‘Focusing on the Future’ Forum Discusses Improving State of Healthcare, Empowering Employers

Four healthcare-related groups hosted a forum titled “Focusing on the Future: Employers and Healthcare” at the Four Seasons Tuesday to discuss the current state of healthcare, future trends, and how employers can harness new innovations.

The forum, hosted by Texas Academy Family Physicians, StratiFi Health, Catalyst Health Network, and Accresa, featured keynote speaker Dave Chase. Chase is a co-founder of the nonprofit Health Rosetta Institute, described as a LEED-like organization that provides a blueprint for smart healthcare purchasing.

Chase spoke about the current state of healthcare and said innovation can help restructure the industry to make it more affordable for consumers. Specifically, Chase said the fee-for-service model, where services are un-bundled and paid for separately, can strengthen healthcare delivery, since physician payment under the model is not so dependent on quantity of care and focuses more on quality instead.

“With fee-for-service models … you get the incentives you created,” Chase said. “DFW has been the third most expensive area in the country for healthcare costs, and employers are financing this madness! There’s no transparency. So how do we create a transparent, smooth experience that provides high value at a lower cost?”

Chase then introduced an expert panel of executives: Dr. Christopher Crow, CEO of StratiFi Health; Martin Sepulveda, former VP of Health at IBM; Scott Miller, CEO of Interstate Batteries; and panel moderator Tom Banning, CEO of Texas Academy Family Physicians.

Sepulveda explained the benefits of redefining healthcare within a smaller ecosystem, as he experienced during his time at IBM. There, he led a shift in employee healthcare coverage by focusing on care management.

“[In addition to chronic diseases], we wanted to address mental health issues and focused on developing a comprehensive, end-to-end plan for health, and it was phenomenally successful through care management and care coordination,” Sepulveda said. “Healthcare is more holistic in business; it’s more than just paying for health insurance. Are your employees at work when they’re supposed to, are they engaged, are they willing to go above and beyond?”

Chase agreed, saying “there’s so many people involved now in what used to be a simple transaction and relationship” in regard to patient care and primary care. “If you’re an employer, you need to understand what are your pain points and what the providers’ pain points are,” he said.

Banning continued the conversation, focusing on primary care. “If you keep patients out of the hands of specialists by allowing them, encouraging them, and incentivizing them, primary care physicians can do their work and [overall there is] less to treat,” he said. “Physicians should know the families better, patients like them better, and the cost will be lower by [knowing their health history and seeing them regularly].”

Chase concluded the forum by advising the attendees—DFW physicians, healthcare business owners, and providers—to “think about the decisions in regards to your health [plans, care payments, etc.]. I hope you start asking why it is how it is.”


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