Detailed Agenda

Our 2022 Utah 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 health care leaders from across the nation, and we’re looking forward to a great event on April 7th! 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!

Please note, all session times are in MST!


9:00 - 9:15

Welcome & 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.

Vern Smith, Ph.D.: Host, State of Reform

9:15 - 9:50

Morning Keynote: A conversation with Gov. Mike Leavitt

The Morning Keynote will feature remarks from Gov. Mike Leavitt, former governor of Utah and former Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Bush administration. Hear Gov. Leavitt talk about the most timely health policy items in the state and how they will impact the health care sector.

Gov. Mike Leavitt: Former Governor, State of Utah 

10:00 - 10:50

Capital insiders discuss health policy

On-the-ground advocates are an incredible source of health policy intelligence. So, we’ve convened a group of some of the most prominent Salt Lake City insiders to talk about what they witnessed in the legislature this year. Attend this conversation to hear lobbyists’ insights on the most recent health policy developments in Utah and their predictions for future policy.

Stephen Foxley: Director, Public Affairs and Government Relations, Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Utah

Rachel Craig: Legislative Coordinator, Association for Utah Community Health

Stacy Stanford: Health Policy Analyst, Utah Health Policy Project

10:00 - 10:50

The progress and future of value-based care in Utah

The transition from a fee-for-service model to value-based care is one of the most important issues in the state. With the recent creation of the Utah Sustainable Health Collaborative, these VBC experts will discuss the goal of this collaborative and how it aims to make meaningful change in the way we finance and deliver care. 

Donna Milavetz, M.D.: Executive Medical Director, Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Utah

Mary Jane Pennington: President & Chief Executive Officer, Granger Medical Clinic

Rich Saunders: Chief Innovation Officer, Office of Governer Spencer Cox

Ryan Morley: Partner, SpringTide Ventures

10:00 - 10:50

Re-imagining the post-COVID workforce

The pandemic has ravaged Utah’s health care workforce, leaving health facilities in dire need of staffing and forcing them to defer care. How can the state bolster its workforce as COVID continues to impact hospitals? Hear from a group of experts about the solutions on the table for fortifying Utah’s health workforce.

Rep. Norman Thurston: Member, Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee 

Liz Close: Executive Director, Utah Nurses Associaton

Liz Carver: Director of the Division of Workforce Development, Department of Workforce Services

10:00 - 10:50

An update from state agencies

State agency leaders from the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, and the Department of Workforce Services will come together to give an update on their progress to create a healthier Utah. These three agencies will discuss their health priorities and current projects.

Heather Borski: Deputy Director, Utah Department of Health

Kevin Burt: Deputy Director, Department of Workforce Services

Nathan Winters: Assistant Deputy Director, Utah Department of Human Services

11:00 - 11:50

Policy leadership: Republicans

This panel includes some of the most important voices in Utah health policy on the Republican side of the aisle. They will share their thoughts on pertinent health and fiscal policy conversations, and will discuss how the pandemic will continue to impact policy in 2022 and 2023. Bring your questions to what is always a highly attended and dynamic session.

Sen. Todd Weiler: Member, Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee

Rep. Candice Pierucci: Vice-Chair, House Health and Human Services Committee

Rep. Raymond Ward: House Chair, Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee

11:00 - 11:50

New tools and strategies built around data sharing

From providing critical information about the social determinants to improving care delivery, the collection of comprehensive health data can impact the health system in numerous ways. This group of knowledgeable leaders will give an update on the health data sharing landscape and how to improve data collection efforts.

Carl Letamendi: Bureau Director, Office of Health Care Statistics, Utah Department of Health

Marc Bennett: Chief Executive Officer, Comagine Health

Henry Gardner: Consultant, Silicon Slopes

11:00 - 11:50

How has COVID changed Utah's health system?

Two years into the pandemic, it’s clear COVID has had an unprecedented impact on the health care system. With all siloes of Utah’s health system being forced to adapt to the changes brought on by the virus, how is today’s system different than it was in early 2020? Hear from a panel of experts about how Utah health care has changed and what this means for stakeholders.

Richard Smith, M.D.: Regional Vice President, Health Services, Humana

Janida Emerson: Chief Executive Officer, 4th Street Clinic

Matt Slonaker: Executive Director, Utah Health Policy Project

11:00 - 11:50

The future of Medicaid

After two years of expanded Medicaid, new ideas to expand access to care are continuing to evolve. This session will address Utah Medicaid's plans to improve access and handle the upcoming redetermination process at the end of the public health emergency for members.

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

John Poelman: Senior Director, Leavitt Partners

Jennifer Strohecker: Medicaid Director, Utah Department of Health

12:00 - 12:50

Lunch Keynote: What the new DHHS will look like

In anticipation of the July launch of the consolidated Department of Health and Human Services, hear from the new agency’s upcoming leader, Tracy Gruber, during the Lunch Keynote. The respected health leader will talk through what the department will look like and how it will affect Utah’s health care sector.

