What They’re Watching: Chandra Gowda

Dr. Chandra Gowda is the Chief Medical Officer of Molina Healthcare of Utah. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss controlling the cost of care.

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“So, one of the things that I’m really passionate about is…looking at the health care trends, and where is the medical cost going at the pace. We know that the current trajectory of the health care spending is not sustainable. Right now, our health care spend is 17.9% GDP, and that’s supposed to grow to 20% by 2027.

So, if we do not bend the cost curve, if we do not mitigate the trends, then, you know, we are headed into uncharted waters. So, I think as a physician leader, I would like to emphasize that, like, bending the cost curve, providing an affordable care is very important.

We are increasingly focused on population health. So, we want to be, you know, making sure that, like, we have all the tools, in terms of identifying: Who are the drivers of the cost? And, how can we have the interventions in place for those cost drivers?

And one of the things that has come up in Utah is the integration of the physical and the behavioral health. And national statistics has shown that if the behavioral health is being contained, we can reduce the medical cost by 30%. Because, you know, if somebody has got mental illness, it increases the medical cost by 30%. So, by tackling that issue, you’ll be able to reduce the medical cost.

My biggest pet peeve would be, you know, kind of like the mental health and then the physical health parity needs to be in place at all the times. And also, for the mental health piece, was not on par with the physical health.

So, I would be a big proponent of having a value-based care. So, with more patient-centered medical homes, wherein the patients can get both the physical health and behavioral health under one roof. So that would be, overall, helping the member, as well as driving the medical cost down, as well.”