumbiel at

Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber