Catalyst for Payment Reform

The Great Delivery System Shake-Up

The Great Delivery System Shake-Up

“What I see now is confusion, disorientation, uncertainty, and anxiety.  That creates an opportunity, but it doesn’t provide a direction.” – David Blumenthal, President of The Commonwealth Fund, speaking at CPR’s May 2020 COVID-19 Virtual Summit.

A great irony about our health care system is that it is simultaneously on the bleeding edge of medical technology while sometimes taking years – even decades – to evolve operationally.  For example, according to survey research published in November 2019, 90% of health care providers still rely on fax machines (fax machines!) for inter-office communication.

Like all advocates for reform, we at CPR are accustomed to seeing health care evolve with halting, intermittent baby steps.  But then COVID-19 erupted across our shores, uprooting operations in every industry, with the health care delivery system at the epicenter.  It’s clear that the tectonic plates of care delivery have shifted: telehealth, which represented 0.1% of primary care in February 2020, skyrocketed to comprise over 40% of primary care visits by April; ambulatory care visits are down by 60%; hospital ICUs hover near capacity in parts of Texas, Florida, California and Arizona while their ORs remain empty.

While it’s undeniable that the pandemic is transforming the landscape of US health care, it’s unclear whether these changes will benefit health care purchasers and consumers, and whether they represent a fleeting inflection point or a permanent adaptation.

So, in light of the unprecedented pace of health care evolution, CPR has invited a panel of experts to explore these issues in depth at our upcoming virtual summit: Adapting in the Age of COVID-19: The Health Care Delivery System Responds, scheduled for August 27, from 1:30 – 3:00 pm Eastern time.  Like our first COVID Summit, this event will feature a stellar line-up of industry luminaries, focusing on the pandemic’s impact on the health care delivery systems, and the implications for access, affordability and health equity.

Here’s what we have in store:
Discussion 1: What have health systems learned from COVID-19?  Sue Anderson, Virginia Mason Medical Center

Virginia Mason was at the epicenter of one of the earliest outbreaks of COVID-19 in Washington State.  Sue will discuss how her health system organized its response, and lessons from the pandemic that will impact patient care going forward

Discussion 2: Can we achieve Telehealth-equity?  David Velasquez, Harvard Medical School

David came onto CPR’s radar with his recent publication in Health Affairs “Ensuring The Growth Of Telehealth During COVID-19 Does Not Exacerbate Disparities In Care.”  David will discuss the barriers some populations face in accessing telehealth and explore potential ways to increase equity.

Discussion 3: What are the costs and savings from care deferred?  Ateev Mehrotra, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Mehrotra, a practicing physician and researcher, has been tracking the impact of the pandemic on health care utilization.  He’ll discuss the downstream implications for health care costs and population health.

Discussion 4: Health plans to the rescue?  Paul Markovich, Blue Shield of California

Paul Markovich, President and CEO, Blue Shield of California, will share his thoughts on the role that health plans can play in sustaining the viability of independent physician practices, many of which have experienced devastating revenue loss during the pandemic, as well as other ways health plans can support care transformation during and post COVID-19.

Expert Panel: Radar Blips or Tipping Point?

All 4 experts come together for a discussion, offering insight into which trends wrought by COVID-19 are temporary, and which represent a lasting change in the organization of care delivery in the U.S.

This event is free for CPR’s 33 member organizations, health care purchasers, and the media, with a nominal fee for others.  Click here to register – we sincerely hope you’ll be able to join us.

Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash.

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