2015 Annual Conference Recap

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

We had a great turnout at this year’s The Florida Alliance Annual Conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando on May 7 and 8. We offer this annual conference as a way to provide continuing education to our members and partners who want to remain current with the dynamic world of health care benefits. This year’s hot topics included management of Specialty Rx, Creating Cultures of Wellness and Prevention, and Smart Shopping for Cost and Quality.

For those of you who may have missed it, here are a few key takeaways from the two-day event. We’re also pleased to provide you with links to a few of the presentations from this year’s event, should you wish to explore any of these topics further.

A Culture of Health
Maintaining a “Culture of Health and Wellness” in the workplace was a repeated theme throughout this year’s two-day event. There are significant cost savings for companies that put prevention first! For example, our Day 1 luncheon panel moderator, Heather Hodge of Y-USA, discussed the success of the YMCA’s roll out of the CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Change Program (DPP) at employer sites. Diabetes provides the perfect case for focusing on preventive care in your workplace.

Turns out one in three Floridians have pre-diabetes, but only 10% know it. Yet, workplace diabetes intervention and prevention programs can reduce the onset of Type 2 Diabetes by 58-70%! Diabetic health costs average three times of those without Diabetes, so prevention is key for employers. Orange County Government representative, Patrick Peters, added that it is important to ask insurance companies to promote DPPs through their own hotlines. Speakers talked about the importance of having you – employee health care advocates – promote the CDC’s DPP to physicians, pharmacists and insurance companies. Added Peters, “Make sure employees have every opportunity to hear about the program.”

Also, in case you didn’t know, the CDC offers a website widget download for employers that want to provide a risk test to employees through their corporate websites! You can find this widget at www.cdc.gov/diabetes

Specialty Rx
This year’s conference also featured multiple sessions tied to the hot topic of Specialty Pharmaceuticals. Employee-focused design strategies that limit employee out-of-pocket costs, mandating the use of Specialty Pharmacies and preventing non-medical switching (Rx switching based solely on rates or rebates) were the main areas of discussion.

According to speaker and Artemetrx President Brenda Motheral, while current Specialty Rx spends average $400 per member per year, those costs are expected to more than double by 2018 to an average of $850 per member, exceeding the spend on non-specialty drugs.

According to speaker Cheryl Larson, Vice President of the Midwest Business Group on Health, not many employers have a solid understanding of how to effectively manage Specialty Rx benefits, yet those drugs are the best treatment for ailments like Crohn’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis. Cancer is also one of the top three highest cost Specialty Rx categories. 

Of note was a side discussion on specialty pharmacies – they are critical to promote for employee use, as they can help effectively coordinate aspects of specialty disease management much better than traditional pharmacies. Many of these Specialty Pharmacies have patient support teams, 24/7 access to clinicians and ongoing education and oversight of drug administration (not just at the beginning of treatment!).

There were many other great topics presented at this year’s conference. I’d say the key takeaway was this – employers are leaders, and as such should use their strategic position to effect change in the way that health care is delivered to employees. While it’s an employee’s responsibility to make good health care decisions, those decisions are only as good as their education, which is your responsibility!

We’ve provided a rare opportunity for non-attendees to view some of the presentations made at this year’s conference. Please feel free to access those presentations here:


We look forward to seeing you at next year’s event!


A Side Note: I’d like to personally thank our sponsors for their participation in this year’s event and their overall support of The Florida Alliance. This year’s sponsors included Abbvie*, Cancer Care Treatment Centers of America*, Castlight Health*, Dossia, Employers Health Network, Florida Department of Health, Genentech*, Merck*, Novo Nordisk*, Pfizer*, Quest Analytics Group*, Sanofi*, Sodexo, U.S. Imaging and the YMCA. These events are not achievable without your support!

*Denotes Affiliate Partners also.

Karen van Caulil 5/26/2015

Add your comments:

Items in bold indicate required information.

Name :
Email :
Comments :