Since its inception in 1982, New York Business Group on Health (NYBGH) has spearheaded important initiatives and launched innovative programs that brought meaningful change to the healthcare marketplace for employers in the New York metropolitan area.
In response to demand for these services from employers in neighboring states, in 2010 NYBGH expanded its mission and changed its name to Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH). By increasing the number of employers participating in the organization, this expansion has helped to increase NEBGH’s leverage to improve the healthcare delivery system, provide members with better information, and bring expertise and services to more employers in the region.
Dr Leon J. Warshaw, MD, established the NYBGH.
On Thursday, February 6, 1986, The New York Business Group on Health presented an afternoon forum on “Developing Policies on Workplace Smoking”. As rates of smoking decreased, the Business Group helped its members outline policies to handle smoking at work. These policies aided in cessation efforts and ensured that the health of non-smokers was intact.
In April, 1988, an Executive Discussion Seminar took place on the development of employee assistance programs (EAPs). EAPs are designed to help employees resolve personal problems, such as alcohol, drug use, and relationship issues, which can affect their work performance. The forum detailed the different ways to design and implement an EAP, and the different potential uses and benefits of the programs.
The last Executive Discussion of 1988 focused on defining managed care. The Discussion focused on the different types of HMO, such as PPOs, and different managed care strategies such as utilization review and case management.
NYBGH established a Wellness Council in 1988. The Council planned to keep members informed about current wellness issues and research, as well as incorporate a wellness philosophy into their corporate cultures.
NYBGH established Westchester Co. I&R service, a new system that creates a network of public and private agencies to provide information about health services to businesses, community organizations, and health and human services workers.
NYBGH held a Point of Service Managed Care Seminar with more than 140 New York area business people. The seminar indicated point of service (POS) managed care as the “next step in health care cost control”. Companies that had successfully implemented POS plans spoke on methods of implementation and the benefits of a POS structure.
Eldercare in the 1990s was discussed in an invitational seminar jointly sponsored by NYBGH and the NYC Department for the Aging held in April 1991. The discussion focused on the design and delivery of workplace eldercare programs emphasizing their value to both employees and the employer, and noting the importance of ongoing communication to the workforce.
Donna Lynne assumed the position of NYBGH Executive Director.
NYBGH received the US Assistant Secretary of Health Award in the category of Business and Labor Organizations for outstanding service to people with AIDS. NYBGH educated the business community about HIV/AIDS and encouraged them to create policies to protect employees living with HIV/AIDS.
The Clinton Health Reform Proposal paid a great deal of attention to managed care plans, insurers, and other providers to engage in collective purchasing of health benefits for their members. The Clinton proposal would have dramatically altered the role of employers – it delegated enrollment and other educational functions to an alliance, and essentially eliminated the employer as a purchaser of health care. NYBGH kept their members informed about the ongoing debate on health reform.
In order to get a sense of where NYBGH members stood on health care reform, in the Spring of 1993, a survey on national and state health care reform issues was conducted. The testimony was presented to the Governor’s Special Task Force on the President’s Health Care Plan on November 22, 1993. It showed strong support for managed competition and little support for a single payer system.
March 1996, Laurel Pickering was named Managing Director of the New York Business Group on Health at the February meeting of the Board of Directors.
NYBGH’s “Quality of Care: Who Says It’s Quality? Who Says It’s Care?” conference of May 9th, 1996 had over two hundred attendees. It highlighted NCQA’s mission to provide information on quality to the marketplace, while promoting improvements in the quality of patient care provided through managed health plans.
NYBGH contracted with National Prescription Administrators, Inc. (NPA) to provide prescription drug benefits for both retail and mail order pharmacy service to NYBGH members. The contract negotiated administrative fees, performance guarantees and mail order discounts that employers would not normally receive. It allowed participating employers to achieve even lower costs as the size of the group increased.
