Date Posted: 04/22/2014
(LONG BEACH, Calif.) — Healthcare professionals concerned with responding to a growing need in an aging society gathered in Long Beach, Calif., recently to participate in the 12th annual Leadership and Management in Geriatrics (LMG) Conference. Jointly sponsored by SCAN Health Plan in collaboration with the UCLA Academic Geriatric Resource Center and the California Geriatric Education Center, the two-day conference brought together healthcare professionals from clinical and academic settings to explore ways to improve geriatric health while honing their leadership and management skills.
“This annual meeting is unique in its setting and methodology as it encourages participants – physicians, nurses and allied health professionals – to consider novel business approaches to geriatric care,” said Dan Osterweil, M.D., course chair of the conference, medical director of SCAN Health Plan, and professor of medicine at UCLA. “Attendees also have the opportunity to spend focused, highly interactive time with, and be mentored by, leaders in the field of geriatric medical management as they explore ways to innovate or improve care in their home institutions.”
Dr. Osterweil points out that most medical school graduates enter the profession “without the benefit of any background in finance, business or leadership; and this knowledge gap quickly becomes painfully evident.” He believes this issue will take on heightened significance given the fact that in two decades one out of every five Americans will be 65 or older. “It is imperative that we create models where geriatric care is more efficient and less costly, but to do that healthcare professionals need to hone their leadership and management skills. That’s what this conference is all about,” he said.
Among the keynote conference speakers was Romilla Batra, M.D., corporate medical director of SCAN who shared her thoughts on “physicians as entrepreneurs” in a landscape that has dramatically changed with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other environmental forces. In outlining a three-step road to success in this environment, she encouraged physicians to “assess the attractiveness of marketplace opportunities; to develop, execute and evaluate a business plan; and to look for ways to continually add value to the equation.
“Physicians can add value by finding new ways to provide innovative solutions to complex medical problems,” said Dr. Batra. “Ultimately that will provide better outcomes and lower costs, which combine to not only improve the patient experience but build confidence in the healthcare system.”
Dr. Batra said that consumers are also increasingly demanding easy access to health information and care whenever and wherever they need it. To that end Dr. Batra spoke about the proliferation of retail health centers/clinics and the importance of making health information more available to seniors in a multitude of ways, including mobile devices. “We are in a new era of caring for America’s expanding senior population, and that requires a new era of thinking,” she said.
As a health plan dedicated exclusively to seniors and others on Medicare, SCAN’s sponsorship of the conference is part of its ongoing commitment to better understand the aging process and advocating on behalf of the needs of seniors.
SCAN Health Plan is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit MAPD plans currently serving 170,000 members in California. Further information may be obtained at www.scanhealthplan.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/scanhealthplan.
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