5 Things Utah: U of U’s holistic care work, Stephen Foxley on the legislative session, Upcoming conference panels


Eli Kirshbaum


We’re only a few weeks away from the 2022 Utah State of Reform Health Policy Conference! Our team has been hard at work creating a curated series of panels with health policy leaders and experts that we’re sure stakeholders from all siloes will find valuable.

If you haven’t already, register now to join us in person in Salt Lake City on April 7th! We hope to see you there.

Thanks for reading!

Eli Kirshbaum
State of Reform 


1. Peter Weir discusses U of U’s Intensive Outpatient Clinic

To discuss his work leading the University of Utah Health’s Intensive Outpatient Clinic—an SDOH-focused facility that integrates physical health, behavioral health, and case management—the health system’s medical director Peter Weir, M.D., engaged in a Q&A with State of Reform last week. He said the clinic’s goal is to use holistic care to serve patients with multi-layered risks including mental health and SUD issues.

“Our hypothesis was that we could reduce unnecessary costs by more than what we would internally cost to function,” Weir said. “That’s what ended up working out.” Since its creation in 2017, the clinic has cut ER admissions by 80% and reduced hospitalizations by 30%. U of U Health released a short film earlier this year detailing the success story of Adolphus Nickleberry, a former patient of the IOU, who says his “health has changed for the best.”


2. Capitol insider Stephen Foxley reviews 2022 legislative session

Stephen Foxley, director of public affairs and government relations at Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah, spoke with State of Reform about some of the key health work to come out of the recently-adjourned legislative session. He highlighted successful efforts, like a bill to allow exemptions to COVID vaccinations, and failed initiatives, like legislation to make copay coupons count toward a patient’s overall cost-sharing, as among the most important conversations had at the capitol this year.

Foxley will join Rachel Craig, legislative coordinator at the Association for Utah Community Health, and Stacy Stanford, health policy analyst at the Utah Health Policy Project, on our annual “Capitol insiders discuss health policy” panel at the conference next month. Be sure to register to hear what is certain to be a valuable conversation!


3. Morning Keynote: Gov. Mike Leavitt

We are honored to be kicking off next month’s conference with remarks from former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt. Also previously the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Leavitt brings with him unparalleled experience in both state and federal health policy.

State of Reform Host Vern Smith, PhD, will engage the governor in an informative discussion about his history with Utah health policy, his thoughts on the state’s current health care landscape, and what might be in store for future state health policy.


4. 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, four 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.

Register now to hear from Donna Milavetz, M.D., executive medical director of Regence BCBS of Utah, Mary Pennington, president and CEO of Granger Clinic, Rich Saunders, chief innovation officer for the Office of Gov. Spencer Cox, and Ryan Morley, partner at Springtide Capital, on this timely panel.


5. An honest conversation about behavioral health

How can Utah continue to support the significant number of Utahns who are struggling with pandemic-induced mental health challenges? To discuss current efforts underway to improve Utah’s mental health system, as well as offer guidance for navigating the future of this important area, we’ve convened an intelligent panel of leaders familiar with the issue.

Attend this session to hear from Mark Rapaport, CEO of the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, Scott Whittle, M.D., medical director for Select Health, and Patrick Fleming, former director of the Salt Lake County Division of Behavioral Health Services.