Evaluating Business Initiatives in Health Care Purchasing

Are voluntary, employer-based purchasing coalitions an effective means of controlling health care costs while maintaining quality of care? Researchers at the Economic and Social Research Institute evaluated the effects of health care purchasing coalitions on health care costs, utilization, and quality. This grant supported the first two phases of what is likely to be a three phase project, including: 1) a process evaluation; 2) an assessment of intermediate outcomes; and 3) a quantitative impact evaluation. During phase one, the researchers assessed the purchasing activities of six coalitions across the country, including how they have been implemented, and how they compare to past purchasing practices. The objective of this research was to give employers and policymakers more information on the effectiveness of community-based efforts of business coalitions and individual companies to reform the way health care is purchased.