Atlantic Health CEO Addresses Access to Quality Healthcare
As part of our Future of Healthcare series, Steve Adubato talks with Brian Gragnolati, President & CEO, Atlantic Health System and 2019 Chair, American Hospital Association, about the concerning issue of access to quality healthcare.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato. We are coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in Newark, New Jersey. We are introducing Brian Gragnolati, who is President and CEO, Atlantic Health System, and the Chair-Elect of the American Hospital Association. Good to see you Brian. Good to see you. Thank you. This is part of our ongoing conversation on the future of healthcare. Actually, we were in your office a while back talking about this issue. Right. And you said, "You know what? We need to have a comprehensive discussion around this." And you're absolutely right. And one of the issues you raised was access? Mm hmm. What's the issue with access to healthcare? You know, it's pretty interesting, and I think we saw it in this recent election. It's about access to insurance, as well as access to care, and it's a big concern that everybody has. Across socio-economic boundaries? You know, it really is. You can parse out the insurance piece, but clearly the access to care piece is getting more and more concerning for everybody. The other issue that you've raised, you've written about this, and by the way, Brian has a national role, as well as being the CEO and President of Atlantic Health. You've talked about end-of-life issues. Now New Jersey... and help me if I'm wrong. I know you will. We spend more at the end-of-life in terms of healthcare than any other state in the nation? Correct? We do. We do. A, why? B, what do we need to do about it? Yeah. I think it all starts with having conversations with families. That is the biggest element of this. I know in my personal situation with my parents, we talked about that. They wanted to live in their house as long as they could, and they wanted to be free of pain. And that guided our decision-making. So we had advance directives. We worked with their healthcare providers to make sure that they understood what my parents wanted. And that's really what needs to go on. And we have to have the structures, the processes, the system, and the time for our physicians to be able to have that conversation. Was that atypical, Brian, you think, for most folks? You know, I do. Particularly the folks that I've had an opportunity to care for in our organization. It is atypical. And we're working really hard at Atlantic to try to have those conversations. To avoid... it's not just the cost of healthcare, but you know what it's like at the end of life. Trust me. I have that conversation with my parents all the time. Yeah. Let me do... I wanted..."