Prevention is Not Expendable

A core component of the Affordable Care Act is the most comprehensive recognition to date of the value of prevention and health promotion. Numerous provisions in the ACA support wellness and prevention efforts in the workplace and in Medicare and Medicaid. CCA has repeatedly applauded these provisions and actively and aggressively supports their rapid implementation.

Yet, we continually face efforts by Congress and even the administration to target the ACA’s landmark Prevention and Public Health Fund as an extraneous cost – particularly now, in discussions on the fiscal 2013 federal budget. But the Prevention Fund is anything but extraneous or expendable. Rather, it provides a critical catalyst for the surge nationally in health care system innovation and care delivery improvements.

CCA strongly supports allocating monies dedicated to the Prevention Fund to fulfill its intended purpose and to power health care transformation. The Department of Health and Human Services must seize the opportunities made possible by the Prevention Fund through community collaborations and partnerships with health care industry leaders. Congress, rather than looking to the fund for easy cuts, should instead encourage its constructive use legislatively, such as through Sen. Ron Wyden’s “Medicare Better Health Rewards Program,” which would apply Prevention Fund monies toward initiatives that build on programs already established through reform.

States have a stake in the Prevention Fund’s viability, as well. The Fund materially impacts and advances individual state health care initiatives, such as behavioral health screenings, data infrastructures and wellness services. It has contributed more than $121 million toward state projects in Ohio, California, Nevada and Kentucky alone. HealthCare.gov provides a full public accounting of individual state contributions and program descriptions.

The Prevention Fund already has sustained a 10-year, 33 percent cut through February’s Middle Class Tax Relief and Jobs Creation Act. Additional cuts would derail federal and state progress toward prevention and health promotion, stifle health care transformation and undermine significant industry investments in innovation.

Stakeholders are working continuously and at an unprecedented pace to drive the health system toward better care, better health and lower costs. The Prevention Fund must remain available to achieve this important goal.

Love Letter to TEDMED

Wow. That’s all I can say after three unbelievable days attending the inaugural TEDMED DC event. My head is swelling with ideas and inspiration and innovative opportunities for population health. It was unlike any “event” I’ve ever attended and it sets a new standard for education and networking.

What’s it all about? TED stands for “technology,” “entertainment,” “design.” There were performance artist poetry slams about thinking outside the box that literally took my breath away. There were personal vignettes about surviving breast cancer by the President and CEO of the Red Cross. There were discussions about the technology of food, of fitness, of wellness, of illness. So much of this conference had a population health theme that is perfectly aligned with CCA’s goals and the work of our industry leaders. It was all just presented in a way that makes you think harder and better and more collaboratively.

A common thread through nearly every presentation, I found, was the importance of personal wellbeing and responsibility. Obesity was a key theme and presented from various perspectives. A huge takeaway for me: Obesity is directly linked to one-third of all cancers. Encouraging healthful behaviors at a community and social network level was another key issue and was the top choice of TEDMED delegates in the Great Challenges of health and medicine. Kudos to Challenge Advocate Rajiv Kumar, Founder and Chief Medical Officer, ShapeUp, for promoting the “Inventing Wellness Programs that Work” Challenge. Rest assured, you got several of my votes!

Finally, let me state emphatically: TEDMED, don’t change a thing for next year in DC. I ran into a few of my DC colleagues who work in other health industry organizations this week and, in the words of one, they just “didn’t get it.” Yes, it’s different. Yes, it’s all “West Coast-y.” It is NOT your same old, same old conference with a bunch of boring policy wonks and PowerPoints. Not all of the speakers were equally enthralling (although most of the ones I saw were) but there was certainly a nugget or grain of an idea in every single one that spurred a conversation and possibly another innovation down the road. This conference is about IDEAS and PEOPLE and NEW WAYS OF THINKING. It was also a great equalizer in that the vast cross section of delegates attended to meet and explore. There was no hierarchy, just idea sharing. It was, simply, awesome.

—Tracey Moorhead, President & CEO

Health Care Policy Perspective and Insights

Care Continuum Alliance began hosting policy briefings for its Board of Directors three years ago, with a day we called the “Capitol Caucus.” The day has been a great opportunity for our industry leaders to step outside of their day-to-day corporate areas of expertise and hear the latest on key policy issues influencing the growth and evolution of population health management. Our Board members have commented on the high value of these briefings, with one Board member telling me, “This is the most productive day I’ve ever spent in Washington, D.C.”

Well, CCA staff and Board members want to share this valuable experience with a broader swath of our members and industry leadership. This year, for the first time, we’re opening Capitol Caucus to a small group of non-Board member attendees. Capitol Caucus 2012 is shaping up to be a fabulous opportunity to hear updates and insights on a broad variety of health care policy issues, including Affordable Care Act implementation. Attendees also will hear an election-year forecast from a highly regarded campaign analyst.

We’re working hard to confirm speakers on an invitation list that includes Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the National Governors Association and other federal and state offices; you can view the tentative agenda here, as well as member and non-member registration pricing and sponsorship opportunities.

This event aligns strongly with our strategic vision for advocacy, education and research: to convene, educate and communicate on behalf of population health management and to promote PHM strategies and tools to improve the quality and value of health care. I hope you’ll be a part of that process by joining us at the Capitol Caucus.

—Tracey Moorhead, President & CEO

%d bloggers like this: