Signature Foundation Health Policy Forum

Policy Forum highlights healthcare changes

“What Now: Can Competition Save Healthcare?’’ was the theme for Signature Healthcare Foundation’s 15th annual Health Policy Forum on Thursday, Sept. 28 at St. Louis Marriott West.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Thomas H. Lee, chief medical officer at Press Ganey and part-time professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Panelists included Laura Kaiser, president and CEO of SSM Health; Dr. Coles L’Hommedieu, an orthopedic surgeon for Signature Medical Group; Carolyn Plummer, Health & Welfare Benefits Lead at Monsanto; and Dr. Randall Williams, director of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Affinia Healthcare was the recipient of the Paul Simon Award, named for the late Illinois senator and former member of the Signature Healthcare Foundation board of directors. Affinia provides for more than 43,000 patients a year in the St. Louis area, mostly low-income, with primary and preventive healthcare, including medical, dental, behavioral health and pharmacy services.

Dr. David J. Anderson, a Signature Medical Group orthopedic surgeon and president of the Signature Healthcare Foundation board of directors, presented the award.

Jan Vest, Signature Medical Group CEO, touted Signature’s mission of providing physician-led, value-based healthcare in the St. Louis, Kansas City and Bolivar, Mo., areas. Signature’s Maternity Care Home model has been successful in helping expectant moms on Medicaid navigate the mental and physical challenges of pregnancy and motherhood.

Vest also lauded Signature’s role as a convener in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative. Signature works nationwide with more than 2,000 doctors, annually handling more than 50,000 episodes of care for hip and knee replacement surgeries. BPCI has been successful in lowering costs for Medicare while improving patient outcomes.

Dr. Lee noted that Signature’s contribution to value-based healthcare is important. “You are doing what people like me write about,’’ Lee said.

Another special award was given to John Marshall, who is retiring after 12 years as communications director and project manager at Signature. As co-chair, Marshall has also been instrumental in the success of the Signature Foundation’s annual Gateway Dragon Boat Festival.

Mark Reardon of KMOX radio served as master of ceremonies.