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An Interview with Dr. Jay Want, CIVHC's Outgoing CMO

Jay Want, MD, CIVHC’s current Chief Medical Officer, has been a part of CIVHC since before CIVHC existed. As he prepares to set off on a new chapter with the Peterson Center for Health Care, Jay and Ana, CIVHC’s CEO, sat down to discuss how far CIVHC and Colorado have come and where we’re headed.

Ana: You’ve been a part of CIVHC from before the organization was recommended out of the Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform in 2008. How was the landscape in health care different back then, and what are the most significant changes that you’ve seen in the past almost decade? 

Jay: I think the biggest change I’ve seen is the general recognition that the status quo is not sustainable.  In 2008, many people were still behaving as if fee for service with a trend 2-3x general inflation was fine.  Back then, nobody looked at their paycheck and was surprised by what their health care benefits were costing.  Today, even if some in the industry would like to believe otherwise, there is a general consensus that payment and delivery are going to have to change to avoid bankrupting the country.

Ana: When you reflect on your time as the first board chair for CIVHC and CIVHC’s first Chief Medical Officer, what are you most proud of? 

Jay: I think the establishment of the CO APCD certainly is the landmark achievement.  In many ways, Colorado’s APCD is the best one in the country, and has the widest latitude to provide information to the entire community.  Its potential is still largely untapped, but I have confidence the terrific CIVHC staff will demonstrate the power of aggregated data over the next several years.

Ana: Where do you see the future of health care in Colorado and the nation, and what are you most excited about in the upcoming decade? 

Jay: I think the states have great potential to be laboratories under the new federalism approach we’ve seen, which is mostly bipartisan.  I look forward to watching Colorado’s progress, and learning from it and other states’ experiments.  The other thing I think has a great deal of promise is the early work we’re seeing in social determinants of health.  It will be difficult to fulfill the promise in that area without new innovative payment methodologies that reflect the return on investment they offer in areas outside of traditional medical payment.  I think experiments in this area will be exciting to watch. 

Ana: What’s the one thing you learned in your time with CIVHC that you will take with you to the Peterson Center? 

Jay: Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt the ability of a small group of committed individuals to change the world.  In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

 

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