Detailed Agenda

Our 2021 Arizona State of Reform Health Policy Conference Detailed Agenda is a list of over 60 speakers and experts from across the spectrum of care.

The agenda and speaker list are driven by input from our Convening Panel of leaders in Arizona health care and we’re looking forward to a great event on May 25th. If you’re not already registered, you can do so here.

The heading colors correspond to track colors on our Topical Agenda to help you organize your day.

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


9:00 - 9:15

Welcome & Introductions

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 

9:15 - 9:50

Morning Keynote: A conversation with Cara Christ, MD

Dr. Cara Christ leads the Arizona Dept. of Health Services where she is Gov. Ducey's point person in response to the COVID pandemic. Dr. Christ will provide insight into the state's response to COVID over the last 12 months, and will look ahead to the pathway towards a "new normal" as we hope to begin to put this pandemic behind us all.

Cara Christ, MD: Director, Arizona Department of Health Services 

10:00 - 10:50

Policy leadership: Democrats

This panel of Democratic legislators will talk through the highs and lows of the legislative session, and offer their thoughts on the work ahead for Arizona health policy. Bring your questions to what is always an interactive and wide-ranging conversation. 

Rep. Amish Shah: Member, House Health and Human Services Committee 

Rep. Randall Friese: Member, House Health and Human Services Committee 

10:00 - 10:50

The post-COVID reconstruction of our health care system

The experience of the pandemic has laid bare some of the central challenges of our health care system. From a fee-for-service model that leaves us all at risk during a public health crisis, to structural inequity that continues to generate variations in care based on race, this session will look ahead to discuss how we learn from the last 14 months to better inform a new system of care in the years to come. 

Minnie Andrade: President, Molina Healthcare of Arizona

Dawna Cato: Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Nurses Association

Abner Mason: Chief Executive Officer, ConsejoSano

Christina Corieri: Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Gov. Doug Ducey 

10:00 - 10:50

Building a strategy to address the social determinants

We know the social determinants are primary drivers of one's health status. So, how can we capture the savings from our interventions into the social determinants, so that the care model is sustainable? This session will talk through where these conversations are going, and what we're learning from new approaches to care. 

Lorry Bottrill: Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Care

Brenda Schmidt: Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Nobil

Wendy Armendariz: Chief Executive Officer, Neighborhood Outreach Access to Healthcare 

Hannah Scott: Policy Director, Arizona Community Health Workers Association

11:00 -11:50

Policy leadership: Republicans

This panel of some of Arizona's most thoughtful and impactful Republican legislators will review the work of the legislative session. They will talk through the work accomplished, the work which remains, and what to expect in 2021. Bring your questions to what is always an interactive conversation. 

Sen. T.J. Shope: Vice Chair, House Rules Committee 

Sen. Kelly Townsend: Member, Senate Health and Human Services Committee

11:00 -11:50

The pandemic's impact on kids

We know this last year has been tough. But, how has it impacted our kids? From social media to social isolation, we know our kids are in a uniquely difficult time. So, has the pandemic helped or hurt their chances of success? From "lost years" of education, to spikes in substance use, this session will talk through what we know about how this time of COVID has shaped our younger generation. 

Sen. Sean Bowie: Member, Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee

Rep. Aaron Lieberman: Member, House Appropriations Committee

Tracy Thurston: Chief Behavioral Health Officer, Arizona's Children Association

Vince Torres: Senior Director, Children's Health, First Things First

11:00 -11:50

Innovations in financing health care services

From value-based care driven by public players, to the hybrid models featured in the commercial lines of business, the range of innovations in payment methodologies is both daunting and exciting. This session will talk through some of those models used in the market, and how Arizona's broader move to value is faring in 2021.

Ed Clarke, MD: Chief Medical Officer, Insurance Division, Banner Health Networks

Claire Agnew: Senior Vice President of Finance, Valleywise Health

Josh Axene: Partner & Consulting Actuary, Axene Health Partners

11:00 -11:50

The moral implications of inequity of health outcomes

The variation in access and outcomes to health care services during the pandemic has created a moral imperative to do better. These leaders will talk through how we can do better as a society, do better as a sector, and do better as professionals to address the stark variation in outcomes in US health care based on race. 

Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai: Member, Senate Government Committee

Jean Kalbacher: Chief Executive Officer, UnitedHealthcare Community & State

Kim Russell: Executive Director, Arizona Advisory Council on Indian Health Care 

Emily Oake: Director, Special Populations, Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers 

12:00 - 12:50

Capitol insiders discuss the legislative session

These government relations professionals will discuss state health policy, look back on the 2021 session, and talk through how they see the interim work playing out over the course of 2021. Bring your questions, as well as your own insights, to a session that is particularly interactive and forward thinking. 

Greg Ensell: Vice President, Government Relations, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association

Stuart Goodman: Principal, Goodman Schwartz Public Affairs 

Marie Isaacson: Principal, Isaacson Law Firm 

Jessie Armendt: Partner, Compass Strategies

12:00 - 12:50

Technology's new influence on the post-COVID health care system

It's clear that technology will continue to disrupt health care, and with luck, leave the sector much improved. From tele-health to wearables, from AI to population health, this session will discuss how technology is reshaping the way care is delivered, how quality is measured, and what tech's impact will be as the health care sector recovers from COVID. 

