5 can’t-miss panels at HLTH 2020

By | October 8, 2020

Top executives from CVS, Epic, Google and Cigna are just a few of those taking part in the third annual HLTH conference next week amid unprecedented disruption to the U.S. healthcare system.

More than 200 speakers are slated to attend, including CVS CEO Larry Merlo, Epic chief Judy Faulkner, Google Health head David Feinberg, Cigna head David Cordani, Humana CEO Bruce Broussard, Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic and Amwell CEO Roy Schoenberg.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma will also speak at a pivotal time for the Trump administration, with less than a month before the presidential election.

Topics run the gamut from the novel coronavirus to the rise of mental and behavioral health, the future of digital health and virtual care, tackling health disparities and ever-rising healthcare costs. Headlines at last year’s event in Las Vegas included details on Google’s secretive healthcare division, Uber’s integration with Cerner, a health push from Facebook that raised data privacy worries and promises of Medicaid deregulation from Verma.

It’s likely this year’s event will make similar waves. But with overlapping panels and the dual goals of time management and avoiding Zoom fatigue in mind, it’s impossible to catch every session.

Here are five key panels to prioritize at HLTH 2020 next week.

  1. Unlocking the Full Potential of Virtual Care: Teladoc Health & Livongo

    Monday at 4:30 p.m.

    Telehealth giant Teladoc purchased chronic care management company Livongo for a whopping $ 18.5 billion in August in the largest digital health merger in history. 

    Analysts say consolidating virtual care makes sense, as companies can offer a broader variety of services to potential clients while giving consumers a single access point. The deal could also spark rising M&A in the space, as other vendors look to catch up with Teladoc.

    But some investors were spooked, saying Livongo’s valuation was inflated and telehealth mania could start dying out when the coronavirus comes under control. Top executives at both companies have said they need more time with Wall Street to prove the value proposition.

    On Monday, Teladoc’s Gorevic and Glen Tullman, founder and executive chairman of Livongo, will give a status report on the deal and how clients are responding to the combination. It’s likely to be an interesting peek behind the curtain of the new entity, which expects revenue of $ 1.3 billion this year. 

  2. The CMS Administrator’s Vision for the Future

    Tuesday at 11:47 a.m.

    The Trump administration has been blasted by public health experts for its coronavirus response, which largely let the states handle key issues like testing, contact tracing and supply procurement. But HHS itself received some accolades for quickly rolling back regulatory barriers, including giving states more flexibility with Medicaid benefits and allowing Medicare to reimburse for telehealth.

    Verma plans to address the past seven months of the pandemic in her Tuesday keynote, including what worked, what didn’t and what temporary policy changes could stick around post-pandemic. Followers of virtual care should tune in, as the future of the telehealth industry largely hinges on what flexibilities the federal government codifies, though the outlook is positive as virtual care has broad support in Washington.

    Verma also plans to speak on coverage for a potential COVID-19 vaccine in Medicare, what to expect once vaccines are available to the public, predictions for the election and what would happen at CMS if President Donald Trump is reelected.

  3. Primary Care Shake Up: Ignored by Millennials and Hit by COVID

    Tuesday at 3:44 p.m.

    Most providers have been hit hard financially by the coronavirus, with in-person volume plummeting in March. It’s recovered somewhat since then, and billions in federal aid also helped prop hospitals up and keep insolvency at arm’s length.

    But the primary care industry was particularly ravaged by the loss of revenue, with about a third of doctors still reporting in September their revenue and income is significantly lower than pre-pandemic, and the losses could force them to close their doors.

    This Tuesday panel with Amir Dan Rubin, CEO of primary care office chain One Medical, Fay Rotenberg, CEO of virtual primary care startup Firefly Health, and Jaewon Ryu, CEO of Geisinger, will discuss models that could help the primary care industry, which saw flagging utilization even before the pandemic.

  4. Leaders from Google & Amwell Explore How Telehealth Has Changed and What’s Next

    Wednesday at 2:33 p.m.

    Boston-based telehealth vendor Amwell filed paperwork to go public in August and started trading on the NYSE in September, raising about $ 742 million in its debut. As part of the move, Google — which has shown mounting interest in the traditional healthcare space — invested $ 100 million in Amwell as digital health sees a record-setting flurry of deals.

    On the heels of that announcement, director of healthcare solutions at Google Cloud, Aashima Gupta, and Amwell CEO Roy Schoenberg will talk about trends impacting virtual care and the future of healthcare delivery, including consumer sentiment and barriers to telehealth.

    Gupta and Schoenberg also plan to speak about a “ready-to-launch initiative” involving the two companies go-to-market approach for new technologies and services.

    Amwell released a survey on Tuesday suggesting consumers plan to use virtual care more post-coronavirus than they did before, even for scheduled or specialty visits. And earlier this month, Amwell also expanded its partnership with medical devicemaker Tyto Care, which peddles devices for consumers to check symptoms at home during a virtual visit.

  5. CMMI’s 10 Year History and the Path Forward for Value-Based Care

    Wednesday at 4:15 p.m.

    Industry has long struggled to move the needle on value-based care, stuck in a largely fee-for-service chassis that gives rise to perverse financial incentives prioritizing volume over quality. That’s slowly beginning to change, though some experts worry the coronavirus could derail recent gains made in that department as providers may be warier than ever of taking on risk.

    CMMI, the agency that trials new payment models for CMS, has been around for a decade to try to push industry toward value. This panel hosts CMMI head Brad Smith and his two predecessors in that role, Adam Boehler and Patrick Conway, now CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and CEO of Care Solutions at Optum, respectively.

    The panel plans to discuss CMMI’s evolution and look to the future of value-based care during and after the pandemic.

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