by Nashville Health Care Council | Mar 18, 2015

On the heels of the Affordable Care Act’s second health insurance open enrollment period, and with a continued Congressional discord surrounding President Obama’s signature health care law, a delegation of 100 emerging Nashville health care leaders visited our nation’s capital March 9 – 10 to hear first hand about key health care policy issues, federal health care spending priorities and reform implementation. Attendees of the 13th annual Leadership Health Care (LHC) Delegation to Washington, D.C., spent two days networking with peers from Nashville and other parts of the country and hearing from a diverse group of speakers including former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom DaschleKaren DeSalvo, M.D., national coordinator for HIT and acting assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Meena Seshamani, M.D., director of the office of health reform at HHS, and Chris Frates, investigative correspondent at CNN.
Photo credit: Keith Mellnick

On the first day of sessions, Baker Donelson’s Dick Cowart and Daschle – now founder and chairman of public policy advisory The Daschle Group -engaged in a keynote conversation on the potential outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on King v. Burwell and the dynamics of a politically divided 114th Congress.  A panel of experts from across the health care industry, including Enroll America President Anne Filipic, discussed future plans for boosting exchange enrollment and the strategies in place to continue to build public awareness. During the keynote dinner, the Cook Political Report’s House Editor David Wasserman delivered an analysis of the 2014 mid-term elections and a look ahead to the 2016 election cycle.

“The continued roll-out of the the Affordable Care Act created an exciting backdrop for the 2015 delegation,” said Council Director of Talent Development Jenni Bradley. “As always, the event provided our city’s emerging health care leaders with a first-hand look at the current state of health care policy and what lies ahead for the industry.”

DeSalvo headlined the delegation’s second day of sessions, discussing the activities of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT in advancing the interoperability and usability of health data so providers can more easily share patient health data and use the information to provide better care, reduce costs, improve population health and advance scientific initiatives like precision medicine.

The key ingredients to achieving interoperability are to “standardize the standards,” create incentives to use the standards, and to create a “trust environment” where providers and consumers understand expectations around security and privacy.

Seshamani reviewed the success of the recently completed health insurance open enrollment, noting an increase of 25% in issuers, a figure that speaks to the competitiveness of the marketplace. Her office estimates that more than half of this year’s 11.7 million enrollees were new to the marketplace.

Additionally, a panel of House and Senate staffers discussed key items on the minds of members of Congress this year including Medicaid expansion and Sustainable Growth Rate replacement options.

Participants in this year’s delegation represented diverse sectors of Nashville’s health care industry, including hospital management, ambulatory surgery centers and health care IT, as well as professional services such as finance, law, communications and accounting.  Delegation scholarships were awarded to Josh Anthony, Meharry Medical College; LaRhonda McClemore, Tennessee State University; Jameson Norton, Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management; and Josh Southards, Faith Family Medical Center.

“Every year, this trip provides important insights and information that delegates can use to enhance their business strategies,” said Kelvin Ault, LHC chairman and tax partner with PwC’s health services practice. “The quality of the speakers and the networking opportunities make it a must-attend event.”

New to the delegation this year was the addition of an inaugural “Fun Run,” which allowed delegates the option to see some of the Capital’s most famed landmarks while demonstrating a commitment to wellness.

“LHC’s annual visit to Washington is one way the organization furthers its mission of cultivating future health care industry leaders,” said Nashville Health Care Council President Caroline Young. “We’re pleased to have had such strong participation for our 13th annual delegation and thankful that so many influential speakers took the time to visit with us.”

Sponsors for this year’s LHC Delegation to Washington D.C., were The Advisory Board CompanyBass, Berry & SimsBDO USABradley Arant Boult Cummingsc3/consultingEmdeonGE Capital, Healthcare Financial ServicesJarrard Phillips Cate & HancockKraft Healthcare Consulting and LBMC Healthcare ServicesLovell Communications served as Communications Sponsor.

About Leadership Health Care
An initiative of the Nashville Health Care Council to nurture the talents of future leaders, LHC provides members with unique educational programs and networking opportunities. With nearly 950 members representing more than 350 companies, LHC is the foremost organization for emerging leaders in the field.