Brad Hargens: Vice President, Operations, Mercy Care 

Justin Bayless: Chief Executive Officer, Bayless Integrated Healthcare 

James Whitfill, MD: Chief Transformation Officer, Honor Health 

12:00 - 12:50

Update from AHCCCS

This always popular session will tee up some of the agency's leadership to talk through the work underway to reform and improve Arizona's health care system. From the safety net to value-based care, plan on a wide ranging discussion on the work planned at AHCCCS for 2021 and beyond. 

David Bridge: Director of Housing Programs, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System

Dana Flannery: Senior Policy Advisor & Assistant Director, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System

George Jacobson: Project Administrator, Targeted Investments Programs, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System

12:00 - 12:50

The pandemic's impact on behavioral health

The impacts of the pandemic are likely to continue to impact our behavior for years to come. From increased substance use to anxiety about social settings, many Arizonans will face a difficult path to a "new normal." This panel will discuss what that road might look like for both individuals and communities, as well as the policy responses that can support recovery. 

Sarah Alquist: Vice President, Beacon Health Options

Bryan Davey, PhD: Chief Executive Officer, Gemiini Health 

Jim Dunn: Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, National Aliance on Mental Illness Arizona

Sandra Stein, MD: Chief Medical Officer, Banner University Health Plans 

1:00 - 1:50

Measuring the impact of the American Rescue Act

One of the most impactful pieces of health care legislation in recent years was one of the first bills passed by the 117th Congress. The American Rescue Plan Act creates significant funding opportunities for Arizona with the kind of flexibility for consumers and health care organizations that is unique. So, how is the Plan going to shape Arizona's economy? This session will talk through that question as well as others on the horizon. 

Will Humble: Executive Director, Arizona Public Health Association 

Paul Dioguardi: Senior Vice President, Forbes Tate 

Scott Nelson: Partner, K&L Gates 

Kathy Hoffman: Superintendent, Arizona Dept. of Education

1:00 - 1:50

How COVID will have changed our long term care system

A year of a pandemic has shined a light on the importance of Arizona's long term care system. It's also elevated the need to refine and improve a system on which so many of our family members and community will depend. This session will talk through the emerging needs, acute challenges, and unique opportunities that Arizona's long term care system must grapple with. 

Rep. Jennifer Longdon: Member, House Public Safety Committee 

Bill Treese: President & Chief Executive Officer, Behavioral Health Solutions 

David Voepel: Executive Director, Arizona Health Care Association

Ann Monahan: Board President, Arizona Autism Coalition 

1:00 - 1:50

Financial challenges and opportunities in Medicare

The financial model of Medicare has always been different. It's combination of lower reimbursement and opportunities for flexibility have created a good proving ground for innovation. However, from service reimbursement to the Medicare Trust Fund, the financial footing on the line of business remains somewhat uncertain. This session will explore those concerns, examine opportunities for reform, and talk through the road ahead for Medicare. 

Matt Gallivan: Director, State and Federal Regulatory Affairs, 3M HIS

Amy Mackin: Attorney, Hall Render

Jeff Patmont: Business Development, Pathway Home Solutions 

1:00 - 1:50

The impacts from vaccines, biotech, and the new science of health

The last 12 months have produced a giant leap forward in vaccine science, launching an entirely new approach to vaccine research, development, and deployment. This session will explain what we now know about the coronavirus, about how the science has adapted, and what this means for how we vaccinate ourselves moving forward. 

Anne Winter: Principal, Health Management Associates

Tammy McLeod, PhD: President & Chief Executive Officer, The Flinn Foundation 

Milan Patel: Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, PathogenDx

Patrick Garman, PhD: Vaccine Medical Director, US Medical Affairs, Pfizer


Keynote: A four corner discussion on the 2021 legislature and the road ahead for Arizona health policy

Some of Arizona's most thoughtful and impactful policy makers will join State of Reform for a bi-partisan conversation on the progress of the 2021 session. The panel will also discuss both the promise and the pitfalls for health policy and the health care sector as Arizona looks to ease into a "new normal" in a waning pandemic. Bring your questions to this interactive conversation. 

Sen. Nancy Barto: Chair, Senate Health and Human Services Committee 

Sen. Tony Navarrete: Member, Senate Health and Human Services Committee 

Rep. Kelli Butler: Member, House Health and Human Services Committee

Rep. Justin Wilmeth: Member, House Health and Human Services Committee


Keynote: A conversation with US Sen. Krysten Sinema

US Senator Kyrsten Sinema has positioned herself as a pivotal swing vote in a tightly split 50-50 chamber. This session will hear from her directly about health policy in the 117th Congress, about her work on border security, and what it's like in our nation's capital during a polarized time in US politics.  

Hon. Kyrsten Sinema: Member, United States Senate