Pittsburgh Business Group on Health
Symposium Archive

14th Annual Health Care Symposium Recap
The Future: It's All About Change

With the ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), human resources and benefits professionals from across the country gathered to discuss the unchartered waters companies are facing and learn from their peers about how they are navigating the uncertainty of health care reform.

On September 5, 2013, 350 employee benefits and health care administrators - representing large and small national and regional companies - participated in the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health's (PBGH) 14th Annual Health Care Futures Symposium.  The symposium provides a full day of education on leading-edge concepts, strategies, and perspectives regarding employee healthcare, benefits and wellness trends.

The PBGH Symposium is the largest gathering of employee benefits and health care administrators in the Pittsburgh region.  It provides attendees the opportunity to hear a comprehensive group of presentations on innovative and results-oriented strategies to drive value and quality in corporate benefits.

The 2013 symposium, The FUTURE: It's All about CHANGE, featured discussions and presentations focused on the shifting sands associated with the changes occurring with health care and benefits, as well as the potential impact employers should anticipate.  Regional and national speakers spanning industry innovators, though leaders and employers provided insights, experiences, and results about the opportunities and challenges employers are facing as they develop plans and strategies for the future.

"The symposium was a successful day of discussions about common issues of concern, and we were thrilled with the number of professionals who attended and exchanged ideas about innovative strategies and solutions to deliverable, high quality employee health care and benefits," said M. Christine Whipple, Executive Director of PBGH.

Issues discussed included:

  • New forms of health care financing and delivery
  • Impact of health care consolidation on efficiency, cost and delivery
  • Benefit designs post ACA
  • Actionable cost and quality information
  • Transparency and direct contract

"Excellent speakers and quality material. The symposium is a great resource for anyone in the health care benefits area,” said Bill Parker, Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation.


"With the news changing daily about the Affordable Care Act, it is critical we learn how the country's largest companies are planning to address health care, wellness and benefits for their employees," said Kristen M. Miller, Manager, Global Health and Welfare Plans, Westinghouse Electric Company LLC. "PBGH's broad, national appeal helps bring together the true thought-leaders on this subject."


Symposium presentation topics and highlights included:

52-Card Pick Up: Reshuffling the Deck of Insurance Benefits and Care Delivery

Greg Scandlen, Founder, The Council for Affordable Health Insurance and Consumers for Health Care Choices, shared his observation that everything in health care is changing through shifting counter trends and new paradigms.  Applying to both financing and service delivery, Mr. Scandlen emphasized how the pace of change is accelerating with the ACA being just one contributing factor.

Health Care Consolidation: Is It for Care or Price? Regional and National Implications
Stephen Foreman, PhD, Associate Professor, Economics and Health Administration, Robert Morris University, provided an academic perspective sharing his insights on the challenges of health care industry consolidation nationally and regionally.  Dr. Foreman also discussed what impact employers could expect of the current market structure including the progression, critical drivers of cost, provider competition, regulation, and proposed economic and political solutions.

Benefit Designs Post ACA: New Considerations
John Neuberger, Director of Client Partnerships, Quad Graphics (Sponsored by Merck, a PBGH Associate Member) shared, from a corporate standpoint, scenarios, options, and opportunities employers are facing with the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act.  He also commented on his company's innovative strategies to create value through incentive benefit planning and design, and advocated that innovation in employee purchasing of health care is a fundamental tenet of post-health care legislation.

Actionable Quality and Cost Information: Employers & Consumers Selecting Providers and Services
Shane Wolverton, Executive Vice President, Comparion, voiced the industry's growing desire for a better standard for data analytics to measure and determine true provider performance.  He presented on what he believes are the attributes of a proper value performance assessment as illustrated through quality and scoring algorithms.

Empowering Employers and Employees: Transparency and Direct Contracting Initiatives
Mark Kress, Healthcare Manager, General Electric Transportation, reflected on the development of Consumer Directed Health Plans (CDHP) nationally and provided insight into GE's full replacement CDHP experience.  He also share GE's experience with provider direct contracting through accountable care organizations and discussed GE's multi-stakeholder collaboration initiatives to increase health and health care value in local communities including Cincinnati, OH and Erie, PA.

Overall Health Management: Panel Discussion on On-site Programs, Telehealth and More
This panel representing some of Pittsburgh's most recognized organizations discussed their experiences with establishing on-site clinical health care facilities, and provided the audience with advice on how to champion and sell and on-site program to their corporate decision makers.


Panel members included:
Janis Shaw, Vice President of People, Confluence
Kristen Miller, Manager, Global Health & Welfare Plans, Westinghouse Electric Company
Susan V. Dachille, Executive Vice President, Management Development, Presbyterian Senior Care
Mark Tanis, Director of Employee Health, UPMC
Moderator, Melissa Dunn, UPMC Work Partners

DISCLAIMER AND NOTICE The information contained on the Living My Life Coach Pharmacists section is intended to be used solely as a reference resource and not as definitive advice. Since the accuracy of the information has not been independently confirmed by PBGH, the PBGH is not responsible for errors or omissions or for any consequences from application of the information and makes no warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the currency, completeness, or accuracy of the contents of the information. You should use your own independent judgment in determining the suitability of the information to your particular situation. PBGH does not offer medical diagnosis or patient-specific treatment advice.