Healthcare Quarterly Conversation

2016 Quarterly Conversation Series 

“Health, Access, and Cost”

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 


Health, Access, and Cost Quarterly Conversation Recap

The Alliance hosted a “quarterly conversation” speaker series in 2016 and the October event was led in partnership with Board Member Mark Rust, Chicago Managing Partner of Barnes & Thornburg, LLP and Dr. Suzet McKinney, Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District.  The focus was “Health, Access and Cost of Healthcare” and was held on October 5th in the office of the Chicago Metropolitan Area for Planning (CMAP) at the Willis Tower. 

Two dynamic keynotes and three panels provided important insights into how as a mega region we can better understand and tackle healthcare challenges in these changing times. 

The opening speaker was Dr. Stephen L. Ondra, M.D., Chief Strategy Officer, Amida Technology Solutions, a board-certified neurological surgeon and national leader widely respected for his expertise and achievements in medicine, medical policy, health information technology and innovation. He is considered one of the country’s leading subject matter experts on health care reform as he served as the Implementation Deputy of the Affordable Care Act for the Obama White House. Interviewed by Dr. Suzet McKinney, Executive Director, Illinois Medical District, Dr. Ondra noted the Affordable Care Act was the 1st act of a 10 act play regarding healthcare reform. The overall goal was to catalyze a process of health reform and he acknowledged it is the beginning of a long process. He elaborated and said the Affordable Care Act was not intended to be the answer, but the start of something greater.

Next, the first panel focused on the health of the people in the region.  

State of Health of the People In our Mega Region 

Alejandra Garza, AGG Consulting and Illinois Medical District Board member moderated the panel analyzing the state of health for the people in our mega region. She invited the panelists to provide overviews of their current work.  Kai Tao, Chicago Department of Public Health, noted that Chicago is much healthier today than it was a decade ago. Tao discussed the roll-out of Healthy Chicago 2.0. The City hosted dozens of meetings across Chicago and heard from 130 organizations and thousands of residents on the issues they face and their ideas to improve health in Chicago.  The group collectively identified 230 strategies, 10 Action Areas covered by 30 goals, and 82 Objectives. Tao noted, the vision for the City of Chicago includes strong communities where every resident enjoys access to resources, opportunities and environments that maximize their health and well-being.  Next, Dr. Jennifer Walthall, Deputy Health Commissioner and Director of Health Outcomes for the Indiana State Department of Health analyzed wellness across the state and identified top priorities for the state. Dr. Walthall discussed Indiana’s Public Health 3.0 initiative. The goal of Public Health 3.0 is to boldly expand public health to address all aspects of life that promote health and well-being. The challenge is to build a healthy environment around all people, connect people to healthy options,  create infrastructure so that the healthy choice is the easy choice and to design work environments conducive to wellness and balance.

The panel confirmed the importance of sharing data and lessons learned with programs aimed at specific populations.

The second panel was charged with discussing access to healthcare including what is working and where challenges remain.  

The State of Access to Healthcare 

Dr. Jay Bhatt, American Hospital Association, Dr. Alan Kumar, Community Care Network, Inc., and Luvia Quinones, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights focused on the degree to which consumers are now insured, and the effect co-pays and deductibles have on access to healthcare. Dr. Bhatt oversees the association’s clinical leadership and health improvement activities. He expressed, “Our interventions in value based care don’t have an ICD (international classification of diseases) code. The goal is moving from coverage to care.” Dr. Alan Kumar leads network providers to develop and sustain clinical initiatives that enhance access to care, clinical quality, cost control and the patient experience and he discussed what needs to be improved in Indiana. Luvia Quinones develops the health policy agenda with a special focus in access to healthcare and on healthcare reform. She expressed her task is how to find solutions for the locally uninsured immigrant through the Affordable Care Act.

The third panel tackled the issues around the cost of healthcare in our current system.  

The State of Cost

Moderated by Alliance Board member, Mark Rust, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, the panel had an interactive discussion between the panelists and the audience.  Jason Montrie, Land of Lincoln Health and Karen Teitelbaum, Sinai Health System, provided remarks about the new rates on the state exchanges within our mega region. Mark Rust asked the panelists questions directly relating to cost and insurance exchanges. Jason Montrie intrigued the audience with an insiders perspective of the variables that led to the collapse of the Land of Lincoln.  He talked about how provisions adopted during the creation of the exchange doomed the Land of Lincoln from the start.  He also shared his thoughts on what works with healthcare providers and stakeholders throughout the region in their efforts to deliver consumers what they primarily seek in a health plan—lower prices and access to their preferred providers. Montrie noted that now that the premiums are going up, the pressure is on to keep the costs down. Karen Teitelbaum has a success story focused on the delivery of high quality services in an efficient and cost effective manner.  Under her leadership, noteworthy benchmarks have been met in the area of reducing costs by millions of dollars due to greater efficiency and management of population health. She stated now that the Affordable Care Act is in place, there is more focus on cost and how that affects populations within urban environments.

The conference program concluded with an address from one of the leading healthcare journalists in the country:  

Jennifer Haberkorn, senior health care reporter for POLITICO Pro discussed the healthcare platform for the Clinton campaign and the Trump campaign.  She also reviewed the history of the Affordable Care Act since it was first debated in Congress in 2009 and its current status. She shared her experiences writing about healthcare law from Capitol Hill, the federal agencies, the courts and outside the Beltway. Haberkorn noted that depending upon the results of the presidential election, “Obamacare” could be renamed and the Affordable Care Act could drastically change.  She admitted that no one knows yet what that will entail. 

Following the conclusion of the event, the Alliance Workforce Team has expressed interest in adding follow up activities to its agenda. Healthcare is a significant economic driver and the conference provided several key points for future action. The Alliance for Regional Development would like to thank the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) for providing the meeting venue, Illinois Medical District and Barnes & Thornburg LLP for its leadership and partnership, as well as the panelists and moderators for providing interesting and engaging dialogue.



Previous Image
Next Image

info heading

info content