UAB School of Health Professions Current News

The evolving nature of health care - National Symposium Oct. 17-19

Jonathan FleeceJonathan Fleece, keynote speakerTwo individuals with the same age have the same health insurance. One person is healthy and strictly avoids unhealthy behavior. The other one is overweight, drinks too much and smokes. Although their likely future health conditions are different, their employer pays the same premium for their insurance.  

“It has become too costly to focus on disease treatment such as obesity, smoking and other behaviors,” said Greg Carlson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Services Administration at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “While our individual goal should be to live a healthy life, we need to create incentives that reward providers and consumers who focus on wellness and prevention. The current ‘healthcare system’ rewards hospitals and physicians for treating disease but not for preventing disease.”


In a recent survey by the National Business Group on Health, employers are eyeing a variety of cost-control measures including asking workers to pay a greater portion of premiums but also sharply boosting financial rewards to engage workers in healthy lifestyles.


Jonathan Fleece, co-author of “The New Health Age: The Future of Health Care in America,” said how Americans perceive health care today will vastly change in the near future.

“So many of us think of health care of where we go when we are sick or injured,” said Fleece. “And it’s not that sickness and injury will go away, but we’re going to think about health care much more inclusive and include wellness, prevention and the concept of a holistic system. We’ll look at health care as a place to go to prevent illness and to stay well instead of being reactionary.”  

Fleece is the keynote speaker at the UAB Center for Health Services Continuing Education’s 32nd Annual National Symposium for Healthcare Executives on Oct. 17-19, 2012 in Sandestin, Fla. With the health care environment changing in the midst of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on health care reform and a shift from disease-focused care to preventive care, health care leaders need to be prepared to steer their organizations through these trends that will transform health care as we know it. Fleece and other speakers will help leaders plan for this transition.

“There will be changes in all aspects of a health care organization from IT, physicians, administrators and more,” said Carlson. “There won’t be one area that is not affected by these transformations.”

Paul KeckleyPaul KeckleyDespite the recent ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the 2010 health care law, there are still a lot of concerns of how the reform will affect health care organizations. Paul Keckley, Ph.D., executive director of Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and a regular contributor on CNN and Fox News on health care reform, will address those unanswered questions.

“We definitely want to change the incentives from doing more to being paid for performance, in other words, ending fee-for-service,” said Keckley. “We need to leverage technology. So much of what we do doesn’t require a physical examine in a doctor’s office where it can be done using technology appropriately. Most agree these trends are the way to go. The question is does the Affordable Care Act actually do that and are there better ways to do it.”

Other speakers include:

  • David Osborn, Ph.D.., general manager, Nashville Medical Trade Center, “Collaboration: What Does it Really Mean for Leaders and Their Organizations?”
  • Thomas A. Atchison, Ed.D., president and founder, Atchison Consulting, LLC, “Healthcare Leadership and Change Management.”
  • Judy Williamson, client results executive, Cerner Corporation, “Impact of the Current Healthcare Landscape on EMR’s.”
  • Ken E. Mack, FACHE, president, Mack/Voyten & Associates, “Physician Integration Strategies: Advanced Lessons from Successful Organizations.”
  • Richard Shewchuk, Ph.D., professor, health administration, UAB, “Integration Readiness.”
  • Greg Carlson, Ph.D., assistant professor, health administration, UAB, “Integration Readiness.”

Attendees can come a day earlier to earn continuing education credits for their respective professions. The symposium allows participants to interact with both clinical and administrative colleagues from across healthcare disciplines. To register, go to or call 205-934-1672.