Health Care Experts Will Gather in Nashville to Discuss Health Reform Efforts

FOR RELEASE

Friday
August 28, 2009

With the nation facing a $9 trillion deficit over the next 10 years, according to government estimates, the future of health care reform depends upon a neglected but critical leg of the equation: cost. Some of the nation's leading experts in health and health care reform will provide insights into this issue when they converge in Nashville Aug. 29 for a nonpartisan public discussion.

The symposium, titled "The Third Rail of Healthcare Reform: Cost," will be held at the newly completed Schermerhorn Symphony Center and webcast at www.thirdrailcost.com.

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen will moderate and participate in panel discussions with U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper from Tennessee's Fifth District and a dozen health care industry researchers and experts. The event will highlight findings from RAND COMPARE and was organized with support from Nashville's Vanguard Health Systems, The Martin Foundation and Healthspottr, the definitive blog on uncovering and tracking innovators in health and health care. COMPARE is an ongoing, independent effort by the nonprofit RAND Corporation to provide objective information about health care reform.

"We are delighted that so many of the country's foremost authorities on health care reform have agreed to join in this nonpartisan discussion," said Elizabeth McGlynn, associate director of the health program at RAND and co-director of RAND COMPARE. "This type of unbiased analysis of current health care policy proposals is just what people need to better understand health care reform and it's a major focus of the mission of RAND COMPARE."

Ongoing national debate about health care reform involves all three legs of the equation — quality, access and cost. The discussion in Nashville is aimed at raising the national dialogue about solutions for cost control, evaluating current health care reform proposals for their impact on cost and focusing on innovation as an important component for cost control in health care.

Today, the United States spends more on health care than any other country. But studies show that spending more does not make Americans healthier or provide them a longer expected life span than people in other developed countries. Researchers say the facts suggest that the nation could spend less and get the same results or get better value from the amount that it does spent.

Topics covered at the forum will center on controlling health care spending, federal reform legislation, incentives for change and innovation in health care.

Speakers and panelists included: Dr. Robert H. Brook, vice president of RAND and director of RAND Health; Helen Darling, CEO of the National Business Group on Health; Alexandra Drane, founder and president of Eliza Corporation - Healthspottr Health Care Innovator; Dr. Julie Gerberding, former director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Carleen Hawn, co-founder and CEO of Healthspottr; Debra Lappin, president of the Council for American Medical Innovation; Elizabeth McGlynnof RAND; and Len Nichols, director of the Health Policy Program at the New America Foundation.

Other participants included Leonard D. Schaeffer, the Judge Widney Professor at the University of Southern California; Dr. Jordan Shlain, Healthspottr Health Care Innovators; Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, chairman and CEO of Abraxis BioScience, Inc.; James A. Thomson, president and CEO of RAND; and David M. Walker, president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and former Comptroller General of the United States.

A webcast will be provided for viewing by audiences outside of Nashville. More information can be found at www.thirdrailcost.com.

About RAND Health

RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation, is the nation's largest independent health policy research program, with a broad research portfolio that focuses on quality, costs and health services delivery, among other topics. RAND Health is the developer of COMPARE (Comprehensive Assessment of Reform Efforts), a one-of-a-kind online resource that provides objective analysis about national health care reform proposals. Visit www.randcompare.org to learn more.

About Vanguard

Vanguard owns and operates 15 acute care hospitals and complementary facilities and services in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; San Antonio, Texas; and Massachusetts. Vanguard also owns three managed care health plans: Phoenix Health Plan, a Medicaid managed health plan in Arizona; Abrazo Advantage Health Plan, a managed Medicare and dual-eligible health plan in Arizona; and MacNeal Health Providers, a preferred provider network in Chicago. Vanguard's strategy is to develop locally branded, comprehensive healthcare delivery networks in urban markets. Vanguard will pursue acquisitions where there are opportunities to partner with leading delivery systems in new urban markets. Upon acquiring a facility or network of facilities, Vanguard implements strategic and operational improvement initiatives, including improving quality of care, expanding services, strengthening relationships with physicians and managed care organizations, recruiting new physicians, and upgrading information systems and other capital equipment. These strategies improve quality and network coverage in a cost effective and accessible manner for the communities we serve.

About the RAND Corporation

The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.