Face value: Cleveland Clinic's Michael McMillan focuses on outcomes, value and expanding national access

January 1, 2007

In his job description as executive director of the managed care division for Cleveland Clinic, Michael McMillan is accountable for business relationships with health plans and employers. McMillan is focused on making the Clinic-one of U.S. News & World Report's top three hospitals-available to members of every health plan and managed care organization.

"Our objective is to make sure that every patient in the United States who wants access to Cleveland Clinic has that access. Our job is to build those relationships across the board on a national basis and globally," he says.

McMillan's goal might sound somewhat ambitious. After listening to the plans Cleveland Clinic already has in motion, one thing is clear: the Clinic wants its reputation for excellence to be felt far beyond the shores of Lake Erie.

In making its services available to as many patients as possible, Cleveland Clinic has been proactive in building relationships with managed care organizations and health plans.

Patients First

Delos "Toby" Cosgrove, MD, Cleveland Clinic CEO, has laid a foundation upon which to build this growth strategy with his "Patients First" approach. It declares the primacy of patient care, patient comfort and patient communication in every activity the organization undertakes. "Patients First" demands a focus on measurable quality. By setting standards, collecting data and analyzing the results, Cleveland Clinic delivers value through improved outcomes, better service and providing a healthier future for patients, according to Dr. Cosgrove.

Outcomes and value

The Cleveland Clinic Health System is the result of a succession of mergers. The mergers combine community hospital and physician care with the expertise of an academic medical center and physician group practice, McMillan explains.

"We have gone through the full evolution in the last 10 years from a health plan point of view. Cleveland Clinic has moved from risk taking and capitation into a fee-for-service marketplace," he says. "And now we are looking to the future-not only managing the cost side of the equation, but managing quality by focusing on value and outcomes. We are gearing up to live in a world where outcomes will drive our business and inform the decisions of consumers and referring physicians. This is the beginning of the era of consumer-directed health choices. If you can focus on outcomes and focus on value, you'll improve quality, and patients will get exactly the care they need in the right location and at the right time."

McMillan says he is focusing on the effort to link outcomes and payment and create a method to recognize value. "It creates the opportunity to tie clinical outcomes and efficiency together so that patients can make choices based on objective data and overall quality can be improved," he says.