Detailed Agenda

Our 2019 Alaska State of Reform Health Policy Conference Detailed Agenda is a list of over 60 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 Alaska health care and we’re looking forward to a great event on October 2nd. 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 Anchorage!


8:15 - 8:30

Welcome and Introduction

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

DJ Wilson: Host, State of Reform 

8:30 - 9:15

Morning Keynote

Preston Simmons is the CEO of Providence Health and Services Alaska. As the executive leader of one of Alaska’s most important health care organizations, Simmons is responsible for all operations, finance, and strategy for the regional system which employs more than 4,000 Alaskans across six communities.  Simmons will provide his vision for improving Alaska’s health care system, and the role Providence intends to play in support of the community’s health. 

Preston Simmons: Chief Executive Officer, Providence Health and Services Alaska

9:30 - 10:15

An Update on Federal Policy

This session will feature two of Alaska's best connected federal policy thinkers: a senior legislative staff member from Sen. Murkowski's office and the leader of one of the state's most influential think tanks. Bring your questions to what will be a thoughtful conversation on federal policy topics.

Angela Ramponi: Legislative Aide, Office of Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Bethany Marcum: Executive Director, Alaska Policy Forum

9:30 - 10:15

Leading Health Care Organizations in 2020

As the nature of health care continues to change from financing to quality, this group of health care executives will talk through the challenges and opportunities facing the sector in Alaska, and the leadership lessons they have picked up along the way.

Julie Taylor: Chief Executive Officer, Alaska Regional Hospital 

Shelley Ebenal: Executive Director, Foundation Health Partners 

Steve Williams: Chief Operating Officer, Alaska Mental Health Trust

9:30 - 10:15

Public Safety, Health Care, and the Social Determinants

With crime and homelessness on the rise, health care becomes all the more important. From public health to substance abuse, co-occurring disorders to street violence, this session will explore the intersection of health care with these social matters and how they influence one another.

Jeanene Smith, MD: Principal, Health Management Associates

Rep. Geran Tarr: Chair, House Resources Committee

Nikole Nelson: Executive Director, Alaska Legal Services Corporation

9:30 - 10:15

An Honest Conversation about Cost Drivers

Having an open, honest conversation about costs is a critical step in developing a clear sense of the challenges facing Alaska health care. This panel of experts will discuss the realities of costs, the trade offs built into the discussion, and how that knowledge impacts the solutions before Alaska.

Aneal Gadgil, MD: Critical Care & Pulmonary Medicine, Virginia Mason 

Gena Tadych: Director of Quality & Practice Transformation, Physicians Care Alliance

Jonathan King: Consultant, Halcyon Consulting

10:30 - 11:15

Political Insiders Review Health Policy

This panel of well-connected political professionals will tell you what’s really going on in Juneau, in health policy, and in the backroom conversations that shape Alaska’s future.  Bring your questions to what is always a well-attended discussion. 

Jim Lottsfeldt: Lobbyist, Lottsfeldt Strategies

Jeff Landfield: Publisher, Alaska Landmine

10:30 - 11:15

An Update from DHSS

In what is always among the more popular sessions at State of Reform, senior leaders from DHSS will join this panel to highlight the work they are doing to improve the health care system for Alaskans, ranging from Medicaid to influencing the delivery of care. 

Al Wall: Deputy Commissioner, DHSS, Family, Community & Integrated Services

Gennifer Moreau-Johnson: Division Director, DHSS, Division of Behavioral Health

Anne Zink, MD: Chief Medical Officer, DHSS

10:30 - 11:15

Dealing with Alaska's Substance Abuse Issues

With substance abuse challenges ranging from opioids to street drugs, addressing the impacts of abuse takes a multi-pronged approach. This session will feature some of the innovative approaches to dealing with this issue, from “boots on the ground” to policy debates in Juneau.

Sherrie Hinshaw: President & Chief Executive Officer, Volunteers of America Alaska

Daniel Gladden: Chief Operating Officer, Akeela

Farina Brown: Deputy Director, DHSS, Division of Behavioral Health

Erich Scheunemann: Assistant Chief, Anchorage Fire Department

10:30 - 11:15

Moving Resources from Hospitals to Ambulatory Care

It’s increasingly clear that care in a hospital setting should be specific, specialized, and uncommon. So, moving care from a hospital setting to an outpatient environment takes a re-alignment of payment, culture, and effort. Learn from this group of seasoned leaders about the work underway to deliver care in the most appropriate setting.

Sheldon Fisher: Chief Strategy Officer, Providence Health & Services Alaska

Elizabeth Ripley: Chief Executive Officer, Mat-Su Health Foundation

Verlyn Corbett, MD: Medical Director, Southcentral Foundation

11:30 - 12:15

Policy Leadership: Republicans

This session features some of the most important and most influential Republican policy makers in Alaska. Come ready to listen to an explanation of the political realities facing Alaska today, but also bring your ideas for improving the Alaskan model of care.

Sen. David Wilson: Chair, Senate Health and Social Services Committee

Sen. John Coghill: Vice Chair, Senate Health & Social Services Committee

Rep. Sharon Jackson: Member, House Health & Social Services (Fin Sub)

11:30 - 12:15

Reform from the Providers' View

The idea of health reform is often a system-level discussion, away from the clinical setting where care is provided. This breakout will elevate the voices of Alaska’s providers, giving them a platform to share their thinking on the challenges and opportunities on the horizon for reform.

