Even as the COVID-19 pandemic endures, it is becoming possible to see its implications for the health care eco-system in the United States and here in Wisconsin. While the toll being wrought is pervasive, there is an emerging consensus on the major forces we must focus on in the coming months:
- Address systemic inequities in access to and continuity of care for racial and ethnic minorities who have been disproportionately harmed by COVID.
- Improve the value of health care services, given the continuing challenge of restraining growth in costs while enhancing clinical quality and the overall patient experience of care.
- Accelerate the adoption of new modes of care delivery, exemplified by the rapid deployment of telehealth as a means of ensuring access to care during the pandemic.
- Increase the use of alternative payment models to replace the fee-for-service model and incentive investments in improving health.
In short, we cannot simply go back to the status quo ante for it has proven woefully inadequate in responding to the pandemic.
It is against this backdrop that the WCHQ Board of Directors will convene in September via Zoom for its annual strategic planning session. And, as if COVID is not sufficiently auspicious, 2021 is significant in another way as it marks a transition in leadership with Gabrielle Rude, PhD, assuming the role of President/CEO in January. Accordingly, we have designed the retreat to bring two perspectives together in framing presentations that will guide the Board’s subsequent explorations. To begin, the retreat is a worthy platform for Gabrielle to share with the full Board her vision for WCHQ. Once that context is set, we are honored to hear from Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, of the Margolis Center at Duke University, on the role that WCHQ can play in addressing these forces. Mark is an important thought and opinion leader on a broad range of health policy and healthcare reform topics by virtue of his prior roles as Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and as Administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). (Note, we plan share his video presentation with members via Online Community).
Following Mark’s presentation, we will take full advantage of the Zoom platform to allow small groups to pursue in-depth discussion of three key strategic questions. These are:
- Given our plans to unveil the 360ValuCounts integrated clinical/claims database in 2021, what is out operational definition of “value”?
- Given that WCHQ has welcomed into its membership all of Wisconsin’s provider- owned health plans along with several commercial insurers, what role can we play in fostering collaboration between providers and payers in 2021?
- Finally, the retreat will conclude with a session designed to harvest perspectives from Board members on what they see as the primary motivation that drives engagement in WCHQ – namely, is it intrinsic (the desire to pursue a mission and common good that is larger than my institution’s purpose) or extrinsic (to need to derive concrete value though products and services that benefit my organization)?
As has been our custom, the retreat will play a critical role in establishing the strategic priorities and focus for WCHQ in 2021 and beyond. We look forward to sharing more in coming weeks.
- Chris Queram