Safeway keynote will detail successful program; panel to address challengesWhat: Health Care Solutions that Work
When: Nov. 11, 7:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Who: Ken Shachmut, executive director, Safeway Health LLC; Mary Maddux-Gonzalez, public health officer, Sonoma County Department of Health Services, Health Action member; Ken Brock, attorney, Gaw Van Male; Victor McKnight, consultant, Sitzmann Morris & Lavis; Wayne Fairchild, CEO, Redwood Regional Medical Group
Presented and sponsored by: North Bay Business Journal, Kaiser Permanente, Redwood Regional Medical Group, St. Joseph Health System Sonoma County, Sutter Health Partners & Sutter Medical Foundation North Bay, TLCD Architecture
Where: Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa, Santa Rosa
Cost: $49 individual, $510 table of 10 (seating is limited, includes NBBJ subscription for new subscribers)
To register: 707-521-5264, www.NorthBayBusinessJournal.com
NORTH BAY – With, without or despite reform, businesses are finding ways to become more than helpless bystanders to climbing health care costs.
[caption id="attachment_16364" align="alignright" width="432" caption="Ken Shachmut, Mary Maddux-Gonzalez, Ken Brock, Victor McKnight and Wayne Fairchild"][/caption]
During the Business Journal’s Health Care Solutions that Work event next week, attendees will learn about one such nationally commended strategy – that is more than a wellness program – and hear a comprehensive panel featuring a current assessment of the reform bills, implications for small business and how access to care has and will change.
“Our hope is that we can demonstrate to employers how we flat-lined health care costs without cost shifting. In a nutshell, we created incentives for people to migrate toward high-quality, low-cost health care in conjunction with improving behaviors so they don’t require as much in the way of medical services,” said Safeway Health Executive Vice President Ken Shachmut, keynote for the Nov. 11 conference.
Three years ago, Safeway commenced implementation of an innovative self-insured benefits program that has effectively held down costs and garnered the attention of business and health stakeholders nationwide. The model works primarily by improving transparency in health care pricing and incentivizing healthier behaviors.
“A colonoscopy can cost ten times as much at one facility as in another, and most of the time we blindly accept that, partly because there is no visibility and partly because the employer is picking up the tab,” Mr. Shachmut said.
“What we have created and think can be expanded in a way that any employer could use is a central database of pricing for different procedures. The advantage is we can say to the employee, 'We will only reimburse up to the least expensive price.' They can still go wherever they want, but anything more than that price will come out of the employee’s pocket.”
Mr. Shachmut will spend about an hour summarizing the strategy and its accomplishments, as well as offer replicable methods for other employers, discuss what health reform is missing relative to Safeway’s findings and what the chief driver behind climbing health care costs has been.
In the second hour, a diverse panel will present a localized dialogue of health care reform. Sonoma County Public Health Director Mary Maddux-Gonzalez will lead the discussion with a presentation on how the county took health reform into its own hands.