Holistic Health at AHIP Institute & Expo 2019

AHIP Institute & Expo 2019 wrapped up a successful conference in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday afternoon. Health insurance payers and solution partners convened at Music City Center from June 19th-21st for an impressive line-up of speakers and educational sessions. A large theme from the conference focused on whole person care, with 17 different sessions about the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH).  

David M. Cordani, President and CEO of Cigna Corporation, spoke during a keynote session about how we work to meet consumers’ unmet needs, reflected on strategies that are currently working well, and what it will take to build momentum moving forward. His blueprint for “more sustainable health care” at Cigna revolves around addressing appropriate access to care, affordability, and limiting negative surprises. “Individuals are saying, ‘Help me access the right care, the way I need it, when I need it, how I need it. Help me afford it.’ Then, eliminate surprises,” Mr. Cordani said. 

When examining the connection between sick/medical care and holistic health, Mr. Cordani pointed to recent studies showing that “an individual with a chronic disease is seven times more likely to suffer from depression… Yet the clinical depression commonly goes untreated, or in cases where it is treated, it is treated inconsistently or incompletely. And when that transpires, the depression frequently gives way to more medical conditions.” 

This topic was also discussed during a spotlight on emotional health and well-being, led by Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, 19th Surgeon General of the United States. Much of his session was dedicated to explaining the prevalence, causes, and potential effects of loneliness. “A big part of what is impairing us to see loneliness is the stigma around it,” Dr. Murthy said. He spoke of his conversations with patients around the country, explaining that loneliness is not something people admit to on their own. Instead they speak of the other issues in their lives, but have a visceral connection to loneliness when directly asked. 

The impact of feeling lonely is greater than smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” said Dr. Murthy. “The consequence is higher than obesity and other issues that we’re working to combat.”  He explained that loneliness not only has a clear impact on our health, but it is also a common thread between many issues in our country like gun violence, suicide, and addiction. 

In order to combat social loneliness, Dr. Murthy asked the audience, “how can we mobilize and engage with community resources?” He stressed that we must make a shift, as a culture within healthcare. We have to make social connection a subject that is important to discuss and place it at the center of our concerns, along with the other major drivers of health. 

Elena V. Rios, MD, MSPH, FACP, President & CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, held a session on health disparities. She illustrated how health is unevenly distributed in our country, especially for education about how to cook better, when to eat, and how to eat. Dr. Rios noted that food and transportation are two main ways to level the playing field. 

Adding or augmenting a transportation benefit was a popular topic during AHIP 2019. Many healthcare professionals stopped by the ALC booth in the exhibit hall to discuss the specific needs of their plan, patient population, or potential business needs. More and more healthcare plans are expanding transportation benefits beyond doctor appointments to a variety of other community destinations, in order to combat social isolation.  ALC manages the transportation benefit with completely customizable parameters for healthcare organizations. Our technology is built to not only integrate seamlessly with existing systems, but also mitigate fraud, waste, and abuse alongside our 24/7 customer service teams. 

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