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Press release
July 17, 2018

Foremost National Expert on Health Care Value to Join Families USA

Bob Berenson, a leading expert at the Urban Institute, to join Families USA as Visiting Scholar and Senior Advisor for Value Initiatives​ 

Washington, D.C.—Families USA, one of the oldest and most well-known national consumer health organizations, is pleased to announce the addition of Robert Berenson, MD, to lead a new scope of work aimed at bringing a much more sophisticated and targeted consumer voice to the health care value movement. One of the most well-respected thought leaders in health care value policies, Dr. Berenson is joining Families USA as Visiting Scholar and Senior Advisor for Value Initiatives.

Dr. Berenson will continue in his role as Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute where he conducts research and provides policy analysis primarily on health care delivery issues, particularly related to Medicare payment policy, pricing power in commercial insurance markets, and new forms of health delivery based on reinvigorated primary care practice.

“Over the past year, Families USA has recruited senior leaders from the Department of Health and Human Services, health policy think tanks, and private sector trade associations aimed at deepening its ability to develop the most effective policies on the national, state, and community-levels. As the organization continues to grow its leadership footprint in areas around health care value and payment policy, delivery system reform, and health care equity, I am delighted to welcome Bob to our exemplary staff of nationally recognized experts. Bob is the ideal national expert to help shape and lead our efforts to develop a much more sophisticated, consumer-led movement toward health care value,” said Frederick Isasi, executive director for Families USA.

Dr. Berenson will advise the organization on a series of new projects aimed at leveraging the voice of consumers and patients to drive straightforward changes to delivery and payment systems with the goal of improving value for consumers, rather than driving additional profits to providers, health insurers, and other financially invested stakeholders. The first step in this project will be convening a roundtable of top experts this fall from across the country to identify key policy priorities that will most effectively redirect the U.S. health care system to meet the needs of consumers; establish a process of education, consensus building, advocacy, and mobilization; and to explore ways to increase the consumer voice and role in policy making.

“There is now broad agreement that the U.S. health care underperforms on the essential elements of access, quality, and costs. To improve quality and reduce costs, many policymakers have put all their eggs in the basket of ‘value-based payment,’ while ignoring a range of other policy approaches, many of which have been successfully used in other countries. The objective of this project is to broaden the policy portfolio on behalf of consumers and patients," said Dr. Bob Berenson, Families USA Visiting Scholar and Senior Advisor for Value Initiatives.

Families USA firmly believes that the U.S. health care system does not meet its obligations to the families it serves. Quality is variable, costs are too high, outcomes are poor, and our nation spends much more money per person on care than any other developed country. While the problems facing our country’s health care system are multifaceted and intertwined, the time is now to focus efforts to transform our health care system so that it truly serves the interest of all families in our nation.

Dr. Berenson has held numerous leadership roles in health care policy and practice. He served a three-year term on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. From 1998 to 2000, he led the Medicare payment policy and private health plan contracting program in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He also served as assistant director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff under President Carter. Berenson is a board-certified internist who practiced for 20 years. He is coauthor of The Managed Care Blues & How to Cure Them, with Walter Zelman, and Medicare Payment Policy and the Shaping of U.S. Health Care.

Berenson is a graduate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, a fellow of the American College of Physicians, and on the faculty at the George Washington University School of Public Health.

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