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J.D. Kleinke        

Author, Musician, Former Industry Healthcare Entrepreneur & Industry Thought Leader

J.D. Kleinke is an author and musician, and former health care entrepreneur and industry thought leader. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Freeskier Magazine, The Surfers Journal, and other publications. He is the author of "Dudeville," a novel about snowboard mountaineering; "Catching Babies," a novel about the culture and training of maternity care providers; and "Bleeding Edge" and "Oxymorons," two works of non-fiction about the American health care system.

During his health career, he was involved in the formation, management, and governance of numerous health care information organizations, including Health Grades, Truven Health Analytics, RIMS/Trizetto, Omnimedix Institute, Mount Tabor, and Context Matters. He remains active as a mentor to health care technology start-ups and growth companies, including Wildflower Health and Omada Health.

Over the course of his career, Kleinke wrote extensively about the economics, politics, and culture of the US health care system. Since the early 1990s, he was outspoken on the real impact of changes to the system (e.g., managed care, Obamacare, physician payment incentives, computerization), and the effects of such changes on patient care, clinician professional development, health care organization strategy, and the public health. He has served as a Resident Scholar of the American Enterprise Institute, member of the Editorial Board of Health Affairs, and frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and The Huffington Post.

Speech Topics

M&A Under Obamacare: Gold Rush — Or More Fools’ Gold?

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is already affecting the US health care landscape through a rapid-fire series of mergers and acquisitions. Payers and providers are scrambling to re-align around what many believe will be major changes in reimbursement, health insurance markets, and consumer and patient economic behavior. They are also rushing into difficult new health care segments like Medicaid that appear promising, but may represent potential economic disasters. Health insurers are reacting to Obamacare the same way they did to the last assault on their profit margins - managed care in the 1990s - with lockstep acquisitions of each other, of providers, and of businesses with often tenuous relevance to their core competencies. There may be a great deal of wishful thinking surrounding these attempts at horizontal and vertical market consolidations - and many may inevitably fail in execution for the same reasons of strategic and cultural conflicts that they did in the 1990s. This session provides a critical look at the strategic thinking behind these deals – and forecasts how they will play out – or re-play out, in many cases – over the next few years.

The High Price of Progress: Who Pays for Medicine's Bad Luck?

The majority of medical research promotes the use of increasingly new and expensive drugs and medical technologies. At the same time, the majority of private and public health plans seek to constrain their use—or outright shift the bulk of payment to patients and their families. The result is an emerging collision course between medical science and medical policy, arising from often bitterly divided views about the optimal use of expensive medical resources. The turmoil in private healthcare system's approach to managing health benefits and costs can be remedied by adopting a value-based (rather than price-based) approach to pharmaceutical and other medical technology spending—and all stakeholders in the system have the opportunity to enable, rather than resist, the hard economic news associated with all of our good clinical luck.

eHealth 2.0: The Once & Future Healthcare Information Revolution

A new generation of health information technology is emerging and this one may finally be ready for primetime, thanks to $17.2 billion in federal funding. Beyond the government's sudden willingness to finance the computerization of healthcare, there has been explosive growth in e-prescribing and other electronic medical tools, as a new generation of providers goes online and as patient communities also emerge online, allowing patients to share exquisite details about their medical conditions and experiences. To attract and retain the most lucrative (i.e., well-off, well-insured, and web-enabled) segments of the market, providers and payers are promoting the use of provider/patient e-visits and remote systems to manage disease, track changes in symptoms, and share data. New reimbursement methods and models—including insurer-paid e-visits and annual "connectivity" fees from patients—are emerging in conjunction with these technologies, as the health IT community finally addresses the need for privacy, security, physician income preservation, and liability protection. The sum total of these trends is the long overdue computerization of healthcare and the "liquification" of patient data from paper charts and institutional silos. This session will outline how your organization can avoid the technical pitfalls and seize the market opportunities associated with this long overdue connection between providers and patients.

The Patient Is In: Healthcare’s Next Economic Revolution

Over the past two decades, the locus of medical decision making—via the rise and fall of "managed care"—has shifted from physician to health plan to patient. Tiered co-payments and the introduction of high-deductible health insurance, coupled with health savings accounts, are ushering in the inevitable decline of first-dollar coverage by health plans and the often irrational demand-inducement behavior of consumers. How will people behave when they are confronted daily with a financial document that looks like a 401(k) plan statement—one which shrinks with every doctor visit, lab test, new prescription, and refill? Everything we think we know about how consumers will behave when purchasing routine care from these new cash accounts—and about how desperately ill patients will behave when draining those same accounts to fight a life-threatening illness—is completely speculative. This session examines key moments in healthcare history and policy for clues as to what the future will hold for all of us, not just as patients, but as real healthcare consumers.

American Medicine 2.0: The Revolution Will Be Computerized

Health reform is upon us, much of it finally ready for the computer age, thanks to $17.2 billion in federal funding. And many of the core provisions of the new health reform plan are already finding their way into the business strategies of the larger health plans and more aggressive provider systems. These include the bundling of provider payments—with bonuses for good outcomes and penalties for bad ones—to hospitals and physicians for both high-dollar acute cases; transfer of financial risk from insurers and the government to "accountable care organizations" for the aggregate cost of chronically ill patients, also with bonuses and penalties driven by reported outcomes; and rapid adaption of current clinical information systems and/or the re-engineering of antiquated clinical workflows. All of these new initiatives are highly dependent on major expansions in the availability of patient clinical data—including all lab and imaging data and related studies—along with the creation of new information flows within and across provider systems. The aggregate effect of these ultimately interrelated initiatives will translate into new opportunities for clinical integration. This session will outline how your organization can avoid the pitfalls and seize the opportunities associated with this long overdue computerization of American medicine.

Risky Hospital Business 2: Remake of the 1990s Managed Care Classic

Buried not so deep in President Obama's health reform plan are radical changes in provider payment methodologies. Accountable care organizations, medical homes, electronic medical record-related subsidies, and penalties—these are only a few of the latest attempts to correct the health system's economic, behavioral, and organizational disorders. The cost and quality problems that gave rise to the national managed care companies in the 1990s have not gone away, inspiring both the government and large health plans to simultaneously revisit many of those same managed care strategies. Will this second round—and double dose—of harsh economic medicine prove worse than the disease? Or are certain aspects of healthcare's cost and quality problems simply incurable? How can provider organizations cope with a system that, as the government and payers attempt to re-engineer it around reimbursement, seems to yield only more chaos? This session will outline how your organization can navigate the latest attempt to use reimbursement and other payment reforms to re-engineer the US healthcare system.

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Countdown to Meltdown? Preparing Your Organization for Obamacare, Market Reform & the Brave New Healthcare World

What does the actual health reform plan look like, what happens when 30 million new people enter the "system" as we know it, and what will it all mean for your organization? "Obamacare" has survived the Supreme Court but the health reform law itself may be overshadowed by larger shifts in market power—and continuing government budget crises, as lawmakers target Medicare and Medicaid as sources of major savings.

This session provides a critical overview of where healthcare stands today; the latest on spending trends and market dynamics; and how the health reform plan will play out for all major stakeholders, including providers, payers, employers, patients, and consumers. This session also examines the concurrent effects of the reform plan, health insurance market upheavals, increasing patient economic empowerment, and emerging information technologies on today's healthcare organization. Finally, it lays out a practical framework and set of critical success factors for your organization going forward, as healthcare faces the greatest challenges and changes of our lifetime.

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