Detailed Agenda

Our 2018 Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference Detailed Agenda is a list of over 50 speakers and experts from across the spectrum of care. The heading colors correspond to track colors on our Topical Agenda to help you organize your day.

The agenda and speaker list are driven by input from our Convening Panel of leaders in Texas health care and we’re looking forward to a great event on February 1st. If you’re not already registered you can do so here.

For now, let us know if you have any questions about the conference. We look forward to seeing you in Austin!



Welcome and Introduction

This opening session will key off the day with comments framing the conference agenda, and the role of State of Reform hopes to play in a new era of policy and politics.

DJ Wilson: Host, State of Reform


Morning Keynote: What Texas Medicaid Reform Can Look Like in 2018

Dr. John Kitzhaber is one of America’s leading independent voices on health reform.  He was an emergency room physician in a small, rural community where he was also elected to serve in the legislature. Later he became a four time elected governor of Oregon, and named the second most influential person in health care by Modern Healthcare Magazine.

Dr. Kitzhaber will discuss the major reforms the implemented in Oregon Medicaid and point to specific opportunities for Texas to consider in updating its own system.

John Kitzhaber, MD: Former Governor, State of Oregon


Looking Ahead to the 2018 Elections

The 2018 midterm elections could create a fundamental shift in American politics rivaled only by the 2016 election. Could that kind of whipsaw between political forces foretell equal policy disruption in our republic, or is this simply a natural swing of the pendulum during a time of tumult? This panel will look ahead and discuss.

James Aldrete: Owner, Message Audience Presentation

Kori Crow: Principal, KC Strategies

Jim Henson: Director, Texas Politics Project, UT-Austin

Ben Philpott: Senior Editor, KUT 90.5


The Future of Texas Medicaid

With the recent approval of Texas’s Medicaid waiver, the immediate concerns related to system stability have been calmed.  Stakeholders are now looking to a broader policy discussion of how best to move the system forward in a way that fits Texas. Bring your questions and your perspectives to what will be a thoughtful discussion.

Kara Crawford: Chief of Staff, HHSC

Jamie Dudensing: Executive Director, Texas Assoc. of Health Plans 

Anne Dunkelberg: Associated Director, Center for Public Policy Priorities

Jennifer Minjarez: Policy Analyst, Center for Health Policy, Texas Public Policy Foundation


The Future of Telehealth in Texas

With major legislation passed in 2017 to set the stage for progress on telehealth in Texas, what have we learned from implementation of the law and a more stable marketplace? What can we expect in 2018? This session will take up the topic with some of Texas’s leading telehealth experts.

Ogechika Alozie, MD: Chief Health Informatics Officer, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso

Nora Belcher: Executive Director, Texas e-Health Alliance

Jacob Levenson: CEO, MAP Health


The Latest on Value Based Payments and Care Coordination

Value based purchasing continues in fits and spurts, despite policy uncertainty at the federal level. This session will discuss how the model continues to progress, what has been learned as a result, and where we might see the conversation go in 2018.

Amy Ngyuen Howell, MD: Chief Medical Officer, CAPG

Kay Ghahremani: President & CEO, Texas Association of Community Health Plans

Kevin Bozic, MD: Professor & Chair of the Department of Surgery & Perioperative Care, Dell Medical School, University of Texas at Austin


Capitol Insiders Discuss State Policy

Just because the legislature isn’t in session in 2018 doesn’t mean that policy discussions aren’t underway among stakeholders, legislators, and agency leadership.  This session of advocates will talk through the policy conversations underway in Texas health care and where we might see those discussions lead over the course of the year.

Denise Rose: Consultant, Jackson Walker

Will Francis: Government Relations Director, NASW – Texas

Sherri Layton, LDC: Outpatient Services Administrator, La Hacienda Treatment Center

Darren Whitehurst: VP, Advocacy, Texas Medical Association


Update from HHSC

This breakout session is a deep dive into the work, progress and plans for 2018 of some of the key leaders at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. This panel will discuss some of the agency’s work plan and likely include a lively audience discussion.

