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Recent Conferences

May 12, 2015

The 22nd Princeton Conference, Challenges Facing the US Health Care System

Co-Sponsored by The Massachusetts Health Policy Forum

SESSION I:

THE IMPACT OF CONSOLIDATION IN THE HEALTH CARE DELIVERY AND FINANCING SYSTEMS

This session will examine the recent trends in and effects of consolidation among organizations in the US health care system. Speakers will address overall rise in these kinds of transactions as well as regional differences in consolidation across markets. Session presentations and discussions will seek to discuss the implications of this consolidation. Does consolidation improve quality and care efficiency? Are the results of consolidation detrimental to competition and service pricing? The panel will also discuss responses of regulators and industry players to mergers and acquisitions, exploring market and regulatory approaches to limiting or facilitating them.

SESSION II:

HOW DO WE GET A HEALTH CARE WORKFORCE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY?

This session will explore what the health care workforce should look like in the next decade, and the means by which that workforce will be created. Presentations and discussions will examine the cap on residency spots and its effect on the supply of doctors for the health care system. The current status of the new Graduate Nursing Education (GNE) demonstration funded by CMS through the ACA will be highlighted. Additionally, the current state of and potential improvements to graduate medical education (GME) will be discussed. The benefits or detriments of government funding for training will also be explored.

SESSION III:

THE SPECIALTY PHARMACEUTICALS MARKETPLACE: IS PRICE INELASTICITY SUSTAINABLE?

The branded pharmaceutical market is rapidly shifting to a novel category of products that treat smaller numbers of patients at tremendous cost. This specialty pharmaceutical market, comprised of orphan drugs and biologics, is poised to grow to 50% of US prescription drug spending by 2019. While there is tremendous interest in the field of personalized medicine enabled by these products, there is an increasing need to assess the seeming price inelastic nature of this market. Is the pricing of these products a bubble or a sustainable transformation of the health care market? This panel will examine the role of specialty pharmaceutical products from the perspectives of investors and purchasers to examine the origins, trends and future of this market.

SESSION IV:

THE PRIVATE INSURANCE MARKET: THE INFLUENCE OF NEW PAYMENT AND DELIVERY MODELS ON CHANGING PROVIDER PRACTICE PATTERNS AND CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

This session will explore the new payment and delivery models introduced to both employer-financed and exchange markets to improve health outcomes and overall value, as well as to influence provider and consumer decision-making.

SESSION V:

THE MAJOR ISSUES AFFECTING MEDICARE GOING FORWARD

What are the major challenges facing the Medicare program in the near future, and where do opportunities for improvement exist? This panel will discuss the development of Medicare ACOs and other policies intended to improve traditional Medicare, the role of private plans in providing Medicare benefits, and other potential reforms to the Medicare program as they relate to the fiscal viability of the program, the quality of care, delivery system reform, and the potential for disruptive innovation.

SESSION VII:

QUALITY: HAS THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM MADE SUFFICIENT PROGRESS?

Over the past 15 years, credible research has informed us about the serious lapses in our US health care system in terms of safety, reliability and efficiency. Recent reports document some progress in selected areas but also bring new evidence of overtreatment, persistent errors, waste and preventable hospitalizations. This session asks the fundamental question: have we made enough progress in 15 years to remove waste, lower costs, improve outcomes of care, and prevent injury, infection and unnecessary mortality? If not, what is holding us back? Are we preparing our health care professionals and teams to perform at their highest levels and to produce the best possible outcomes of care? Should we raise the bar for quality patient outcomes, and what it would take to achieve system-wide quality improvement? Panelists will explore recent efforts to create better quality and discuss whether the system has achieved a sufficient capacity for change.

SESSION VIII:

THE POLITICAL SCENE

This panel will incorporate varied perspectives to address the political, legislative, and legal aspects of health care reform and implementation. Topics to be addressed include the implications of the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) bill as well as the Supreme Court's decision in the King v. Burwell challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Panelists will also discuss facets of ACA implementation and the upcoming issues which will be faced with managing and funding public programs.