Axios event

Health Care Vitals: Chicago

Kai Tao from Juno4Me discusses health care access in Chicago Wednesday morning.
Kai Tao, Founder of Juno4Me, discusses the importance of preventative care at the Axios roundtable. Photo: Chris Dilts for Axios

This Wednesday, Axios' Sam Baker hosted an Expert Voices Live discussion in Chicago, digging into the state of health care access and affordability in Illinois.

Local leaders, health tech innovators, and advocates discussed solutions to challenges in health care policy and providing equitable, high-quality care.

Creating inclusive and comprehensive health care

Melissa Maguire, Executive Director of the Free and Charitable Clinics, left, next to Laura Starr from CommunityHealth, right.
Melissa Maguire, Executive Director of Free and Charitable Clinics at the Axios table. Photo: Chris Dilts for Axios

How to measure the impact of effective care was a significant topic of conversation, as well as the fundamentally integrated nature of health across dental care, reproductive care, mental health services, and more.

  • Clark Stanford, Dean of the College of Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, discussed how dental health acts as a useful indicator for a person's overall health: "Health disparities are revealed in dental care — dental care reflects a patient's larger quality of life."
  • Felicia Davis, President and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women, unpacked the importance of measuring health outcomes versus outputs: "For example, if we give a girl a backpack, does her attendance improve? While saying we donated one thousand backpacks is measuring the output, we want to be measuring outcomes."
  • Paula Thornton Greear, Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, expressed support for measuring outcomes over outputs, and approaching the concept of health as not subdivided into different fields: "In reproductive health...we need to work with our partners in the mental health space. We need to put our best foot forward, but we can’t do it in a silo."

How to use data in providing better care

Bonnie Lai from Lumere in conversation at the Axios table.
Bonnie Lai, Head of Technology at Lumere, discussing the complexities of health care data. Photo: Chris Dilts for Axios

As health providers become increasingly dependent on data, the importance of accurate and accessible information is paramount in providing effective care.

  • Bonnie Lai, Head of Technology at Lumere, advocated for a more integrated approach to health data: "We need data to understand the needs of patients, but the data is siloed and it’s hard to break out of that."
  • Jason Montrie, President of Pareto Intelligence, stressed the need to make data more accessible to patients: "How do we democratize this data? That structure needs to be furthered. Patients should be able to change [their information] so it's always updated and accurate. [And then] how do we take the whole picture of someone, and give that to [a health care provider] who can act on that information?

Health insurance and challenges of access to care

Paula Thornton Greear from Planned Parenthood in conversation at the Axios table.
Paula Thornton Greear, Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, in discussion at the Axios table. Photo: Chris Dilts for Axios

Challenges presented by the complexities of the current systems and addressing the needs of all patients featured prominently in the conversation.

  • Laura Starr, Director of Development and Communications at CommunityHealth, focused on the importance of preventative and integrated care: "We need to do what’s most cost effective and that’s prevention...and integration makes everything more effective."
  • Kai Tao, Founder of Juno4Me discussed the challenges of the current health care systems and addressing the needs of different populations: "There are really three different health systems: Medicaid, employer-based, and Medicare. How can we lift everyone up? Especially when there are different levers, different populations to serve. What this goes back to is to start people young and focusing on preventative care."
    • Regarding the cherry-picking of patients with different types of coverage: "The reality is that dentists don’t want to see Medicare patients."

Thank you Delta Dental for sponsoring this event.

The Hometown Tour: Minneapolis

Axios' Kim Hart at the roundtable in Minneapolis.
Axios' Kim Hart kicking off the roundtable discussion this Monday. Photo: Lucas Botz for Axios

On Monday, Axios' Cities Correspondent Kim Hart hosted a roundtable discussion on affordable housing, the impact of the housing crisis on the local community, and the recently implemented Minneapolis 2040 plan. The morning's conversation focused on how to make systematic change and the importance of collaboration across the public and private sectors.

Communities that are most affected by housing shortages

Kari Dziedzic at the Axios table this past Monday.
Minnesota Senator Kari Dziedzic discussing housing policy at the table. Photo: Lucas Botz for Axios

How the housing crisis impacts different communities was central to the morning's discussion.

  • Rep. Mohamud Noor, Minnesota House of Representatives, stressed the importance of addressing income gaps as a part of the housing crisis: "With homelessness, how do we go from where they are, to them buying a house for $300k? [We have to address] the gap in income and figure out what people are able to pay."
  • Neal Loidolt, President and CEO of the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans highlighted the efforts to assist homeless veterans in Minneapolis, and the need for recognizing veterans as a vulnerable group when it comes to housing.
  • Rochelle Dotzenrod, Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo brought up other overlooked vulnerable communities, especially ones with immediate housing needs like women and children who are living in unsafe or unstable environments.

The role of the private sector

Neal Loidolt in discussion at the Axios rountable.
Neal Loidolt, President and CEO of the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans highlights the importance of affordable housing for recent veterans. Photo: Lucas Botz for Axios

The collaborative relationship between the public and private sector was a significant topic of the discussion, especially in the ways that the private sector could supplement the public sector efforts to create low-cost housing.

  • Ellen Sahli, President of the Family Housing Fund, on how people are approaching the topic of housing from their own perspectives: "The conversation about housing is omnipresent. [Across industries] we have the opportunity to wrestle with what kinds of strategies will work. We need many tools in our toolbox to tackle this issue"
  • Jeff Washburn, Executive Director of the City of Lakes Community Land Trust, on how to integrate public and private sector strategies: "We need shared equity in homeownership...and low-interest investments...We have to have more alignment with our policies and our funding. Every lens [through which we view these issues] is through an equity lens or an affordable housing lens."

Lowering building costs and preservation

Ellen Sahli, President of the Family Housing Fund at this Monday's roundtable discussion.
Ellen Sahli, President of the Family Housing Fund, at the Axios roundtable. Photo: Lucas Botz for Axios
  • Greg Russ, CEO of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority on the importance of preservation as a tool to maintain existing numbers of affordable units while development is ongoing: "Preservation needs to become a bigger part of the conversation in regards to providing affordable housing... How do we keep anything intact for families?"
  • Christian Lawrence, Founder and CEO of Rise Modular discussed the high expense of construction as another obstacle in building more affordable housing units, and the promise of modular units as one potential solution to this: "Building costs have risen too much, and I don’t see that reversing in the coming years."

Thank you Wells Fargo for sponsoring this event.