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Kathy Wilets

Phone: 801-581-5717

Aug 13, 2015 4:31 PM

Sylvia M. Burwell, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary
Sylvia M. Burwell, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary

(Salt Lake City)—U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell visited University of Utah Health Care on Thursday to discuss Utah’s role as a leader in health care transformation.

Representatives from other health care organizations, local government and business joined UUHC and Secretary Burwell in a roundtable discussion to talk about what’s working well in Utah and how HHS can help overcome barriers to health care delivery reform.

“A key to our future success as a nation is finding better ways to collaborate,” said Sean Mulvihill, M.D., C.E.O., University of Utah Medical Group. “We must redesign and transform health care delivery to better serve our patients. A conversation like this is critical to that collaboration.”

Among the issues discussed:

  • Sharing information accurately from health system to health system
  • Agreeing on quality metrics that are meaningful and finding ways to measure, collect, and use the data for improvement
  • Transitioning from fee for service to global budgets for populations of patients
  • Changing how physicians are paid
  • Working to overcome the segregation between mental health and overall health care delivery

The group also discussed care coordination for patients. John Morris, a cancer patient at University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute, and general counsel for the university, represented the patient voice at the round table. He says all patients should be equipped with the skills to become “the CEO’s of their own health care.” Morris said he credits the team approach to treatment that he’s received with his survival and quality of life. “The coordination and quality of care is why I’m here today,” said Morris.

Secretary Burwell said she came to Utah because she believes it’s a great place to learn about health care transformation. She asked for the group to weigh in on the barriers they face and how the HHS could support the work that’s being done.

“This is a real validation of the great work that’s taking place here in Utah. We have some of the best overall health in the nation and we’re delivering health care at lower costs than anywhere else,” said David Entwistle, CEO of University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics. “We believe we can lead the nation during this time of change.”