The Craig Fahle Show

Henry Ford's CEO On Economic Development and Innovative Healthcare Policies

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Photo Courtesy of the Detroit Free Press

Craig speaks with the Chief Executive Officer of Henry Ford Health System Nancy Schlichting about the impact of the Mackinac Policy Conference on healthcare issues and discussions in our region. The primary challenge every year at the conference is making sure that the agenda reflects the issues and challenges we face in Detroit and in Michigan, Schlichting tells Craig.

In previous years, a focus on economic development really paid off when everyone returned home from the island, and Schlichting hopes that this year's conversations and interactions on healthcare will have the same impact.

"When I moved to Michigan 16 years ago, healthcare was only viewed as a cost, not an asset," she explains. Through employee living incentives and community outreach, Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital aims to encourage economic development throughout its surrounding communities.

Schlichting also talks with Craig about the future of implementing the Affordable Care Act in Henry Ford facilities and educating patients. While it is going to be "a work in progress for a long time," it will help many people transition from ER visits to finding and seeing a primary care physician. According to Schlichting, the big picture is about patient education and trying to get a handle on the level of uncompensated care.

The diversity of the patient population is extremely important in Detroit. Schlichting explains that's why employee training happens in the city. However, Henry Ford Health System's expansion and development in the suburbs is also important. "It’s a new day, we built that hospital not just as a patient care facility, but as a center for well being and healthy living," Schlichting says of Henry Ford's West Bloomfield facility.

Ultimately, there are concerns about marketing, bad debt and the changing payment model shaped by Washington politics. Yet, the larger mission of innovation and education in healthcare is an exciting and important mission for Schlichting and healthcare providers as a whole throughout the region.

--Annamarie Sysling