Tuesday Jul 20, 2021

Catherine A. Jacobson President and CEO Froedtert Health (Part 2)

Tom Robertson, Executive Director of the Vizient Research Institute and Cathy Jacobson, President and CEO of Froedtert Health in Milwaukee return to discuss macroeconomic challenges facing the U.S. health care system rooted in its Byzantine financing system involving counter-productive cross-subsidies between payers and a historic imbalance in payments across clinical services. They consider the merits of systemic changes reducing payment rate disparities, and the potential advantages of a future in which providers were payer agnostic and more empowered to invest in traditionally under-funded areas such as mental health and primary care. Cathy shares Froedtert’s initiatives to identify adverse social determinants of health early and a community-wide partnership that uses a single tool to curate social services resources for medical providers.


Guest speaker:

Catherine A. Jacobson, FHFMA, CPA

President and CEO

Froedtert Health



Tom Robertson

Executive Director

Vizient Research Institute


Show Notes:

[1:00] Health care finance is like a Jenga Game – the reimbursement system is Byzantine and doesn’t make sense 

[2:20] Health systems make their entire margins on very few things- they lose money on other things that they must do but are paid for by the former. 

[4:13] Health care needs to move away from the current reimbursement system 

[9:17] It would be far better if pricing was the same for all payers, government and private, and we competed on access, service and quality rather than price 

[12:15] We get what we pay for – if we don’t pay for it, we don’t have it. (Example: behavioral health, family medicine) 

[14:42] Price leveling would better enable providers to address social determinants of health 

[16:52] Froedtert approach to mitigating social determinants of health: 1. Identify affected patients much earlier and more consistently  than we did before, 2. Created a community-wide partnership to curate all available social services resources in the market by using one common software tool

[19:09] Health care organizations are economic anchors in the community 

[20:00] Froedtert creating educational grants targeted at effective high schools and especially vulnerable populations 

[21:40] If revenue was more fungible, would invest heavily in behavioral health


Links | Resources:

Cathy Jacobson’s Biographical Summary Click here


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