3rd Annual PHORUM: Perspectives in Healthcare presented by Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care Identifies Key National Trends Impacting Healthcare in Santa Barbara and Discusses How Community Healthcare Organizations “Bring Healthcare Home”

Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care (VNHC) hosted nearly 300 people at the 3rd Annual PHorum:  Perspectives in Healthcare.  PHorum is a program that reviews, discusses and forecasts our healthcare industry at the national, regional and local levels. This year, Tracey Moorhead, President & CEO of Visiting Nurse Associations of America, presented the keynote address, “Succeeding in a Value-Based Health Economy: Key Policy Initiatives Impacting Care at the Community Level,” where she discussed today’s complicated and rapidly changing healthcare landscape, and how it is vital for patients and providers to understand the major national regulatory and legislative trends impacting healthcare delivery systems in Santa Barbara.  After the keynote address, Lynda Tanner, VNHC President & CEO moderated a panel of local healthcare industry leaders including, Dr. Charles Fenzi of Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Elizabeth Majestic of Cottage Health, Dr. Takashi Wada of Santa Barbara County Public Health, Rhonda Spiegel of the Alzheimer’s Association California Central Chapter, and Bob Freeman of CenCal Health. The panel discussed issues about healthcare access for all populations, the capacity of our current system, and the funding available for education and community projects.  


The evening started with the presentation of the Community Partners in Excellence Award. Following a longstanding tradition of collaboration, VNHC staff nominates organizations and professionals in the community who work with VNHC to provide high quality patient care. The recipients are publicly honored each year with the VNHC Community Partners in Excellence Award. This year, VNHC was proud to present CenCal Health with the 2016 Community Partners in Excellence Award.


Ms. Tanner shared VNHC staff sentiments: “CenCal Health has been, and continues to be a wonderful partner for VNHC. They have helped us explore new ways to expand our Telehealth program and actively support their own members with assistance during their final stage of life while at Serenity House. We are so grateful to have CenCal Health as a partner committed to serving the Central Coast so that we can extend our home health services to North Santa Barbara County. In 2015, CenCal Health went above and beyond to support our mission to provide care to underprivileged, low-income individuals, regardless of their ability to pay, and we are grateful for their continuing support.”


Ms. Moorhead’s keynote address discussed today’s complicated and rapidly changing healthcare landscape. “It is vital for patients and providers to understand the major national regulatory and legislative trends impacting home-based healthcare. With significant changes on the horizon that will alter the way home health care is organized, accessed, and paid for, it is essential that Santa Barbara recognize and respond accordingly.”


In detail, Ms. Moorhead examined the longitudinal and integrative approaches to healthcare, identifying the following key national trends:


  • Population Health Management: Some social and behavioral determinants as well as risk factors are becoming more important in driving the evolution of population health management. Who are we serving and where do these people fall in the continuum of healthcare?


  • Data as King: We’ve seen the evolution of data collection from the perspective of paying the providers to much more sophisticated applications such as identification and stratification to understand the patients’ needs. We must have that data to understand the population we serve and how we are performing, and more importantly how can we improve.  More dynamic and predicative analytic application of data is foundational for success in the new healthcare economy.


  • Consolidation replaces Collaboration: Data is driving consolidating across all healthcare industry segments. We are seeing an unprecedented amount of mergers and acquisitions because of the need to scale up and expand the scope of services. Bigger is going to be better; the more services you can offer, the more consolidated across the care continuum you can become, the lower you can keep costs, and the higher you can improve your outcomes by ensuring you have control of each component of that healthcare delivery system.  One of the key challenges of increased consolidations is that we lose the truly local provider organization that really knows the community and understands the patient population; we have to ensure we maintain that local connection.


  • Quality as the Chariot: This is really a critical opportunity for all provider organizations. The problem right now is that there are numerous quality measures sets from a local, state and national level.  Ultimately, what matters to the community is what will get measured, and what gets measured determines payment to the provider.


  • Value trumps Volume: Previously Medicare paid providers on a fee-for-service basis, patients see the doctor, the doctor treats the patient, and the doctor gets paid.  Value based payment means that providers carefully monitor the patient throughout the healthcare continuum to ensure the patient receives the right care at the right time with the right application and the right amount of care. One of the key components to the transition to a value based delivery economy is a significant reduction of dollars to pay all the providers in the system; “we are doing more…better…with less.” Care Redesign involves providers at every level thinking about how we provide care, and focusing on outcome and health at the lowest possible cost.


  • States lead the Way: States are emerging as key players in the healthcare marketplace to provide different kinds of care for different populations.


  • Consumers Take Control: More and more consumers are going to be in control of the healthcare dollars. They will make the decision about where they are going to go and who they are going to pay. They will want to know:  “Who is the highest quality provider?”  and “Who is the best provider for a particular condition?”


The evening concluded with an intimate conversation among peers as the panel of healthcare leaders discussed what their organizations are doing to address the changing environment of healthcare here in Santa Barbara.  The audience was also invited to participate in the Q&A.  Some of the issues raised and discussed included:

  • We need to better understand our populations by going outside the walls of healthcare and collect data about education, income, employment, housing, culture, and health to gain a more complete picture of what our community looks like so that we might understand what we can do.
  • We have a growing challenge of balancing patient access and provider capacity to support the healthcare needs of our community. In 2014, CenCal Health had 108,000 members; today they have 175,000 members. 
  • With an aging population of 10,000 seniors per day, we are not prepared as a nation to manage all the patients and caregivers who will be affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
  • Healthcare in Santa Barbara has two platforms: mainstream healthcare and the nonprofit community this has become our healthcare safety net.
  • The fast-changing environment of healthcare and the impact of changing to value-based reimbursement in Santa Barbara.


The sponsorship of The RoKe Foundation helped fund the video recording of the 2016 PHorum.  Video files may be viewed online at www.vnhcsb.org/phorum.

About Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care

Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care (VNHC) is the leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive home health care, personal care, palliative care, hospice care, and related services necessary to promote the health and well-being of all community residents. Established in 1908, VNHC is one Santa Barbara’s oldest nonprofit organizations serving the greater Santa Barbara area, and Santa Ynez and Lompoc Valleys. VNHC’s mission is to provide compassionate and trusted care for all. For more information, visit www.vnhcsb.org or call (805) 965-5555.

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