CHICAGO — The Root Cause Coalition performs “valuable work in drawing attention to how food and other social determinants affect health,” American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack said Tuesday on the final day of the first National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health Care. “The coalition has helped to create a public dialogue around these determinants, and the AHA is proud to be one of its inaugural partners.” The coalition was cofounded by ProMedica, an AHA member based in Toledo, Ohio, and the AARP Foundation.
Pollack outlined the challenges and goals for the AHA and the health care field as they strive to address health and wellness in communities across the nation. “Dealing with the future of the Affordable Care Act is a concern for all of us,” he told attendees, adding that the ACA’s goals for delivery system reform, improved quality and clinical integration will continue, regardless of what happens legislatively. “I don’t see those things going away,” he said. “It’s important to keep in mind all the things that were launched with the ACA, which have to go on because they’re the right things to do.”
Pollack described how the AHA and its members are “redefining the hospital as an anchor of the communities we serve” by zeroing in on chronic care management and addressing the rise of health care consumerism. Care management, science and technology represent “the edge of the revolution that health care faces,” he said. “Eighty-four percent of all health care spending currently goes to addressing multiple chronic conditions, and the speed of technology means that consumers don’t want to wait for anything. They are looking for convenience as never before.”
Those realities mean hospitals must move from episodic care to continuous patient engagement, Pollack said, while not forgetting their traditional mission to provide access and immediate care wherever and whenever needed. “Regardless of the election, our issues and our agenda remain the same — and all our strategies stress collaboration, which underscores the importance of the Root Cause Coalition’s work.”
“The key to achieving our vision of healthy communities means working outside the four walls of our hospitals,” he said. “By working together, we can build a future where hospitals are as much aligned with providing health as curing illness.”
When asked about “the way forward” for hospitals under the new federal administration, Pollack cited the president-elect’s book, The Art of the Deal. "Compromise should not be viewed as a dirty word," Pollack said, adding that, "in my 25 years in Washington, I have seen a focus on bipartisanship become a focus on polarization, where compromise is viewed as a bad thing. There has to be give on both sides to make progress. Politics has become a hyper-partisan game and the election has been sobering, but I am hopeful we will still seek compromise.”