HIGHER EDUCATION | UM’s “The Business of Healthcare 2014: Bending The Cost Curve” Conference

Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, Fort Lauderdale
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Fort Lauderdale. Photo/ Miami In Focus, Inc.

Miami Empresarial Magazine is a Proud Media Partner of the following Prestigious Associations, Chambers of Commerce, Higher Education Institutions and their events:

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By Rebeca C. Trujillo, Editor, Miami Empresarial Magazine

Miami Empresarial Magazine was invited to cover the University of Miami’s “The Business of Healthcare: Bending The Cost Curve” conference, a forum that brings together top executives and policymakers from an industry that encompasses more than 20 percent of the U.S. economy and has an effect on everyone from Washington to Maine and California to Florida. Organized by the UM School of Business Administration’s Center for Health Sector Management and Policy, the conference’s mission is to stimulate the discussion of issues relating to health care policies, programs and management —among them: patient premiums and deductibles, enrollment levels, access to care, benefits, cost and risk administration for health care providers, and more— under the nation’s recently implemented Affordable Care Act (ACA).

As in the two previous events, this year’s panels brought together national health care, health care policy and business leaders to address the topics at hand.

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The morning’s first panel, on “Transformation of the U.S. Health Care System: Impact on Employers in 2014 and Beyond,” featured quite an animated conversation among Helen Darling, President and CEO, National Business Group on Health; James M. Winkler, Senior Vice President and Innovation Leader, U.S. Health & Benefits, for Aon Hewitt; and moderator Patrick Geraghty, Chairman and CEO, Florida Blue. These experts examined the opportunities for innovation in health insurance benefits, as well as the current and future impact of new technology, systems and processes on the country’s employers.

After a brief break, the focus turned to “Benefits, Costs, Politics and Policy,” with Alice Rivlin, Director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies, and Senior Fellow in Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution, and Former Director, Congressional Budget Office; Diane Rowland, Executive Vice President, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Executive Director, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured; and moderator University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala, former U.S. Secretary, Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration. With the ACA becoming “the law of the land,” this dialogue emphasized the need to move forward with the implementation and enhancement of the health care system, especially with respect to health costs and.

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The third and final panel of the event featured Lynn Britton, President and CEO, Mercy; Michael Freed, President and CEO, Priority Health, and Executive Vice President, Spectrum Health; and moderator Steve Rusckowski, President and CEO, Quest Diagnostics tackling “The Impact of Change on Health Care Providers.” These top executives, representing three different types of health care service providers, spoke about how the changes being implemented throughout 2014 are impacting —and will continue to affect— the way hospitals, physicians, insurers, and integrated delivery systems provide and manage care, and how these groups are expected to respond to these changes.

Each panels concluded with a Q&A session with participation from the audience, composed primarily of health care and insurance professionals, as well as University of Miami students, many of whom attended through a special “scholar” designation awarded by several event sponsors.

The conference’s highlight was the participation of former U.S. Senator (R-Maine) Olympia Snowe, a Senior Fellow with the Bipartisan Policy Center, as the keynote speaker during the luncheon at UM’s BankUnited Center. In a dynamic, on-stage interview conducted by Donna E. Shalala, Sen. Snowe spoke candidly about her involvement —and disillusionment— in the process that led to the approval of the Affordable Care Act, the unfathomable partisan impasse that continues to stifle Congress’ work on behalf of the American people, health care concerns that must be addressed through the modification of the ACA, and what she hopes will be a sincere and successful effort in Washington to forge a renewed bipartisan collaboration in the Senate, House of Representatives and White House.


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Miami Neuroscience Center At Larkin Makes Great Strides In Treating Brain Tumors

Dr. Aizik L. Wolf , Medical Director for the Miami Neuroscience Center at Larkin
Dr. Aizik L. Wolf , Medical Director for the Miami Neuroscience Center at Larkin

A diagnosis of brain tumor, brain cancer or metastasis will generate varying degrees of anguish, fear and even helplessness in most persons. Dr. Aizik L. Wolf , Medical Director for the Miami Neuroscience Center at Miami’s Larkin Hospital, insists that in an increasing number of cases —as patients and their families become aware of today’s medical and technological advances in this field— the initial emotional impact should likely give way to a sense of hope and optimism.

Dr. Aizik L. Wolf , Medical Director for the Miami Neuroscience Center at Larkin

Understanding brain tumors, their symptoms and treatment options goes a long way to assuage the feelings of intimidation and angst. And with continuous research and advanced case data collection/analysis, some of it generated by newsworthy cases like actress Valerie Harper’s rare brain cancer, more and more new information is becoming available to physicians-specialists and patients alike.

