Detailed Agenda

The more than 50 speakers invited to join State of Reform represent the curation of thought leaders and voices from across the spectrum of Texas health care. We’re excited to host them at this unique virtual event!



8:00 - 8:15

Welcome and Introduction

DJ Wilson, Host of State of Reform, will kick off the day with comments framing the conference agenda, and the role of State of Reform hopes to play in this challenging era of health policy and politics. He will orient us to the conference, including a run down of how best to utilize the unique tools of the virtual platform.

DJ Wilson: Host, State of Reform

8:15 - 8:50

Morning Keynote: 5 Slides to Discuss with Sen. Nathan Johnson

Sen. Nathan Johnson (D-Dallas) has distinguished himself in his first term as a policy-minded and detail-oriented legislator. In the 2019 legislative session, Sen. Johnson passed 22 bills into law, all with bi-partisan support. These included a number of bills related to health care, ranging from medical coding to Medicaid expansion.  

In this Morning Keynote session, Sen. Nathan Johnson and State of Reform Host DJ Wilson will review five key slides, each highlighting key questions facing Texas on the question of health care. This interactive conversation will include audience input and questions as this multi-media conversation unfolds.

Sen. Nathan Johnson: Senator, District 16

9:00 - 9:50

Policy Leadership: Republicans

This panel includes some of the most important Republican legislators in Texas health policy. They will gather to discuss their observations on health reform and fiscal policy since the previous 2019 legislative session ended, how the pandemic in 2020 will impact the work of the legislature in 2021, and what the politics of the 2020 election mean for policy discussions. Bring your questions to what will be a dynamic session.

Rep. James Frank: Chair, House Human Services Committee

Rep. Tom Oliverson: Member, Texas House of Representatives

9:00 - 9:50

How Social Determinants are Re-Shaping Health

The COVID pandemic has laid bare the disparate health outcomes across race, color and demography. These reflect the variation related to the social determinants of health, and long standing issues related to health equity. So, what do we know more of now about this problem than we did just a few months ago? And, how are SDOH re-shaping the conversation about what it means to be healthy across all demographic cohorts? This session will explore these questions and talk through possible implications.

Michelle Bentzien-Purrington: Vice President, Long Term Services & Supports, Molina Healthcare of Texas

Elena Marks: Chief Executive Officer, Episcopal Health Foundation

Shara McClure: Divisional Sr. Vice President, Texas Health Care Delivery, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas

9:00 - 9:50

Lessons from Tele-health's Growth

Telehealth is one of the more important stories coming out of COVID. The utilization of telehealth tools has been catalyzed by the pandemic in a way no other effort has been able to since the advent of the model more than 20 years ago. So, what have we learned from the growth of telehealth, and what is likely to stick with us after COVID recedes? This panel will explore the question and highlight what we think we know about the future to come.

Nora Belcher: Executive Director, Texas eHealth Alliance 

Julie Hall-Barrow: Senior Vice President, Network Development and Innovation, Children's Health

Leslie Weisberg, MD: Market Chief Medical Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas

Ogechika Alozie, MD: Infectious Disease Specialist, Sunset ID Care

9:00 - 9:50

Stabilizing Hospital Financing

From the collapse in demand for hospital services earlier this year, to the threat of disruption from federal rule-making, hospitals face a range of challenges to stable financing. As DSRIP funds sunset, some of the more creative financing strategies of the last decade are likely to evaporate from hospitals’ cash flow statements. This session will explore the challenges and opportunities on the horizon for Texas hospitals and what it might mean for policy makers in the next legislative session.

Steve Love: Chief Executive Officer, Dallas Fort-Worth Hospital Council 

John Henderson: Chief Executive Officer, Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals 

Leslie Pierce: Senior Vice President, Revenue Cycle, Methodist Health System

Don Gilbert: Consultant, Don A. Gilbert Consulting

10:00 - 10:50

Capitol Insiders Discuss the Next Session

In what is always a popular session, these government relations professionals will discuss state health policy, the upcoming 2021 session and the impact of the 2020 election on the state of health reform. Bring your questions, as well as your own insights, to a session that is particularly interactive, forward thinking, and always enlightening.

John Hawkins: Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Texas Hospital Association

Heather Vasek: Senior Policy Advisor, Delisi Communications

Jim Pitts, MBA, JD: Former State Representative '93-'15, District 10

Harvey Kronberg: Publisher, The Quorum Report

10:00 - 10:50

Racism as a Public Health Issue

Structural racism, violence in our streets, and the murder of Black men and women by police may seem like topics removed from the day to day of health care. But, the health care sector doesn't exist in a vacuum. From the boardroom to the exam room, from the finance department to the community health worker, race and racism are present in health care in meaningful ways that aren’t always fully understood. This panel will discuss what racism looks like in Texas health care, and how race continues to be a factor in the experience our community has when they engage in the institutions meant to keep them well.

Rep. Garnet Coleman: Chair, House County Affairs Committee

Felicia Latson: Director, Social Determinants of Health, Legacy Community Health

Hon. Casey Thomas II: Council Member, City of Dallas

10:00 - 10:50

Innovations from the Pandemic Worth Scaling Up

The creativity in health care during these last six months has been amazing, with innovations ranging from payment models to technology solutions. So, which innovations are worth keeping and making sure they survive? This session will review the new approaches to care as a result of 2020, and talk through what we might see remain with us well into 2021.

