Ep 149 – The Moral and Business Imperative for Health Equity, with Dr. Jay Bhatt

The message from state and federal regulators, healthcare leaders, and our society-at-large is being heard loud and clear:  Health equity is a moral imperative.

A cultural zeitgeist for health equity has been awakened in the collective consciousness of all ethnicities in the context of COVID-19 health disparities and the ongoing fight for civil rights and social justice. The economic imperative for equity is also too big to ignore, given that inequities in the US health system cost approximately $320 billion today and could eclipse $1 trillion in annual spending by 2040 if left unaddressed.  The future of equitable health is important to the future of our country, and we must address this moral imperative with business solutions.

Joining us this week in the Race to Value is Jay Bhatt, D.O., MPH, MPA – a leading physician executive, internist, geriatrician, and public health innovator. Dr. Bhatt is the Executive Director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions (DCHS) and the Deloitte Health Equity Institute (DHEI), Dr. Bhatt directs the research, insights, and eminence agenda across the life sciences and health care industry while driving high-impact collaborations to advance health equity. He is a prominent thought leader around the issues of health equity, health care transformation, public health, and innovation.

Do you want to learn more about how we can create a catalytic engine for equitable health? Tune in to this podcast to learn from one of the nation’s leading minds on how to advance health equity through business solutions.  In this episode, we discuss collaboration with life sciences and health care industry to advance health equity, digital transformation, ACO REACH, and climate-related strategies.


Episode Bookmarks:

01:30 Introduction to Jay Bhatt, D.O., MPH, MPA – a leading physician executive, internist, geriatrician, and public health innovator.

03:00 Subscribe to the Race to Value weekly newsletter and leave us a review and rating on Apple podcasts!

04:30 The three root causes of health equity:  1) socioeconomic, gender, racism and other biases, 2) disparate circumstances in the drivers of health, and 3) inadequately designed healthcare systems.

06:15 Creating a catalytic engine for the future of equitable health and why the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and The Deloitte Health Equity Institute (DHEI) are so critical to the health of this country.

06:30 There is a workforce imperative, a market imperative, and a moral imperative for health equity. We must address the moral imperative through business solutions.”

07:00 Deloitte Report: “Inequities in the US health system cost approximately $320 billion today and could eclipse $1 trillion in annual spending by 2040 if left unaddressed.”

07:30 Collaboration with life sciences and health care industry to advance health equity, digital transformation, and climate-related strategies.

08:30 Engaging key decision makers and global leaders in health equity through Deloitte’s involvement in the World Economic Forum.

09:00 Activating Boards and C-Suite leaders in health equity and implementing place-based change through community outreach and population health interventions.

09:40 Health equity innovation through an accelerator that supports minority-led non-profit organizations and social entrepreneurs.

10:00 Addressing access to maternity care deserts that contribute to inequities throughcollaboration with the March of Dimes.

10:45 A recent research report conducted by the Deloitte’s Health Equity Institute and other partners entitled, “Collection of Race and Ethnicity Data for Use by Health Plans to Advance Health Equity.”

11:45 Continuing to analyze the delivery of care and examine patient outcomes across demographics, including race and ethnicity but also sexual orientation, gender identities, and language is critical to administering more equitable and inclusive care, and building trust with communities across America.”

12:45 Building and sustaining trust is critical to improve the availability of high quality race and ethnicity data to advance the journey of health equity.”

13:30 The importance of proximity and lived experience, community partnerships, transparency, and assurance of patient privacy in the collection of race and ethnicity data.

14:30 Federal agencies are advancing more inclusive standards for self-reported, voluntary identification of race and ethnicity data.

14:45 Health Equity by Design” through interoperability standards developed by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC).

15:30 Transparency, trust, and partnership can improve the collection and use of race and ethnicity data. If we want better results, we have to create better systems.”

16:30 Medical Home Network (MHN)  – a FQHC that is one of the nation’s foremost clinically integrated and digitally connected delivery networks to improve the health of Medicaid beneficiaries in safety net communities in the Greater Chicago area.

17:45 Chicago is a city facing immense challenge in health equity. In the last decade, life expectancy has fallen for everyone except for non-Hispanic white Chicagoans.

18:30 ACO REACH explicitly identifies Equity – not just Value – as a central goal. Have other payment models perpetuated racism and structural inequities?

19:30 REACH ACOs now being required to develop a Health Equity Plan.

20:00 Dr. Bhatt speaks to the MHN FQHC model and how it contributes to improved community health outcomes.

21:00 Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) that drive the advanced application of AI and predictive analytics for targeting population health interventions in underserved communities.

21:45 Individuals with unstable housing have a life expectancy that is 27-years less than others with a stable housing situation.

22:30 Industry collaboration is an ecosystem. The alliances we make support trust, collaboration in alternative care sites, and reduce friction to care access.”

23:00 The importance of the “Digital Front Door” and Virtual Care Delivery Transformation in value-based care.

24:00 How SCAN Health Plan educed disparities in medication adherence for cholesterol medications by 35%.

26:30 The ACO REACH payment model and a data-driven strategy will be key to designing a more equitable model for care delivery.

27:30 Translating key learnings in equity improvement through rapid cycle evaluation and improvement in action.

28:00 An example of a SDOH intervention to find improved housing for someone dealing with allergen exposure.

29:00 Seizing the moment for industry to galvanize around the advancement of health equity.

30:00 The seminal IOM Report, Unequal Treatmentthat determined Black and Hispanic Americans typically receive lower quality of care—across a range of diseases—when compared to white Americans.

31:00 Referencing the recent actuarial analysis from Deloitte entitled, “Breaking the Cost Curve

32:00 Dr. Bhatt explains why our country can no longer afford to endure systemic health inequities.

32:30 COVID-19 awakened a national consciousness for health equity.

33:00 How nonprofits, CBOs, governments, and the private sector can collaborate to overcome the challenges of the past, heal the present, and build a more resilient healthcare system for the future.

33:30 Gender equity and how placed-based change can help to identify, understand, and address social issues.

34:00 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the workforce as a key lens and driver of health equity.

34:45 Creating an ecosystem for equity through community partnerships and collaboration.

37:30 How digital tools (e.g. SMS texting, virtual care, remote patient monitoring, VR) can empower healthcare consumerism.

38:45 Creating digital literacy and improved access to broadband connectivity in underserved communities.

40:30 Designing clinical workflows and implementing training programs to avoid provider burden.

41:00 The impact of life sciences and research & development to improve diversity in clinical trials and address issues with pricing and affordability.

41:30 Referencing the 2022 Deloitte Global Life Sciences Outlook focused on health equity innovation in the life sciences sector.

42:00 Dr. Bhatt speaks about the need to improve diversity in clinical trials.

43:30 Establishing relationships with community leaders in black colleges and minority-serving institutions.

45:00 Dr. Bhatt discusses the future of Public Health and how it will overcome extreme challenges such as a decades-long backlog of funding needs and a global pandemic.

48:00  The complex relationship between climate change and health equity (climate change is now the “greatest threat” to global public health)

49:30 Dr. Bhatt on how climate change exacerbates health inequities and increases the total cost of care.

51:00 Climate change stands out as a key force multiplier that amplifies the effects of health inequities in an exponential, non-linear way.”

53:00 Parting thoughts from Dr. Bhatt on rebuilding trust between minoritized communities and the health care sector.