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Carilion Executive talks health care policy and practice with RU DPT students

Steve Arner, senior vice-president for Carilion Clinic and chief operating officer for Carilion Medical Center

Steve Arner, senior vice-president for Carilion Clinic and chief operating officer for Carilion Medical Center.

Steve Arner, senior vice-president for Carilion Clinic and chief operating officer for Carilion Medical Center, shared a corporate health care provider's perspective with Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students in the Health Policy and Administration (AHPT 864) class on April 4 in Roanoke.

Titled "Coordinated Care Strategy and Management Philosophy at Carilion," Arner, a member of the Carilion Clinic senior management team, also offered observations on the current health care environment and his own career guidance to the 18 second-year students in RU's Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. Arner challenged the aspiring health care providers to think about change and how to lead change.

"I don’t remember a time when health care was so much in the news," he said. "The major changes taking place are causing some of us to be excited and some to consider retirement."

After reviewing his organization's integrated health care delivery system and the values underlying it, Arner addressed some of the challenges of the evolving care model within which the students will be working. Among those challenges are chronic diseases, the volume treadmill and a shortage of professionals.

As the industry moves from a cost-reimbursement model to a risk-sharing model, Arner said a key will be engaging individual patients in how they access and manage health care. "We as an organization and individuals everywhere are learning to think differently about health care," he said.

He cited Carilion's novel approach to helping congestive heart failure patients as an example of a care delivery transformation. A cross-disciplinary team was formed to help guide both organizational and patient efforts to reduce readmission after a congestive heart failure incident. The team's ability to encourage patient engagement and compliance were contributing factors to a lessening of the readmission of program's patients, said Arner.

"He helped me put it all together. His perspectives from the corporate side help me understand the changes going on in health care," said Terry Kahn, a second-year DPT student. "His perspective and the skills and information that I am learning in class make me feel very positive about my own ability to contribute."

On Wednesday, April 16, at 10:30 a.m., the class, taught by Professor of Communication Science and Disorders Raymond Linville, will hear from Nathaniel Bishop, president of the Jefferson College of Health Sciences, on "Building a diverse healthcare system and community partnerships."  Part the program's partnerships with local and national businesses, hospitals and public schools, the class and guest lectures offer learning experiences that prepare DPT candidates to provide quality care throughout the population's lifespan. The first cohort of DPT candidates will be pinned and graduate May 9-10 in Radford during Spring Commencement ceremonies.

Apr 9, 2014