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Aetna And The Aetna Foundation Sponsor Health Affairs Issue Offering Solutions To Address Rising Health Care Costs


HARTFORD, Conn. — Aetna (NYSE: AET) and the Aetna Foundation today announced that they have joined with Health Affairs, the preeminent journal of health policy, as the primary sponsor of its September/October issue. The issue focuses on “Bending the Cost Curve” in health care spending, bringing together the perspectives of leading health researchers and health policy experts to examine the drivers behind growing health care costs, and offer real world solutions that are helping to control rising costs now. The Commonwealth Fund is also a sponsor.

The issue will be unveiled today at an event in Washington, D.C., where health policy experts, researchers and lawmakers are gathering to explore these issues in depth. The event can be watched live beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET at (a video will be available for replay after the event). In addition, a selection of articles from Health Affairs is now available for free at the site.

“Those of us who are focused on the issue of health care reform share a common goal – the opportunity for all Americans to receive access to affordable, quality health care. But we will fail to achieve this goal if we focus on coverage alone while failing to undertake the difficult work necessary to control the underlying costs of health care,” said Aetna Chairman and CEO Ronald A. Williams. “Aetna and the Aetna Foundation are proud to sponsor this issue of Health Affairs as it focuses on real, workable solutions that are controlling rising health care costs today while maintaining or even improving quality of care. There is much we can learn from these solutions, which focus on issues like payment reform and mass purchasing techniques, to move us towards our common goal.”

The September/October issue of Health Affairs explores a variety of topics, including:

* Can reforms in the health care delivery system, changes in payment policies, or other measures restrain the rate of growth in health care costs?
* How might such policy choices affect the quality of care Americans receive and the growth of medical knowledge?
* What has already worked, and what might work, to take costs out of the system? What should be the top areas of focus for policymakers, health care providers, payers and patients going forward?

Speakers at today’s launch event include: Michael Chernew, PhD, Harvard Medical School; Paul Ginsburg, PhD, and Mai Pham, M.D., both of the Center for Studying Health System Change; Henry Aaron, PhD, The Brookings Institution; Joseph Newhouse, PhD, Harvard University; Bruce Vladeck, PhD, Nexera Consulting; Harold Miller, Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement; Lewis Morris, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; John Rowe, M.D., Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University and former Chairman and CEO, Aetna; Karen Davis, PhD, President, The Commonwealth Fund; Susan Dentzer, Editor-in-Chief, Health Affairs; and Ron Williams, Chairman and CEO, Aetna.

“The Aetna Foundation has long supported organizations and agencies that are addressing the most compelling health issues facing our nation. I can see no more urgent need at this time than focusing our philanthropic efforts on identifying constructive and concrete solutions to help advance health reform that will benefit all Americans,” said Aetna Foundation President Anne C. Beal, M.D.

In addition to its overall support of the publication, Aetna contributed a perspective piece to the issue showing how it’s possible to help those who have serious or advanced illnesses obtain hospice or palliative care – if that is their choice. Aetna’s “Compassionate Care” care management program provided culturally sensitive, supportive information to help members make informed, timely choices about hospice and palliative services. Although increasing hospice care was not a goal of the program, more members in the sample population did choose hospice care than had been the case in previous years. Patient satisfaction increased and the use of acute care, intensive care, and emergency services declined.


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