Tonight in Boston a series of speakers  are presenting views on the coming transformation of healthcare. (See the web at http://hilforum.com/transforminghealthcare/)

Here’s the speaker list—

Opening remarks – Steven Wardell, President, H.I.L. Forum and Summit organizer

Introducing the Keynote – Valerie Fleishman, Executive Director, New England Healthcare Institute

James Roosevelt, Jr., President & CEO of Tufts Health Plan and Democratic National Committee member
Introduction of the Panel – Peter Mueller, Summit organizer
Panel Introductory Remarks and Discussion with Moderator
– Charlie Baker, President & CEO, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
– Jonathan Bush, CEO, Athena health
– John P. Glaser, PhD, CIO, Partners Healthcare
– Panel Moderator: Scott Kirsner, Innovation Economy, Boston Globe
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Valery Fleishman introduced the keynote speaker. She also commented on some efforts of the New England Healthcare Institute

They have identified 3 areas of healthcare to which they want to attend:
-Create a partnership of the more than 70 eHealth companies in the Greater Boston area.
-Academic research on impact of outcomes – promoting technology
-Inform policy makers
Her comments were  followed by the keynote presented by James Roosevelt:

————–

Roosevelt:

Every 30 minutes in the US, someone declares bankruptcy due to the cost of healthcare.
Concerns are less in MA, because of our recent health care legislation.

But, the kind of reform that occurred in MA may not scale easily to the rest of the  country.

Roosevelt  reviewed the experience of the early 90’s in the Clinton administration..  Political will was low, and the national desire for change was low. Special interest groups were able to torpedo reform.

Fast forward to present and:
SCHP is one of the  first funding initiatives passed by the present congress.
$17 billion is earmarked for EHRs, support for effectiveness research, and establishment of an innovation investment fund. Clearly the political will and national desire for change are now both high.

Even though there is great economic uncertainty, Roosevelt is optimistic.  This is because Obama has made the need for reform in healthcare central to his plan for economic recovery.

He then talked about the experience at Tufts where the focus has been on:
–    Reduction in variation in care
–     Emphasis on evidence.
–    Investment in preventive care..
These values are shared by the Obama administration.

Roosevelt believes that nonprofit payers have an important role in national plan for universal care.   Specifically the MA plan will  have an influence  on the shape of the national plan that ultimately emerges.  Individual payers (nonprofits) in MA have said in so many words that “if you build it, we’ll figure out how to pay for it”. Similar thinking may or may not be applied nationally.

There are four reforms that will be central:
1)    Ensure quality and effectiveness
2)    Improve primary care system.
3)    Develop nation transparency in cost and quality
4)    Address race and income disparities.

While this is daunting, there is an unprecedented opportunity to reform. Roosevelt firmly believes that this administration will be successful in implementing universal coverage for it’s citizens.

After this keynote, the panel took the stage.

 

 

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