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Otto represents industry at global congress

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WASHINGTON — The role of National Association of Chain Drug Stores members in the conversation about improving health care and addressing related societal challenges was on display during the 15th Annual World Health Care Congress, held here last month.

The World Health Care Congress brought together decision makers from payer, provider, pharmaceutical, government and solutions organizations to inspire partnerships and defragment the current health care system. The event focuses on sharing strategic initiatives, results and steps to overcome access and affordability issues.

NACDS past chairman Martin Otto, chief operating officer of H-E-B, served on one of the keynote panels titled “Call to Action: Collaborate and Mitigate Social Determinants of Health to Improve U.S. Health Care.” Joining Otto on the panel were Dr. William Shrank, chief medical officer of UPMC Health Plan; Dr. Harold Paz, executive vice president and chief medical officer of Aetna; Dr. Akram Boutros, president and chief executive officer of MetroHealth; and moderator Ian Morrison, author, consultant and futurist.

“I am here in three capacities,” Otto said. “I am here representing an employer and payer, with frustration over a lack of progress on the topics that are the subject of this panel discussion. I am here representing pharmacy, which — if further empowered — can serve even more as part of the solution. And I am here as a concerned citizen, because what we are leaving our kids is not going to be pretty if we don’t collaborate and act on this.”

Otto outlined his theory of the “vicious socioeconomic cycle” that he first described during his term as NACDS chairman, and the status of health care as the linchpin to fixing it. “Vicious cycle” refers to overspending on health care, which is not producing sufficient results and access, and crowds out investments in social services. Otto laid out a case that poverty, poor education, and poor nutrition, health and wellness feed into further exacerbated health care costs — perpetuating the cycle.

In addition to engaging in the keynote panel, Otto and Brooke Brownlow, group vice president of Total Rewards at H-E-B, presented a session for employers titled “Make Well-Being a Priority: An Employer’s Journey.”

NACDS’ engagement in the World Health Care Congress is consistent with the NACDS Access Agenda, a thought leadership platform maintaining that just as pharmacists provide trusted health and wellness solutions in neighborhoods across America, they also provide policy solutions on interrelated health care and societal issues.

These activities support the broader NACDS Future Value Targeting initiative, which seeks shared value for NACDS members and for collaborators on anticipated future trends, and on immediate issues that are essential for sustained ­success.


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