Representatives from the Labor Management Project and other 1199SEIU funds were among the close to 400 providers, researchers, and public officials who participated addressed shifts in health care and discussed what the health system will and should look like five years hence at Health Care 2021: A Vision for New York. The conference was sponsored by the United Hospital Fund/New York State Health Foundation.

Keynote speaker George Halvorson (pictured above, in a photo courtesy of the New York State Health Foundation) spoke about how patients now seek diagnoses, prescriptions, and alternate opinions through the Internet, which also gives providers a new way to track patients. Halvorson, the chair and CEO of the Institute for InterGroup Understanding and a former president and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, also emphasized the socioeconomic disparities that persist in early childhood development. The greatest opportunity for promoting development occurs before the age of three, he said, urging health systems, public health departments, social service organizations, and schools to work together to ensure that parents understand the early emotional and intellectual development needs of babies and toddlers.

The keynote was followed by three panels. The first discussed the empowered patient consumer and the role of such consumers in driving delivery system transformation. The panelists challenged the notion that consumers can be motivated by higher deductibles and cost-sharing to make more informed health care decisions. “People are terrible shoppers for health care,” stated one panelist. The panelists also discussed the importance of addressing the needs of family caregivers and the desire of consumers and patients to be more engaged in directing their care.

The second panel discussed advances in technology and data collection and shared a vision for data transparency and information sharing. The panelists also discussed the limitations of current access, noting, for instance, that only 20 percent of primary care physicians in New York are connected to a regional health information organization, which facilitates health information sharing across providers in a community, though 83 percent of hospitals in the area are part of an RHIO.

The third panel speculated about the state of health care in 2021, as representatives from hospitals, health care systems, federally qualified health centers, and health insurance plans led a spirited discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of value-based payment systems and consolidation of healthcare delivery. New York’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program, which is restructuring health care delivery by reinvesting in the Medicaid program, was also discussed. Its success was said to depend upon significant partnership with community-based organizations.

For a more detailed summary of the event, click here.

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