Health care debates often center on the affordability and accessibility of medical coverage. The conversation has been at the forefront of many a political dialogue — and Chautauqua Institution’s Week Nine lectures this season. However, Patricia Brown, this week’s Contemporary Issues Forum speaker, is not taking a political spin on the issue, but is instead focusing on health care delivery.
Brown will share her academic medical perspective on health care at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Hall of Philosophy in a talk called “Healthcare Delivery: The Promise of Reform.” This will be the Baltimore lawyer’s first trip to Chautauqua, and her talk is sponsored by Chautauqua Women’s Club.
Brown’s vantage point is unique in that she is directly involved with the implementation of health care systems in hospitals. She is president of Johns Hopkins HealthCare, an organization owned by the Johns Hopkins Health System and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, which develops and manages health care contracts. Brown will discuss the difficulties faced by both the providers and the patients to give an understanding of health care’s “overall mission.”
“ObamaCare is step one,” Brown said. “There’s so much more to be done. And so much to be done is not clear or defined.”
Though legislation has been passed regarding the economics of health care, Brown said that there is no “roadmap” to implementing this effectively; “true reform” will only come once health care is successfully delivered. The problem isn’t just ensuring that patients are covered by insurance, but also making sure the insurance effectively reaches those patients.
“Policymakers are not discussing how [health care] is delivered,” Brown said. “What models do we need to embrace as a country to achieve the goals of reform?”
Brown describes her position as “managing health rather than disease,” and she said the last few years in the health care industry have been a “bit of a roller coaster.” She added that the industry is at an uncertain place and that the issue will likely not be resolved for another decade.
Brown worked as a lawyer in the public sector for 10 years, and then as senior legal counsel in Johns Hopkins University’s Office of the Vice President and General Counsel. In addition to her current duties as president of Johns Hopkins HealthCare, Brown also retains a small private legal practice.