The 2023 Health Evolution Summit was filled with many essential conversations about expanding the future of healthcare with a more complete vision of the components that contribute to better outcomes. This included a greater emphasis on the future of mental health, financial support services in conjunction with Medicare Advantage plans, food insecurity, and understanding the role of diversity in the delivery of care. There were also many examples of dynamic partnerships that move beyond silos to deliver care at scale with supportive technology.
Through conversations and connections, I saw increased commitment and solutions targeted toward behavioral healthcare. From healthcare representatives and investors to financial leaders to payor execs and provider groups were all sharing thoughts, experiences, and recommendations on how mental health can become more commonplace in the U.S. health care system, how to destigmatize the need for routine mental health services, and the increased willingness to pay for these services.
A key focus that continues to ruminate among various circles is the ability of mental health services to transform people as much as it transforms communities and families. If done right, behavioral health services can be integrated into innovations, financing, performance, and routine health screenings to give the industry a strategic advantage that could change the course of care in the country.
Another hot topic is the movement to end food insecurity and improve nutrition. A range of innovators are working to confront food-related disparities and expand food as medicine programs, and CMS is now allowing state Medicaid programs to pay for these models. Cityblock Health held a discussion at the 2023 Summit with the USDA and Instacart that explored how innovators and incumbents can collaborate to overcome practice barriers to scaling programs in a sustainable, equitable, and culturally familiar way. By taking innovative approaches to the social determinants of health such as food insecurity, new programs can help to reduce risks, lower the total cost of care, and support healthy communities.
Undoubtably, the cost of care is an ongoing concern, especially among seniors and those living with a chronic condition. While Medicare Advantage plans have proven popular and profitable, they are not yet an indisputable source of savings for taxpayers. With new MA plans poised to eclipse traditional Medicare in enrollees, Andy Slavitt spoke about the long-term impact between CMS and private plans.
With new insights about changes to reimbursement, costs to patients, and payer integration, this discussion was lively, but raised additional questions about the longevity of financing support. The push to reduce the cost of care continues to dominate discussions, both at the Health Evolution Summit and in wider circles.
Overall, discussions at the Health Evolution Summit underscored the many challenges of the global health care systems, calling for innovative approaches and stronger collaboration across industries and disciplines. These are big topics, no doubt, but the fact that a summit of sharp minds and dedicated leaders are convening to listen, learn, and provide new insights toward solving such issues provides a great hope for the future of health care.