5 Important Healthcare Issues Discussed at the ACO Coalition Meeting

Jaime Rosenberg

At this fall’s ACO & Emerging Healthcare Delivery Coalition® conference, experts in the healthcare industry discussed several key topics in improving and understanding the current state of healthcare.

1. Utilizing integrative care to help treat patients with addiction
As one of the most vulnerable groups of patients in the healthcare landscape, a session led by Mark McGrail, MD focused on using the integrative approach for caring with individuals struggling with addiction.

Integrative healthcare focuses on a practice tam of primary care and behavioral health clinicians working together with patients and families to provide patient-centered care. In addition to addiction issues, the integrative care model also addresses mental health and substance abuse conditions, health behaviors, life stressors, and stress related physical symptoms.

2. Eliminating the stigma surrounding opioid addiction
With the opioid epidemic claiming thousands of lives each year in the United States, a panel discussed how breaking the stigma that surrounds opioid addiction is important when trying to combat the epidemic.

The speakers of the panel all agreed that one of the issues of the growing epidemic is that many physicians do not understand how to treat those with addiction. It is important to train everyone in healthcare, from clinicians to the person who picks up the phone to make appointments. They encouraged clinical teams to work on engaging in conversation, be able to ask the basic questions, and know where to send people based on their answers.

3.Identifying and addressing clinician burnout
As 54% of clinicians burned out from the constant feeling of being overwhelmed in the workplace, a discussion focused on addressing the issue and how to properly solve it.

Experts have seen that work climate and associate burnout predicts clinical outcomes, patient and caregiver safety, patient experience, turnover, and energy for change. Speakers urged the need to commit to making joy in the workplace by actively engaging with clinicians to find out what matters to them and to identify what practices will work in your practice.

4. Improving population health by working with communities
Understanding how to improve healthcare on a large-scale level is complex, so Shantau Agrawal, MD, MPhil, led a discussion on ways to approach the issue.

Community-level efforts combined with data-driven resources is essential in improving health and healthcare for whole populations. This can be achieved through high-quality and timely data on social risk factors and disparities, all stakeholders working collectively to reduce disparities, interventions that demonstrate progress toward health equity, and payment models rewarding those reducing disparities.

5. Understanding the current payment reform landscape
With payment reform constantly in the political spotlight, it can be difficult for Americans to understand exactly what is going on with different reform programs. This year’s coalition included a discussion on how to understand the different organizations.

The coming year will likely be an active one with several programs at the forefront: repeal and replace efforts of the ACA, CHIP and health extenders, CMMI and MACRA, and drug pricing.
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