Speaker at Leadership Luncheon Updates Attendees on Affordable Care Act

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Dr. Henry Desmarais speaks to attendees at ASCO’s Annual Leadership Luncheon.

Dr. Henry Desmarais speaks to attendees at ASCO’s Annual Leadership Luncheon.

Members of the optometric community, including representatives from the companies that are ASCO Corporate Contributors, gathered June 25 in Philadelphia for the Association’s Annual Leadership Luncheon, which was generously sponsored by Hoya.

Among the happenings at the event, ASCO President Dr. Jennifer Coyle addressed the attendees on ASCO priorities over the past year including progress in the area of interprofessional education, and Dr. Henry Desmarais, Principal, Health Policy Alternatives Inc., presented the informative talk “Challenges and Opportunities the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Presents for Optometric Education and the Profession.”

LG-HOYA-Free-Form-Company-LogoDr. Desmarais’ presentation focused on healthcare delivery system reforms, such as accountable care organizations, bundled payments and initiatives sponsored by the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. He also discussed transparency-related efforts, such as public disclosure of physician performance data on Medicare’s Physician Compare website and the new system for reporting and publicly disclosing certain payments and other transfers of value that occur between drug and device manufacturers and physicians and teaching hospitals. Another area explored during the presentation was increased coverage of patients under both public and private plans, many with relatively narrow provider networks.

Dr. Desmarais stated that many ACA-spurred developments create “the need for increased collaboration, increased coordination of care, increased vigilance regarding environmental changes affecting a doctor’s practice, and increased relationship building” and that it is no longer sufficient for a doctor to focus only on his or her own practice. He also noted the increasing interest in interprofessional education. He concluded his address by telling the audience that health professions schools of all types have essentially inherited a new burden: “the need to help their students understand and prepare for the new healthcare financing and delivery system that is evolving so they are able to meet the challenges head on and take advantage of the opportunities.” He admitted that health professions schools would be doing this at a time of tremendous uncertainty and often limited resources.

ASCO thanks everyone who attended this year’s luncheon and looks forward to hosting the flagship event again next year.