Elizabeth Mitchell, president and CEO of the Portland-based Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement, has been named vice chair of a federal committee that will advise the secretary of health and human services how to transform Medicare to deliver better care at lower costs.

Mitchell, a former state legislator from Portland, leads a national network of regional health improvement collaboratives that work with physicians, hospitals, health plans and patients to use cost and patients’ outcome data to improve health care transparency. She also was CEO of Maine Health Management Coalition, which gathered data to improve the quality and affordability of health care delivered to Maine residents.

The Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee, which plans its first meeting Monday in Washington, is expected to recommend significant changes in how Medicare pays physicians and hospitals for caring for people age 65 and older, according to a release announcing Mitchell’s appointment. Under a new federal provision, Medicare is moving away from paying providers on a fee-for-service basis to a pay-for-performance model that rewards providers who deliver cost-effective, high-quality care based on patient-reported outcomes. Over the next year, the committee will hear from physicians and provider groups about how the nation’s payment models can be reformed.

“Elizabeth has a well-deserved reputation as an innovative thinker,” said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in the release. “She has led efforts in Maine and across the country to test data-driven reforms that strive to improve the quality of health care while increasing efficiency and lowering costs. As this committee undertakes the difficult work of improving how Medicare operates and how we pay for health care as a nation, I am certain that Elizabeth’s expertise and perspective from the front lines will be instrumental to its efforts.”

Mitchell was appointed for a three-year term on the committee. The committee’s 11 members will review physicians’ proposals to integrate performance measures into payment models to implement the Medicare changes and submit them to the U.S. health and human services secretary.

Mitchell’s mother, Libby Mitchell, was a longtime Democratic leader in the Maine Legislature and ran for governor in 2010.


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