Final Look at the Healthcare Immersion

Kenniss Dillon ’16, Seton Goddard ’15, Kasey Oetting ’15, Patrick Bryant ’16, Max Gallivan ’16, Hongli Yang ’15, Austin Althoff ’14, Dr. Frank Howland, Ivan Koutsopatriy ’16

Austin Althoff ’14 – Four days, seven alumni speakers, and eight presentations later the inaugural Healthcare Immersion Program has come to an end. I believe this program was a great experience that examined the many different aspects of the ever-changing healthcare industry.  It was very interesting to hear the different aspects of the healthcare industry from people who practice medicine, work in management, and work on the business development side of the industry.  These discussions provided important information on how the future of the healthcare industry and the Affordable Care Act will affect patient, physician, and those involved on the business aspect of the industry.

On the first day of the program we heard presentations from Barney Niezer ’78 and Dr. Frank Kolisek ’82.  This was very interesting as Mr. Niezer has been involved in hospital management and development in Fort Wayne, while Dr. Kolisek is an orthopedic surgeon for Ortho Indy.  Mr. Niezer gave an in depth analysis of how hospital development has affected the Fort Wayne healthcare system, and how this will affect the future of the healthcare industry for Fort Wayne.  Dr Kolisek gave a very good perspective of how the changes in healthcare from the early 1990s and the Affordable Care Act are affecting physicians and private practice.  This was very interesting information that showed how the way physicians provide healthcare has been changing and will experience even more changes in the immediate future.

For day two we were able to tour St. Vincent Hospital and the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital with Dr. Bernie Emkes ’70.  This was an awesome experience as we got to see the aspects of how a big hospital organization operates.  We even got to meet another Wally, Dr. Little ’92 who is one of the two main doctors in the E.R. of the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.  After our visit to St. Vincent, we visited Scott Benedict ’98 at Tx:Team. Here we got to learn about how companies are providing on-site healthcare to its employees.  Additionally, this showed how companies are working to provide healthcare to its employees.

For our final day in Indianapolis we were able to hear from Dr. John Miller ’76, Mike Haugh ’86, Jim Miller ’80.  Like the previous days we were able to hear about the healthcare industry from a physician’s viewpoint and the viewpoint of those on the business side.  This entire program provided different information and viewpoints of the healthcare industry as whole.  It was very useful information that has made me a much more informed individual about the current state and future of healthcare in the U.S.

Our trip came to end on Thursday with presentations to the Wabash Community over what we had learned from our three days of immersion learning.  I believe my peers and myself helped to provide important insights on what we had learned about the ever-changing healthcare industry.  I would like to thank Dr. Frank Howland and Ms. Betsy Knott for organizing this program.  Additionally, I would like to thank all of our alumni speakers for contributing to the program and the Lilly Endowment Fund for making this trip possible.

Speakers Cover Future Health Market

Patrick Bryant ’16 – The inaugural Health Care Immersion Program is wrapping up, and it’s hard to believe what’s been discussed, learned, and questioned over the past three days.  Wednesday, we had the opportunity to hear three perspectives on the future of the healthcare market.

Our first speaker Wednesday was Dr. John Miller ’76. This week, we’ve heard often that costs go down when the focus is on preventive care, being proactive rather than focusing on more reactive, curative care. Thanks in part to his efforts, small things like a youth soccer league, or larger initiatives in implementation of an in-house clinic and primary care physician at a local company make Henry County a more wellness-conscious place to live. Offering short-term incentives (bonuses for maintaining a weight or blood pressure level), could be indicative of a larger model that will be implemented by employers as the market continues to evolve.

For lunch and a talk, we traveled to Lilly to meet with Mike Haugh ’86, Managing Director for Corporate Strategy. From a perspective of business development, Mr. Haugh said new technology and use of genomics to look at DNA sequencing, will allow providers to medicate and proceed based on possible gene mutations.  Finding companies that can find financial viability in such markets of the ACA era could possibly lead to more conglomerates and fewer small(er) companies in the industry.