Tracy Gruber: Executive Director, Utah Department of Human Services 

1:00 - 1:50

Policy leadership: Democrats

Health care reform remains a top issue for Democratic voters and certainly a continued focus area for Democrats in the Utah legislature. This session brings together Democrats from the state legislature who focus on health policy.

Sen. Gene Davis: Minority Caucus Manager, Utah Senate

Sen. Luz Escamilla: Minority Whip, Utah Senate

Rep. Jennifer Dailey-Provost: House Minority Assistant Whip, Utah House of Representatives

1:00 - 1:50

What is the status of trust in public health?

Misinformation and a growing frustration over mixed public health messaging is fueling an unprecedented mistrust in public health leadership. To explore how Utahns’ view of public health has changed since the arrival of COVIDas well as how to restore this trust during a time where it’s needed more than everwe’ve curated this panel of experienced state leaders for a forward-looking discussion on the topic.

Derek Monson: Vice President, Policy, Sutherland Institute

Jill Parker: Executive Director, Utah Association of Local Health Departments

Sydnee Dickson: State Superintendent, Utah State Board of Education

Byron Clarke: Chief Operating Officer, Utah Navajo Health System

1:00 - 1:50

The implications of moving care into the home

In the post-COVID health care landscape, home-based medical care is getting more attention than ever from stakeholders. Many patients preferor needto receive important medical care from the comfort of their home rather than at the doctor’s office. This panel will discuss the growing focus on home-based health care and what this might mean for Utah’s health care system going forward.

Emily Horsley: Director, Health Services, Humana

Matt Hansen: Executive Director, Homecare & Hospice Association of Utah

Nathan Starr, M.D.: Medical Director of Home Services, Intermountain Healthcare

1:00 - 1:50

Are efforts to address SDOH working?

Health disparities illuminated by COVID have spurred numerous initiatives aimed at addressing the social determinants of health. Two years into the pandemic, have these efforts yielded effective results? Hear from an intelligent group of leaders about the SDOH-focused efforts underway, if they’re working, and what more needs to be done.

Peter Weir, M.D.: Executive Medical Director of Population Health, University of Utah Health

Dulce Diez: Director, Office of Health Disparities, Utah Department of Health

Lisa Nichols: Community Health Assistant Vice President, Intermountain Healthcare 

2:00 - 2:50

Impact of the 2022 midterm elections on health policy

Which party controls Congress could have considerable implications for both state and federal health policy. To discuss what Utah’s future health care landscape might look like post-midterms, we’ve convened several experts who will share their thoughts and predictions about the 2022 elections and how they might impact health policy.

Dave Lee: Senior Director, Leavitt Partners

Neil Abercrombie: Legislative Director, Office of Governor Spencer Cox

Mark Driggs: Regional Program Director, 3M

Chris Bleak: Lobbyist, RRJ Consulting

2:00 - 2:50

Measuring the future of Utah's pandemic readiness

The magnitude of the pandemic shook public health systems across the country, and Utah’s is no exception. What lessons has the state learned about preparing for public health emergencies like this? And, has our experience with COVID prepared us enough for future crises? Sit in on this thoughtful conversation to hear these panelists’ thoughts on Utah’s pandemic readiness.

Michael Jensen: Chief Executive Officer, Utah Navajo Health System

Jess Anderson: Commissioner, Utah Department of Public Safety

Carrie Butler: Executive Director, Utah Public Health Association

2:00 - 2:50

An honest conversation about behavioral health

From counseling to crisis stabilization, the pandemic experience will likely continue to affect  Utahns’ mental and behavioral health for years to come. This panel will convene behavioral health experts to discuss the work to meet the state’s increased demand for BH services.

Mark Rapaport: Chief Executive Officer, Huntsman Mental Health Institute

Scott Whittle, M.D.: Medical Director, SelectHealth 

Patrick Fleming: Former Director, Salt Lake County Division of Behavioral Health Services

2:00 - 2:50

Getting our hands around substance use

Substance use disorder continues to be a top priority for health care leaders and policy makers in Utah. This panel includes thoughtful leaders who will discuss their efforts to expand and enhance prevention, treatment and recovery support services. 

Mary Jo McMillen: Executive Director, Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness

Elizabeth Klc: Director, Utah Substance Use and Mental Health Advisory Council

Brent Kelsey: Interim Director, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, Utah Department of Human Services

3:00 - 3:50

One-on-One Conversations: The future of Utah health care

To wrap up the conference, we will host three one-on-one conversations with some of the biggest names in Utah health care about their plans for the future of health care in the state. Be sure to stick around to hear from this multi-silo leadership panel.

Michael Good, M.D.: Chief Executive Officer, University of Utah Health

Greg Bell: President & Chief Executive Officer, Utah Hospital Association

Marti Lolli: Chief Executive Officer, SelectHealth