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AMA President-Elect & FMA President Kick Off Future of Healthcare Conference

Monday, May 21, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: DCMS
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Gun violence, the opioid epidemic, mental health, and physical fitness/obesity are critical topics that impact the health of those who live and work in Northeast Florida. The Duval County Medical Society (DCMS) Foundation's 2018 Future of Healthcare Conference kicked off Monday, May 21 with the hope of not only addressing these issues, but also finding solutions to improve them throughout the community.

Hundreds of healthcare providers, community leaders, local legislators, and representatives from local non-profit organizations gathered at the Prime Osborn Convention Center for the first of two days focused on improving healthcare in Northeast Florida.

DCMS Foundation President and Conference Chair Dr. Sunil Joshi welcomed the participants and shared some history about how the Conference came to be in 2017.

There are many reasons why Jacksonville and Northeast Florida are great places to live and work: amazing weather, clean beaches, a growing art scene, and a diverse population, as Dr. Joshi shared. However, he also noted that there remains a "great divide in Jacksonville."

"There are many issues related to socio-economic status, education, acess to healthcare, health insurance, and unemployment that contribute to the health of a region," he explained.

When the DCMS Foundation Conference first created the Future of Healthcare Conference in 2017, Duval County was ranked as the 55th of 67 Florida Counties in terms of overall health by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In just one year, the county has risen 13 spots to 42nd.

To make these significant healthcare improvements takes effort from more than just healthcare providers. That's why the Conference brings together community members from all fields and walks of life.

Registered participants at the 2018 Conference are from Baptist Health, Mayo Clinic, UF Health, Memorial Hospital, St. Vincent's HealthCare, the Florida Department of Health in Duval and Nassau Counties, Visit Jacksonville, University of North Florida, Jacksonville University, the Sulzbacher Center, United Way of Northeast Florida, YMCA of Florida's First Coast, and many more local organizations.

In his presentation Monday evening, Florida Medical Association President Dr. John Katapodis gave in effect a "state of the state" of medicine in Florida. He shared why physicians need to come together as one voice in medicine to ensure that they have a hand in any Florida law that might impact the delivery of healthcare.

A recent example is a new opioid prescribing law that will go into effect on July 1 in Florida to reduce the amount of opioid pills prescribed in Florida while using state dollars to fund addiction recovery and treatment programs. Organized medicine groups such as the Florida Medical Association and Duval County Medical Society had a firsthand impact on the wording of the final version of the bill. 

Dr. Katopodis also addressed the significant impact of burnout on physicians in Florida and across the country.

In American Medical Association (AMA) President-elect Dr. Barbara McAneny's keynote speech on "A Vision for the Future of Healthcare in America," she explained some of the major challenges currently facing the healthcare industry.

"Healthcare in America is unsustainable in it's current state," Dr. McAneny shared.

The cost of care in the United States is currently higher per capita than other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The high cost impacts the access to healthcare for many U.S. residents.

"What patients want is not actually more healthcare, they want health," she said.

About half of all primary care visits in the U.S. are related to the management of chronic disease, Dr. McAneny explained.

"Done right, a value-based payment system would allow for better delivery."

Dr. McAneny also addressed payment issues that healthcare providers face on a daily basis. She shared how the AMA is working to decrease administrative burdens and cut through the red tape that currently binds physicians.

The AMA is also working to provide regulatory relief by improving the usability of electronic health records and working to eliminate, streamline and simplify many federal rules and other regulations that are faced by healthcare providers, according to Dr. McAneny.

She also touched on the opioid epidemic issue which will be a major topic of the Conference on Tuesday. She noted that recently more people have died of opioids than have died in military actions.

She admitted that physicians played a role in this issue when the demand for these stronger medications first came on the market.

"When the drug companies said they were not addictive medicines, we believed them."

The opioid epidemic discussion will continue on Tuesday with a variety of speakers from the local and state level. Tuesday's speakers will also address gun violence as a public health issue, mental health, and the impact of obesity.