Sonja Gaines: Associate Commissioner for IDD & Behavioral Health Services, HHSC

Stephanie Muth: Medicaid Director, HHSC

Lesley French: Associate Commissioner for Health, Developmental and Independence Services, HHSC


Managing Care Transitions between Acute and Long Term Care

Performing excellent procedures in a hospital or outpatient setting doesn’t end the care episode.  Increasingly, both payer financing and patient demands are requiring a more comprehensive care experience, including managing the transition to care from other caregivers. This session will discuss some of the latest evolutions in cross-silo care management.

Amanda Fredriksen: Associate State Director, AARP Texas

Ellen Martin: Director of Practice, Texas Nurses Association

Bob Kalin: Vice President of Long Term Care Operations, Molina Healthcare of Texas


An Honest Conversation on Cost Drivers

Some of the most sensitive discussions in Texas health policy are about cost, either on the surface or below it. This panel will take up the topic and talk through various unique and informed perspectives on the matter, many of which influenced the policy conversation in the legislature in 2017, and will likely influence the next session.

Tom Banning: Executive Director, Texas Academy of Family Physicians

Carrie de Moor, MD: Chief Executive Officer, Code 3 Emergency Partners

Don Langer: President/CEO, United Healthcare Community & State Texas 


Policy Leadership: Republicans

Republican legislators continue to lead policy discussions across the spectrum of topics in Texas health care.  This session will convene some of the leading state policy makers among Texas Republican legislators to discuss their work, your questions, and what we might expect in 2018.

Rep. JD Sheffield, MD:  Vice Chair, House Public Health Committee

Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD: Chair, Senate Committee on Health and Human Services 


Developing a Consumer-Centered Health Care System

Almost every sector in health care shares the belief that the consumer, the patient, should be at the center of the Texas health care system.  Building that system, however, is easier said than done. This breakout session will discuss what’s needed to deliver on the promise of a health care system built to empower and respond to the consumer.

Katarina Lindley, DO: Physician & Owner, Eagle Medical Center Direct Primary Care

Shana Palmieri: Senior Vice President, Behavioral Health Division, XFERALL

Lucas Artusi: Systems Designer, Design Institute for Health, Dell Medical School & College of Fine Arts, University of Texas at Austin


A Vision for a Post-ACA Texas Health System

Most policy observers believe, regardless of their partisan outlook, that the ACA is in need of some changes.  The scope of the next policy conversation, ranging from repeal to reform, is broad with no clear path to consensus. This set of experts will take up the question of “what comes next” along with your questions and comments.

W. Stephen Love: President & Chief Executive Officer, Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council

Chris Larson, DO: Owner & Physician, Euphora Health

Deane Waldman, MD: Director, Center for Healthcare Policy, Texas Public Policy Foundation


A Survey of Other State Models for Financing Care

What can Texas learn from other states trying to innovate in the health care space?  Where are there opportunities to leverage the experience of other models of care financing and delivery?  This session will give you an “apples to apples” look at the progress of reform in two other states via a ‘deep dive,’ case study approach.

Melody Anthony: Deputy Medicaid Director, Oklahoma Health Care Authority 

Winfried Danke: Executive Director, CHOICE Regional Health Network


Executive Keynote Panel: The Road Ahead for Texas Healthcare

This panel features some of Texas’s leading health care executives and policy makers as they discuss the challenges and opportunities on the road to improving the Texas health care system. The conversation will cross lines of business, cross defined silos, and pull from the expertise of some of Texas’s leading thought leaders to create a unique once-a-year conversation.

Rep. John Zerwas, MD:  Chair, House Appropriations Committee

Anne Rote:  President/CEO, Molina Healthcare of Texas 

Kevin Denmark:  Vice President/Texas State Director, Beacon Health Options


Policy Leadership: Democrats

This panel will feature some of Texas’s leading Democratic legislators as they discuss their work between legislative sessions on state health policy.  Bring your questions to what is always a popular session with audience questions and dialog.

