Council News

April 25, 2024

The State of Healthcare: Nashville on Capitol Hill

D.C. Delegation Key Insights:

Delegates from the Nashville Health Care Council recently convened in D.C. to discuss the state of healthcare today and influence the future. Over the course of three days the delegates participated in industry immersion tours, were addressed by Tennessee State Congressional representatives, and participated in panel discussions on key healthcare topics that are transforming the current state of healthcare. Step into the D.C. Delegation with high-level panel recaps. 

Read the Pre-D.C. Delegation Reference Materials

Workforce: Supply, Demand, Need

Moderator: Jessica Wells, PhD, Associate Principal, ECG Management Consulting

Panelists: Dr. Bryant Adibe, Jay S. Sugarman Practitioner in Residence, School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Sheila Pradia-Williams, Deputy Associate Administrator, Health Resources & Services Administration, Conor Sheehey, Senior Health Policy Advisor, US Senate Committee on Finance

The Nashville Health Care Council D.C. Delegation began their day on the Hill with a stirring panel on potential policy solutions to healthcare’s mounting workforce crisis—namely, the estimated shortage of 124K physicians and as many as 400K nurses by 2034. Zeroing in on the challenge that only 20% of U.S. hospitals have formalized teaching programs (and fewer than 5% of those are classified as major teaching hospitals), panelists and moderator Jessica Wells spoke to the urgent need for a nationwide increase in both Graduate Medical Education funding and residency spots.

Panelists emphasized the critical importance of improving training access in rural communities, partnering with CMS to make alternative payment models more attractive and empowering providers to work at the top of their licenses.

Finally, the problem of provider burnout was upheld, not as a failure on the part of the individual, but as a systemic, macroeconomic phenomenon that can only be addressed by meaningful improvements to reduce administrative burden, improve clinical workflow and bring providers back to the bedside. 

“One critical takeaway from my conversations with frontline providers is that this idea of improving retention, improving engagement and reducing burnout is not a failure on the part of the individual. Burnout in healthcare, in this country, is a systems issue and a macroeconomic phenomenon. For too many years, we’ve looked at individual solutions to a systems problem and emphasized personal resiliency tools, such as mindfulness and breakroom yoga, to meet the challenges causing burnout. What providers are really looking for are meaningful improvements that improve the actual work environment—reducing the administrative burden, improving clinical workflow and bringing providers back to the bedside.”  – Dr. Bryant Adibe, Jay S. Sugarman Practitioner in Residence, School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University 



Public Policy Solutions through Realized Parity in Behavioral Healthcare

Moderator: Navdeep Kang, Chief Quality Officer, Acadia Healthcare

Panelists: Shawn Coughlin, President and CEO, National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, Eva DuGoff, Senior Health Advisor, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, Sohini Gupta, EVP, Government Affairs and Innovation, AHIP, Timothy Hauser, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Program Operations at Department of Labor

Behavioral health and mental wellness rose to the forefront of America’s social conscience during the COVID-19 pandemic, but parity in behavioral healthcare (read: equitable compensation for both physical and mental health providers) has been a subject of discussion among federal policymakers for 15 years and counting. And yet, according to speakers on our D.C. Delegation’s “Public Policy Solutions through Realized Parity in Behavioral Healthcare” panel, progress toward payor compliance is advancing at a glacial pace—and implications around access, quality of care and workforce engagement continue to grow.

Session panelists voiced concerns that compensation for high-level psychiatrists and psychologists is consistently less than that provided for physician assistants working in internal medicine, noting that the lowest-paid providers in our healthcare system are also the ones providing the highest level of uncompensated care. Concerns were also raised regarding access issues for patients to quality mental health care, as more than 50% of Americans live in markets where behavioral health providers are in severely short supply. While panelists expressed differing perspectives about the optimal pathways to achieve improved access, equitable pay and better patient outcomes, speakers unilaterally agreed that behavioral health is synonymous with whole health and must be better integrated into the U.S. healthcare system.

Getting AI Right in Healthcare

Moderator: Dr. Mike Schlosser, SVP Care Transformation and Innovation, HCA Healthcare

Panelists: Greg Aaron, GVP, Client Relationships, Oracle, Jordan Everson, Public Health Analyst, ONC, Stephen Hughes, Director, Healthcare IT Policy, AHA, Colleen Nguyen, Senior Health Policy Advisory, Office of Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA)

The hot topic of artificial intelligence continues to be top of mind in healthcare, in this timely discussion panelists were quick to acknowledge that in recent years, much of the tech leveraged in healthcare has been more a divider than a force multiplier, uplifting the Electronic Health Record (EHR) as a prime example. As such, key stakeholders in the healthcare technology space are looking to innovate and implement responsible AI applications that can effectively offload administrative burdens from providers and staff, rather than compounding them.

Critical focus areas around these new applications include the avoidance of discrimination and bias, transparency in development/deployment and the prioritization of personal data protection. Panelists also shared utilization examples in the works within their organizations—ranging from predictive cash-flow planning and multi-modal clinical assistance to transcription and ancillary support tasks—while emphasizing the importance of finding the right balance between regulation and innovation, always keeping the patient’s needs at the center of the care delivery model.

Cybersecurity Fireside Chat

Moderator: David Dill, Chairman and CEO, Lifepoint Health

Speaker: John Riggi, National Advisor for Cybersecurity and Risk, American Hospital Association

 In a candid and incisive conversation John Riggi, National Advisor for Cybersecurity and Risk, American Hospital Association, offered a high-level look at the cybersecurity roadmap in U.S. healthcare, underscoring the fact that hospitals alone cannot bear the burden of leveling up cybersafety in the healthcare sector.

Voicing concerns that hostile entities are currently outpacing America’s online defenses, Riggi cautioned Council delegates that no organization is 100% immune from the threat of a dedicated adversary. He encouraged those in attendance to treat cybersecurity as an enterprise risk issue, not merely “the IT person’s problem,” and suggested they ask their leadership teams to consider—in the context of an unexpected network shutdown—what will work, what won’t work, and what is the plan to continue provision of safe, quality care?

Riggi concluded his comments with the observation that our human vulnerabilities (e.g., susceptibility to phishing scams) often beat out our technological defenses, offering valuable insights to our delegates around risk management and the critical importance of an airtight backup plan. 

Nashville Health Care Council on the Hill

At the Council we are proud to provide Signature Event opportunities that enable our Council community to engage directly with political leaders, staffers and influencers that are shaping healthcare legislation and policy. The D.C. Delegation fosters an environment that empowers critical collaboration across sectors.

Nashville is home to a thriving healthcare ecosystem. At the Council, we know the Healthcare City is the best place to accomplish and get business done – policy and legislation are a critical component to elevating and supporting the fertile business climate. This is why bringing Council delegates to our nation’s capital is vital to the future of healthcare.

Together, through purposeful connection and collaboration, we can inspire positive change and critical policies that impact the entire healthcare industry. We hope you will join us in 2025!


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