You don’t have to cut corners to lower health care costs. Good care is often less expensive than bad care, so health care providers can avoid costs by eliminating mistakes.

This is the driving principle of the Maine Health Management Coalition, an employer-led collaborative that has been working to promote quality and lower health care costs throughout the state. The group received a backhanded compliment last week when its executive director was hired to lead a national organization that supports similar efforts in other states. Elizabeth Mitchell, has been hired as president and CEO of the Network of Regional Healthcare Improvement, based in Pittsburgh. Mitchell will take over leadership of the group in May, and apply the lessons she learned in Maine from working with people at every level of the health care system to find out what drives health care costs and what information makes patients better consumers.

Mitchell’s work with the coalition contributed to the $33 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that will extend Maine model programs in health care reform.

Changing the way health care is delivered and reducing costs is the next big hurdle in health care reform. Groups that lower cost and improve quality advance a key piece of the agenda.