Last week, the Nashville Health Care Council hosted a group of 30 member executives in Paris, France for the organization’s 10th International Health Care Mission. The one-of-a kind program, led by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, offered attendees a full agenda of trans-Atlantic learning, high-level networking and global dialogue opportunities.
Amid dramatic shifts occurring in the U.S. health care system, the mission to France was timely, giving delegates first-hand information about the French health care system, which has been classified as the “best health system in the world” by the World Health Organization, but has similar struggles to the United States, such as an increase in chronic diseases, access issues and rising costs of care.
“At this time of unprecedented change for our nation’s health care industry, these international exchanges provide insights and perspectives that better prepare executives to contribute to policy discussions here in our country and instill best practices in their own companies,” said Frist.
Delegates welcomed keynote speaker Jean-David Levitte, former ambassador of France to the United States and senior diplomatic adviser to former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy. Levitte spoke about the formation of the European Union, ongoing efforts to improve Europe’s economic situation and reforms to pension, health care and education systems currently taking place.
Additional highlights from the week-long program included briefings from Ministry of Health officials and members of Parliament at the National Assembly, tours of three hospitals in Paris and panel discussions with U.S. Embassy officials, private health care CEOs and international finance experts.
“The mission allowed me to connect with French health care experts and executives one-on-one, and to understand the French health care environment on a deeper level. These one-of-a-kind interactions illustrated shared opportunities and challenges between the French and U.S. systems ,” said Chris Holden, president and CEO of AmSurg.
“These missions are very valuable, not only for the learning opportunities that they provide, but also in continuing the Council’s mission to further position Nashville as an industry capital and set the stage for future international collaborations,” said Caroline Young, Council president.
The 2013 mission was made possible thanks to presenting sponsor Healthways, in partnership with Meridian International Center, patron sponsors Bass Berry & Sims and Crowe Horwath, and supporting sponsors Baker Donelson and Bradley Arant Boult Cummings.
CNN Paris Bureau Chief Jim Bitterman ended the week with his perspectives on the key role France plays in policy and culture.
Former U.S. Ambassador to France Howard Leach, Former French Ambassador to the U.S. Jean-David Levitte and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist at the mission keynote dinner.
To better understand the French health care system, Council delegates toured a private not-for-profit hospital, a private for-profit hospital and a public hospital in Paris.