Experts discuss long-term impacts of COVID-19, emerging health policy and more at State of Reform conference

By Regence
October 26, 2021
Regence State of Reform Gillian Hays

Main image: Gillian Hays, top right, was one of two Regence panelists at the State of Reform’s 2021 Oregon Health Policy Conference.

On Tuesday, Oct. 26, health care industry leaders, prominent business and community advisors, and government officials gathered virtually for the Oregon Health Policy Conference, hosted by State of Reform.

The conference covered a wide range of topics, including health care costs, policy and the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the virtual event’s 58 panelists were Regence’s Gillian Hays, Oregon vice president of network management, and Wisam Younis, clinical services client manager.

The changing nature of plan-provider relationships

Alongside representatives from AFC Urgent Care and Aetna, Hays spoke to the evolving relationship between health plans and health care providers over the last 19 months.   

“With a shift to virtually communicating with our provider partners, we had to adapt and learn how to maintain productive, collaborative and dynamic relationships outside of an in-person setting,” said Hays.    

Fueled by pandemic trends, she cites increasing access to primary care provider (PCP) options, expanding virtual care to better serve rural communities, and the expansion of value-based programs as critical focus areas for Regence.

Watch this short video to hear what Gillian has to say about the importance of provider and payer relationships:  

From cost to access: tradeoffs in Rx policy

State of Reform’s Health Policy Conference also encouraged a healthy debate on critical issues surrounding Oregon’s health policy landscape – including the rising costs of prescription drugs.

“From an insurer’s perspective, our approach involves focusing on overall population health,” said Younis. “While we can’t prevent illness, we can help our members access treatment that suits their needs and ensure they stay adherent to that medication for better health.”

Fellow panelists from PhRMA and OSPIRG agreed that transparency from a legislative perspective is essential to addressing the rising cost curve of prescription drugs.

Regence State of Reform Wisam Younis
Wisam Younis, top left, spoke to COVID-19’s impact on the pharmaceutical industry, alongside representatives from PhRMA and OSPIRG.

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon was proud to sponsor the 2021 State of Reform conference and advance conversations that can fuel the future of health care.