Summer Conference Recap: Behavioral health access & curbing health care costs

2 min read
Nolan Jekich
September 7th, 2023

Regence Health Policy Center staff participated in two influential conferences aimed at developing policy solutions to expand access to behavioral health services and curb the affordability crisis.  

Pacific NorthWest Economic Region Annual Summit 

The 32nd annual summit of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region played host to nearly 500 business leaders and policymakers from The United States and Canada. Held in Boise in July, the three-and-a-half day summit was a melting pot of ideas, centering on critical regional concerns and tackling issues relating to energy security, sustainable practices, disaster preparedness and health care access.  

The Regence Health Policy Center held a panel discussion to highlight the regional challenges and best practices of advancing access to behavioral health services, resources and programs.  

The panel featured Regence’s Executive Medical Director of Behavioral Health, Dr. Mike Franz, Idaho Senators Abby Lee and Ali Rabe, and Stephen Samis, a former deputy minister of health and social services in Canada.  

The discussion centered around the growing prevalence of behavioral health concerns, the limited number of mental health providers, and the pressing need for earlier intervention – particularly with youth – to identify and address mental well-being issues before they worsen. 

Watch the recap video here:  

National Academy for State Health Policy Annual Conference

Regence Health Policy Center staff joined 1,000+ members of the state health policy community at the National Academy for State Health Policy’s annual conference in Boston in August.  

Health leaders from all fifty states convened to discuss top issues shaping the current health care landscape including hospital consolidation and rising health care costs.  

Several states presented legislatives approaches, often with the support from employer groups, to counter anti-competitive contracting practices, remove hefty facility fees, and ensure greater price transparency for consumers.  

Gearing up for a busy fall

The Regence Health Policy Center plans to engage in conferences over the next several months, as we continue to collaborate with health care leaders, policymakers and community stakeholders to advance policies that promote access to high-quality, affordable health care.
Nolan Jekich is a Program Advisor, Policy and Stakeholder Engagement for the RHPC. Jekich has been with Regence since 2020 and supports Government Relations in Idaho and Utah. Additionally, he manages communications for the RHPC and leads on health policy issues relating to provider and prescription drug affordability.