2014 Symposium: Collaborating toward better care

Leaders from our 23 member plans convened last week to share successes, concerns and blueprints for change and innovation at ACHP’s 27th annual Boards of Directors Symposium.

Michael Cropp, M.D., president and CEO of Independent Health and chairman of ACHP’s Board of Directors, kicked off the meeting on Monday with a reminder of the mission that unites ACHP plans: better health in the communities they serve.

The three-day conference included discussions on how best to convey the value of community-based care; how non-profit health plans build effective boards; and why some health behaviors catch on more than others. Kaiser Permanente’s new chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson spoke about the special responsibility of community health plans to serve the public good.

On Tuesday, a panel of executive leaders illustrated Tyson’s message by presenting their successful transitions toward lower costs and price transparency. Affordability, they agreed, is an essential part of the health care equation – as vital as quality and service.

ACHP member plans focus on the Triple Aim of better health, superior health care experience and lower costs. As Group Health Cooperative President and CEO Scott Armstrong said, “the Double Aim doesn’t work.”  His peers supported that affirmation with stories of payment reform and strong partnerships with providers that lead to affordable and high-quality care.

The Symposium keeps member organizations and their governance leaders ahead of current health care issues against the backdrop of the Affordable Care Act and the changing industry landscape. Outside speakers Susan Dentzer, senior policy adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and former U.S. Senator and former chairman of the Senate Budget Committee Kent Conrad lent conversations a Washington context.

ACHP members value learning in community. Year after year, executive and governance leaders from our plans use the Symposium to connect formally and informally on the goals and challenges that face all regional, not-for-profit, high-performing plans. The conference closed Tuesday with a new mission statement offered by member plan HealthPartners: “Health as it could be, affordability as it must be, through relationships built on trust.”

 – Patricia Smith, ACHP President and CEO