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Expanding Access to Care: More than Just an Insurance Card?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Health care access, particularly access to primary care, is on the minds of all who are following health reform efforts in Congress. President Obama has said that expanding access to health care to more Americans is one of the main goals of reform. Democrats and Republicans from both houses agree that any reform plan must increase access. But how can that goal be accomplished, particularly in a time when reducing health care costs and increasing quality are also priorities?

What provisions exist in the health reform proposals that speak directly to expanding access to health care? What types of payment reforms would help? What are the special challenges faced by rural areas? How are these reforms incorporated into Medicare versus the private insurance market? Are we educating enough primary care providers to sustain an increase in access? If not, how can policy changes attract more to that field? What has Massachusetts’ experience been with primary care capacity after their reform efforts? Are things like retail clinics helping to alleviate the shortage?

To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored an Aug. 10 briefing. Panelists were Susan Dentzer, editor-in-chief, Health Affairs; Nancy Dickey, president, Texas A&M Health Science Center; Deborah Devaux, of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, which is implementing a value-based payment system; and Sharon Long, researcher, The Urban Institute, to discuss the Massachusetts experience. Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated.


Ed Howard, Alliance for Health Reform, Moderator
 Susan Dentzer, Health Affairs, Speaker
 Nancy Dickey, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Speaker
 Deborah Devaux, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Speaker
 Sharon Long, The Urban Institute, Speaker
(Click on the camera icon to see a video of the speaker's presentation.)

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Expanding Access to Care: More than Just an Insurance Card? (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 8/10/2009
Event Summary: Expanding Access to Care: More than Just an Insurance Card? (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 8/10/2009
Full Webcast/Podcast: Expanding Access to Care: More Than Just an Insurance Card?

The full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

Deborah Devaux's Presentation (PowerPoint), 8/10/2009
Sharon Long's Presentation (PowerPoint), 8/10/2009
Susan Dentzer's Presentation (PowerPoint), 8/10/2009
Nancy Dickey's Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 8/10/2009

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Selected Experts (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Alliance for Health Reform, 8/10/2009
Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Alliance for Health Reform, 8/10/2009
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Alliance for Health Reform, 8/10/2009
Expanding Access to Care: More than Just an Insurance Card? (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Alliance for Health Reform, 8/10/2009

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Easing the Shortage in Adult Primary Care—Is It All About Money?, New England Journal of Medicine, 6/25/2009
A Lifeline for Primary Care, New England Journal of Medicine, 6/25/2009
Fitzhugh Mullan testimony before the House Committee on Education and Labor (Adobe Acrobat PDF),House Commitee on Education and Labor, 6/23/2009
Falling Behind: Americans’ Access to Medical Care Deteriorates, 2003-2007 (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Center for Studying Health System Change, 6/1/2009
What is PROMETHEUS Payment? (Adobe Acrobat PDF),PROMETHEUS Payment, 7/1/2009
2009 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Merritt Hawkins, 7/1/2009
The Health Care Reform Dialogue - Key Questions about Coverage and Access, National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, 3/1/2009
States With More Physicians Have Better-Quality Health Care, Health Affairs, 12/4/2008
Boston Medical sues state for funds, Boston Globe, 7/16/2009
Jammed access: Widening the front door to healthcare, PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute, 7/1/2009
Number of retail clinics shrinking; growth slows as partnerships sought with hospitals, American Medical News, 7/27/2009
Sick flocking to in-store clinics, Boston Globe, 3/12/2009
Access and Affordability: An Update on Health Reform in Massachusetts, Fall 2008, Health Affairs, 5/28/2009
Side-by-Side Comparison of Major Health Care Reform Proposals, Kaiser Family Foundation, 8/5/2009


Susan Dentzer, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, reviewed President Obama's goals for health reform and noted how House and Senate bills address some major reform aims, at the Aug. 10 briefing cosponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Nancy Dickey, vice chancellor for health affairs at Texas A&M, discussed some ways to alleviate the national shortage of primary care providers at the Aug. 10 briefing cosponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Deborah Devaux of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts described how to improve quality and also cut costs at the Aug. 10 briefing cosponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Sharon Long of the Urban Institute reviewed successes of Massachusetts health reform and some challenges remaining at the Aug. 10 briefing cosponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


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