A Follow-Up Q&A With Murray Harber About The MS Business Group On Health

In Business? Join This Group

(Recently, BAMSouth.com ran a story on the first meeting of the Mississippi Business Group On Health (MSBGH) held in Jackson. Publisher Jack Criss sat down with the organization’s Executive Director, Murray Harber, to ask some additional questions about the group and what it means to businesses and health care in the state of Mississippi.

BAMSouth.com: Why is there a need for an organization like MSBGH?

HARBER: Employers have paid for a majority of the health care provided in this country and they don’t have a voice in the system in leveraging improved quality which will reduce cost and, therefore, protect their return on value. The MSBGH is the state’s most powerful voice for employers when it comes to health care and employer health.

BAMSouth.com: Whose idea was it originally to form the group and when did you officially kick off? Are there similar groups in other states? If so, do you collaborate/work with them?

m_harberHARBER: The concept started several years ago as we identified a need of creating a group to boost the learning curve of employer health and productivity in the state. We started as the MS Worksite Wellness Group and offered quarterly learning opportunities to employers and organizations around the state. As our Heath Care Reform Summit grew, which is a partnership with Mississippi College’s School of Business, we learned that their was a national organization called the National Business Coalition on Health and there existed a gap in several states, Mississippi being one of them. So several employers came together to officially create the MS Business Group on Health. We have several collaborative groups – the Mississippi State Council of SHRM(Society for Human Resource Management) and MASI – Mississippi Association of Self Insurers. Each group has their specific roll and MSBGH will serve as the catalyst for change in the state.

BAMSouth.com: How would you answer: “I run a small business—I don’t need to join MSBGH, do I?”

HARBER: Well, yes, small, medium, and large businesses need to be part of our organization, sure. All members, small and large, can learn how to build an effective employee health management strategy as well as create an effective value-based insurance plan.

BAMSouth.com: Will MSBGH conduct any lobbying/political activity?

HARBER: No, we partner with MASI who will do the lobbying and political activity. We will support efforts by doing the research and providing experts for testimonies when these issues arise.

BAMSouth.com: What role does MSBGH have now with the roll out of the Affordable Care Act? Were you formed as a reaction against it or will you and your members work around its implementation?

HARBER: As we see it, the ACA has brought more attention to employer health management and health care quality. Our aim is to provide education and resources to help organizations understand the ACA and its many requirements. In our early stages, we were actually formed prior to the ACA and as it got created and implemented our goal then became to educate and inform business about its components and requirements.

BAMSouth.com: Finally, Murray, what are your goals for the new group? Where will you be in a year or two?

HARBER: Our goals are to boost membership, offer innovative learning opportunities, and share effective solutions to manage health and productivity costs to the employers in the state of Mississippi. We will also be creating a date warehouse which can assist our members with building programs and plans to leverage health care quality and value. It’s going to be exciting, I can tell you.



Contributing Writer
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