Who: Former HHS secretaries Kathleen Sebelius and Tommy Thompson.
New roles: Co-chairs of the newly formed Aspen Health Strategy Group.
Brainstorming on policy: Launched at the annual Aspen Ideas Festival, the forum will bring together healthcare leaders, business leaders and policymakers to discuss potential solutions to the industry's thorniest issues. Inaugural members are being invited this summer, and former HHS secretaries are expected to join as ex-officio members. Each year, the group will examine a specific topic. Sebelius talked with Modern Healthcare about the forum and its first-year topic: end-of-life care.
High cost of care: “There's no question that an enormous amount of resources are spent on the last six months of life. It is a resource issue,” Sebelius said. “There is a growing body of information around what patients and their families actually want, and there's a gap between wants and needs and what the health system is equipped to deliver.”
Promoting conversations: “We're looking at a Medicare benefit that doesn't necessarily give people lots of choices, a provider community that is often behind the times or ill-equipped to deal with (end-of-life) conversations and too many people who don't have advance directives and haven't had that conversation before crisis ensues.”