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Pair putting health care at forefront

Greenwald's work with Brenner will shape reform talk in Trenton

Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald (D-Voorhees) says business and economic issues will be at the forefront of his agenda.

Louis D. Greenwald‘s promotion to Assembly majority leader gained attention this winter, as his position on health care and his partnership with Dr. Jeffrey Brenner seem aligned to impact the industry as reform efforts are implemented.

Louis D. Greenwald‘s promotion to Assembly majority leader gained attention this winter, as his position on health care and his partnership with Dr. Jeffrey Brenner seem aligned to impact the industry as reform efforts are implemented.

As founder and executive director of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Brenner launched a pilot accountable-care program with the help of Greenwald’s sponsorship in the Legislature, and Greenwald (D-Voorhees) said that program is ripe for expansion. He has supported the accountable-care model, in which provider reimbursements are tied to measurements of health care quality and reductions in the cost for providing care to an assigned population of patients.

“I think that is the future, in many respects,” Greenwald said.

Greenwald, former chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, said business and economic issues will be at the forefront of his agenda in the coming two-year session, and pointed to his own track record on business-related laws, including sponsorship of the “single-sales factor” bill that won wide support from business owners. His top priority, he said, will be health care; he hopes to build on previous bills he had sponsored to shape the charity-care funding formula and expand cancer research, noting the increasing role health care is taking in the state’s economy.

“We need to have our focus squarely centered on how we can drive our economy,” Greenwald said.

Health care is an area he knows from professional experience, as vice president and corporate counsel for the health care consulting firm Carlisle and Associates, and Brenner said his organization wouldn’t be growing without the pilot program sponsored by Greenwald.

“It allows my organization and others like it to capture savings and reinvest them in better care,” Brenner said. “Rather than delivering more and more fragments of care, you reward people for better outcomes.”

Brenner also credited Greenwald with turning accountable-care ideas into policy that could be enacted: “He cares deeply that government works for people and government gets behind good ideas. He knows that some of the best ideas come from the front line, but he knows that they won’t work if government doesn’t get behind them.”

Brenner has seen making health care be more affordable become increasingly important for businesses and government.

“I think better care at lower cost is an issue of paramount importance for business, for government and for households, and I think Lou recognized that in our work — at the intersection of all these problems — is a solution,” he said.

Greenwald understands the challenges the system faces, including the need to ensure that different parts of the health care system are working together, Brenner said: “He recognizes that you can’t fix an industry as large as health care overnight, and that it’s going to take a lot of incremental steps.”

The work between Greenwald and Brenner offers the chance for an approach to health care that can benefit businesses, said Debra P. DiLorenzo, president of the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey.

“I am hopeful with people like Lou Greenwald behind it, and Dr. Brenner leading the charge,” that the accountable care model expands, DiLorenzo said.

E-mail to: akitchenman@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @Kitchenman