Neil Goldfarb Previews the 2023 GPBCH Annual Conference

Neil Goldfarb, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health (GPBCH), gives a preview of what attendees can expect at the 2023 GPBCH Annual Conference.

Neil Goldfarb, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health (GPBCH), gives a preview of what attendees can expect at the 2023 GPBCH Annual Conference.


Can you discuss the theme of this year’s GPBCH Annual Conference?

The theme of this year's annual conference is “Driving Toward Value: Step on the Gas!” and the idea of it is that we've come out of the pandemic, which really consumed a lot of employers’ attention, understandably. And it's now time to get back to the business of thinking about how to drive value from our benefit spend, and what can we do to really accelerate the rate of change? So it's all about the employer getting in the driver's seat and starting to think about what they can accomplish with their own market power and in collaboration with other employers to create a higher performing health care system to create a healthier population for themselves in their communities. And really, at the end of the day, to get better value from their significant spending on health benefits.

What can attendees expect from the in-person meeting this year?

We've lined up some really great national and local speakers to try to energize employers and have the attendees, particularly the employers, come away with specific strategies that they can implement. So we're starting the day with Dr. Mark Fendrick from the Value-based Insurance Design Center at the University of Michigan. Dr. Fendrick has addressed our coalition in the past, but not recently. His focus is always on how to redesign benefits to get greater value. What can we do to improve coverage for high-value services, and maybe even stop covering or create bigger barriers to low-value services? This is really important, especially now, because when we talk about value-based insurance design, we're also talking about health equity, and employers all are focused on what can we do to drive equity and health equity. And one way we can do that is to make sure that people can afford their benefits, and that there aren't financial barriers to getting the necessary care or the necessary drugs.

We have another speaker, Paul Fronstin, from the Employee Benefits Research Institute, backing Dr. Fendrick’s work up with new research evidence that shows what happens when copays are significant, or when people can't afford their out-of-pocket payments. So we're really excited about putting value and benefit design into an equity lens and saying, “If we really, as a community of employers, care about equity, we need to revisit how we're designing our benefits.”

Another speaker that we have, we have a couple of great panels. One of them is all about primary care. We know that primary care is really the cornerstone to a highly effective, well-functioning, efficient health care system. So what are the barriers to everybody having a primary care relationship? What can we as employers do to drive and foster high-quality primary care? We also have a session on managing the pharmacy budget, [as] pharmacy costs keep increasing. Employers are very concerned about their growing pharmacy budgets. So there are things that employers can do from a benefit design standpoint, from a consumer education standpoint, thinking about the vendors they're working with, to drive better value from their pharmacy benefit spend. And we hope that the attendees will come away with some specific ideas.

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