Population Health and those ‘White Waters’ of Health Reform

By Fred Goldstein, MS and Gregg A. Masters, MPH

President Trump recently conceded the ‘repeal and replace‘ agenda of the Republican Party to reverse the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is:

Unbelievably Complex…’

Some may argue that those who are awakening to this perhaps unique ‘complexity’ is the POTUS himself and a majority of his anti-Obamacare Republican colleagues. For example, in August of 2009 Gregg Masters penned the following post in the run up to the ACA’s eventual passage: Health Reform 101 – ‘None of the Ransomed Knew How Deep Were the Waters Crossed!’ wherein he opined on its historically change resistant complexity given the intersection of opposing health policy ideologies:

‘The [health reform] oxygen (or change imperative ‘momo’) is gone, and the business owner of the reform narrative is desperately flailing for air. What was once seemingly brilliant political positioning, i.e., ‘you (the Congress) give me something I can sign into law’, now appears to have degraded into a desperate ‘chicken dance’ in search of a tangible face saving political accommodation.’

While others may suggest we haven’t come very far and that we’re still searching for the elusive ‘political accommodation‘ see: ‘House Republicans release long-awaited plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Amidst these shifting sands of health reform uncertainty, one of the ‘go-to’ conferences of the year to make sense of the likely vector of U.S. Health Policy is the Population Health Colloquium.

The Colloquium runs from March 27th – 29th in the ‘City of Brotherly Love‘ Philadelphia.  In its 17th year and masterfully curated and moderated by David Nash, MD, MBA the founding and current Dean of the College of Population Health at Jefferson University, the program brings together thought leaders, academics, practitioners and ‘best in class‘ operators in the population health industry. Covering the diverse population health ecosystem, the Colloquium will appeal to health system leadership, the payer community, clinicians, academics and both supplier and vendor stakeholder interests supporting the technology and infrastructure needs of an evolving industry and the networking opportunities may be unparalleled.

The Colloquium hashtag is #pophealth17, and digital dashboard, here – where you can pull both transcripts and analytics (after free registration).

This year’s event features keynotes ranging from the Future of Managed Care to Good Health is Good Business: The Results of an Innovative Alignment with Physicians and Communities.

Here are just a few of the many thought leaders and innovators providing keynotes this year include:

  • Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, Philadelphia, PA
  • Marilyn Tavenner
    Chief Executive Officer, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Former Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Former Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Washington, DC
  • Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP
    President and Chief Executive Officer, AcademyHealth, Deputy Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Washington, DC
  • Joseph F. Coughlin, PhD
    Founder and Director, MIT AgeLab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
  • Allison Brennan, MPP
    Vice President of Policy, National Association of ACOs, Washington, DC

The balance of keynotes can be found on the program Agenda. The range and the diversity of topics covered is impressive. For a representative sampling of interviews conducted at last year’s Colloquium, see: PHC 2016.

For an overview and update on the state of Population Health including an introduction and preview of the Population Health Colloquium 2017, we recently chatted with Dr. Nash:

Digging deeper into the Colloquium’s agenda we find ‘mini-summits‘ and ‘concurrent sessions’ on day two covering the following topics:

And concurrent sessions:

The most difficult part of this conference is deciding which sessions to attend. The complete agenda is available here, and a direct registration link for full details, here.

Also on Day two will be the awarding of the Hearst Health Prize For Excellence in Population Health now in its second year, this $100,000 prize goes to……..? Check out last year’s debrief of the winner ‘Community Care of North Carolina‘.

Tuesday evening closes with an optional dinner session, but one definitely worth attending to hear from Michael Dowling and Dr. Stephen Klasko on a panel moderated by David Nash MD, MBA.  This interesting and informative panel will discuss THE FUTURE OF CLINICALLY INTEGRATED NETWORKS a critically important component of creating a better health system and integrating population health.

So why come to the Colloquium? Hear and learn from true leaders, share your ideas and network. We can think of no better place to be March 27- 29 than Philadelphia…



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