Recap: 13th Annual Health Care Futures Symposium
2014: Planning for the Short Term, 2018: Preparing for the Long Haul
On September 6, nearly 400 employee benefits and health care professionals took part in PBGH’s 13th Annual Health Care Futures Symposium that brought together both regional and national benefits and health care experts to present leading edge concepts and perspectives on emerging health care trends.
“The PBGH Symposium is a great and invaluable venue to gather with colleagues and hear about the latest trends for healthcare.” – Lynette Bauer, Microbac Laboratories Inc., PBGH Employer Member
“Heinz and GE are two innovative companies. I like what they are doing with their employees,” noted Bill McGrath, McGrath Vaccinations & Wellness, LLC. “This was probably one of the most informative meetings you’ve had.”
The PBGH symposium is the largest gathering of employee benefits and health care professionals in the Pittsburgh region and provides the opportunity to hear a comprehensive slate of presentations and content on innovative and results-oriented strategies without the financial burden many large conferences have. To get the most out of the symposium and the information presented, log on to the members-only section of the PBGH web site where both printable and audio presentations are available.
“The symposium is a terrific day of informative presentations and discussions on the future of health care and benefits,” said M. Christine Whipple, executive director of PBGH. “Every year, we are thrilled with the increasing number of employee benefits professionals who attend and are engaged in learning more about delivering affordable, high quality health care.
Highlights of the day included:
Going Social: Using Consumer Tools to Communicate and Engage in Health and Wellness
Donna Frisch, Group Leader, Health and Wellness from H.J. Heinz Company presented how Heinz and other companies are using social media to connect to and engage employees in health and wellness. Heinz is now transitioning from an employee portal on its web site to mobile apps with the iPhone, iPad and Droid. Vlad Gyster, Chief Executive Officer and Founder from H Engage highlighted how with 88 percent of the population having a cell phone and two-thirds of all new phone purchases being smart phones, companies like Heinz are changing the way it communicates to keep up with how employees use technology.
Patient-Centered Medical Homes: Emerging Collaborations between Employers and Provides
Thomas Graf, MD, Associate Chief Medical and Officer, Population Health Chair at Geisinger Health System spoke about their success with patient-centered medical homes. With employers needing a 2 to 1 ROI to manage cost trends, the benefits of proactive care, led by a physician and delivered by a team, result in better-managed, cost-effective care for employees with chronic conditions.
Convenient Care: Online, When It Matters and at the Right Price
Karl Ulfars, Vice President for Optum Health Solutions and Shawn Wilt, Regional Vice President at Rite Aiddiscussed the future growth of telemedicine, which 13 states now mandate as eligible for reimbursement. Because of scheduling difficulties, geographic restrictions and language barriers, patients in need of medical care either visit an ER or forego treatment. With telemedicine, these barriers are reduced allowing patients to receive care 24/7 at their convenience. Rite Aid launched NowClinics, which provide online medical consultations lasting an average of nine minutes at a cost of $45, and has plans to expand the program to 61 additional locations by the end of the year.
Health Care Exchanges: What’s Next?
Don Garlitz, Executive Director of Health Exchange Solutions at bswift showed the success that the state of Utah is having with its health care exchange for small employers. Through the Farmer’s Market versus the Roadside Stand imagery, various scenarios were presented that compared the features and benefits of private and public exchanges and the cost impact on employers and employees. Attendees learned the profile of success for a private exchange includes consumer choice, a defined contribution strategy and end-to-end fulfillment.
Full Replacement CDHP: Linking Benefits and Wellness
Mark Kresse, PT, FACHE, Manager, Health Services at GE Transportation reported on the success that GE Transportation has experienced through its consumer-directed health plan strategy for benefits and wellness. GE launched an internal wellness certification program for its plant locations. The program has resulted in more than 400 GE work sites receiving wellness certification. The company offers employees and their families a number of tools and programs that help them live healthier lives and make smarter choices about health care.
Health Care Bracketology: Bringing Order to the Market Madness
Andrew Croshaw, Partner, and David Smith, Analyst from Leavitt Partners gave attendees an in-depth look at how the political landscape could affect health care reform. Visit the PBGH members-only section and click on the Health Care Bracketology Resource for a very timely, fun, interactive exercise that illustrates future scenarios in health care based on the outcome of the upcoming November elections.
For media coverage of the event, please read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s overview of the symposium and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s article on how local health care providers are incorporating telemedicine into their offerings.
PBGH Board Members, Left to Right:
Wendy Doolan, Clearview Federal Credit Union
Kim Kapfer, Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc.
Karen Marchi, Bayer Corporation
Michelle Ward, FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.
2nd Annual Corporate Wellness Challenge Champions, (L to R), front row, Jackie Tyrseck (Clearview Federal Credit Union), Lois Hancock (Dollar Bank, F.S.B.), Alan Kubrin (Management Science Associates, Inc.), Marie Russo (Ellwood Group, Inc.), Suzy Silliman (Management Science Associates, Inc.). back row, Richard Wisniewski (Management Science Associates, Inc.), George Hollis (Clearview Federal Credit Union), David Town (Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC), Justin Leader (Special Risk Insurance Services, Inc.)