Seton Goddard ’15 – Even though we have only been in Indianapolis discussing and learning about healthcare for two days, we have had a whirlwind experience. After hearing from people who practice medicine, people who lead healthcare institutions, and people who work closely with both of those groups of professionals, we have gained a wide variety of perspectives. Across all of these areas of healthcare, we have learned about many of the challenges that hospitals, physicians, and patients have faced and will face in the future. And of course, because of legislation like the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare industry has been presented with new challenges that require healthcare professionals to reconsider how they can best address some of these challenges while maintaining high quality care, broad access, and affordability.
One of the people we talked with today who shared his facility’s challenges was Dr. Bernie Emkes ‘70 at St. Vincent Hospital on 86th Street in Indianapolis. Dr. Emkes, who began in a family practice role with St. Vincent, is now serving in an administrative role. He offered us a tour of both St. Vincent and the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, which provided a significant amount of history on St. Vincent’s role in Indiana healthcare, particularly as one of the first Catholic healthcare organizations to serve Indiana. He also took some time to share some of his concerns about the future of healthcare, and he also discussed some of the things that different organizations have to done to be proactive and ahead of the curve.
Following that, we headed to Tx:Team, where Scott Benedict ’98 serves as the Vice President of Finance. He too emphasized the importance of being “ahead of the curve” and expanding access to care in innovative ways. He and Chief Executive Officer Carroll Nelligan talked about their work with employers to establish therapy-based preventative approaches healthcare that reduce the healthcare costs that are often absorbed by employers when their employees need treatment. To do this, they have established wellness centers within the facilities of various companies around the country where employees can receive preventative treatment and occupational healthcare.
Despite many of the challenges that were presented, it became clear that within the healthcare industry, there has never been a more important time for innovation and critical thinking. It also became clear that as the people who will soon be entering the field, we are the people who will have a responsibility to grapple with these challenges. More importantly, though, we are the people who have a responsibility to understand more deeply the importance of providing the best possible care to as many individuals as possible.
Through my participation in the Healthcare Immersion Program, my understanding has been furthered, and I am confident that this week has been and will continue to play a fundamental role in how I’ll think about these challenges going forward as a future healthcare professional. Given these considerations, I owe a huge “thank you” to the alumni who have offered their time and resources to make this program possible, the Lilly Endowment, Betsy Knott, Dr. Frank Howland, and all of the other participants whose perspectives and opinions have broadened our discussions on these important issues.