Gov. John Carney recently signed an executive order establishing the Health Care Delivery and Cost Advisory Group to provide feedback to the secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services on how to measure and report the total cost of health care in Delaware and how to determine metrics across the health care system to create quality benchmarks.

The creation of the advisory group to implement the spending benchmark comes five months after the governor signed House Joint Resolution 7 granting authority to DHSS to establish a benchmark with a growth rate for health care spending linked to the overall economy of the state. In June 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a 50-state analysis of per-capita health care spending showing Delaware had the third-highest rate in 2014 behind Alaska and Massachusetts.

The CMS analysis of insurance payers — Medicare, Medicaid and commercial — found that Delaware’s per-capita rate was $10,254, or more than 27 percent above the U.S. average of $8,045. Without changes, the analysis estimates that Delaware’s total health care spending will more than double from $9.5 billion in 2014 to $21.5 billion in 2025.

“Delaware has consistently ranked among the states that spend the most on health care, yet we’re not seeing the best results,” said Carney. “High costs present a barrier to quality health care, squeeze family budgets, crowd out other important state investments and prevent businesses from investing in innovation and job creation. We’re committed to addressing this issue, to bringing providers to the table, reducing costs and improving health outcomes for Delawareans across our state.”

The advisory group will provide feedback to the DHSS secretary on the selection of methodologies to measure and report on the total cost of health care in Delaware, and on the establishment of a spending growth target that will become Delaware’s cost benchmark. Advisory group members also will help identify which metrics should be used to create quality benchmarks across the health care system to reduce costs and recommend changes to the Delaware Health Care Commission.

The advisory group will include the DHSS secretary; director of the Office of Management and Budget; chair of the Delaware Health Care Commission; chair of the Delaware Center for Health Innovation; hospital representatives; representatives from the insurance industry, a licensed physician; a health economist; and a business community representative.