The CEO of CHI St. Vincent in Little Rock said health care will be more transparent in the future, while U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, touted new House Speaker Paul Ryan at the hospital’s CEO’s Club Dinner at the Clinton Presidential Library.
St. Vincent CEO Chad Aduddell serves on the Arkansas Health Care Transparency Initiative Board, which is tasked with making health care utilization, quality and price more transparent.
Speaking during a Wednesday (Jan. 2) dinner with hospital supporters, he said, “The day’s coming when consumers, individuals, and businesses will be able to go online to look at the quality and price of their health care services. Five years ago, this transparency seemed impossible. Now, it’s law.”
Aduddell’s speech and a video touted CHI St. Vincent’s recent successes and advances, including its partnership with the Conway Regional Medical Center to form the Arkansas Health Alliance, and its creation of the Arkansas Health Network, which involves 1,200 providers.
The speech was followed by an address by Hill, who was born in St. Vincent hospital, as were his children. Hill, a Catholic, recalled Pope Francis’ 2015 speech before Congress and said the last two speakers of the House, John Boehner and Ryan, have been Catholics. Six of the nine Supreme Court justices are Catholics.
“Our Catholic faith tradition is alive and well in sin city up in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
Hill discussed some of Congress’ activities related to health care during his first session of Congress. He expressed faith in Ryan, who he called “the first policy-oriented speaker since Newt Gingrich.”
“He understands this issue,” he said. “He understands the math. He understands the emotion. He understands the vested interests that are so concerned about where we go in health care.”
He touted the so-called “doc fix,” in which Congress in 2015 ended the practice of routinely rescinding planned cuts in Medicare payments to doctors. In return, he said Democrats had agreed to long-term changes to Medicare that will reduce costs by $2 trillion without a tax increase. He also pointed to Congress’ reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
He said the nation must improve its mental health system, which he said has failed to provide services effectively since the Carter administration and the early days of the Reagan administration when funding was turned into a block grant for states and then not always used properly. He said the nation must tackle the quality of health care delivery to rural areas and must improve health care for veterans.
“There is no more broken situation than our Veterans Administration,” he said.
Hill covered Congress’ other recent activities, including the first K-12 education bill passed since 2001, the first long-term highway bill passed since the George W. Bush administration, and what he called “full funding” for the military. A budget resolution will allow Congress to once again go through the appropriations process rather than package spending into a huge omnibus bill, he said.