“When people hear the diagnosis, many believe there is nothing that can be done. It is a frightening diagnosis and I see so many patients who have been told they have only months to live. In fact, we have revolutionary procedures combined with cutting edge technology that are effective,” states Dr. Wolf, a nationally acclaimed neurosurgeon who has performed over 7,000 procedures with Gamma Knife®, a precise, non-invasive neurosurgical tool that is used to treat brain tumors, many of which are complex or might otherwise be considered inoperable, along with a number of other brain disorders.

Dr. Wolf understands challenges. He has developed groundbreaking applications for brain tumor treatments even as many argued they would never work.  Due to his innovation and tenacity advocating for his patients, including his pioneering approach to Gamma Knife® treatment for multiple brain tumors are now being practiced and taught in major medical universities around the world.

Dr. Wolf says it’s important to pay attention to what your body is telling you: “Brain tumors vary from person to person, so there is no one-size fits all.  However, there are some symptoms that should alert you to see a doctor.”

The veteran surgeon says headaches that seem worse when you first wake up or lie down,changes in hearingsmell, taste or speechchanges in personality, and weakness in a part of the body are among signs that you should see a doctor immediately.


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In an exclusive interview with Arquimedes Trujillo, MiamiEmpresarial’s publisher, Dr. Wolf expanded on his practice’s groundbreaking history with the revolutionary Gamma Knife® technology, a sophisticated system for delivering single, high-dose radiation to an intra-cranial target, as well as its extraordinary precision and effectiveness in treating brain tumors.

“In 1993 when I moved down to Miami, the [Gamma Knife®] technology was only being used under certain rules. They [the rules] were created, I thought, to serve non-scientific basis. It came from the university that first started using the technology in the United States. And I felt that they were making a basis of rule without any real scientific studies. So we began to use it on patients with multiple brain metastases at a time when everybody thought we were nuts. Obviously, we were correct because now everybody’s doing it that way.”

Dr. Wolf and his team continued to break ground in treating patients with larger and more complex brain metastases.

“We also began to use it on tumors that were much bigger, that you were [not] supposed to, but once again we didn’t understand the basis of the rule. We thought it was someone’s made-up concept and, once again, we proved that that wasn’t true, that the situation was actually different. In other words, that we could treat large tumors depending on what they were doing.”

“So that was the difference: We really questioned the technology way further that the rules were set up to be.”

MiamiEmpresarial: With your abilities, can you target the affected area without damaging healthy brain tissue?

Dr. Wolf: The technology is very, very precise. In fact, the technology is more precise than the actual imaging. The ability to aim the radiation is more precise than the ability to image the charger by a field of 0.15 millimeters.

M/E: Is this a non-invasive process?

Dr. Wolf: Not invasive. It’s basically an outpatient procedure. The equipment is as big as a Gamma Knife® and the institute was designed to get the flow of the patient. So basically the patient comes in, gets set-up for imaging and then, when they get treated, they walk out the door. . . They could go shopping in Saks Fifth Avenue. They can come to Miami for a shopping spree and a treatment for a brain tumor.

M/E: So you can say that’s “medical tourism?”

Dr. Wolf: It’s the ultimate medical tourism!

M/E: I was told that a great number of your patients come from Latin America. . .

Dr. Wolf: Yes, about 30 percent come from Latin America. In terms of Hispanics, the number goes up to 70 percent. Almost everybody in Miami is Hispanic.

While making great strides in the treatment of brain tumors and metastasis, Dr. Wolf emphasizes that, once the patient has been diagnosed, he/she must fully understand the illness and learn about all the available treatments.

“If you are diagnosed with brain cancer,” he says, “know your options.”


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MiaEmp 1213 wABOUT MIAMI EMPRESARIAL MAGAZINE: Since its inception in 2007, Miami Empresarial has concentrated on fulfilling a double mission: 1) to present local entrepreneurs’ and companies’ stories of success (and, in this economic climate, of survival, adaptability and revitalization) and (2) to promote commercial activity and relationships in our area and between South Florida and the world. The publication focuses on all of South Florida’s industries as well as the national and international trends that affect the area’s commercial and industrial environment. Its scope ranges from top area entrepreneurs and professionals to foreign nationals planning to travel/expand to Miami or already living/operating in South Florida. In its printed and digital editions, Miami Empresarial seeks to disseminate positive, actionable information about commercial activityto/from/within this area. Its slogan is “Because Miami Is Open for Business” and, as readers perceive from its editorial content, business is certainly alive and thriving in Miami! Miami Empresarial partners with top institutions, such as the University of Miami School of Business, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, The Chicago Booth School of Business and other international professional organizations and chambers, and produces special editions with up-to-the-minute developments and special events from specific industries. Not only does the magazine cover the area’s most important forums on business, Miami Empresarial also creates its own seminars and roundtables on Real Estate, International Trade, Finance and other topics with influential speakers/panelists. Among our most successful industry-focused events are its “Meeting of the Minds” luncheons. For more information, please visit http://miamiempresarial.net. To view the magazine’s digital edition in “flip-book” format, go to http://issuu.com/miamiempresarial

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