Future of Health

The Convergence Future of Health project exemplifies Convergence’s commitment to creating a civil, thoughtful, neutral space for collaborative thinking and work. From August 2018 through December 2019, high level policy experts, trade association leadership, industry decision-makers, experienced doctors, nurses, health care administrators and others on the front line of delivering health care worked to explore high impact opportunities for a much-improved future health care system. Members valued the opportunity to work together with their peers and foster new and strong relationships among individuals of diverse ideological backgrounds, constituencies, and experience.

MEMBERS OF CONVERGENCE FUTURE OF HEALTH PROJECT
Many members shared their thoughts about being part of the Future of Health project. Click on a name below to see what they said!

Todd Askew

Senior Vice President of Advocacy, American Medical Association (AMA)
“Convergence Future of Health has sparked critical conversation about how to strengthen our health care system fueled through relationship building and open dialogue. The deeper understanding of each other’s views that this process has made possible is an absolutely essential element in making progress that will endure.”

Joseph Antos

Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy, American Enterprise Institute

Georges C. Benjamin, M.D.

Executive Director, American Public Health Association (APHA)
“Difficult problems require frank informed dialogue that builds trust amongst the participants. Convergence Future of Health was a highly valued opportunity to bring together high-level professionals with different approaches to solving critical health policy problems. It was time well spent.”

Troyen Brennan, M.D.

Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health

Keysha Brooks-Coley

Vice President, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS-CAN)
“Healthcare is one of the most important policy issues our nation must address. Projects like the Convergence Future of Health Project bring multiple stakeholders together to address important policy issues, debate tough issues and work to find solutions. Successful policies are adopted when stakeholders from different viewpoints can come together and work to identify policy solutions that can make a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Jennifer Bryant

Executive Vice President, Policy and Research, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

Stuart Butler

Senior Fellow in Economic Studies, Brookings Institution
“The full impact of the Convergence Future of Health project is going to be felt over the months and years to come. Convergence built the trust needed for people who disagree with each other to work together on ideas that were outside their comfort zone. Those ideas and changed relationships will germinate over time. The future result will be breakthrough policy agreements that nobody expected.”

Lanhee Chen

David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies, Hoover Institution
Director of Domestic Policy Studies and Lecturer, Public Policy Program, Stanford University

“The Convergence Future of Health initiative convened a truly impactful group of thinkers, practitioners, and advocates for some valuable and bonding conversations about the future of our health care system. I considered it an honor to be able to learn from, and consider ideas alongside, the leaders that Convergence brought together. The meetings were invaluable in helping us all to understand one another’s perspectives, but also to form coalitions of “strange bedfellows” for positive change in the future.”

Bechara Choucair, M.D.

Senior Vice President and Chief Health Officer, Kaiser Permanente
“We were delighted to participate in the unique Convergence Future of Health project. The conversations were civil and informative. New ideas and understandings were generated. Some of us left with concrete action steps we could take to improve our contributions to a better health care system. And ground has been laid for increasingly more impactful collaboration in the future among groups and individuals who ordinarily find common ground elusive.”

Pamela F. Cipriano

Dean, University of Virginia School of Nursing and Former President, American Nurses Association (ANA)
“The Convergence Future of Health project, to develop strategies leading to a shared vision of a much-improved American healthcare system, brought together stakeholders representing various and competing interests who eagerly engaged in civil discourse and insightful debate. Even in the absence of final consensus, the interactions forged new relationships and understanding of the complex challenges to finding workable solutions to improve the availability and accessibility of affordable care.”

Richard Deem

National Health Policy Advocate
“The Convergence Future of Health initiative provided essential foundational work necessary to implement overdue improvement in the health of our nation. A cross section of experts spanning the health sector and political spectrum identified key issues and opportunities to achieve shared goals. As a result of this dialogue, individuals and organizations who will shape future health policies have a better understanding of the options, trade-offs and areas for compromise for progress to attain the goal of access to affordable health care coverage for all Americans.”

Matthew (Matt) Eyles

President and Chief Executive Officer, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

Elizabeth Fowler

Executive Vice President for Programs, The Commonwealth Fund
“Never underestimate the value of learning from someone you might not agree with!”

Kris Haltmeyer

Vice President, Legislative and Regulatory Policy, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Charles N. Kahn, III

President and Chief Executive Officer, Federation of American Hospitals

Bill Kramer

Executive Director for Health Policy, Pacific Business Group on Health
“Our health care system requires fundamental changes, and this can be accomplished only if health care leaders come together with a shared vision and a plan to achieve it. The Convergence Future of Health initiative has been an important step on our path toward real reform.”

