U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price was the featured speaker today for the final leg of athenahealth MDP 2017. He was joined on stage by athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush for a fireside chat. Here are my takeaways from their fireside chat:
- Secretary Price first won his congressional seat in 2004 for Atlanta.
- Secretary Price is a third generation doctor.
- "The financing and delivery of healthcare has been so distorted."
- "Who decides?" was a recurring theme Secretary Price brought up.
- "It's an incredible honor to have the privilege of being the head of the largest organization in federal government."
- HHS has a $1.1T budget and a staff of 80,000.
- "Government is glacial, usually, in its pace of moving direction."
- Secretary Price's top 3 clinical priorities at HHS:
- The opioid crisis
- Severe mental illness
- Child obesity
- Secretary Price defines success as turning the curve on those three priorities.
- "Does this help or hurt the patient? Does it cost more or cost less?"
- 80% of opioid addicts started with a legitimate prescription.
- "The thing I want to leave with you today is the enthusiasm I have of the things I don't have a clue about."
- "Don't force doctors to do stupid things in the EMR."
- "The people that provide the care should be determining the things they're measured on."
- "The cost of regulatory compliance in healthcare is astronomical."
- "Don't assume the federal government is gonna do the right thing in healthcare."
- "I want to convey to you the receptivity to new ideas we have."
Questions from the Audience
During Q&A, Jason Crawford from Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems got in a great question for Secretary Price. Mr. Price even asked him to follow up to discuss it more in a subsequent meeting. Right on Jason!
David Fairbrothers from Dorsata
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), also known as the Health Department, is a cabinet-level department of the U.S. federal government. Its goal is to protect the health of all Americans and provide essential human services. Its motto is "Improving the health, safety, and well-being of America". As I found out today, they are also the largest organization in federal government and have a budget exceeding one trillion dollars.
The athenahealth More Disruption Please (MDP) conference brings together entrepreneurs, investors, clinicians and industry experts who share the company’s vision of disrupting the status quo in healthcare. MDP provides easy access to the world’s most innovative thinking and offers solutions to help healthcare professionals thrive in the face of industry change and pressure. It’s held at the Point Lookout in Northport, Maine.