Substance Use Crisis Challenge for Healthcare Champions

By | Annual Forum, Health Literacy, Healthcare Policy, Pharmacy | No Comments

We’re in the middle of a crisis, not only as healthcare leaders transforming our healthcare system but also as Americans. The opioid substance use crisis in America is real and if it’s not already there, it’s coming to your neighborhood – or immediate and extended family soon. How can you help? What small thing might you do?

The First Step to Help Solve Substance Use Crisis

The first step in helping to solve this crisis is acknowledging that it’s not an affliction of the seedy underbelly of our society. Rather it’s a demon that knows nor respects any boundaries. Being afflicted by substance use challenges is rarely, if ever, a choice. It happens to people just like you and me who may have been prescribed opioids after surgery, or to address chronic pain or other ailments.

Nobody grows up with aspirations of becoming addicted to opioids!

Bringing People Together to Address Substance Use Crisis

opioid Crisis. substance use disorder. HCEG. Healthcare Executive Group

Left: David Henderson (Kaden Health) and Gregory Marotta (CleanSlate Centers, Inc)

The second step is doing something more than just admitting the problem. At HCEG, we bring people together to talk about the issues facing healthcare organizations and professionals. But more than just talking about the problems, we discuss and debate solutions, encourage participants to take action and strive to support those actions.

At our recent 31st annual forum in Boston, we heard firsthand from two industry leaders who are doing much more than talking about our substance use crisis. David Henderson, CEO of Kaden Health (formerly Thrivee) and Gregory Marotta, President and CEO of CleanSlate Centers, Inc. shared the different but complementary approaches their companies are taking to help people with substance use problems. As the audience engaged in the conversation with our panel, we heard from real people about their personal experiences with substance use challenges and discussed how to breakdown the “not in my family or neighborhood” attitude.

Take a Small Step Today!

The panel was closed with a challenge to each forum participant to write down and share one action they personally or their organization could – and more importantly would – take to be part of the solution. The energy and conversation following our Substance Use panel were intense and the forum’s consensus was that it would be a crime for us to let it die.

Today, HCEG board members are challenging each and every person who reads this blog post to commit to one action to help address the substance use crisis in America and to share that commitment with us.  Please share your commitment to making a difference via any of the following public or private channels. We’ll respect everyone’s privacy and not publish any names or personal information unless informed otherwise.

  • Share on LinkedIn and/or Twitter – Use hashtag #opioidcrisis
  • E-Mail Us
  • Comment on this post below

Our goal is to collect all of your commitments and track the progress and the difference that we as individuals – many almost certainly directly or indirectly impacted by the opioid crisis – are making. We’ll assemble, acknowledge and share those ideas via our upcoming in-person events and virtual channels. Little things do add up to BIG THINGS!

Alone we can make a dent…Together we can make a difference!

Part 2: Recapping ‘The 2018 HCEG Top 10 Healthcare Opportunities, Challenges & Issues’ Webinar

By | Executive Leadership Roundtable, HCEG Top 10, Webinar Series, Pharmacy, Privacy & Security | One Comment

The theme of last month’s HCEG Webinar Series event was The 2018 HCEG Top 10 – Healthcare Opportunities, Challenges & Issues. In a previous post, highlights of the following two topics that were discussed by moderator Kim Sinclair, HCEG board chair and CIO at Boston Medical Center Health Plan, and panelists Ferris Taylor, HCEG’s Executive Director and Consultant to Arches Health Plan and David Gallegos, Sr VP of Consulting Services at Change Healthcare, were reviewed:

  • Which three items on the 2018 HCEG Top Ten list three areas were of most interest?
  • What’s the state of healthcare consumerism and what’s being seen in the industry?

This second post recaps highlights from the second half of the webinar where the topics of Cybersecurity (Ranked #6 on the 2018 HCEG Top 10) and Addressing Pharmacy Costs (Ranked #9) were discussed. The webinar presentation materials and a recording of webinar can be found here.

Cybersecurity – 2018 HCEG Top Ten Item #6

Topic #3: How are you seeing cyber security and cyber threats impact healthcare organizations beyond the tactical day-to-day prevention activities?

