Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana recently partnered with Greater New Orleans, Inc. and the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce to host the second annual Business to Business Forum on Healthcare Solutions (B2B Health Forum) at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.
The daylong event gave Louisiana business owners a chance to meet with subject matter experts to learn more about potential changes to healthcare reform, and how to rein in the rising costs from prescription drugs. Other topics included applying Big Data concepts to healthcare, and developing worksite wellness programs.
“We know a lot of Louisiana business owners are trying to plan as best they can for every possible future, while continuing to navigate within our current system,” said Dr. I. Steven Udvarhelyi, Blue Cross president and CEO. “There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s not always easy for businesses, particularly small businesses, to get access to leading experts in the field. The B2B health forum is a way we can provide that service to the employer community.”
The forum featured a series of small breakout sessions and two main sessions, including a keynote address on improving healthcare through innovations such as the Apple Watch, given by Dr. Richard Milani, Ochsner Health System. Attendees also had the chance to submit questions to a panel comprised of Dr. Milani, Dr. Corey Hebert, Tulane University and WDSU, and Dr. Vindell Washington, Blue Cross chief medical officer.
Michael Hecht, president & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., addressed high healthcare costs as an issue for economic development for Louisiana as part of his opening remarks at the forum. “Personnel benefits costs are typically the second-largest expense for businesses,” said Michael Hecht. “For us in Louisiana, managing these costs is not just an issue of doing what’s right for our employees, but of also ensuring that our state remains a great place to do business. This forum is an excellent opportunity for Louisiana businesses to get current information on changes to healthcare policy, and then understand all of their options for offering strong benefits that remain affordable.”
The New Orleans Chamber joined as a sponsoring partner of the event this year, in response to members’ concerns. In planning for the 2017 summit, Ben Johnson, chamber president & CEO, went to his members to find out what types of issues they were most interested in.
“The unpredictability of healthcare costs is a huge concern for our members,” said Johnson. “Due to anticipated proposed legislation changes, small businesses are unable to determine future costs and budget accordingly. The value of this conference is to enable employers to stay informed.”
The information presented at the forum has been posted to the event website, www.bcbsla.com/b2bhealthforum, where these materials can be downloaded and distributed on an ongoing basis.