Tom Banning: Chief Executive Officer, Texas Academy of Family Physicians

Andrew Masica, MD: Senior Vice President, Texas Health Resources

Steve Miff, PhD: President, Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation 

10:00 - 10:50

Measuring the Efficiency of Medicaid Health Plans

Utilizing public data, this session will review the efficacy and efficiency of Texas’s Medicaid managed care plans in delivering on the promise of coordinated care. The session will discuss the benchmarks currently in place, how more than 20 health plans measure against those standards, and what that information might mean for policy makers heading into the next legislative session. 

Patrick Sturdivant: President, Amerigroup of Texas

Karen Love: President, Cook Children's Health Plan

John Colyandro: Partner, Colyandro+Frank Public Affairs

11:00 - 11:50

Policy Leadership: Democrats

While 2020 looks like it could be a big year for Democrats nationally, it’s not yet clear how that will impact the party’s position in Texas. Regardless of how the election plays out, Democratic caucuses will likely tee up a range of health policy ideas that will surface in the next session. This panel will present key legislative leaders and their vision for the future of Texas health policy. Bring your questions to what is always a thoughtful conversation on the future of health care in Texas.

Rep. Chris Turner: Chair, House Democratic Caucus

Rep. Lina Ortega: Member, House Public Health Committee

11:00 - 11:50

Impact of Healthcare in Detention Settings on Population Health

Historically, health insurance coverage has stopped at the door of the Texas incarceration system. However, this has meant that care inside the incarceration system is often uncoordinated and invisible to the outside world that inmates will return to. With costs in jails and prisons rising, this has meant an increasing price tag for the state and counties in Texas. So, how can costs be mitigated and transparency be improved so that inmates’ health can be better supported as they work to get traction back in civilian life? This session will discuss this nuanced and important topic.

Esmaeil Porsa, MD: President & Chief Executive Officer, Harris Health System

Bren Manaugh: Principal, Health Management Associates

11:00 - 11:50

How Technology has met this COVID Moment

From wearables to telehealth, from artificial intelligence to algorithms, technology is reshaping care delivery and coordination during this time of COVID. So, what lessons have we learned about tech’s efficacy as a tool for better health? And, how can policy makers support the innovation in the space while ensuring privacy rights are protected in this new world? This panel of experts will take up this discussion during this session.

Vian Nguyen, MD: Chief Medical Officer, Legacy Community Health 

Justin Johnson: Vice President, Telemedicine, Baylor Scott & White Health

Mark Milligan: Founder, Anywhere Healthcare

Mari Tietze, PhD: Doswell Endowed Chair in Nursing Informatics, Texas Women's University

11:00 - 11:50

Assessing the State Budget Outlook

Building a state budget and setting fiscal policy for Texas was already difficult given the collapse in oil prices. It’s getting harder as a result of the lingering economic contraction. Moreover, with a looming general election and the possibility of significant federal support - or not - the range of variables makes crafting working majorities extremely difficult. This session will explore the possible options before the legislature, ranging from new taxes to to-the-bone cuts.

Kay Ghahremani: Chief Executive Officer, Texas Association of Community Health Plans

Nelda Hunter: Budget and Policy Consultant, HillCo

12:00 - 12:50

Federal Elections, Health Policy and Rule Making

While the pending election has put some efforts on hold, a number of initiatives remain in discussion and ready to recommence once November is finalized. From CMS rule-making to a continuing resolution outlining future spending, there are a number of nuanced vehicles teed up that could impact health care well into the next term. This session will talk through what some of those items are and what we might see as the calendar moves into the next year.

Paul Dioguardi: Senior Vice President, Forbes Tate

Krista Drobac: Partner, Sirona Strategies

Arielle Kane Director of Health Care, Progressive Policy Institute

12:00 - 12:50

Economic Impacts of Rising Health Care Costs

It is clear that the structure of the economy - and the meaning of work - is shifting during this economic moment. From work from home to mass layoffs, things will change in meaningful ways for some years. But what will that mean for Texas, for the nature of work, and for the state of the economy? This panel will explore the topic and bring their best thinking to the questions that lie ahead.

Jeff Bullard, MD: Chief Medical Officer, Catalyst Health Network

Ken Malcomson: President and Chief Executive Officer, North Dallas Chamber of Commerce

David Balat: Director, Right on Healthcare, Texas Public Policy Foundation

12:00 - 12:50

Has COVID changed the Medicaid Expansion Calculus?

With funding for health care services increasingly uncertain, either from COVID’s hit to demand or from the waiver’s looming cuts to DSRIP, new conversations about what a Medicaid expansion could look like are taking place among legislators in both parties. From block grants to eligibility, cost savings to re-investments, this session will discuss how COVID has augmented the more traditional arguments for and against Medicaid expansion in Texas.

Dan Finch: Vice President, Texas Medical Association

Marisa Finley: Vice President, Health Policy & Government Affairs, Baylor Scott & White Health

Stephen Palmer: Principal, Health Management Associates

Stephanie Muth: Principal, Stephanie Muth Consulting

1:00 - 1:50

Afternoon Keynote: A Conversation with Commissioner Hellerstedt

Commissioner Hellerstedt leads the Texas Dept. of State Health Services, and is Gov. Abbott’s lead advisor on Texas’s COVID response. Hellerstedt’s agency handles public health responsibilities for the state and has served as the coordinating entity for a range of COVID response activities. Dr. Hellerstedt will provide an update on the pandemic response, the future of COVID in Texas, and his personal experiences navigating this once in a century health care event.

John Hellerstedt, MD: Commissioner, Dept. of State Health Services