On December 1st, CBGH celebrated its 20th anniversary at a special board meeting at the Lone Tree Arts Center. In honor of our anniversary, we wanted to share some reflections from one of our founders, Bev Sloan, who most recently served as CEO of The Denver Hospice.Q: Where did the idea for CBGH come from?
A: I was working as director of human resources for U S West and buying health care plans for employees in 14 states. From my experience, I just felt that strategically, employers needed to take a more informed stance on the purchases they were making. Since I had spent part of my career in the Bay Area, I was familiar with organizations such as the Pacific Business Group on Health and the National Business Group on Health and what they were doing to address the problem. We initiated the first meeting of large employers in Denver to see what interest there might be and people agreed to come together. It was a collaborative, collective effort.Q: Why was CBGH a good solution to the problems you were confronting at that time?
A: We were all coming to the table with different plans, different plan structures and different administrators – some were public, some were private, but here was a common willingness with common voice to see if we could get better accountability and better results. Together, we knew we could command more attention. Independently, we hadn’t really had a level of clarity we needed to approach the health plans. We had just depended on our brokers to take care of things, but it was important for employers to develop their own objectives and messages to let the health plans know we were raising the bar. We needed them to know that they had to give us better quality metrics for the large amount of money we were spending with them.Q: How has CBGH evolved to meet the needs of its members?
A: It has evolved to highlight much higher levels of quality metrics, such as The Leapfrog Group scores at the hospital level. The organization went beyond health plans to evaluate the facilities that are delivering so much of the expensive care our employees receive. They are now providing higher, more sophisticated levels of quality and more specifically related to provider quality. They’ve examined all kinds of wellness initiatives and looked at what we as employers can do to drive a healthier workforce. They help their members stay on the cutting edge. The other role CBGH serves is as an organization that has had an important seat at the table in all kinds of statewide policy initiatives, including the Colorado Commission on Affordable Health Care and the Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC). Through Donna’s involvement, the employer voice has been represented and it probably wouldn’t have been represented otherwise. It’s extremely important since employers provide health benefits to the majority of the population under 65.Q: What are you most proud of when it comes to your involvement with the organization?
A: I’m very proud that we had an idea – really an experiment- that turned out to be sustaining and that we picked such a strong leader. I left U S West in 1996, but other employers have continued to see the value and importance of this organization strategically and financially all these years to advance better care in Colorado. We certainly get an A+ for picking our leader. A lot of the organization’s effectiveness and sustainability is a tribute to her leadership and ability to deliver value to the members.