Detailed Agenda

Our 2019 Utah State of Reform Health Policy Conference Detailed Agenda is a list of over 65 speakers  from across the spectrum of health care and policy. 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 Utah health care and we’re looking forward to a great event on April 24th. 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 hope to see you in Salt Lake City!


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 this challinging era of health policy and politics.

DJ Wilson: Host, State of Reform

8:30 - 9:15

Morning Keynote: Oregon's Approach to Reforming Medicaid

John Kitzhaber, MD, is the former governor of the State of Oregon. He was elected four times to the office, rising to become named Modern Healthcare’s #2 most influential health care leader in America.

While governor, he instituted a number of reforms of Oregon Medicaid, positioning the state as a national leader on balancing cost, quality and access. That included the Care Coordination Organization model, which earned $1.9 billion in a federal waiver. The model was effectively a per-capita “block grant,” trading increased flexibility for a commitment to fix medical trend at 3.2%.

As Utah continues to reform its Medicaid system, Oregon’s reforms may offer ideas for balancing fiscal responsibility with improving the health of Utahns across the state.

Hon. John Kitzhaber, MD: Former Governor, State of Oregon

9:30 - 10:15

Capitol Insiders Review the 2019 Legislature

The 2019 legislative session was consequential for health care and health policy. From balance billing to Medicaid expansion, the topics in discussion will impact Utah health care for years to come. Come listen to this group of insiders look back on the session, and offer insights to how things really played out.

Erin Jemison: Director of Public Policy, YWCA Utah 

Jessie Mandle: Director of Policy, Voices for Utah Children 

Frank Pignanelli: Partner, Foxley and Pignanelli

9:30 - 10:15

Improving Utah's Mental Health System

Improving the mental health system is sometimes easier said than done. With mental health often carved out from other parts of Utah’s health system, there are fewer intersections between silos than perhaps should be. This panel will take up the topic and explore possibilities for a system-level approach to improving mental health.

Scott Carter: Chair, Legislative & Public Policy Committee, Utah Mental Health Counselors Association 

Jeremy Christensen, LCSW: Assistant Director, Adult Mental Health, Dept of Human Services

Aimee Winder Newton: Council Member, Salt Lake County

Travis Jackson: Vice President, Beacon Health Options (moderator)

9:30 - 10:15

Lessons for the Future of Tele-Health in Utah

Leveraging technology to extend providers’ reach into rural Utah continues to be a goal of many policy makers. So, why has tele-health taken so long to fully mature towards its potential? This session will discuss the opportunities, pathways, and obstacles for the future of tele-health.

Bill Beninati, MD: Senior Medical Director, Intermountain Connect (Virtual Hospital) and Life Flight

Deb LaMarche: Associate Director, Utah TeleHealth Network 

Matt McCullough: Director, Office of Primary Care and Rural Health

9:30 - 10:15

Finding Balance on Pharmacy Costs & Benefits

With miracle drugs coming to the market regularly, and a pricing structure that has little to no impact on a patient’s ability to pay, it is hard to find middle ground in pharmacy today. This panel of experts will discuss the topic, and highlight opportunities to find balance in policy and market discussions.

Matt Mitchell: Director, Pharmacy Services, Select Health

Bill Stilling: Partner, Stilling and Harrison

Danny Harris: Associate State Director of Advocacy, AARP Utah 

10:30 - 11:15

An Update from Utah's Agency Leadership

This session will tee up some of the most thoughtful senior leaders from Utah’s state agencies.  Come to this session with your questions for what should be an active conversation about the work state government leaders are doing on behalf of Utahn’s health.

Heather Borski: Director, Disease Control and Prevention, Utah Department of Health

Chet Loftis: Director, Public Employee Health Plan 

10:30 - 11:15

Charting the Future of Utah Medicaid

The topic of reforming Utah’s Medicaid system was an active one at the ballot box, and in the legislative session.  But Medicaid’s future is about more than just expansion. This panel of senior leaders will highlight the areas of innovation in Medicaid, and what to expect from the future of the program.

Michael Hales: Senior Director, Government Healthcare Programs, University of Utah Health

Derek Monson: Vice President, Policy Sutherland Institute

Stacy Stanford: Health Policy Analyst, Utah Health Policy Project

10:30 - 11:15

The Evolving Nature of Plan-Provider Relations

It is perhaps the most important force for change in health care: a good, trusting relationship between health plans and their provider partners. This panel will discuss how this relationship is changing in recent years, and how those changes are improving the system overall.

John Oaks: Vice President, Provider Networks, Molina Healthcare of Utah

Kevin Porter: CEO, Ogden Clinic

MJ Tran: Sr. Vice President of Clinical Development, Physicians Accountable Care of Utah 

10:30 - 11:15

What Are Employers Asking from the Health Care System?

The folks that pay the health care bills for a majority Utahs - employers - are sometimes the folks working most quietly to improve the system overall. It’s a challenge, to be sure.  This panel will elevate some of the more interesting voices from employers, and offer thoughts on what employers really want from their health care spend.

Tanji Northrup: Deputy Commissioner, Utah Insurance Department

Dan Richards: Manager, Sales, Regence Blue Shield of Utah 

Sterling Oaks: Area Senior Vice President, Arthur J Gallagher

11:30 - 12:15

Policy Leadership: Republicans

This panel of some of the most important Republican policy makers in Utah will gather to discuss the 2019 legislative session, and the work ahead on health policy during the interim. Bring your questions to what will be a dynamic session.

Rep. Brad Daw: Chair, House Health and Human Services Committee

Rep. Kelly Miles: Vice Chair, House Health and Human Services Committee

Rep. Ray Ward: Member, House Health and Human Services Committee

11:30 - 12:15

Addressing Utah's Opioid Crisis

As more and more Utahns struggle with addiction to opioids, Utah appears to be getting its hands around the problem. This panel of experts will talk about the progress made to date in addressing this modern scourge and how the system is responding to support those in need.

Chris Carson, MD: Interim Chief Medical Officer, Beacon Health Options

James Polo, MD: Behavioral Health Medical Director, Regence Blue Shield

Todd Thatcher, MD: CMO, Valley Cares Behavioral Health 

Adam Cohen: CEO, Odyssey House 

11:30 - 12:15

System Reform for the End of Life

The health care system comes to its best and worst moments as our loved ones near the end of life. From life saving medicine to insensitive bureaucracy, this is a roller coaster for everyone involved. How should the system change to manage this period of time with more grace, better quality, and a more meaningful experience for all involved? This panel will discuss the options in the road ahead.

Rob Ence: Executive Director, Commission on Aging

Deepthi Rajeev, PhD: Director of Patient Safety, HealthInsight

Camille Collett, MD, MPH: Faculty, St. Mark's Family Medicine Residency; Co-Chair, Utah POLST Registry Committee

Marti Kullen: Director, Licensure & Certification, Avalon Health Care Group 

11:30 - 12:15

Reviewing the Total Cost of Care in Utah

Sometimes, it’s best to look at health care from a system level. So, this session will offer insights into the work underway to measure the quality and quantity of health care expenditures in Utah, and what lessons might be drawn from their empirical approach. 

Sam Brucker: Research Analyst, Utah Foundation

Rita Hanover: Health Care Analyst, Health Insight

Sterling Petersen: Analytics Lead, Office of Health Care Statistics, Utah Department of Health 

12:30 - 1:00

Lunch Keynote with Sen. Davis and Rep. Dunnigan

We are honored to have the two senior members of the legislature join us to discuss the 2019 legislative session, the road ahead for health policy, and their visions for Utah’s health care system in the years ahead. Come learn from Sen. Gene Davis and Rep. Jim Dunnigan as they discuss health policy - and politics - in Utah.

Sen. Gene Davis: Member, Health Reform Task Force

Rep. Jim Dunnigan: Chair, Health Reform Task Force

1:00 - 1:30

A Discussion with Dr. Joseph Miner

Dr. Joseph Miner leads the Utah Dept. of Health, culminating a more than 35-year career as one of Utah’s leading voices for health, public health, and mental health.  He serves in Gov. Herbert’s cabinet following his appointment in 2015.  Prior to that, he served as the Executive Director of the Utah County Health Department.

