Detailed Agenda

Our 2021 Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference Detailed Agenda is a list of speakers that bring together industry experts and policymakers from across the state.

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 4th. 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!


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: The future of Texas health policy in 2021

Our morning keynote features a multi-silo conversation among leaders from the public and private sectors, from both left and right political views. The conversation will focus on the future of health policy in 2021, and talk through where the legislature is most likely to focus its energies as the session unfolds.

Rep. Garnet Coleman: Chair, House County Affairs Committee 

Sen. Charles Perry: Vice Chair, Senate Health and Human Services Committee

Rep. Tom Oliverson, MD: Member, Texas State House of Representativevs

Elena Marks: Chief Executive Officer, Episcopal Health Foundation 

Andy Keller, PhD: President and Chief Executive Officer, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute 

9:00 - 9:50

Capitol Insiders Discuss Health Policy

In what is a cornerstone session at State of Reform, these advocates and government relations professionals will discuss what they see coming for health policy in the legislative session ahead. They will update you on the conversations taking place among policy makers well before the lights and cameras come up in the next session. Bring your questions to what is always an informative and enlightening session.

David White: Chief Executive Officer, Public Blueprint

Sean Griffin: Associate Vice Chancellor for Government Relations, University of Texas System

Michelle "Missy" Apodaca: Principal, Texas Star Alliance 

9:00 - 9:50

Keeping our eye on Community Health & Social Determinants

With the impact of social and community-level determinants on one’s health now mainstream knowledge, how are organizations putting that awareness to work? What are the impacts of these strategies on the quality of care, and the overall system? This session will review some of the latest efforts to implement this knowledge and discuss what it means for the Texas system of care.

Brian Sasser: Chief Communications Officer, Episcopal Health Foundation

Kay Ghahremani: President and Chief Executive Officer, Texas Association of Community-Based Health Plans

Andy Miller: Chief Strategy and Impact Officer, Texas Health Institute

9:00 - 9:50

Update on Vaccines: From mRNA to dry ice

The development of the COVID vaccine represents not only some great news for 2021, but also a significant step forward in vaccine science. This session will review the story of the vaccine’s development and discuss what Texas might expect as distribution of the vaccine continues through the year.

Greg Thompson: President and Chief Executive Officer, Amerigroup

Tammy Cohen, PharmD: System Vice President of Pharmacy Services, Baylor Scott and White Health

Maria Tort, PhD: Vaccines Medical Director, Pfizer

Katie Greene: Visiting Policy Associate, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy 

9:00 - 9:50

Reviewing the 2021-2023 Budget

The most important item to watch every legislative session is the biennial budget, and how it ultimately takes shape. This panel of budget experts will discuss the parameters, the challenges and the process ahead of putting together this session’s fiscal plan.

Ky Ash: President, Husch Blackwell Strategies

John Hryhorchuk: Vice President of Public Policy, Texas 2036

Eva Deluna Castro: Program Director, Invest in Texas Team, Every Texan

10:00 - 10:50

Policy Leadership: Republicans

These Republican legislators will join State of Reform to update you on their hopes and visions for what will be a unique and historic legislative session. Plan for strong audience engagement and a range of questions in what is always a highly interactive and candid conversation about the policy conversations ahead.

Sen. Kelly Hancock: Chair, Senate Committee on Business and Commerce

Rep. James Frank: Member, Texas House of Representatives 

Rep. Stephanie Klick: Member, Texas House of Representatives 

10:00 - 10:50

The Future of Texas Medicaid

With pressure building between the push for Medicaid expansion and the ending of DSRIP funding, the future of Medicaid in the state is actively being discussed. From procurement to accountability, from the scope of practice to plan-provider relations, this panel will explore some of the reforms proposed in the program.

Shao-Chee Sim: Vice President, Research & Evaluation, Episcopal Health Foundation

Frank McStay: Senior Policy Advisor, Baylor Scott and White Health

Stephen Palmer: Principal, Health Management Associates 

Stephanie Muth: Principal, Stephanie Muth Consulting

10:00 - 10:50

Racism as a Public Health Issue

One positive element of the difficult year that has been 2020 is the emerging and multi-cultural consensus that racism remains an unresolved stain on American society. The impacts of racism impact life expectancy, health outcomes, and quality of life, with a level of chronic stress for people of color that can create structural health challenges. This session will discuss the data that underpins racism's impact on health and how the health care sector can better deal with this ongoing issue.

Rep. Christina Morales: Member, Texas Select Committee on Statewide Health Care Costs

Charlene Flash, MD: President & Chief Executive Officer, Avenue 360

Kristi Rangel: Public Health Education Chief, Houston Health Department

Nadia Siddiqui, MPH: Chief Health Equity Officer, Texas Health Institute

10:00 - 10:50

The Data and the Texas Economic Outlook for 2021

What do the data and analytics tell us about the future of the Texas economy? Previous years have seen a boom, and a diversification away from oil. Will that continue? Has the pandemic set the state back? This session will review the numbers to gather a sense of where the Texas economy may be heading in 2021.

