New Jersey’s health care leaders convene to discuss future of the industry

BY Briana Vannozzi, Correspondent |

During his first several months in office, Gov. Murphy signed a handful of major health care laws. A controversial out-of-network bill to curb surprise medical bills, one to preserve the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act and reinstating funding for women’s health. But if you ask six of the state’s top health executives about the future of New Jersey’s health care, they’ll tell you — we have a long way to go.

“I think the industry is transforming at a very rapid pace. I think we’re all beginning now to embrace the new technologies and innovations. One of them is the care transformation that we’re all right now a part of,” according to Care Point Health Chief Operating Officer, Peter Daniels.

In other words, health care systems need to shift their focus to a more comprehensive, holistic approach in treating patients, navigating them through the system more efficiently and that can’t happen without serious changes in addressing costs.

“We’re going to have to have an open and hard discussion about changing the payment system, making it more transparent because today its transactional fee for service and volume is a good thing, the more you do the more you get paid,” said Holy Name Medical Center, President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Maron.

The head of Holy Name Medical Center says there’s a severe lack of transparency and affordability in the system. Meaning, the requirements for something like a hip procedure doesn’t change from hospital to hospital, but the price you pay and when you’re made aware of it almost always does.

“That’s going to really mean disrupting some of the existing power brokers in the system that exist, whether the large systems on the providers or the large payers on the payers side. And the only people who can really disrupt them are the large employers and government,” said Maron.

“The key is to align all of the stakeholders – incentives for physicians, for hospitals, for insurers, purchasers of health care, patients.  There has to be shared accountability,” said Jersey Shore Hackensack Meridian Health President, Dr. Ken Sable.

It also means making patients active participants in their health care and forging more partnerships which may or may not mean more mergers.

“There are mergers for different reasons, there are mergers to be able to negotiate better with payers, there are mergers that actually use economies of scale to improve the care they’re delivering to patients and integrate the care better along the continuum of care,” said Dr. Robert Brenner, senior vice president and chief physician at the Valley Health System.

“I know in Trenton there’s been several pieces of Legislation signed. The out-of-network bill being one. That again the attempt is to make it more user-friendly more transparent and I think that’s a good goal, and I think we’re on that road and I think it helps everybody,” said Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey President, Anthony Russo.

The future of health care will rely on technology, greater transparency and the need for consumers to voice their demands.