The final speaker of the day, and program, was Jim Miller ’80, a consulting manager for IMA Consulting. His experience is in the revenue cycle of insurance payers.  Miller said the battle will be uphill for the opening of the insurance policy exchange market which is set to open in October. He said the government is looking to emphasize preventive care but also a “continuance of care” with the primary care provider.

All in all, the experience has been informative and worthwhile. I want to take this opportunity to thank Betsy Knott for her leadership and Dr. Frank Howland for his guidance and expertise. I want to thank the other speakers who made a point to take time with those of us interested either in practicing medicine or looking from a business perspective. Thanks in large part to the financial generosity of Wabash alumni, my classmates and I leave this experience enthusiastic and motivated.

Gallivan ’16 Appreciates Seeing Health Future

Max Gallivan ’16 – So the Affordable Care Act comes around and throws everyone for a loop. Now what? As a freshman aspiring to get into Med School, it is important to know where health care is heading so I can adapt and thrive. Today really opened my eyes to the future and what I need to do to prepare.

We started the day by talking to John Miller ’76 of New Castle Family and Internal Medicine. Though he is mainly a primary care physician, his focus and passion is on improving wellness programs in health care, to insure people are actually healthy and not just free of disease. He referred to Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath and Jim Harter, which focuses on a holistic sense of well being to insure a quality life. From making good career choices to hanging out with friends, the book offers good advice for how to improve your life and hopefully prevent unhealthy lifestyles that cause people to have stress related illnesses that plague hospitals today. Miller then showed us what his hospital system is doing to encourage wellness and the impact it has brought to his community.

After the talk, we took the refreshing walk to Eli Lilly & Company. Though we could have spent hours on end admiring how thriving the company is, we had the privilege of talking and having lunch with Mike Haugh ’86, one of the main Corporate Strategists of the company. After being introduced to how the company works and how it thrives despite the long process of FDA approval and the fight against generic companies, Haugh shifted his focus to how the company is adapting to the future of our world. Though the ACA is causing them to shift their business model, the real impact of change is coming from a rapid growth in biological technology we have seen in the past few years. With genomics allowing people to find out what drugs and treatments will work best with their specific genome, drugs will begin to become patient specific and will be more valuable because they have a higher chance of working. With the amazing advancement of apps that can perform EKGs and ultrasounds, patients will have easier access with diagnostics and will be more accountable for their own health. This will change the role of physicians and health care specialists by focusing on a joint interpretation of a patient’s results instead of providing the services that produce the results.  This change in how health care will run was an eye opener, and a great start at how to look at my future that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

We ended the day by returning to the hospital and talking with Jim Miller ’80 from IMA Consulting. His talk enlightened us on how insurance and government program like Medicare and Medicaid work and then focused on the nuts and bolts of the ACA and what will actually change in health care. Though no one is quite sure how the act is going to affect the entire health care system, it was easy to see the trend that most of our speakers are seeing: a focus on large hospitals and a shift to preventative care. The focus on the quality of service instead of quantity forces health care professionals to improve services so patients have little to no complications while still finding a way to make money without overloading patients with treatments and diagnostics.

It’ll be interesting to see where the future will take us. I’m glad this program has tried to prepare me for the ride. I encourage all those striving to be a part of health care to get informed and prepare themselves for the arduous road ahead of us, by either taking part in this wonderful program in the future or by reading the many sources out there.

Goddard ’15 Finds Insight in HCIP

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.

Children’s Hospital Impresses Koutsopatriy ’16

Ivan Koutsopatriy ‘16 – Healthcare. That one word has a lot packed into it. In the United States healthcare is a very complex system that currently has many issues. I am aspiring to go to medical school and acquire an M.D./PhD; changes in healthcare will impact me heavily. From what I have been learning on this immersion trip, these changes are going to affect everyone in this country.

