October 16, 2013

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By Kathryn Kopchik

Bending the CurveLEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bucknell Institute for Public Policy and Geisinger Health System are co-sponsoring the symposium, "Bending the Curve: Innovative Approaches to Controlling Health Care Costs," on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 at Bucknell University.

All of the presentations are free and open to the public. Attendees should register by Friday, Oct. 25.

Topics to be discussed include using medical records to improve health care and decrease costs, whether wellness programs work, creating healthier communities, data mining the genetic code of viruses, and new insurer/provider partnerships.

The symposium begins at noon in the Elaine Langone Center with welcoming remarks by Bucknell economics professor Amy Wolaver, co-director of the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy (BIPP).

"Health care costs in the United States are higher than in any other industrialized nation and have grown at a much faster rate," said Wolaver. "As the historical rate of growth is not sustainable, change is necessary. But what approaches can we take to slow the growth without compromising our population's health?

"This two-day symposium, presented for students, faculty and practitioners, will ask this question and more, including How can we utilize medical records to provide a better quality of care while at the same time lowering the cost of care? What can communities do to improve the health of their members? How do we evaluate whether wellness programs work? Can payors increase the quality of care for patients by creating medical homes?"

Dr. Glenn Steele, president and CEO of Geisinger Health System (GHS), will give the keynote opening lunchtime address, "The Geisinger Health System Model," immediately following Wolaver's welcome. Steele will describe GHS's pioneering work in providing high quality, lower-cost health care.

The symposium schedule includes:

Friday, Nov. 1

  • 1:45 p.m., Room 256, Elaine Langone Center. Two GHS physicians will examine "Value-based Care, the Provider Perspective." Dr. Alfred Casale will describe "Creating Value by Redesigning Acute Care: Geisinger's ProvenCare Programs" and Dr. Jonathan Darer will discuss "Disruptive Innovation, Health Information Technology and Driving Value in Health Care."
  • 3 p.m., Room 256, Elaine Langone Center. Dennis Scanlon, economics professor at Penn State, will discuss "The Employer Role: Assessing the Evidence for Wellness and Other Approaches." Scanlon's presentation will examine whether wellness programs work and the best way to evaluate the impact of such programs on employee health and health care costs.
  • 4:20 p.m., Room 256, Elaine Langone Center: Bucknell sociology professor Carl Milofsky and Sharon Larson of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will present "Community Health Building in Rural Pennsylvania," explaining how communities can improve the health of their residents.
  • 5:30 p.m., Walls Lounge, Elaine Langone Center. Timothy McBride, former dean of the Brown School of Public Health at Washington University-St. Louis, will give the keynote dinner address, "Bending the Curve: Why We Need Transdisciplinary Analysis." McBride will examine why we need reform and how we can harness the knowledge of different disciplines to create new innovations in health care.

Saturday, Nov. 2: all morning sessions will be held in Academic West, Room 112

  • 9 a.m.: "Bioinformatics and Targeting Medications and Vaccines," with Bucknell computer science professor Brian King and his students Charles Cole '14, Brigitte Hofmeister '14 and Rachel Ren '15.
  • 10:20 a.m.: Janet Tomcavage, a registered nurse with Geisinger Health Plan (GHP), and Daniel Maeng, Geisinger Center for Health Research, will explore payor perspective and economics in the presentation, "ProvenHealth Navigator: Patient-centered Medical Home." The presentation will examine how GHP collaborates with providers to facilitate better management of patient diseases to prevent and lower future health care costs.
  • 11:40 a.m.: Ray Roth, CMO with GHP, will discuss "Keys to Future Partnerships between Providers and Payors, Including Medicaid," and Ellen Krajewski, president and CEO, and JanAnn Todd, certified application counselor, both with Susquehanna Health and Community Dental Clinic, will discuss the payor/health insurer perspective. They will examine new ways insurers can partner with providers to increase quality of care while reducing health care costs.
  • 1 p.m.: Walls Lounge, Elaine Langone Center. Wolaver will moderate the lunchtime panel discussion, "Integrated Care and Interdisciplinary Approaches: Evolving the Model for the United States Health Care System." Panelists include Timothy McBride; Susan Snyder, GHS Health Economics; Denise Prince, system vice president of GHS Value Based Care, and Dr. Bruce Hamory, GHS and managing partner with Geisinger Consulting Services.

For more information or to register, visit bucknell.edu/BendingTheCurve.

The Bucknell Institute for Public Policy supports social science research, analysis, and teaching on campus and beyond. The Institute provides a forum for contemporary public policy discussion, a mechanism to support faculty-guided undergraduate research, and an academic home for a future policy major and minor.