FAIR Health Delivers Keynotes at National and Regional State of Reform Conferences

FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd virtually delivered afternoon keynote addresses at the first-ever State of Reform Federal Health Policy Conference on April 7 and the Northern California State of Reform Health Policy Conference on April 22. Delivered by invitation, the addresses were Ms. Gelburd’s eighth and ninth presentations to a State of Reform conference.

State of Reform Federal Health Policy Conference
During the April 7 address at the State of Reform Federal Health Policy Conference, entitled “Evolving Costs and Utilization during COVID-19,” FAIR Health was honored to present an overview of national data related to the pandemic. Ms. Gelburd shared data about COVID-19’s impact on the US healthcare system, including the frequency of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and vaccines. Ms. Gelburd also presented data on the growth of telehealth utilization and mental health services throughout the pandemic. Ms. Gelburd’s presentation was followed by a Q&A session with Host and Chief Executive Officer of the State of Reform DJ Wilson. Other keynote speakers included Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and Washington Senator Patty Murray.

Some of the data Ms. Gelburd presented came from a series of FAIR Health COVID-19 studies, including COVID-19: The Projected Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the US Healthcare System, Illuminating the Impact of COVID-19 on Hospitals and Health Systems, Key Characteristics of COVID-19 Patients and The Impact of COVID-19 on Pediatric Mental Health, among others.

Ms. Gelburd shared additional data that examined regional differences regarding COVID-19. For example, the geographic distribution of COVID-19 vaccines from 2020 to 2021 differed from the distribution of COVID-19 cases. Roughly 39 percent of all vaccinations occurred in the Northeast, with 22.7 percent occurring in the South, whereas 31.1 percent of all COVID-19 cases in 2020 were seen in the South.

Presenting data from FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker, Ms. Gelburd discussed how telehealth has surpassed in-office settings for mental health treatment during the pandemic.

Northern California State of Reform Health Policy Conference
During the April 22 address at the Northern California State of Reform Health Policy Conference, entitled “California Healthcare Utilization and Pricing against the Backdrop of COVID-19,” Ms. Gelburd reviewed COVID-19’s impact on the California population and healthcare system, and discussed healthcare trends that emerged throughout the pandemic. Ms. Gelburd’s presentation was again followed by a Q&A session with Mr. Wilson.

Ms. Gelburd shared data to illuminate the impact of COVID-19 in the state of California, with an emphasis on Northern California. The data included COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, vaccines and treatment costs in California. For COVID-19 vaccines from 2020 to 2021, for example, the majority of vaccinations in California were among 41- to 64-year-olds, accounting for 40 to 45 percent of vaccines across the state. For total treatment costs, a COVID-19 intensive care unit stay in Sacramento was more expensive than in Los Angeles, with an average billed charge amount of $548,000, approximately $27,000 higher than the cost in Los Angeles.

Ms. Gelburd also presented data on healthcare utilization and revenue in California, revealing that there were greater drops in utilization and revenue nationally than in California in March and April 2020. While utilization and revenue started to increase nationally above 2019 levels in the summer months, this type of increase did not occur in California until November.

Ms. Gelburd discussed the evolution of telehealth in Northern California, showing how the growing frequency of telehealth psychotherapy visits in the area revealed a persistent demand for mental health services during the pandemic.