So far I have heard the business end of healthcare from a hospital manager’s perspective, a practitioner owned hospital’s perspective, a medical director of a hospital, and a medium sized healthcare related business’ perspective. It has been busy and fruitful with the knowledge that I have had the privilege of acquiring. I think the Affordable Care Act is a complicated beast that I still don’t feel I have a grasp on, even after almost two days of discussing it. I like the open discussion method of presenting that our speakers have conducted with us, it allows for us to really get involved in the conversation.

My favorite experience today was Dr.Bernie Emkes giving us a tour of the St. Vincent and Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital. He allowed us to stand in on a “huddle” that the hospital leadership gets together and has every morning at 8:30. We walked in a few minutes late. From what I gathered the huddle is a meeting where everyone attending stands and discusses the bad and good that has happened in the hospital since the previous huddle session, and what actions to take to improve on the bad. The session ended with a prayer and I was thankful to have been able to experience the huddle.

Dr.Emkes introduced us to many individuals within the hospital who were more than happy to shake our hands with a smile and wish us a pleasant rest of the day as we continued on our tour. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. We were even fortunate enough to meet a Wabash graduate in the emergency room, Dr.Jason Little ’92. Dr. Little told us a little about what it is like working as an emergency doctor there. The willingness of Wabash alumni to help out current students is inspiring.

After our tour of the magnificent hospital we then went to a meeting room on the eighth floor of St.Vincent. We discussed some of what is going on with healthcare with Dr.Emkes. I have learned a lot about healthcare and some of what is going on currently.  I am hungry to find out more. This trip has been an enjoyable one thus far. I want to thank the Alumni for making this trip possible, and for some of the luxurious accommodations that we are indulging in.

Today we went to Bru burger bar for dinner. I am not from around Indianapolis and I have not been to Indianapolis more times than I can count on one hand. I appreciate the chance to indulge in some of the local flavor. Dr.Barney Niezer, Dr.Frank Kolisek, Dr. Bernie Emkes, Scott Benedict and Tx:Team deserve a thank you for taking time out of their busy schedules to indulge us with their wisdom and knowledge.  I want to thank Betsy Knott and Frank Howland for their leadership, time, and effort in this opportunity that they set up for us.

Yang ’15 Says HCIP is ‘Eye-Opener’

Hongli Yang ’15 – Today we visited Dr. Bernie Emkes ’70 of St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital. After a brief introduction on the history of St. Vincent Hospital, Dr. Emkes showed us around the main building and Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital. I am really amazed by the amount of care the hospital provides to its patients. The word “care” does not only exist in the core value of the hospital. Every morning, the administrators gather in a room and hold a 15-min safety huddle. They reflect on yesterday’s performance and come up with measures to improve the operations. Moreover, we noticed a lot of details that exhibit the hospital’s commitment to offer every patient great experience: the nurses are somewhat “specialized” so that they are proficient in their practice; the ER is able to finish the test in a short time; and the layout and setup in Children’s Hospital are comfortable and personalized for kids.

In addition, we get to understand the challenges and opportunities in health care from Dr. Emkes’s angle. The American health care system has deep-rooted issues. It is a four-player game: the complicated way doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and patients are connected makes it hard to understand what is actually going on. And the Affordable Care Act just adds to the mystery. For the first time, I learned about patient engagement. Some patients comprise the efficiency and quality of health care by not following the doctor’s order. Thus, we need new approaches to reduce unnecessary hospital visits. The medical resources are limited and we do not want to waste them. Therefore, we need to get patients more responsible for their action. Besides, we are happy to see new opportunities that would help us transform the health care industry. “Telemedicine”, the combination of technology and health care, has a very promising outlook to improve the efficiency and quality of health care. And other technologies are similarly tempting.

The Health Care Immersion Program has been an eye opener for me.  And I really enjoyed the first-hand exposure to various health care professionals. As an Economics major, this immersion program has greatly shaped my view of the health care system. Health care is related to every one, and this “liberal arts” approach to life has made me more informed about our world and better prepared for future challenges. I am really thankful for this opportunity and I hope that more Wabash men take part and benefit from this program.

