Seminar Will Highlight US Health Reform

By Jennifer Johnson Backer

The Affordable Care Act provides incentives for the U.S. health care system to integrate care across the entire care continuum – from acute care to outpatient care to better provide care for patients.

And those changes are starting to take place at area hospitals and health care providers.

“You’ll see that most systems will become more and more focused and integrated across the entire care continuum,” said Zach Chandler, vice president and metro market president at Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. “It challenges us not to manage in silos anymore.”

Chandler says most health care systems are evaluating the best way to provide care from diagnosis to treatment. At Baptist Memorial Health Care, more physicians are now part of the hospital’s team, rather than working for independent practices. He said that helps provide the best care for patients by providing health care in a team approach that focuses on the patient, rather than the individual interests of each doctor.

“It’s not necessarily all about what’s best for the physician and their schedule, it’s all about the patient,” he said. “It helps align the patients, the insurers and the physicians so they are all pulling in the same direction. You’ll see increased transparency.”

Chandler will discuss the impact the Affordable Care Act will have on patients and hospital systems on Thursday, April 4, at a seminar on Health Care Reform presented by The Daily News and sponsored by Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, Rainey Kizer Reviere & Bell PLC and Group Benefits LLC.

The seminar will be held at 3:30 p.m. at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Auditorium. A networking reception will follow the presentation.

Susan Cooper, chief integration officer and senior vice president of ambulatory services at The Regional Medical Center at Memphis, will be the keynote speaker.

The seminar also will feature a panel discussion on health care reform featuring Chandler; Geoffrey Lindley, an attorney with Rainey Kizer; Timothy Finnell, president of Group Benefits LLC; and Bill Hannah, principal with DHG Healthcare, the health care industry practice of Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP.

Cooper was hired in January to continue building The MED’s relationships with community health partners, the public health system, academia, nonprofits and residents within the 150-mile radius the system serves.

As chief integration officer and senior vice president of ambulatory services, Cooper also is responsible for making sure The MED’s hospital, primary care clinics and specialty care units function as one cohesive system that serves the wider community.

She also wants to shift the focus from acute care delivered in the hospital setting to ambulatory health care delivered outside the hospital’s walls. That focus will better help patients prevent and manage chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma, and keep them from landing in the hospital over and over again, she says.

“We have a flagship hospital, we have four primary care clinics, we have specialty care that is delivered at our MED Outpatient Center – but this is a system of care and we want to grow that system in a way that better meets the needs of our community,” Cooper said.

Chandler says he also thinks the Affordable Care Act will shift the focus from providing immediate acute care to finding the best ways to guide patients to achieve the best long-term outcomes.

“It challenges us to start managing the patient, including preventive care and overall health and wellness,” he said. “How do we eliminate patients from coming back to the hospital and being readmitted multiple times over the course of three or four years?”