TAMPA, Fla., April 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With the future of Healthcare Reform awash in uncertainty, how do health plan leaders plan for the future? Some of the most sweeping changes are anticipated for 2014, just two years away, and yet the Supreme Court just heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the mandate. What's a health plan to do? Top health plan executives and chief medical officers turned to Health Integrated's Executive Leadership Series 2012 Summit in Savannah, March 21-22, to hear how national policy thought leaders, health plan executives and healthcare experts from Health Integrated, a leading health management solutions provider, are changing the face of healthcare, regardless of the buzz surrounding Healthcare Reform.
During Health Integrated's 2012 Summit, titled "Innovating at the Crossroads of Health Care Reform," attendees listened to topics as diverse as Best Practices in Special Needs Programs; ACOs and Care Management Integration and Potential Policy Solutions to Support Innovation. As a whole, the diverse mix of topics shed insights on where healthcare is heading and how to meet the directives of the Triple Aim (better care, better health and reduced costs).
In his welcoming address, Shan Padda, Health Integrated CEO, opened the Summit by noting the opportunity before this leadership group to positively impact healthcare delivery. "The health care landscape is in the midst of significant change," Padda said, "and as industry leaders, we can shape the direction of that change to ensure that we are delivering better health care to consumers, making sure people have access to the right care and safeguarding access to care for those that are the most vulnerable and in need of our help."
Keynote speaker, Dr. Dale Alverson, Medical Director at the Center for Telehealth and Cybermedicine Research, University of New Mexico, echoed that commitment and spoke about the challenges we are facing due to shortages of primary care providers, aging population and the need for more care as well as access to care issues in rural and global areas. "We are in the midst of a perfect storm to drive changes in healthcare," Alverson noted. "There is so much we can do to improve care by adding the right mix of health care technology to hands-on care delivery," he added, "but it takes a belief in the value that technology can add to healthcare as well as a commitment and dedication to finding the right solution to ensure improved health outcomes and continuity of care."
While the array of topics was diverse and covered the range of the care continuum, one thread was echoed throughout the presentations: the need for coordination of care and communication between and among health plans, providers and patients to affect truly positive outcomes both in quality and cost of care.
With the aging population and economic challenges driving significant changes in health care needs, we are experiencing a steadily growing increase in individuals with chronic illness. Added to these conditions is a mix of psychological and social issues creating behavioral health challenges that are complicating the effectiveness of treatment for their medical conditions. Chronically ill individuals with psychological challenges, including depression, and social support issues, such as lack of family support, represent a disproportionate percentage of a health plan's cost and are particularly costly to the health system.
As Sam Toney, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Vice Chairman, Health Integrated, illustrated during his presentation, "Adding to the complexity of quality treatment is the fact that these psychological and social issues may or may not be diagnosed." Toney added, "primary care practitioners may or may not have the training and tools to diagnose these complicating factors. Minimally adequate treatment is a must, so we must provide the support and tools necessary for primary care physicians to identify and provide appropriate treatment and/or referrals and encourage coordinated care and communication between providers and their patients to achieve the best outcomes."
With the most significant Health Care Reform changes slated for 2014, much of the discussion at the two-day event centered on ACOs, Health Exchanges, Special Needs Plans and policy changes. As such, health plans are evaluating and preparing approaches to control costs, improve quality of care and improve the overall health of our nation.
The event was part of Health Integrated's ongoing Executive Leadership Series (ELS), a thought leadership program designed as a venue at which health plan executives can openly discuss issues and opportunities in their industry. For a summary of the event and to download presentations, go to www.healthintegrated.com.
Health Integrated's next ELS Summit will be scheduled soon and will take place in March 2013.
About Health Integrated Health Integrated lowers health care costs and improves lives by delivering products and services powered by the behavioral sciences and clinical informatics. We are experts in examining the interplay of behavioral and physical health and use innovative techniques to minimize health care costs by effectively addressing the "whole person." Our holistic, integrated approach to health conditions helps individuals realize better clinical outcomes as a pathway to living healthier, happier, and more productive lives. For more information, visit www.healthintegrated.com.