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Event Recap | State of Chicago Health Care | 02.09.2021

On February 9, HC3 hosted its Annual State of Chicago Health Care Forum in tandem with the release of the 2020 “State of Chicago Health Care” report. The report captures major health-related developments that have transpired across the country, state of Illinois, and city of Chicago, incorporating key data and insights that illustrate the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the event, a panel of health care experts discussed national and local trends on policy, capital formation, innovation, and health disparities, in addition to cultivating ideas for change in 2021.

Read/Download the report here.

Opening Remarks:

Meghan Phillipp, Executive Director, HC3

Steven Collens, CEO, MATTER and Co-Founder, HC3

Executive Summary Remarks on the report & Moderator:

David Smith, Founder & CEO, Third Horizon Strategies and Co-Founder, HC3

Panelists: Chris Booker, Partner, Frist Cressey Ventures Ali Khan, MD, MPP, Executive Medical Director, Oak Street Health Fernando De Maio, PhD, Director of Health Equity Research and Data Use, American Medical Association Center for Health Equity

Cheryl Whitaker, MD, President, Institute of Medicine of Chicago

News Coverage

HEALTH LEADERS SAY EQUITY, PARTNERSHIPS WILL BE VITAL POST-PANDEMIC | Health News Illinois, February 11, 2021 | Link to Article

HC3 releases “2019-2020 State of Chicago Health Care” report | HC3, February 9, 2021 | Link to Press Release

HC3 RELEASES ANNUAL STATE OF THE CHICAGO HEALTHCARE REPORT | Health News Illinois, February 3, 2021 | Link to Article

Watch the Recap | Link to YouTube


Opening Remarks

Steven Collens kicked-off the event by providing an overview of 2020. “One silver lining among a plethora of awful moments of 2020 is that health care innovation – which has always been important to some of us – is now very obviously and evidently critical to all of us,” he said. “We also learned that even the most complicated and bureaucratic health systems can make decisions quickly when need be, and we have seen that health inequality is not something that anyone can deny any more as one of the defining features of our health care system.”

David Smith then provided an overview of the aforementioned key areas and teed-up a conversation with leading health care experts from the Chicago area. “Last year, there was an abundance of weak signals providing shreds of evidence for what tomorrow’s world holds,” David noted. “As we embark on 2021, we have an opportunity to head those signals and apply lessons learned to ensure much-needed changes in the health care industry continue.”

Panel Discussion

Each of the four health experts shared the sentiment that thinking outside the box is key to driving innovation and addressing health inequities.

David: How do you see the state of the state?

Cheryl: I am “optimistic” and believes that in order to see transformative changes in the health care industry, it will require a 10-year plan that can be agreed upon by all.

People are getting comfortable saying “health equity” and that’s a good start, but there needs to be more action. Illinois’ Medicaid plans are funding 50 percent of births in Chicago, which shows how important Medicaid is to address equity. Medicaid recently submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) a new plan focused on quality that would help transform health equity. The free market has failed the South Side of Chicago. Access to complex or specialty care is missing in those communities. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) also issued an RFP for payers to bring forth solutions. There needs to be one universal plan amongst all providers and stakeholders across the health care industry in the city and state. We need to convene these various stakeholders to align our approaches across larger and smaller institutions throughout the state and capitalize on all our resources to develop a comprehensive collective plan.

Fernando: The past and data have to be cornerstones for a new plan to move forward to address inequities. The data is very clear that “business as usual” does not work as we continue to see these disparities progress. In the last decade, life expectancy fell for all groups except non-Hispanic whites. To be able to tackle this effort, it will require humility among ourselves to admit what the past wrongdoings are and to also acknowledge the stakeholders outside of the health care industry (e.g., judicial and community stakeholders) that we need to join us as well.

Even though we are talking about inequities, there are still huge debates about where they stem from. Ultimately, we must admit that the system is racist, in and it goes beyond just health care. The question is about justice.

David: What has changed on the ground for providers and where are things going?

Ali: We need value-based care and with the pandemic there has never been a better argument for value-based care. Telehealth has changed, however value-based care has clearly become a must across all providers. The changes that have happened in this area during the pandemic must stay. If these changes are reversed post-pandemic, the health care sector will be taking a giant step backwards. Oak Street is giving out 1/10 vaccines in Chicago, that is a much larger portion than it should be. Many health care workers at less funded places are struggling to get a vaccine. We need to build partnerships with the right folks, not necessarily the historic stakeholders.

David: Will things like the Walmart clinics, which are disrupting the traditional health care landscape, be here for good or is it just a fad?

Ali: The next 12 months will give us the answer. Many are looking for new avenues, but do not know how to engage. Cross-institutional amiability will be key. Institutional affiliation is the new undiscovered health disparity. For example, a south side hospital in Chicago closing puts all those that are reliant on the hospital’s services at a disadvantage for getting the vaccine and getting care (for both health care workers and patients).

We also need to learn how to partner meaningfully with the right stakeholders, so that we can actually reach our goals as one. This will require not just partnering with the historical players;, the old playbook is not working and we need a new one.

David: Where is innovation going in health care? Will we see more companies breaking through, Livongo or Teladoc, or will the sector settle down?

Ali: Oak Street Health is a fully capitated environment which has allowed creativity and innovation to work in the backdrop of this past year and help meet patient needs.

Chris: There is a lot of innovation right now that aligns with CMS. COVID-19 has accelerated innovation which is being driven by the consumer. And, to Cheryl’s point about labor and hospitals, perhaps child labor can be done outside of the hospital for us to see better outcomes. Consumers are demanding change.

Cheryl: Can innovation catch up with actual need? What we need is change now. We are missing layers of care. Companies like DaVita and Fresenius mine the same data that we have access to in order to progress in the industry. How can we find a way to use that same data to find a way to progress not only the industry, but also benefit society and make the two sectors work in tandem?

David: How do new rules (like those for interoperability) engage consumers?

Chris: The rules need to be in place and not changed so that things can get started. Price transparency is one area where consumers can engage more if they get true transparency. We need to bring in the actual consumer and, for example, engage with actual Medicaid beneficiaries when trying to change Medicaid.


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