On Tuesday, April 7, 2015, the DC Primary Care Association hosted its second annual Health & Finance Leadership Summit. More than 100 attendees, including community health center CEOs, government leaders, hospital leadership, advocates and other community representatives, convened at the John A. Wilson Building in downtown Washington, DC.
The Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Brenda Donald, Director of the Department of Health Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Interim Director of Behavioral Health Dr. Barbara Bazron, and Department of Health Care Finance Director Wayne Turnage presented key budget priorities and pressures facing each of their respective departments. In addition to expanding upon Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s proposed $12.9 billion budget for the upcoming year, the Deputy Mayor and Directors relayed specific details on the budget process, budget pressures and key priorities for FY 2016. The Mayor’s health leadership team also highlighted goals for their specific Departments which included a commitment to working collaboratively with the community, providers and advocates to explore and identify new and innovative approaches to achieve the mutual goals of a healthier DC.
Deputy Mayor Donald and Dr. Nesbitt urged attendees to adopt a more strategic approach in improving the quality of health care services to the local community by focusing upstream. For instance, a program that provides healthy food to populations in wards 7 and 8 would be considered part of health care preventative strategy since those wards experience higher rates of chronic diseases than anywhere else in the city. Other key budget reallocations were outlined to ensure funds will be used more efficiently with a focus on population disease prevention activities.
Patricia Quinn, DCPCA Director of Policy and External Affairs, used the open forum as an opportunity to question the presenters on their view of the health information exchange and its importance in achieving the health care priorities outlined by the District. Dr. Nesbitt acknowledged the critical role of health information exchange and responded, “There is a need for information at the point clinical decision making, but we also have a dual interest in being able to have better information to make policy decisions and to develop solid decisions from a population health perspective.” Likewise, Turnage acknowledged the “tremendous potential” of health information technology to be ground breaking for the future of health care delivery and finance.
DCPCA’s Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline Bowens facilitated a question and answer session during the second half of the Summit to allow attendees to directly address District officials on key budget points that would affect their organizations and communities they serve. Based on the success of the inaugural Summit, DCPCA extended its invitation to this year’s Health & Finance Leadership Summit to several other community partners and stakeholders. The diverse range of organizations in attendance included MedStar, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, George Washington University, Howard University, Bread for the City, La Clinica Del Pueblo, Whitman-Walker Health, Mary’s Center, and United Medical Center.
The Deputy Mayor and Directors of Health, Behavioral Health, and Health Care Finance welcomed all attendees to collaborate as partners and to assist in thinking through strategies and how to reinvest existing funds to better serve the District. “The further you go upstream—the more you do in terms of prevention and connecting the dots across agencies,” explained Deputy Mayor Donald. “We are being smarter, identifying needs earlier, collaborating better, and reinvesting those dollars on front end services.”
Founded in 1996, the DC Primary Care Association (DCPCA) is a non-profit health equity and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health of all DC residents by ensuring access to high quality primary health care–regardless of an ability to pay. DCPCA works to create healthier communities through advocacy and the development of the infrastructure to support a high quality, equitable, integrated health care system that gives every DC resident a fair shot at a full and healthy life. Our membership includes 15 community health centers and other community-based organizations, with nearly 60 health care delivery sites that serve approximately 200,000 District and suburban Maryland residents each year. For more information, visit www.dcpca.org.
For more information, contact Director of Development & Communications Maisha Armstrong at 202-555-5263.