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HMA Fall Conference: Highlights and Takeaways

HMA Fall Conference October 2023

As we look back at our 2023 Fall Conference on publicly sponsored healthcare held in October, we wanted to highlight a few key takeaways from the event:

  • Behavioral Health Pre-Conference workshop: An impactful pre-conference session convened influential leaders in behavioral health to deliberate on the urgent need for a purposeful disruption of mental health accessibility across multiple sectors. Participants were actively challenged to reimagine strategies that could effectively disrupt the prevailing status quo in behavioral health, focusing on three key components essential for constructing a comprehensive system of care: population health and prevention, quality, and network.

The discourse highlighted pervasive issues such as silos that contribute to a lack of accountability within the system. There was a unanimous recognition of the imperative to eliminate barriers to access, accompanied by a resounding call for a pivotal transformation in payer models. Throughout the session, a prevailing theme underscored the critical need for fostering collaborative efforts across different sectors, emphasizing the creation of opportunities for cross-sector groups to work together.

Participants echoed a shared sentiment regarding the urgency of dismantling the current lacking system and replacing it with a more inclusive, patient-centered approach. The session served as a platform for thought-provoking discussions, inspiring innovative solutions to address the challenges in behavioral health, paving the way for a more effective and accessible system.

The three main conference themes – Equitable Access, Digital Innovation, and Value-based Care – were touched upon in many of the panels and plenary sessions.

  • Equitable Access: Several panels and speakers talked about health equity as a moral imperative as well as an organizational priority. Payers and providers understand that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is developing metrics and measures to incorporate equity into accreditation and reimbursement and are anxious to get down to the details of the specific items that will be included. There was also robust discussion about how to incorporate community-based organizations and social services into Medicaid managed care plans to ensure that health-related social needs are being addressed in a more holistic way. There are opportunities to ensure contracting parameters and quality metrics work as intended to enable payers and providers to improve outcomes and reduce inequities of all types.
  • Digital Innovation: In addition to a “shark tank” style presentation of innovative technology vendors, the HMA conference featured a panel of experts in data liquidity and interoperability. They discussed the opportunity to embrace application programming interfaces (APIs) and digital health as a strategic imperative instead of a compliance issue. The new electronic prior authorization requirements are already starting to produce big results by expediting approvals, which is good for patients, but also reducing workload to allow staff to be redeployed to other areas of need. The panel also discussed the real need to improve digital access for rural health clinics (RHCs) and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) that serve rural communities, where fee-for-service payment creates barriers to greater data coordination. And finally, the panel discussed the need to improve Medicaid procurement, so it does not impose barriers to digital innovation for vulnerable populations.
  • Lessons of Value-Based Care: This session featured a lively conversation about how value-based care is more important than ever, and frankly, that it is the right thing to do for mission-driven organizations to improve the health of patients. The organizations represented discussed how it has not been easy to learn new approaches to care coordination and managing financial risk, but they can do what is best for the patient by investing in the right things up front. Value-based care approaches are proliferating, including FQHCs where the providers’ motivation to serve vulnerable families is now supported by the right financial incentives.

HMA is committed to bringing together experts from across the healthcare spectrum, and advancing the conversation about ways to improve access, equity, and innovation in healthcare. In early March 2024, we will be offering an HMA Spring Workshop on value-based care in Chicago. Registration will open soon; to receive the invitation, please be sure you are subscribed to the HMA News and Events list.

Meet the HMA blog contributors

Jennifer Colamonico

Jennifer Colamonico

Senior Director
Salt Lake City, UT
Tiffany McKenzie

Tiffany McKenzie, MHA

Manager, Thought Leadership
Lansing, MI