Published on September 05, 2017

     Holzer CEO, Dr. Michael Canady, sits among healthcare industry elite as a forward thinker on rural healthcare in America

The panel discussion at the American Association for Physician Leadership® Spring Institute and Annual Meeting occurred with more than 500 physicians from across the country and around the world.  The group convened in New York City to discuss the latest topics, trends, and best practices. Dr. Peter Angood, MD, President,CEO of the American Association for Physician Leadership, moderator of a recent keynote session, Michael Canady, MD, CEO, Holzer Health System, and Paul Keckley, PhD, Managing Editor of The Keckley Report, presented thoughts on health policy under the new presidential administration. 

“It’s important for us as the only organization dedicated to supporting and educating on physician leadership to provide the platforms to not only develop and augment personal leadership and management skills, but also to support them in gaining insights on how to lead and manage the necessary changes within their clinical delivery systems,” said Angood, as the meeting opened. 

Keckley began the panel discussion with a brief description of the repeal and replace positioning and how he sees healthcare in the short and long-term in the United States, essentially stating that congress had a long road ahead to get an effective plan in place.  He further validated that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had provided insurance coverage but had completed little in the way of providing much-needed patient care access. As premiums are rising, coverage is minimal and out of pocket expense was higher than most individuals on these plans could afford; therefore, coverage hadn’t translated into real care access.  The American Health Care Act (AHCA), on the other hand, was hopeful in providing real care access but the plan couldn’t afford to sponsor all individuals currently under the ACA.  He expects much of the burden to move from federal to state funding decisions.

Dr. Canady provided his view on the rural aspect of the care continuum and how each set of legislation affects local communities and economies.  He pointed out that Holzer is one of the largest employers in our region (with more than 2,000 employees), similar to many other rural healthcare systems.  He spoke of poverty in rural Appalachia and how it was critical that federal and state legislatures understand the limitations that healthcare systems face from a patient, staffing, recruiting, retention, pay, benefits, and overall collection perspectives.  Canady fielded questions from the audience ranging from the impact of the current Medicaid expansion, to how to set a forward path with so many unknowns.  Dr. Canady’s position was straightforward, “Take care of the patient, with friendly visits, excellent care, every patient, every time.  The sustenance necessary to survive and thrive as a system, will follow.”  He continued, “We want and need our communities to know us, trust us, and seek us out for great care. We love our small towns and good people.  We are ecstatic to be part of the fabric of the American classic culture and want our patients to understand, believe, and embrace us as their friend, their neighbor, and their physician.”  

Dr. Angood followed up with, “Physicians are natural stewards of the clinical delivery enterprise — and the primary managers of health for populations, which makes them best-suited to lead adaptive initiatives, innovative strategies and novel campaigns designed to improve and manage the inevitable changes that await our health care systems.”  

Dr. Canady revealed much work remains at the local, state, and federal levels.  He declared Holzer was committed to doing everything possible locally to support our communities and now it will be up to the others to help us develop a care model that will be advantageous for everyone in need.

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