Eric Hammelman: Principal, Health Management Associates

Cindy Zolnierek, PhD: Chief Executive Officer, Texas Nurses Association

Vance Ginn, PhD: Chief Economist, Texas Public Policy Foundation

11:00 - 11:50

Policy leadership: Democrats

This panel includes some key Democratic legislators in the conversations around Texas health policy. They will gather to discuss their observations on health and fiscal policy in the legislative session ahead and discuss how the pandemic will impact work and logistics. Bring your questions to what is always a popular session.

Rep. Julie Johnson: Member, Texas House Insurance Committee

Sen. Nathan Johnson: Member, Texas State Senate

11:00 - 11:50

How the Texas Mental Health System is Coping

With anxiety and stress high among Texans as a result of the pandemic and consequent economic fallout, how has the mental health system responded? What new strategies to meet the needs of a community in a pandemic will remain as things move slowly to a new normal? This panel will explore these questions with implications for both market actors and policy makers.

Kevin Denmark: Vice President, Client Strategies, Beacon Health Options

Melissa Tucker: Chief Executive Officer, Gulf Coast Center 

Nelson Jarrin: Vice President, Government Affairs, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

11:00 - 11:50

Closing the Health Care Access gap in Texas

The legislative session is likely to see an active conversation about how provider and plan-level reforms in Texas can help expand access in the state. Meanwhile, the market is moving quickly to find new solutions to close the gap between the community need for care and the system’s capacity to respond. These experts will talk through the efforts underway, in both the market and policy conversations, to address this gap.

Rep. Drew Darby: Member, Texas House of Representatives

Rep. Donna Howard: Member, Texas House of Representatives

Jamie Dudensing: Chief Executive Officer, Texas Association of Health Plans

Bill Hammond: Chief Executive Officer, Texas Employers of Insurance Reform

11:00 - 11:50

How COVID has Impacted Texas Health Care

This unique session will review data from millions of claims across Texas health care delivery to understand how COVID has shaped the state’s sector. It will also feature anecdotal stories from hospitals and public health voices on the impact of COVID in those respective areas. This is a one of a kind session, one that will encourage your questions and engagement.

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

Robin Gelburd: President, FAIR Health

Dave Gruber: Associate Commissioner of Regional and Local Health Operations, Texas Department of State Health Services

12:00 - 12:50

Update on Federal Health Policy

With a new federal administration taking office soon, health care reform is primed as a key issue in the 117th Congress. This session will hear from policy advocates and congressional staffers that are at work trying to shape the next wave of federal policy making on the road ahead in 2021.

Paul Dioguardi: Senior Vice President, Forbes Tate

Lisa Kirsch: Senior Policy Director, UT Austin Dell Medical School 

Carol McDaid: Principal, Capitol Decisions 

Timothy Callaghan: Assistant Professor, Texas A&M School of Public Health 

12:00 - 12:50

Update from HHSC

Senior leaders from the HHSC will provide insights and update on the key initiatives underway at the agency. Bring your questions to what is always an informative and thoughtful conversation about state-driven health policy.

Sonja Gaines: Deputy Executive Commissioner, IDD & BH, Texas Health & Human Services Commission

Mike Maples: Deputy Executive Commissioner, Health and Specialty Care System, Texas Health & Human Services Commission

12:00 - 12:50

Innovative Strategies from the Pandemic that Should Remain Post-COVID

The pandemic has generated the need for a range of innovations across silos and organizations within the sector. This session will review some of these adaptations, from the successes to the failures, drawing lessons from 2020 that will be applied in 2021 and beyond.

Gary Jessee: Managing Director, Sellers Dorsey

Nora Belcher: Executive Director, Texas e-Health Alliance

Jennifer Harris: Member, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Thomas Kim: Member, Governor's Broadband Development Council

12:00 - 12:50

What Progress on Price Transparency?

With new federal rules having now cleared hurdles presented in the courts, the new year is expected to see a burst of new activity in the area of pricing transparency. So, how might we expect that new transparency to impact the health care sector? These thought leaders will look ahead to what this new mandate will mean in 2021.

Den Bishop: President, Holmes Murphy Insurance Broker

David Balat: Director of Right on Health Initiative, Texas Public Policy Foundation

John Hawkins: Senior Vice President, Advocacy and Public Policy, Texas Hospital Association

1:00 - 1:50

Afternoon Keynote: Modeling the future of COVID-19

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is one of the country's leading outlets for COVID projections and epidemiological research. In this presentation by the Director of IHME at the University of Washington, we will review the data and trends related to the disease and look ahead to what vaccines and additional policy measures might hold for us in 2021.

Christopher Murray, MD: Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation