Wrapping up the first day of the Florida Health Care Affordability Summit

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Key health care industry leaders, innovators and lawmakers gathered today at the World Center Marriott in Orlando to participate in the first set of panel discussions at the 2013 Florida Health Care Affordability Summit. The Summit, a sold out event hosted by the Foundation of Associated Industries of Florida (FAIF), has brought together some of the most instrumental decision makers and thought leaders to discuss the areas of critical-need for Florida’s health care landscape. 

Kicking off the Summit was Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) President and CEO Tom Feeney, who was immediately followed by the opening keynote speaker, Michael L. Millenson, president of Health Care Quality Advisors LLC. 

“We have received extraordinary encouragement and support surrounding the health care Summit and the good it promises to bring when it comes to the future of quality and affordable health care in Florida,” said Feeney. “The goal of this event was to bring as varied and qualified an array of participants as possible to share their perspective on how we can make health care more accessible to everyone in our state. And, I believe we have been able to accomplish just that.” 

“I’m here today to talk about the truth of our health care system and its consequences,” said Millenson during his keynote address. “The truth is, our health care costs make us economically uncompetitive in the world and cause us to lose jobs. Everybody in this room is highly educated and highly qualified, and frankly, this is your professional opportunity to do something significant and shape what the public expects from their health care. Pricing is not a proxy for quality of care – quality is a measurement for quality of care. It’s up to you to fight for more efficient health care and keep your community on track to what you want it to be.” 

“We are a nation founded on abundance and saying no or doing more for less is not the norm,” said Millenson. “Economics 101: If you can’t offer less per unit, and you can’t pay more, what do you do? You do things better. You give the same or better quality of care for the same or less money. That’s where we need to go.” 

The selected panels for day one of the Summit included discussions on how to best ‘provide care and coverage to all Floridians,’ moderated by Senator Joe Negron, ‘increase accountability within Florida’s health care system,’ moderated by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) and ‘unravel the mysteries behind health care financing,’ moderated by Representative John Wood (R-Winter Haven). 

“I am honored to have been invited to participate as a moderator today,” said Senator Bean, chair of the Senate Health Policy Committee. “This has been an excellent platform of conversation and discussion on some of the most important issues our health care system is facing at this time. As we all know, increasing accountability of our health care system is necessary to ensure Floridians are getting the health care and coverage they deserve. I am encouraged by the commentary we have heard today, and I look forward to continuing this conversation in the coming months.” 

Participating in today’s discussions were the following panelists: 

·         Jay Wolfson, Ph.D. – Professor of Public Health & Medicine, University of South Florida
·         Alan Levine – Senior Vice President & Florida Group President, Health Management Associates
·         Stuart Slutzky – Chief of Product Innovation, HumanaVitality
·         Daniel Waldmann – Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Tenet Healthcare Corporation
·         Jason Delimitros – Chief Operating Officer, Sunshine State Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene Corporation
·         Debra L. Faulkner – Managing Principal, Verizon Connected Health Care
·         Patrick Ross – Vice President of Government Solutions, Ingenix Government Solutions
·         Mark LaBorde – President of Florida Markets, Aetna
·         Brian Kiss, M.D. – Senior Medical Director for Network Programs, Florida Blue
·         Brian Klepper, Ph.D. – Chief Development Officer, WeCare TLC 

“By bringing such different and, at times, combative minds to the table at the same discussion, we are able to see the entire health care landscape and how it impacts all of us instead of looking at it through just one lens,” said Dr. Kiss, panelist on the ‘Unraveling the Mysteries of Health Care Financing’ panel. “Health care is about all of us and should be made available to all of us, and these discussions are proving essential in identifying all the moving parts that will get us there.” 

Closing out the Summit events for the day was Republican Policy Committee Chairman Congressman Tom Price of Georgia with an update on the state of health care in Washington. 

“We must act now to fix what ails our health care system so that patients, families and doctors are in control of personal health care decisions,” said Congressman Price, who delivered the closing keynote address for day one of the Summit. “There are positive, patient-centered solutions that will expand access to quality, affordable and responsive health care choices for the American people. We need to provide the right incentives, encourage greater health care innovation, and most importantly, protect and strengthen the doctor-patient relationship.” 

The FAIF’s 2013 Florida Health Care Affordability Summit will continue tomorrow with panels to discuss ‘health care solutions from the private sector,’ ‘encouraging innovation in product development and distribution,’ as well as ‘increasing access to care, choice and competition throughout Florida.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.