March 9, 2023

AT&T Hotel and Conference Center

2023 Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference

Conference Overview

The 2023 Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference is once again going to take place in-person in Austin on March 9th, 2023!

State of Reform pulls together practitioners, thought leaders, and policymakers – each working to improve the healthcare system in their own way – into a unified conversation in a single place. It is sure to be one of the most diverse statewide gatherings of senior healthcare leaders, and one of the most important events in Texas healthcare. If you are interested in understanding what occurs at the nexus of healthcare and politics, then this is the conference for you!

Join us at the AT&T Conference Center on March 9th to discuss the most important healthcare activities taking place in Texas. If you have questions or speaker suggestions, please feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!

Topical Agenda

Here is our 2023 Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference Topical Agenda! This represents input from hours of conversations with our Convening Panel and stakeholders across the spectrum of Texas healthcare over the last number of months.

If you have suggestions for speakers, please feel free to drop us a line. We would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Please note that all agenda times are local.

We are honored to release our list of Convening Panel members ahead of the 2023 Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference!

If you know Texas healthcare, then you know this is a “who’s who” of senior healthcare executives and health policy leaders in the state. These folks will help shape our agenda through a process that launches mid December 2022!

Want to be a speaker? Want to join the Convening Panel? Just have questions? If so, drop us a line and let us know you’re interested!

DavidBalatDirector, Right on Health Care InitiativeTexas Public Policy Foundation
JoelBallewVP, Government & Community AffairsTexas Health Resources
TomBanningCEOTexas Academy of Family Physicians
NoraBelcherCEOTexas e-Health Alliance
AllisonCastlePresidentCastle Communications
RyanClayPrincipalTexas Star Alliance
KevinDenmarkVP, Client PartnershipsCarelon Behavioral Health
JamieDudensingChief Executive OfficerTexas Association of Health Plans
AnneDunkelbergSenior Fellow, Health & Food JusticeEvery Texan
MatthewFerraraDirector of State Regulatory Affairs, 3M HIS
KayGhahremaniPresident & CEOTexas Association of Community Health Plans
GeorgeGoochCEOTexas Health Services Authority
JohnHawkinsPresident/CEOTexas Hospital Association
SherriLaytonDirector of Public Policy & AdvocacyLa Hacienda Treatment Center
StephenLovePresident & Chief Executive OfficerDallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council
CharlesMillerSenior Policy AdvisorTexas 2036
JeffMillerPresident & Chief Legal OfficerWestern Dental & Orthodontics
KipynMillerSenior ManagerErnst & Young
JasonNeermanVice President, Business DevelopmentCareSource
StephenPalmerPrincipalHealth Management Associates
GeronimoRodriguezTexas Chief Advocacy OfficerAscension Texas
ReggieWallaceBusiness Development ManagerCarelon Behavioral Health

Our 2023 Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference Detailed Agenda is a list of over 30 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 Texas healthcare which makes it possible to look forward to a great event on March 9th!

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

7:30 - 8:30

Networking Breakfast

The networking breakfast will take place before the start of the conference to allow attendees to grab a light refreshment and connect with their fellow colleagues before we kick things off for the day.

8:30 - 9:30

Opening Keynote

The former Commissioner of DSHS, John Hellerstedt, MD, will open the program with a reflection on his time at DSHS, what he has learned about Texas state healthcare, and how he thinks the state should move forward in improving healthcare and policy in the state.

John Hellerstedt, MD: Former Commissioner, Texas State Department of Health Services

Carter Kimble: Principal, Health Management Associates (moderator)

9:45 - 10:45

Political Insights into the Texas Legislature

It’s an odd-numbered year, and that means Texas lawmakers have convened for another legislative session. With topics like health insurance coverage and maternal health among legislators’ top priorities, we’ve curated this group of experts to provide insight about the policy conversations taking place at the capitol and the notable legislation that might be passed this year.

Jack Frazee: Director of Government Affairs & General Counsel, Texas Nurses Association

Lindsay Lanagan: Vice President, Government Relations and Public Affairs, Legacy Community Health

Anthony Haley: Principal, HMWK, LLC

Charles Miller: Senior Policy Advisor, Texas 2036 

9:45 - 10:45

The Future of Interoperability and Health Information Technology

Both HHSC and Texas’s private sector have invested significant resources into strengthening the state’s health information exchange. So how have these efforts—coupled with the continued advance of health information technology—improved the state healthcare system’s interoperability? What further reforms are needed to ensure patients’ health data can be seamlessly shared across silos? The folks on this panel are some of the most well-equipped to answer these questions and will offer potential paths forward for exchanging health information in Texas.

