Q&A: The Epicenter of Health Affairs

| Jul-2-14

<p><em>It&rsquo;s no mystery that the healthcare landscape is shifting at a dizzying pace, so </em>NACDS.org<em> caught up with Alan Weil, as of June 2 the new editor-in-chief of the must-read policy journal </em><a href="http://www.healthaffairs.org/">Health Affairs</a><em>, to get his take on what he wants to focus on at the helm of the journal and his current read on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. </em></p>
<p>Health Affairs<em> </em><a href="http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2014/03/31/health-policy-leader-alan-weil-to-become-new-health-affairs-editor-in-chief/"><em>wrote</em></a><em> of Weil, in announcing his new position, &ldquo;Weil, a highly respected expert in health policy and current member of </em>Health Affairs<em>&rsquo; editorial board, will lead the journal after serving as the executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) since 2004. His work with state policymakers of both political parties put Weil at the forefront of health reform policy, implementation, innovation and practice.&rdquo;</em></p>
<p><em>The following are edited excerpts of a June 30 </em>NACDS.org <em>interview:</em></p>
<p><strong>Q: The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed everything. What are you encouraged&mdash;or discouraged&mdash;about following its launch?</strong></p>
<p>A: The most heartening aspect is we&rsquo;re making serious efforts to provide millions of Americans with health insurance, which they didn&rsquo;t have before. It is the largest effort we have taken in this country since we created Medicare and Medicaid.</p>
<p>As someone who has worked on issues of access my entire career, it is heartening to see the nation take this problem seriously. I also think the efforts to reorganize delivery of care to make it more efficient and more patient-centered are encouraging, and the ACA is a catalyst for signs of that.</p>
<p>The disappointments involve the troubled launch of the site. I feel we had an opportunity to tell the country what we were trying to do, and that opportunity failed. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the enrollment rush at the end of open enrollment that seems to have marginally moved us past the bad start.</p>
<p><strong>Q: Given the growing attention to population health and preventive care, does it make sense to diversify healthcare delivery to include a broader array of healthcare providers?</strong></p>
<p>A: I&rsquo;m very encouraged by the growing attention to the broad array of skills needed to meet the healthcare needs of the population. Intuitively, we understand that healthy behavior arises more from peer and non-clinical interventions than from doctor visits. Our evidence base for how to make that happen is still fairly thin, but that&rsquo;s why I am encouraged by the attention on broadening the sense of whose efforts can improve people&rsquo;s health.</p>
<p><strong>Q: As editor-in-chief of <em>Health Affairs</em>, what topics do you anticipate moving to the forefront given the seismic changes brought on by the ACA?</strong></p>
<p>A: One of my early priorities is to improve our ability to track emerging issues in a reporting way as opposed to an academic piece.</p>
<p>We already have and certainly will continue to publish a good deal on the changing organization of healthcare delivery. The accountable care movement, which includes Medicare&rsquo;s accountable care organizations, but also similar efforts at the state and local level and in the private sector, is a great source of interest to our readers and to our authors.</p>
<p>The rate of change is such that I would like us to capture a little more of what&rsquo;s happening as it happens, as opposed to just looking backwards at that happened in the past. The idea is to combine our solid analytics of the past with a closer tracking of what&rsquo;s happening today.</p>

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2016-12-06T13:24:28+00:00 Jul-02-14|Categories: Article|Tags: , , |