Dillon ’16 Enjoying Health Care Immersion

Kennis Dillon ’16 – As the first day of the Health Care Immersion Program (HCIP), both of the speakers offered very valuable information. They presented a side of healthcare that isn’t readily focused on by those pursuing a career in medicine — the financial/business side.

Mr. Niezer has had a plethora of experience running hospitals as Chief Operating officer where as Dr. Kolisek has worked as the president of Ortho-Indy — a small and private orthopedics center in Indianapolis. I learned from Mr. Niezer about the various incentives and motivations that may drive hospitals to shift geographic location, or how larger corporations monopolize hospitals in order to turn a profit. He outlined the example of three Fort Wayne hospitals in specific cases where the business side and desire to make profits, override mission and non-profit organizations. However he seemed to present a case that caters more to practicing physicians. Thankfully our next speaker was able to shed a bright light on patient-surgeon interactions.

Dr. Frank Kolisek provided a more in-depth analysis of how surgeons interact and decide how to charge patients depending on what type of health insurance coverage they have. I appreciated his openness and honesty about common practice when prescribing specific tests and how much doctors normally charge on bills. To my surprise I learned how remarkable the discount patients under Medicare receive when it comes time to pay their hospital bill. I feel that as a physician the opinions of how little Medicare pays doctors may have been slightly biased but this doesn’t make his claims untrue. It is only the first day of the first year this HCIP has been enacted, that this has set a very high marker for how future speakers present their information on specific issues related to health care.

Tomorrow I look forward to moving outside of the hotel meeting room and being around a physician in an actual hospital setting which is something I have not been able to do in the Pre-Health Society on campus. This wide array of opportunities should spark plenty of faculty and student support in years to come.

Oetting ’15 Calls HCIP Eye Opening

Kasey Oetting ’15 – The first day of the Health Care Immersion Program (HCIP) was an informative day and a great experience to start off the program. First, we heard from Mr. Barney Niezer, the practice manager for NE Indiana Urology in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In his seminar, he discussed an overview of the Fort Wayne healthcare system. The second speaker of the day was Dr. Frank Kolisek, the President of OrthoIndy. He talked to us a lot about the Affordable Care Act which was recently put into place by the government.

A common theme that we discussed dealt with for profit and not-for-profit hospitals. A for-profit hospital tends to work with physicians more effectively by incorporating them into the everyday decisions and strategic planning of the hospital and tend to be run in a more efficient manner. That is because the physicians are able to have more say in what the hospital should do and the finances associated with those decisions. A not-for-profit hospital is more worried about the ethical issues with their decisions which regard the hospital well-being. Not-for-profit hospitals tend to have missions that deal with offering healthcare to the community and the people in the community who can’t afford it.

A second reoccurring theme dealt with the recent legislation, Affordable Care Act. The effect of this legislation on the income and overall money brought into the hospital and the private practices resulted in a drastic cut. One of the biggest problems with the ACA is that no one really knows what is in it and what all the parameters are that it offers up. That leads to both sides starting to really worry about the effects of the ACA on every industry, not just the healthcare system. The problem the country must solve regarding healthcare is that the patients want everything, the providers want to offer everything, and the insurance companies don’t want to pay for anything.

One suggestion was to make the patient more responsible for the costs associated with healthcare. By doing so, they would not want to get extra tests done that the doctor tells them they do not need because they realize that the brunt of the cost will fall on them and not the insurance company. In the healthcare system today, people spend so much money because in all reality those people are not spending their own money. The money they are spending comes from insurance companies, forcing the costs to land mostly on the hospitals and the businesses offering the insurance.

Overall, today was a very informative and eye opening day as to how the healthcare system in America truly operates. I am looking forward to the rest of the week with our visit to Eli Lilly and also the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.