George Gooch: Chief Executive Officer, Texas Health Services Authority

Phil Beckett, PhD: Chief Executive Officer, C3HIE

Tracy Rico: Director, Virtual Care Services, Superior Health Plan

9:45 - 10:45

Children's Behavioral Health in and Outside of Schools

Access to quality behavioral healthcare is a top-of-mind pursuit for many health policy stakeholders, particularly ensuring that children receive this care. The rise of telehealth and the increased utilization of school-based behavioral health services in recent years have presented new opportunities to address this issue. Hear from this unique panel of speakers about the state’s recent behavioral health work and potential policy solutions that can meet children’s growing need for care.

Celia Neavel, MD: Director, Center for Adolescent Health & GOALS Program, People’s Community Clinic

Puja Patel, MD: Assistant Director, Child Psychiatry Access Network

Sasha Jaquez, MD: Courtesy Professor & Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Dell Medical School

Kevin Denmark: Vice President, Account Partnerships, Carelon Behavioral Health (moderator)

11:00 - 12:00

Legislators Discuss Healthcare Policy

In this valuable session, hear from the lawmakers themselves about health policy work in the legislature. What are policymakers focusing on this year, and how will the legislation that’s being considered affect Texas’s healthcare sector? Hear the answers to these questions and more during this valuable conversation with some of the legislators most involved with healthcare policy making in Texas.

Sen. Morgan LaMantia: Member, Senate Health & Human Services Committee

Rep. Stephanie Klick: Chair, House Public Health Committee

Rep. Brian Harrison: District 10, Texas House of Representatives

11:00 - 12:00

Extending Access to Postpartum and Maternal Healthcare

Last session, the legislature passed a six-month postpartum Medicaid coverage extension after it was whittled down from the proposed 12-month expansion. With advocates continuing to push for the recommended full 12 months of coverage, what do conversations around postpartum coverage—and maternal healthcare in general—look like this year? These experts will dive into the topic and explore how maternal healthcare policy might change in 2023.

Evelyn Delgado: Chair & President, Texas Women’s Health Association

Helen Kent-Davis: Associate Vice President, Texas Medical Association

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

Valerie Rios: Executive Director of Partners in Parenting, Maternal Health Equity Collaborative

11:00 - 12:00

Hospital Financial Pressure and Operational Challenges

Three years after the onset of COVID-19, hospitals continue to face financial strain from skyrocketing employee wages, inflation, and abundant demand for care. While the healthcare system has directed a tremendous amount of resources to support hospital recovery over the past few years, it’s clear that more needs to be done. How can the healthcare system best support hospitals as they navigate these obstacles? This panel will discuss workforce support efforts, hospital financing strategies, and the most effective ways to keep hospitals afloat.

Adam Willmann: Chief Executive Officer, Goodall-Witcher Hospital

Cory Edmondson: Chief Executive Officer, Peterson Health

Don Gilbert: Former Commissioner, Texas Health and Human Services Commission

12:00 - 1:00

Networking Lunch

Please join us for a networking lunch! This will be a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues, follow up on the conversations we’ve had so far, and facilitate further discussions as we move toward the second half of today’s event.

1:00 - 2:00

Medicaid Redeterminations and Closing the Coverage Gap

The April 1st mark for allowing Medicaid redeterminations to begin is just around the corner and leaders from all silos of Texas’s healthcare landscape have been working hard to minimize coverage losses. With increasing health insurance coverage already being a huge priority for stakeholders, hear from respected state leaders about what’s being done to prevent Texans from losing coverage—and what you can do to help.

