The first wintry day of 2012 in Western New York didn’t stop more than 160 individuals, representing 30 local organizations, from attending Friday’s sold out healthcare symposium at Niagara University.
“Exploring the Elements of the High Performing Health System: The Next Generation of Healthcare Service Delivery” was an opportunity for them to find out how organizations, like Catholic Health, are successfully navigating new regulations in healthcare reform.
Co-sponsored by Niagara University and Catholic Health, and endorsed by the Healthcare Executive Forum of WNY, the conference enlisted executives from Catholic Health to discuss how the nonprofit is leading the evolution of healthcare. Speakers also touched upon the new, Medicare/Medicaid-endorsed models of healthcare delivery that were piloted by the Centers for Medicare Services and are now being developed by Catholic Health.
The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., president of Niagara University, welcomed participants, stating his pleasure that so many of the brightest minds in healthcare services and medical management braved the outdoor elements to attend the symposium. He also explained the close relationship between Niagara and Catholic Health, one that is grounded in a congruence of mission that embraces the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul.
“My enthusiasm and passion for this partnership is deeply rooted in our Vincentian nature as a university, in doing all that we can – all the time – to live as St. Vincent did, as the catalyst of hope for all of God’s people,” Father Levesque said. “At Niagara University, we say that our education makes a difference in the world and in our lives. Our collaboration with Catholic Health is another way that we fulfill this mission.”
Joe McDonald, president and CEO of Catholic Health and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Healthcare Association of New York State, echoed Father Levesque’s statements, and also provided a brief overview on the development of Catholic Health and the organizations that comprise its system of care. McDonald concluded by explaining the steps that the organization has taken in cooperation with Catholic Medical Partners, a group of over 900 physicians, who, in partnership with Catholic Health, design and direct the care models offered to patients.
The conference’s next presenter was Michael Edbauer, D.O., Catholic Medical Partners’ chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs for home care and primary care at Catholic Health. He addressed the evolution of Catholic Medical Partners in collaboration with Catholic Health to become a high performing health system. Edbauer’s discussed the conversion to electronic medical records, the implementation of standardized medical paths of care and the use of care coordinators in the physician’s office to enhance and control the cost of care for patients with chronic medical conditions.
James A. Dunlop Jr., Catholic Health CFO and executive vice president of finance, provided the audience with information on the financial aspects of a high performing health system, how the model is financed and what economic benefits it offers to the payers of healthcare, including federal and state governments, and private insurers such as BlueCross BlueShield, Health Now and United Health Care.
Finally, Michael Moley, Catholic Health’s senior vice president of human resources, discussed how the company has capitalized on its quality, delivery and cost model to develop a benefit plan being offered to Western New York employers at a significant cost savings.
Before breaking for lunch, Edbauer, Dunlop and Moley offered a panel discussion that was moderated by John Davanzo, a former executive at Catholic Health who now serves as a professor-in-residence in Niagara’s College of Business Administration.
Peggy Choong, Ph.D., an NU professor and AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) director of continuous improvement, served as the event’s master of ceremonies. The marketing expert repeatedly encouraged attendees to utilize Niagara students as interns and researchers, referencing the vast reciprocal benefits that the university and Catholic Health have enjoyed since forming a partnership.
The relationship began in 2009 when NU’s College of Business Administration and Catholic Health collaborated to form an initiative that prepares professionals for leadership positions in the healthcare industry. The partnership allows students in NU’s healthcare administration concentration to obtain real-world experience through field placements and mentorship opportunities within Catholic Health.
For more information on the program as well as to find out about future symposiums, please call 716.286.8050 or visit www.niagara.edu/business.