Earlier this year, U.S. News & World Report and the Aetna Foundation collaborated to launch the Healthiest Communities rankings. The program received significant national and local attention and has helped empower citizens, health care leaders and officials to make decisions about policies and practices that can improve health outcomes for all.
The Healthiest Communities rankings have become a cornerstone of the Aetna Foundation’s mission of building healthy communities, and the collaboration with U.S. News & World Report continued at their annual “Healthcare of Tomorrow” conference in Washington, D.C. The conference unites the nation’s top health care leaders – medical experts, hospital executives, policymakers, insurers, consumer advocates and industry analysts – to exchange ideas, share best practices, and set new standards for patient care.
Dr. Hal Paz, Aetna’s Chief Medical Officer, participated in a panel discussion at the conference entitled “Next Steps for Value-Based Care.” During the conversation, Dr. Paz referenced the continued opportunity for value-based care to help improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs, as well as how it aligns with some of Aetna’s other key strategies.
“Being focused on social determinants of health is not a separate approach – it supports and is connected with value-based care,” Paz said. “The greatest opportunity is using analytics to identify those with the greatest needs, and then offering them solutions to achieve personalized health.”
Dr. Garth Graham (pictured, far right), president of the Aetna Foundation and vice president of Community Health at Aetna, Inc., moderated a panel at the event – “Implementing Population Health: Refining and Funding Your Plan. The panelists discussed how to successfully manage the health and well-being of populations using several different unique approaches, including addressing the social determinants of health (including housing and unemployment) and adopting comprehensive care management plans.
Finally, U.S. News & World Report and the Aetna Foundation hosted the first-ever Community Health Leadership Award dinner. Representatives from both groups recognized community leaders making extraordinary contributions to public health and then held a panel discussion about how communities across America can best improve the health of their citizens. The honored guests spoke about the work being done within their communities, and also how the Healthiest Communities rankings supports those efforts:
- Broderick Crawford, Executive Director, NBC Community Development Corporation – “The work we perform is often thankless and overlooked. But we lead and direct this work because of its importance and need for each of our communities. I am truly grateful to the Aetna Foundation and US News & World Report for selecting each of us for their inaugural Community Leadership Award.”
- Kathryn Lawler, Executive Director, Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement – “We are, all of us engaged in critical work, but it is work that takes lots of upfront investments while many of the returns are long term. Anything we can do in Atlanta to promote the efforts of those featured and the shared passions of US News and the Aetna Foundation for healthier communities across the US— we are very happy to help!”
- Liza Marron, Director, San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition – “I am inspired by your combined vision to address the root barriers to community health and your work and discussion of how to bridge the gap between health care and population health by addressing the social determinants to health. Your Healthiest Communities rankings are a relevant and robust data tool for all of us.”
- Steve Tarver, Chief Executive Officer, Louisville YMCA – “Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the larger conference experience and see where the future of health care might go with collaboration as a fundamental way to bring health and health equity to all parts of our communities. It is challenging time, but the optimism of your efforts offers great potential.”