Healthcare 360: Understanding Healthcare Policy

January 17, 2024

Podcast: A Discussion on Healthcare Policy

On this week’s episode of Healthcare 360, Dr. Rob Fields sits down with Meg Koepke, MHA, Founding Partner of Coral Health Advisors, to discuss healthcare policy and its impact.

Healthcare as a Vocation

Meg Koepke has been involved in healthcare ever since she started working. In high school, she spent time as a hospice volunteer and in college, she found herself working for a healthcare delivery organization focusing on home care. After that, she worked at a health insurance company before wandering meaningfully between healthcare policy and healthcare delivery spaces, eventually running an accountable care organization.

That step led her to the innovation center at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which turned into starting a niche practice of professional and direct consulting services for organizations and government engaged in care transformation.

“If there’s one place in healthcare that I’m most passionate about,” she says, “It’s that middle layer of doers that have to connect how we’re paid, how the policy has been written, how it implements, how we engage physicians, clinicians, and patients in it.”

Healthcare Policy and Progress

Healthcare policy is complicated. Discussing how to better help people understand healthcare policy, Koepke believes the best place to start is listening.

“I think the best place to start is listening to where the experience is happening and what the pain is and trying to understand what is at the root cause of that,” says Koepke. “Is that a pain that a clinician is experiencing it or if a policymaker is experiencing it with a program, is that a pain that’s really being caused by the area of decision-making and implementation that they think it is or might there be a different root cause to that particular frustration?”

After wrapping up that topic, Dr. Fields asks Koepke about how policy changes have demonstrated the value of primary care and what progress she’s seen. Koepke believes that, while there has been progress, it remains an ongoing challenge.

“When I was working on the side of integrated delivery systems, we were very hopeful that the beginning of the accountable care organization movement would help us shift the paradigm from primary care in the business of healthcare being a driver of acute utilization and actually flip that pyramid upside down and say, ‘Hospitals are the cost center and primary care is what’s really driving the value.’”

Koepke doesn’t think we can check that box yet but acknowledges that it’s a huge aim and might not be the best measure of progress so far.

Every other week, we’ll chat with a leading expert in healthcare to learn about the many challenges and opportunities facing the industry. Listen to the full conversation with Koepke here, and check in regularly for new episodes of Healthcare 360.

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