Valerie Mayes: Deputy Executive Commissioner, Texas Health and Human Services Committee

Molly Lester: Deputy Chief Program and Services Officer, Texas Health and Human Services Committee

Sonia Lara: Outreach and Enrollment Director, Texas Association of Community Health Centers

Stacey Pogue: Senior Policy Analyst, Every Texan

Stephen Palmer, PhD: Managing Principal, Health Management Associates (moderator)

1:00 - 2:00

Broadening the Definition of Behavioral Health and Expanding Access to Care

Behavioral healthcare is increasingly being acknowledged as integral to an individual’s health, and more and more actors in Texas’s health sector are promoting its integration with physical health. That being said, harmful gaps currently exist in the state’s provision of behavioral health, including a shortage of providers and access issues in rural areas. To discuss how stakeholders can collaborate to continue to improve behavioral healthcare, we’ve gathered these experts for an insightful conversation.

Brooke Hammond: Director of Operations, Integral Care

Andrea Guerrero-Guajardo, PhD: Director, Preventative Health and Environmental Services, Bexar County

Melanie Melville, MD: Medical Director of Behavioral Health, Legacy Community Health

Iliana Gilman: Principal, Health Management Associates (moderator)

1:00 - 2:00

Evaluating the Total Cost of Care

One of the main overlying issues affecting all aspects of health policy is the overall cost of healthcare—the continuing rise of which most stakeholders agree is getting out of hand. There are seemingly so many different solutions on the table, often making it challenging to determine which strategies to pursue in order to engage all sectors and bring down the collective cost of care. The speakers on this panel will analyze “the bigger picture” of healthcare costs and provide insight into the courses of action that are likely to be the most successful in bending the cost curve.

Norman Chenven, MD: Founding Chief Executive Officer, Austin Regional Clinic

Edwin Estevez, PhD: Co-Founder & Principal, AltaCair

Ankit Sanghavi: Executive Director, Texas Health Institute

Eric Weaver: Executive Director, Institute for Advancing Health Value (moderator)

2:15 - 3:15

An Update on Federal Health Policy

There has been no shortage of healthcare-related changes coming from the federal government over the past few months. Among recent federal policies impacting Texans’ healthcare include the omnibus spending bill’s permittance of one year of continuous coverage for children in Medicaid and CHIP, the permanent extension of the option for states to extend postpartum coverage to 12 months, and new FCC guidance allowing health plans to text members about their coverage. These experts will dive into the relevant federal developments stakeholders should be aware of.

Sima Ladjevardian: Region 6 Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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

Carter Kimble: Principal, Health Management Associates (moderator)

2:15 - 3:15

Lessons from the Successes and Setbacks in Addressing Health Disparities

Both the public and the private sector have long been pursuing various initiatives to promote health equity. While simply implementing these efforts is important, it’s also critical to measure the success of this work and identify ways to further-address outstanding disparate health outcomes among different populations. We’ve brought together a group of speakers who are heavily involved in this work to reflect on Texas’s recent efforts and offer evidence-based recommendations for how to continue advancing health equity.

Keegan Warren-Clem: Senior Consultant, Health Management Associates

Nicholas Yagoda, MD: Chief Medical Officer, CommUnityCare Health Centers

Cherelle VanBrakle: Director of Model Community, United Way for Greater Austin

Kathleen Spangler: Senior Community Engagement Manager, Texas, Unite Us

2:15 - 3:15

Multi-Sector Efforts to Retain, Support, and Grow the Workforce

Perhaps one of the most pressing issues facing the healthcare sector—both within Texas and throughout the country—is the dwindling workforce. With burnout and stressful working conditions causing employees to leave, along with skyrocketing wages that make it challenging for hospitals to compete and hire enough employees, we’ve convened this panel of stakeholders who are steeped in workforce support efforts in Texas. These experts will discuss how sectors can work together to respond to the crisis.

Michele Bosworth, MD: Physician Principal, Health Management Associates

Serena Bumpus: Chief Executive Officer, Texas Nurses Association

Lindsey Tippit: Chief Operations Officer, Lone Star Circle of Care

3:30 - 4:00

Closing Keynote

Executive Vice Chancellor of the University of Texas System, John Zerwas, MD, will join us as our Closing Keynote speaker to discuss the impacts of COVID-19, building up Texas’s healthcare workforce, and efforts to improve care for all Texans. Zerwas will reflect upon his long career to give insight into the future of the UT System and Texas healthcare overall.

John Zerwas, MD: Executive Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs, University of Texas Health System

Carter Kimble: Principal, Health Management Associates (moderator)



Please join us following the Closing Keynote session for a networking reception. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be included, giving attendees a wonderful opportunity to follow up on the discussions we’ve had throughout the day.

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