Nancy LeaMond

AARP Executive Vice President, Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer
“Now more than ever, it is vitally important to build consensus about improving our healthcare system. Convergence provides an opportunity for a wide range of stakeholders to come together and have a real dialogue about challenging issues. These kinds of conversations are what we need to find common ground.”

Manny Lopes

President and Chief Executive Officer, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
“As a President and CEO of a large community health center, the Convergence Future of Health experience was extremely valuable. Being able to talk with these amazing colleagues, most of whom I’d never met and all of whom are steeped in health care policy and politics at important levels, was beneficial in ways I couldn’t have anticipated. I deal with policy in my position, but I don’t do it full-time, and we’re focused on helping our patients through the system at an operational level. Being surrounded by people who are immersed in policy was extraordinary. I look forward to participating in this kind of work going forward. Highly recommended.”

Prof. John E. McDonough, DrPH

Harvard Chan School of Public Health, Boston
“Health and medical care are too important to all Americans to take ‘no’ for an answer. We must keep working to find effective solutions to our system’s challenges with access, quality, and costs.”

Richard J. (Rick) Pollack

President and Chief Executive Officer, American Hospital Association

Ron Pollack

Former Executive Director, now Chair Emeritus, Families USA
“The Convergence Future of Health initiative provided many thoughtful opportunities to engage diverse health stakeholder organization leaders in a dialogue about how we might improve our nation’s health and health-care system. At a time when our policy-making and political processes are too often marked by vituperative rigidity, this initiative enabled all the participants to explore the possibilities for finding common ground. As we did so, it also helped to foster productive relationships among leaders with quite differing perspectives.”

Sara Rosenbaum, J.D.

Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor, Health Law and Policy, Department of Health Policy and Management, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University
“Convergence has played a valuable role in helping diverse health policy stakeholders gain greater insight into the common threads that bind us all together.”

Dennis G. Smith

Senior Advisor for Medicaid and Health Care Reform, Arkansas Department of Human Services
“In these times, it is all the more important that people lay aside their differences and build upon what they hold in common. It was not yet quite time for a consensus to emerge from this politically diverse group of health policy thinkers, but the seeds have been planted and the work of Convergence will yield an abundant harvest.”

Ashley B. Thompson, MHA

Senior Vice President, Public Policy Analysis and Development, American Hospital Association

Grace-Marie Turner

President, Galen Institute
“A common bond among all of the participants in the Convergence initiative was a dedication to improving health care access and affordability as well as a willingness to work hard and listen to the ideas and perspectives of others. It was time well spent in building a foundation for future progress.”

Vikki Wachino

Principal, Viaduct Consulting, and Former Director, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services and Deputy Administrator, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services
“In our conversations, Convergence Future of Health members did not shy away from the hard, thorny issues. The problems that were most difficult for the group were objectively the most difficult problems the health care system faces.”

Gail Wilensky, Ph.D.

Economist and Senior Fellow, Project Hope
“As the country continues to be divided and highly partisan in its views towards foreign policy challenges, domestic policy issues, and especially health policy challenges and solutions, the role of Convergence – whose purpose is to bring together individuals with different views and positions – only grows in importance. I am proud to have helped organize these efforts, and I look forward to working with my Convergence Future of Health colleagues to advance some of the high impact opportunities we explored together.”


back to top


CONVERGENCE FUTURE OF HEALTH PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Throughout Convergence Future of Health, few issues were as politically divisive and contentious on the national stage as health care. Congressional hearings, major Administrative actions, state health reform initiatives, and public debates about the future of health care created a high pressure, high stakes environment.

Despite these challenges, key stakeholders and nationally influential experts came together constructively and collegially to better understand each other’s values and objectives, to talk about the possibility of common ground on principles for health system improvement, and to explore opportunities within three central themes:

  • All should have affordable, accessible health care when and where they need it.
  • America needs a health system that generates high-value, financially sustainable health care.
  • The system should acknowledge the importance of whole-person health and non-clinical approaches to improving individual and community health.

Convergence Future of Health concluded in the first quarter of 2020. Through the course of members’ time together, they led and participated in over 15 work groups and convened as a whole group 8 times to identify challenges and discuss high impact opportunities to improve affordability, access, coverage, care for populations with high health care costs and needs, and non-clinical approaches to improving health. Together, the members explored a series of good ideas from which they might build on their own or with each other.


CONVERGENCE TEAM

Caryn Hederman, J.D., Independent Consultant, Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, and Director, Convergence Future of Health
Isabel Hinestrosa, Project Associate, Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, Convergence Future of Health
Patrick Field, Managing Director, Consensus Building Institute, and Facilitator, Convergence Future of Health
Rob Fersh, President and Founder, Convergence Center for Policy Resolution