International Foundation Leads Value-Based Health Care Initiative

February 28, 2011

Brenda Rood
(262) 373-7756

International Foundation Leads Value-Based Health Care Initiative

Long-Term Project Sets Sight on Creating Cultures of Health


Brookfield, Wisconsin—The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans has announced a new expansive initiative involving value-based health care (VBHC) strategies. Its purpose is to help multiemployer and public sector plan sponsors implement value-based health care strategies that encourage cultures of health.

“We are working toward real change in plan design, and across the entire health continuum, that will involve the participant, plan sponsor and health care provider. Our goal is to help our constituents create cultures of health,” said Michael Wilson, CEO of the International Foundation. “In an environment that helps people stay healthy and sick people improve their conditions, you’ll find more productive employees who have fewer injuries.”

Funded in part by a grant from Pfizer, the project will:

  • Identify value-based health care strategies in multiemployer and public employer health plans
  • Provide a roadmap and specific recommendations for building environments or cultures of health
  • Develop practical tools and resources that support the integration of value-based approaches.

Dee Edington, Ph.D. of the University of Michigan, will advise the Foundation in building cultures of health within multiemployer and public employer entities. Dr. Edington is the author of Zero Trends: Health as an Economic Strategy. The book provides a roadmap for organizations seeking to keep their employees healthy through value-based initiatives. Members of the Foundation’s Multiemployer Value-Based Health Plan (Ad Hoc) Committee are guiding the project.

“I believe value-based health care is a viable solution capable of turning around the ominous health care trends of the past several decades,” said Dr. Edington. “A healthy workforce is essential for a healthy organization and a healthy organization is essential for a healthy workforce. I am pleased to be able to partner with the Foundation to bring these strategies to the Foundation’s constituents.”

Value-based health care (VBHC) emphasizes the importance of organizations partnering with employees to create a culture of health in the workplace. Removing obstacles and using incentives can yield productive workers with healthy lifestyles. VBHC employs prevention and other health care strategies that are most likely to enhance the health of workers and their families. In addition to the incorporation of specific features in design and implementation, a VBHC plan requires continuous evaluation to determine which approaches are most likely to provide the highest value in terms of improving organizational health, employee health, well-being and productivity while reducing the need for high-cost medical services.

“In a value-based health care approach, an organization values worker health and quality of life as much as it values efficiency and productivity,” explained Sally Natchek, Senior Director of Research for the International Foundation.

The first phase of the initiative is a baseline study of multiemployer and public plans. This study, which will be released in early March, examines responses from more than 600 trustees and administrators to ascertain current understanding and implementation of value-based health care concepts and components.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for health plans to integrate these strategies and dramatically shift outcomes to the positive,” said Michael Wilson. “This is going to be a new role for the Foundation. We are in a unique position to champion real change in how health is managed.”

The Foundation’s initiative will include educational efforts that will help health plans gain a deeper understanding of VBHC theory and implementation. The two-year VBHC initiative will include a glossary of terms, longitudinal measurement of initiatives, focus groups and case studies. In addition, Dr. Edington and Associate Jennifer Pitts will produce a white paper that will be a living document, continuously updated with practical tools for plan sponsors.

For more information on the project, visit


The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is a non-profit organization, dedicated to being a leading objective and independent global source of employee benefits, compensation and financial literacy education and information. For additional information, visit

Pfizer applies its science and global resources to improve health and well-being at every stage of life. Consistent with Pfizer’s responsibility as the world’s leading biopharmaceutical company, Pfizer also collaborates with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on the company. For additional information, visit