Rep. Nicole Collier: Member, House Public Health Committee

Rep. Donna Howard: Member, House Appropriations Commitee



Addressing Maternal Health in Texas

The policy community has increasingly galvanized around the need to do something about Texas’s poor performance on maternal health.  However, that has not been matched by a consensus about the appropriate policy path forward.  This session will include some of Texas’s most prominent stakeholders in the policy deliberations on improving maternal health.

Rep. Shawn Thierry: Member, House Juvenile Justice & Family Issues Committee

Amy Young, MD: Chair, Women's Health Dept., Dell Medical School, University of Texas at Austin

Amanda Adkins: Vice President, Population Health, Cerner

Adriana Kohler: Senior Health Policy Associate, Texans Care for Children


Improving the Texas Behavioral Health System

Texas’s behavioral health care system continues to be largely separate from the rest of the health care sector. At the same time, it’s clear that awareness of the importance of addressing behavioral health is on the rise.  This panel will connect the dots between the reality of an integrated behavioral health care system today, and the future state that many would call progress over the status quo today.

Octavio Martinez, MD: Chair, Behavioral Health Integration Advisory Committee, HHSC

Amy Granberry: Chief Executive Officer, Charlie's Place Recovery Center

Carol Nati: Medical Director, MHMR Tarrant County


Integrating Social Determinants into a Financing Model

Mainstream awareness in health care has increased on the importance of addressing the social determinants to improve health. However, there are still few regulatorily accepted options to pay for that care within the traditional health care sector.  This panel will discuss where the opportunities for reform exist regarding the social determinants and how we might best move to address them within a future financing model.

Keith Kosel, PhD: VP, Enterprise Relationships, Parkland Center for Clinical Innovations

Jean Leclerc Raphael, MD: Founding Director, Center for Child Health Policy and Advocacy, Texas Children's Hospital

James Rubin, MD: Founder & Chief Executive Officer, TAVHealth


An Update on Federal Health Policy

There is perhaps no greater challenge to health care today than the uncertainty coming out of Washington DC.  This panel of policy experts will discuss the latest out of Washington DC and what it might mean for health care organizations in 2018.

Mara McDermott: VP, Congressional Affairs, America's Physician Groups 

Damian O'Doherty: Partner, KOFA Public Affairs

Ryan Clay: Principal, Texas Star Alliance 


Legal Questions in Health Reform in 2018

Increasingly, health policy may be made in the courtroom in the months and years ahead.  From opioid litigation to appeals of executive orders, there is a broadening set of legal questions that are shaping up to recast health policy in 2018. This session will run down the questions facing the legal community and offer a timeline for what might become clarity for health care organizations.

Michael Smith: Senior Counsel, Strasburger

Jay Henderson: Attorney, Fibich Leebron Copeland Briggs


Strategies to Manage the Opioid Crisis

It’s clear that one of America’s most pressing public health concerns is the opioid crisis. It’s also clear this epidemic is mostly a product of the health care system itself.  This panel will take up the topic, offering solutions for possible pathways forward and a sober-minded assessment for where Texas stands in 2018.

Rep. Joe Moody: Vice Chair, House Select Committee on Opioids and Substance Abuse

Kimber Lee Falkinburg: Executive Director, Spread Hope Like Fire

Matt Feehery: Senior Vice President & CEO, Memorial Hermann Prevention and Recovery Center


Afternoon Keynote: A Conversation With HHSC Commissioner Charles Smith

Charles Smith is one of Texas’s most important health care voices.  Smith leads the Texas Health and Human Services Agency, which is both Texas’s leading purchaser and leading policy shop.  The Commissioner will offer his perspective on Texas’s health care system in 2018, and talk through what we might expect to see from the state in the year ahead.

Charles Smith: Executive Commissioner, Texas Health & Human Services