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CIVHC Participating in National Initiative to Understand How and Why Health Care Costs and Quality Vary Geographically

Source: The Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC)
Media Contact:
Cari Frank, Director of Communications & Marketing
303.903.6007 or

DENVER – December 15, 2015 – Why do health care quality and cost outcomes vary – in some cases quite widely – from state to state, region to region, and even within the same city? The Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC) is one of four state organizations participating in a five-year study that aims to create a national model to help understand the characteristics of a region or state that contribute to better health care at lower costs.

The study, funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ), will tap into extensive information – insurance claims, patient-experience data, and other qualitative information – available in four regional health improvement collaboratives (RHICs) to identify which health care delivery systems in a region or state deliver high quality, affordable care.

Along with RHICs from Massachusetts, Oregon and Utah, CIVHC is partnering with the National Bureau of Economic Research, Harvard University, and the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI), to understand geographic variation and how states can learn from each other. Each state RHIC will receive $200,000 per year to support participation in this federally funded national research initiative.

“With our four state partners, we’ll be able to dive deeply into cost and quality data to identify variations within and between geographic areas. We will also be able to understand why these variations occur. For example, the state partners can help us understand the impact of regional payment models, delivery systems, formal or informal contracting arrangements, local and state leadership, politics, and cultural norms on high quality, affordable care,” explains Dr. David Cutler, a professor of applied economics at Harvard University and the principal investigator for this ground-breaking effort. Dr. Cutler served in the administration of former President Bill Clinton and was the senior health care advisor to President Obama. “This type of insight is fundamental for fixing the health care system.”

Increasingly, payers, providers, employers and consumers want access to cost, quality and patient experience to drive health care decisions and purchases. Data are crucial in achieving an impartial evaluation of variation in delivery system performance. However, quantitative data do not provide a complete explanation of variation.

“In addition to administering the Colorado All Payer Claims Database, CIVHC has extensive experience collaborating with organizations eager to play a more informed, meaningful role in advancing health care value,” says Ana English, CIVHC President and CEO. “Through our work and collaboration with key stakeholders, we have a unique understanding of the various health care marketplaces in Colorado, their histories, how they are structured, and how that in turn impacts quality and cost outcomes.” 

Elizabeth Mitchell, president and CEO of the NRHI, a national network of 40 regional collaboratives, including the four partners in this project, explains, “This project is an incredibly important opportunity to showcase the unique capabilities of regional collaboratives and their ability to explain their markets quantitatively and qualitatively. Perhaps the most exciting aspect is how those regional entities can inform the national research agenda.”

Jonathan Mathieu, Ph.D., CIVHC’s VP of Research & Compliance and Chief Economist, is lead investigator for this project and can be reached at

For more information about CIVHC visit

CIVHC ( is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps Colorado identify ways to pay for, deliver and select high value health care. Through the pioneering Colorado All Payer Claims Database, we offer the state’s most comprehensive health care cost, quality and utilization claims data. We unlock information and provide tools and insights that guide meaningful action to improve health, enhance quality and lower cost. Bringing together a broad spectrum of organizations and individuals to design and drive collective change, CIVHC is devoted to a single cause: advancing an exceptional health care system for Colorado.