Public Release: 

Montana State University to host 'Healthcare at a Crossroads' conference April 6

Montana State University

Health care will be the focus April 6 at the second annual policy conference hosted by the Montana State University Initiative for Regulation and Applied Economic Analysis. "Healthcare at a Crossroads: Where Do We Go from Here?" is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in MSU's Procrastinator Theater.

The daylong conference will bring together nationally recognized health care policy scholars, as well as local experts and providers, to discuss consumer-centric models of care, evolving federal health care policy, integrating mental and physical care, promoting community health, ensuring care for aging and vulnerable populations and maintaining a robust health care workforce.

Speakers include Stephen Parente of the University of Minnesota; David Auerbach of the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission; Arnold Epstein of the Harvard School of Public Health; Sam Glick of Oliver Wyman; Angela Beck of the University of Michigan Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center; Claire Brindis of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco; Karen Donelan of the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital; Jay Bhattacharya of the Center on the Demography and Economics of Health and Aging at Stanford University; and Jon Skinner of Dartmouth College.

Wendy Stock, co-director of the initiative and economics professor in the MSU Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics in the College of Agriculture, said changes in technology and innovation, evolving demographics and delivery models, and changes in federal and state health care regulation have put the United States health care system at a crossroads.

"The United States spends more on health care than any other nation in the world, and the spending is increasing rapidly," Stock said. "Unfortunately, this high level of spending does not necessarily translate into better health care, and many health care outcomes in the U.S. lag behind other nations."

Stock said there are large disparities in health care across a range of dimensions, such as race and income level. Those disparities translate into worse health outcomes for minorities, those with low incomes, those with special health needs and those in rural areas.

"The large increases in health care spending and the large gaps in health care access and quality are key areas of concern for health care providers, policymakers, employers and families," she said.

The conference will provide participants with a deeper understanding of health care challenges and the potential effects of policies and regulations designed to address them, Stock added.

A keynote lecture featuring James Capretta of the American Enterprise Institute will be held Thursday, April 5, from 6 to 7 p.m. in Linfield Hall, Room 125. The conference and keynote are free and open to the public. Continuing education credits are available.

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For more information and to register for the conference and keynote, visit montana.edu/regecon/healthcarepolicyconference.

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