Dr. Joseph Miner: Director, Utah Department of Health

1:45 - 2:30

Policy Leadership: Democrats

Following significant wins in the 2018 elections, Democrats picked up additional seats and a little more leverage heading into 2019. How did that play out? How will that impact health policy in the months ahead? This session of Democratic elected officials will take up the topic and your questions.  

Rep. Jennifer Dailey-Provost: Member, House Health and Human Services Committee

Sen. Gene Davis: Member, Health Reform Task Force

Rep. Brian King: House Minority Leader, Utah House of Representatives

Rep. Suzanne Harrison, MD: Member, House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee

1:45 - 2:30

Integrating the Social Determinants into a Care Model

Connecting the increasingly common knowledge that social determinants are meaningful to one’s health status to a sustainable business model in health care today is not easily done. This session will discuss what has been learned from recent years of innovations and experiments to address societal causes of poor health.

Chad Bittner, MD: Chief Medical Officer, Optum 

Peter Weir, MD: Executive Medical Director of Population Health, University of Utah Health 

Kim Wirthlin: Vice Chair, Fourth Street Clinic 

1:45 - 2:30

An Update on Legal Challenges in Health Care Today

With shifting legal strategies playing out among states and the federal government, it’s hard to keep up. Moreover, with increases in regulatory burdens, statutory changes, and administrative liabilities, getting a handle on legal issues in health care is not easy. The panel of experts will discuss the topic and explore the legal road ahead.

Leslie Francis: Distinguished Professor, College of Law, Univ. of Utah

Robert Harrison: Partner, Stilling & Harrison

Douglas Springmeyer: Vice President, Gov. Contracts, Molina Healthcare of Utah and Idaho 

1:45 - 2:30

Managing Value Based Care and Population Health

While managing one’s health is often highly individualized, so too can be addressing the unique health needs of a population. This session will discuss the lessons from applying a care coordination approach to population health, and how that intersects with the world of managed care.

Eric Cragun: Partner, Population Health, Intermountain Healthcare

Chandra Gowda, MD: Chief Medical Officer, Molina Healthcare of Utah

Jared McKee: Engagement Leader, 3M Health Information Systems

2:45 - 3:30

The Shape of Federal Health Policy

While Congress remains divided, it is clear that pressures are building on the left and right for meaningful reform of America’s health care system. Yet, the visions could not be farther apart from one another. This panel will discuss what’s ahead in federal policy and where we can expect the conversation to lead us.

Mohit Ghose: Vice President, Government Relations, Beacon Health Options

Laura Summers: Senior Health Care Analyst, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute 

Phillip Singer: Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Utah 

2:45 - 3:30

Implications of Policy Making by Initiative

The role of the ballot box was consequential in policy making by initiative in 2018. However, that will of the voter was modified by a legislative process that had its own idea for reform. This panel will discuss the implications for this tension between legislative intent and popular will when it comes to policy making.

Rick Larsen: President, Sutherland Institute 

Matt Slonaker: Executive Director, Utah Health Policy Project

Christine Stenquist: Executive Director, TRUCE

2:45 - 3:30

Innovation and Disruption from Tech and AI

Technology continues to offer hope for system improvement in health care, either through smoothing out processes or by causing severe disruption to them. So what does that pathway look like for technology disruption in 2019?  This panel of experts will look ahead at the looming disruption on the horizon.

Ron Alfa: SVP, Recursion Pharmaceuticals 

Chris Klomp: Chief Executive Officer, Collective Medical 

Maura Little: Executive Director, Cambia Grove

3:45 - 4:30

Afternoon Keynote: A Conversation with Congressman Ben McAdams

Hon. Ben McAdams represents the Salt Lake City area in the US Congress. Prior to Congress, McAdams served two terms as the Mayor of Salt Lake County, and was previously a Utah State Senator. Congressman McAdams will join us for a conversation about federal health policy, the state of discourse in Washington DC, and what Utahns might expect from their federal partnership in the months ahead.

Hon. Ben McAdams: Member, U.S. Congress