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Chamber Hosts Panel Discussion on Healthcare Reform

Chamber Hosts Panel Discussion on Healthcare Reform
Chamber Hosts Panel Discussion on Healthcare Reform
Chamber Hosts Panel Discussion on Healthcare Reform

On January 18, nearly 200 business professionals, community leaders, and local healthcare representatives attended the Chamber’s annual Hampton Roads Business Brief: Healthcare Reform – Local Preparations and Economic Impact at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside.

This year’s event included a panel of leaders from our healthcare delivery systems who discussed what their companies are doing to prepare for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and what the implications are to the local business community. Kenn Penn, President and CEO of ChamberSolutions, moderated the discussion.

(from left) Maurice Jones, Chamber Chair; Charles Henderson, President of the Hampton Roads Market, Bank of America; James Dahling, CHKD; James Lind, EVMS; Michael Gentry, Sentara; Kenn Penn, ChamberSolutions; Thomas Prevette, Bon Secours; and Wynn Dixon, Chesapeake Regional Medical CenterWynn Dixon, President and CEO of Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, said, “While we are all moaning and groaning about the Affordable Care Act, there are some good things about it.” Dixon added, “There is a non-scientific formula that says value equals quality divided by cost and I believe that sums up our direction.” Dixon explained that the hospital has been held accountable for the past several years by the Joint Commission for tracking and monitoring quality measures like diagnoses. They get surveyed every three years by the Joint Commission or the State on how they’re doing and what they’re doing to improve quality. That data is on the internet and available for the community to view. Dixon said that surveying is a good thing about this law; it’s good for the consumer as well as businesses. Dixon closed with saying, “We will be paid based on how we do, and I think any of us would agree that that’s a good thing.”

Michael Gentry, Corporate Vice President of Southside Hospitals and Sentara Healthcare, discussed the transformation that is about to take place within the healthcare industry. Gentry told the audience a story about the transformation from film to digital and how it relates to the changes in healthcare. Gentry stated that, “Our discussion this morning is that every representative here today still intends to care for people to the best of their ability.” Sentara has invested heavily in technology to get a more ideal outcome. He also explained that with the upcoming payment reform, “We will have less money in the future and that energy needs to be put into the ways of the system.” To get greater consistency, Sentara would like to adopt the level 7 of electronic medical records so that there would be a record of all interactions a patient has with healthcare personnel. Gentry concluded by saying, “The way we manage chronic disease in America is thorough and expensive but is not ideal.” To fix this concern, Sentara is looking at how they interact with people with chronic disease and how to manage it in a more cost effective way.

(from left) James Dahling, Thomas Prevette, James LindSince the Eastern Virginia Medical School is an academic institution, James Lind, CEO of Eastern Virginia Medical School Health Services, took a different angle from the previous panelists. EVMS treats patients like community physicians, but in an academic environment. About eight years ago, it invested in information technology such as  electronic medical records. Lind discussed how EVMS attains physician resources and nurse resources to look at quality and cost effectiveness. Over the years, they have used the electronic medical records to implement the best practice protocols and help monitor the outcomes and how well they’re doing. Lind said, “Healthcare has been and continues to be reactive.” EVMS now has staff responsible for managing the progress of patients.  When patients are discharged follow-ups are administered to proactively manage their care. One of the big projects is “clinical integration,” meaning to provide quality care in a cost effective way. Lind also mentioned the increase in admissions to the Medical School where he states, “Teamwork is going to be very important in the future of healthcare delivery system.”

Thom Prevette, Director of Advocacy and Community Relations for Bon Secours Virginia Health System, told the audience that Bon Secours is partnering with others in Virginia to create MedVirginia, a state-wide integrated delivery of electronic medical records, that will allow those patient records both medical and billing to transfer with patients. Prevette said, “We are all going to have to partner with each other and other organizations in order to be prepared for the reductions and reimbursements that we are all faced with.” Prevette closed with a quote from Bon Secours's Sister Rita who said, “If there’s no margin, there’s no mission.”  He said if Bon Secours cannot provide and adjust and change their way of delivering care it will be a challenge for other healthcare providers and the community.

James Dahling, CEO of the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD), explained that CHKD had begun looking at cost control and quality care production. Dahling added that how they have been able to reduce costs and moved more than 50% of its services to outpatient centers. He said, “Inpatient services are a lot more expensive than outpatient services,” and CHKD has been able to make that transition. CHKD has looked at moving some of the long-term patients to lower levels of care. Children with asthma are almost non-existent at CHKD because it is now treated in the community. Dahling explained that in the last year they were able to go from up to 10 children during the winter months in the hospital with flu deficiencies that needed to be hospitalized, to only having three children in the hospital due to flu deficiencies. “The consequences of the healthcare reform is that 57% of the children we treat are under Medicaid and 10% are under Tricare, so we’re a bit vulnerable,” Dahling added. He closed by saying, “A lot of effort, a bit of praying and we will get through it.”

A question and answer session concluded the event. Thank you to our sponsors: Bank of America (Presenting); Chesapeake Regional Medical Center and Eastern Virginia Medical School (Bronze).

View additional photos.

To read bill HR 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, visit

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