Jeremy Gitomer, MD: President, Alaska Innovative Medicine

Noah Laufer, MD: Physician, Medical Park Primary Care

Dana Espindola, MD: Co-Owner, Anchorage Women's Clinic

11:30 - 12:15

Meeting Alaska's Workforce Needs in a Changing Economy

With cost pressures and enduring access challenges built into the structure of the Alaska health care workforce, meeting the needs of the state’s modern economy requires a careful, thoughtful approach. This panel of experts and policy leaders will explore the topic, and the ideas taking shape to meet Alaska’s workforce demands.

Rep. Gary Knopp: Chair, House Labor & Workforce (Fin Sub)

Angie Gerken: President, Trinion Quality Care Services, Inc. 

Jeff Jessee: Dean, College of Health, University of Alaska

11:30 - 12:15

What does Innovation look like in Alaska?

Improving the health care system in Alaska requires a deep understanding of what makes the Alaska system so different. Innovation, whether it’s tech driven or process oriented, or some point in between, requires a unique application in Alaska, which this panel of experts will discuss.

Laura Young: Executive Director, healtheConnect Alaska 

Shadi Battah, MD: Physician, Alaska Hospitalist Group

Randi Anderson: Manager, Jones Learning, Innovation & Simulation Center, Virginia Mason

12:30 - 1:00

Lunch Keynote

Adam Crum serves as Commissioner of DHSS, the state’s largest agency and one of the most important forces for health reform in Alaska.  He’ll provide an overview of the work underway at DHSS to improve the health system for Alaskans, which will be followed by a one on one conversation with DJ Wilson on stage.

Hon. Adam Crum: Commissioner, DHSS

1:00 - 1:30

Lunch Keynote

US Senator Lisa Murkowski is the first Alaskan to serve on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. She is also a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Indian Affairs Committee. Sen. Murkowski will update our audience on the future of federal health policy and its impacts on the health of Alaskans. 

Sen. Lisa Murkowski: Member, United States Senate

1:45 - 2:30

Policy Leadership: Democrats

This session with some of Alaska’s most esteemed Democratic legislators will review the state of health policy, Medicaid financing, and reform of one of America’s most expensive health care systems. Bring your questions to what is always a good conversation!

Sen. Bill Wielechowski: Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee (Fin Sub)

Rep. Ivy Spohnholz: Co-Chair, House Health and Social Services Committee 

Rep. Andy Josephson: Member, House Finance Committee

1:45 - 2:30

How Do We Measure Quality in Alaska?

Which benchmarks for quality make the most sense for a health care system with such a unique geography and demography? This panel of experts will discuss the question and tee up some of the initiatives underway to shape the answer.

Sharon Anderson: Principal, Anderson Lohr Consulting

Laurie Orell: Senior Health Analytics Consultant, McDowell Consulting Group

Coleman Cutchins, PharmD: Project Manager, Mountain-Pacific Quality Health

1:45 - 2:30

The Future of Alaska Medicaid

It’s increasingly clear that Medicaid policy, financing and delivery will continue to be prominent challenges facing Alaska’s policy makers and market leaders. So, what direction will those conversations take? This breakout will talk through the future pathways before Medicaid reformers.

Nora Leibowitz: Principal, Health Management Associates

Rep. Jennifer Johnston: Co-Chair, House Finance Committee

Becky Hultberg: Chief Executive Officer, ASHNHA

1:45 - 2:30

Health Care and the Economy: Drag or Driver?

As the overall Alaska economy continues to face challenges, the size of health care as a share of the economy is continuing to grow.  This panel of experts and economists will discuss the implications for these trends and what it means for the state.

Bill Popp: President & Chief Executive OfficerAnchorage Economic Development Center 

Nolan Klouda: Executive Director, University of Alaska Center for Economic Development 

Dan Robinson: Chief, Research & Analytics, Department of Labor and Workforce Development

2:45 - 3:30

Surveying Advocacy Efforts Towards Health Reform

There are a number of initiatives underway to reshape the contours of Alaska’s health care framework. From regulatory-focused to market-centered advocacy, this session will scan the spectrum of advocacy efforts working to inform and improve Alaska’s health care.

Jessie Menkens: Coalition Manager, Alaskans Together for Medicaid 

Sandra Heffern: Facilitator, Alaska Healthcare Transformation Project

2:45 - 3:30

How the Market is Responding to Cost, Policy Pressures

As cost continues to be the most prominent challenge in Alaska health care, market actors have started to address the demand for greater value from the system in novel ways. Learn about both micro- and macro-level strategies the market is employing to respond to cost and value concerns.

Jocelyn Pemberton: Chief Executive Officer, Alaska Hospitalist Group

Jason Gootee: Vice President, Strategic Market Development, Moda Health Plan

Monique Martin: Director, Government Affairs & Regulatory Navigation, Alaska Regional Hospital

2:45 - 3:30

Changes in Mental Health Delivery, Payment

As mental health becomes a more prominent element in health care, the way that care is both delivered and funded is shifting. In Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial lines of business, there are new approaches to offer and sustain behavioral health. This session will take up those topics and explore what’s to come.

Robin Trush: Consultant, healtheConnect Alaska

Melissa Kemberling, PhD: Program Officer for Healthy Minds, Mat-Su Health Foundation

Eric Boyer: Program Officer, Alaska Mental Health Trust  

3:45 - 4:30

Executive Keynote Panel: The Intersection of Market and Policy in Alaska Health Care

Our conference, which convenes a diverse group of stakeholders across Alaska’s health care and policy worlds, ends with a diverse panel of health policy leaders. The day concludes talking through where the market and policy worlds are likely to find points of tension, and what that means for the future of Alaska health care.

Sen. Natasha Von Imhof: Co-Chair, Senate Finance Committee

Rep. Ivy Spohnholz: Co-Chair, House Health and Social Services Committee

Verné Boerner: President & Chief Executive Officer, Alaska Native Health Board