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The Health Plan Conference I Would Build

By Nate Murray

This week the biggest health plan / payer focused healthcare conference that I know of, AHIP, is taking place in Las Vegas. This is a gathering of all the big dogs…payers, providers, health systems, government agencies, associations, vendors…you name it they will be there ready to “synergize backward overflow.

AHIP’s Homepage says: “It’s Time to Be Together Again. Experience what’s next, now at AHIP 2022 (Formerly Institute & Expo.) We’re building on AHIP’s decades-long heritage of bringing together the people, ideas, and solutions guiding greater health for years to come.

Alright. Let’s do this. We all know this is exactly what the market needs now. Foundational Primary Care. After all, “Primary care is the only component of healthcare where an increased supply is associated with better population health and more equitable outcomes.” (Implementing High Quality Primary Care, page 369). However, as I started scrolling through the sessions to plan out what I’d want to attend (from the more than 100 different sessions to choose from), I realized that only 1 session was quasi related to primary care (something about a large virtual care provider and where virtual care goes now). 

Is it just me, or is that surprising? I have to say that I’m a little disappointed that more focus isn’t put on primary care in environments with some of the biggest stakeholders. On the flip side, I guess maybe I shouldn’t be surprised at all that primary care isn’t a focus; after all, it isn’t valuable in driving the “business” engine of healthcare. Despite growing conversations around primary care and virtual primary care, the fact of the matter is we’re really just seeing talk and not a movement to action. Reactive sick visits and fee-for-service medicine is still the “business” engine of healthcare.

All of this made me think – if I was building a health plan conference, what would I put on the agenda? 

If they appointed me to the AHIP committee for conference sessions, here are some sessions I’d love to attend:

For me, these topics hit the critical pivots that need to be part of the new Foundational Primary Health approach: SDOH, Value Based Payment, simple Plan Designs, Integrated Care Navigation and Mental Health connected with my core Primary Care Team. There is no doubt that the “business” of healthcare is happening at AHIP in Las Vegas but it seems that the “business” doesn’t include enough of these foundational pieces that will drive the long term improvement of our industry. 

No doubt AHIP has accomplished a lot to create an environment for the biggest health insurance stakeholders to come together and connect. I appreciate their efforts to pull off the event. But, I hope I’m not alone in wanting more emphasis (i.e., sessions) from payers focusing on supporting a stronger primary care system.

I’m eager to hear from you – if you could pivot the discussion, would you? What would you want to emphasize at the AHIP conference? This health tech founder surely would move discussions towards those efforts that will elevate these primary care topics appropriately to drive us towards a “business” of healthcare that is focused on Foundational Primary Health! Maybe I’m biased. But would you attend my event?


About the Author

In his role as Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer at Crossover Health, Nate Murray is instrumental in rolling out new aspects of Crossover’s Primary Health model with national employers and health plans. He is an expert at developing shared savings programs that align incentives across partnerships and deliver objective improvements along the cost, quality and experience dimensions.