On January 6, 1998, twelve sites from across the country participated in an interactive videoconference on The Presidential Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry. Discussion centered on The Consumer’s Bill of Rights, which assured insured patients easier access to treatment, more information to help them select health plans and doctors, and new ways to appeal if they were dissatisfied with their care.
NYBGH was awarded $1 million from the City of New York to develop a new health insurance purchasing option for small businesses. The purchasing alliance was announced by Mayor Giuliani in his State of the City address. The alliance would make it possible for employees of small businesses to select coverage from a choice of health plans. This new initiative advanced several public policy goals of the City by increasing choice for consumers and by reducing the number of uninsured. This grant later developed into HealthPass in 1999 and became one of the country’s first health insurance exchanges.
On May 27th, 1999, the New York State Health Accountability Foundation (HAF), a joint venture between IPRO and NYBGH, released its first report card on HMOs in New York State. The report, which listed comparative information on the quality of New York’s 30 commercial HMOs, was the first of its kind to be published by employers, for employers. The report measured a range of services such as provision of early prenatal care, post-heart attack treatment, and member satisfaction.
NYBGH’s annual conference discussed the importance of consumer-driven healthcare. The conference highlighted how consumers were unhappy with the current managed care system and wanted to see the lack of access for uninsured and the inadequate access for underinsured corrected. Solutions were provided to increase information collection to inform buyers and to reorganize the health care delivery infrastructure.
In 2002, NYBGH held a conference called “HIPAA: A Wake Up Call; What Employers Need to Know, What Employers Need to Do.” This conference educated employers on the different parts of the HIPAA law and how the new law would affect them. The conference provided an action plan for employers to ensure their compliance with HIPAA regulations. The plan included identifying key players affected by HIPAA, securing ongoing compliance by vendors, and modifying internal business processes to ensure compliance.
NYBGH’s roundtable discussion for employers in the New York area highlighted General Electric’s comprehensive approach to using data to improve vendor performance and the health of employees. It gave employers a chance to discuss how to acquire data in areas of healthcare management and share experiences in using data to enhance program results.
On January 29, 2004, NYBGH sponsored a discussion on the new Medicare Modernization Act entitled “Employers and Medicare Reform: ‘This Changes Everything!’” The discussion highlighted three aspects of the Medicare act significant to employers: health savings accounts (HSAs), retiree prescription drug subsidies, and exceptions to filing IRS forms for FSAs and HRAs. Employers learned about potential cost savings and opportunities for increased consumer engagement under the new law.
NYBGH held a meeting with employers to discuss the results of an in-depth health plan evaluation tool, eValue8. Employers expressed their desire to see the local health plans working collaboratively. In other markets health plan collaboration had a significant impact on the overall health of the community. A group of New York metropolitan area health plans chose to work together on two projects: aggregating HEDIS data to provide performance reports to primary care physicians and a plan to reduce hospital infection rates.
The Mental Health Task Force was formed in 2007 to allow multiple stakeholders to collaborate to address mental health issues in the workforce. The Task Force provided employers resources and information about mental health in order to increase awareness of mental health issues and decrease the stigma surrounding these conditions. NYBGH also partnered with the NYC DOH to promote depression screening. The Task Force sent a letter to 30,000 primary care physicians and 1,000 nurse practitioners with a reminder to screen patients for depression at least once a year.
During 2008, NYBGH held a four part conference series entitled “Consumerism in Healthcare: Reality or Wishful Thinking?” The conference explored the concepts of health consumerism, in which educated people effectively buy and use health services to improve healthcare quality while lowering costs. The conference series instructed purchasers on how to develop a consumer-conscious benefit strategy that utilized current market trends.
In November 2010, NYBGH expanded its mission and changed its name to the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) to better serve New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
NEBGH released a comprehensive mental health benefits guide for employers entitled “Improved Mental Health Benefits, Improved Productivity, Healthy Employees”. This guide discussed different options for structuring benefits, as well as different methods of internal promotion of the plan. Ultimately, NEBGH hoped to promote adoption of mental health benefits and awareness of these issues in the workplace.