What They’re Watching: Judy Mohr Peterson, PhD

Dr. Judy Mohr Peterson is the Med-QUEST Administrator at the Hawaii Department of Human Services. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to talk about investing in the short and long term in healthcare.

There are four different elements to our waiver. We’re taking an approach of investing in both the long-term and the short-term at the same time. So we want to invest in health education, primary care and the promotion of health. So that’s our long-term investment. Investing in young children and their families, that’s our long-term approach. And then our short-term investment is focusing on complex patients, individuals of high-needs, complex health needs, they use a lot of health care resources. They need a lot of also integrated care. We really need to focus there for both health savings in our costs, but as well as really improved health outcomes. This is a very needy population, you can do a lot by focusing there.

The other two strategies, one is to invest and support community initiatives because really all health care is local. And there’s a lot of local initiatives that are happening, very innovative focusing on different ways of doing value-based payments, of improved community health outcomes, working with a broad group of behavioral health providers, hospitals, hospice providers all coming together. So, we really want to support those efforts as well.

And then underlying or as part of all of that, if we really want to make a change, then we’re going to have to pay for those things differently. So, we’re going to have to do payment reform and financial alignment with those efforts. So, it’s reallocating resources within the dollars that we’re spending, as well as reducing dollars being spent so they can be spent on things like wellness activities and social determinants of health.