Show Overview

One of the great privileges I have as host of this podcast is the opportunity to meet so many good people doing really great  work. At the top of that list are the folks at the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care, or CTAC, a DC based organization dedicated to the ideal that all Americans with advanced illness, especially the sickest and most vulnerable among us, receive comprehensive, high-quality, person- and family-centered care that honors their dignity. I love that.

So naturally I was super stoked to be invited to CTACs annual conference where I got to hear from folks on the front lines of the battle to transform care from the fragmented, siloed systems that result in unnecessary suffering to one where caregivers and the people they serve are empowered and getting the care they want when and where they choose. Today I want to introduce two people from the front lines of this great challenge, Torrie Fields and Dr. Stephen Bekanich.

Now please understand these recordings were made at the conference, so you’ll hear some occasional noise in the background. But you know, I’m like a moth to the flame, and when I see a bright light, I move toward it. I think you’ll agree these two guests are shining bright. So please join me on this special episode of Dance Past Sunset, recorded live at the 2017 annual conference of the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care. First up is a women who owned the stage with her positive energy and optimism, Ms. Torrie Fields, Senior Program Mgr for Advanced Illness and Palliative Care, Blue Shield of California plus their affiliated Medicaid Carefirst Health Plan.

What You’ll Learn from Torrie:

  • How she advises start-up incubators and early stage entrepreneurs focused on advanced illness or end-of-life care
  • Blue Shield’s long running history working with new organizations and helping them to grow
  • The innovative ventures she has seen that really excite her
  • How she uses a game called “Hello” from Common Practice’s game (formerly called “My Gift of Grace”) on first dates to determine values and openness
  • What it means to live well all the way through the end of life,
  • Her personal role as caregiver, and with folks who are not comfortable talking about death, and who are not tech savvy
  • The needs for more ways to help people understand the progression of their disease
  • How tech designers don’t understand the digital divide
  • Her evaluation of the Trillion dollar “Silver Tsunami” and its relation to Spinal Tap
  • Policies and regulations that keep us in the past (e.g. restrictions on what we can do in the home) and stifle innovation
  • How do we enable the future

Stephen Bekanich, MD

Many advanced care patients, like Torrie’s mom, want more help understanding what’s happening with their health now and what they can expect to face in the future. That’s one of the things my next guest helps people do. Dr. Stephen Bekanich from Iris Plans is not only focused on that challenge, he looks like he belongs in a rock&roll band with a fire red electric guitar strapped on him. And when you see a guy walking around who looks like that, you just have to ask, you know?

What You’ll Learn from Stephen:

  • How he uses his rock & roll attire to open a conversation with his patients and help them focus on the relationship and not just their illness
  • About WalMart’s Angel Wings
  • How Iris plans targets COPD, CHF, late stage malignancies, dementia, stroke, cirrhosis and helps patients assess what’s happening now. and what will they will face in the future.
  • What’s missing from Obamacare
  • How to bring the patient and their families into the equation
  • When Texas will become a Republic again, his tips for finding good BBQ

Coming Up Next on the Show:

Thank you Stephen and Torrie for taking time to speak with me, and thank you CTAC for hosting such an important event. Coming up in the next episode of Dance Past Sunset, I’ll have more guests from the conference including a couple who took their 90 year old mother and a dog named Ringo on a bucket trip your across America. Good stuff!

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