HCEG Healthcare Executive Group Webinar-Top-10 Trends Cybersecurity

Ferris Taylor: “I think it’s (cybersecurity) fundamental that we need to innovate and improve cybersecurity in all of our healthcare processes. That really means giving people a confidence that their personal information won’t be used in ways that a person doesn’t want it to be used. So, it ties back to consumerism.

Real World Impact of Medical Identity Theft

“Here in Utah, about three years ago, there was a baby born in the hospital that was heroin addicted. And of course, the Department of Social Services immediately went to the home and removed the three other children from that home. The fundamental problem was that the mother of that heroin baby was not the mother in that home. And it took that mother three months to get her children back. It was a case of medical identity theft where the baby was born. The real mother checked out.  We can understand the personal impact that that lack of security around medical information caused for that family.”

David Gallegos: “The world has gotten a lot smaller and technology a lot more complex over the past decade. And clearly cyber terrorism is a big part and a growing concern that every organization needs to take seriously. But you need to keep in mind that the safest computer is one that’s turned off and unplugged. And clearly that’s not very useful.

“We need to balance both security and usability and the sharing of clinical information. It’s going to be critical to our care model redesigns and our clinical collaboration. This data is also going to be important for us to leverage artificial intelligence and, to help us determine optimal courses of treatment. In some cases, this information is even going to be needed to help really define how whole populations are treated.”

Addressing Pharmacy Costs – 2018 HCEG Top Ten Item #9

Kim Sinclair shared that pharmacy costs continue to rise and is a topic constantly in the news, noting that non-profit hospitals have stated intent of joining together to form their own pharmacy organizations.

Topic #4: What are your thoughts about what healthcare leaders can do about rising pharmacy costs?

Ferris Taylor: “I saw some statistics on pharmacy costs that struck me to the heart. It was from the Health Care Cost Institute over the last four years. It was actually 2012 to 2016 and the cost of prescriptions in the marketplace had gone up by 25%. But the utilization of prescriptions had only gone up by 1.8%. And it wasn’t just pharmacy costs. Emergency Room prices have gone up by 30% and visits went up by 2%.”

Free-Market Economy and Governance

“So, I think, once again, we haven’t transitioned from the buyer being the employer to the consumer becoming more and more important in that purchasing decision. As we discuss pharmacy costs, the other thing that I think we need to recognize is that we have a free-market economy. But industries have responsibilities to govern themselves. And I know some of the bad players in the pharmacy industry are outside of the Pharmacy Association. So, it’s hard to regulate them. But I use those key issues as the things to help us start to address the pharmacy costs”

David Gallegos on the State We’re in with Pharmacy Costs

pharmacy costs increases hceg healthcare executive group

“What I look at the state we’re in with pharmacy costs. To me it’s entirely self-made. We’ve created these regulations that allow schemes like pay to delay, or evergreening – that’s really pushed generics out further in terms of their development. We create, in a sense, quasi monopolies.”

“We criminalize the ability to negotiate for larger population blocks. I mean it seems ridiculous to me, actually, that drugs that were invented and manufactured here in the United States can often be purchased cheaper outside of our country.”

“Clearly drugs are very important. They reduce admissions that would use other high cost care. And some of them are miracles. They can literally cure diseases – cure the incurable. So, I understand this is not a simple problem. But if a drug cost a million dollars and the person can’t afford it, is it really a miracle?”

“And in any other market, if there was a product that nobody could afford, the supplier would price it differently. And that’s what we have in our market.”

Previous Webinar: Strategies to Address Rising Pharmacy Costs

For more about pharmacy costs, see this recap of last December’s webinar titled “Strategies to Address Rising Pharmacy Costs” presented by our sponsor partner Cumberland Consulting Group.

Check out the Webinar Recording for More

For more insight on 2018 HCEG Top 10 and the perspective of healthcare executives, check the webinar recording and subscribe to our eNewsletter where we’ll be sharing more information, insight, opinions and ideas of value to healthcare executives and thought leaders. Our newsletter will also share information on future webinars and events like our Executive Leadership Roundtable in Las Vegas this coming May 9th.