by Geoffrey Schick
The Future is in the Balance
The BHCG Annual Meeting

By now, you should have received your invitation to our annual meeting.  This year it will be held on the morning of Wednesday, September 30, at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward. For the past several years we have had the privilege of presenting nationally recognized, sought after industry experts to provide enlightening and informative keynote addresses.  This year continues that strong tradition with a keynote address by Dr. Roger Merrill

I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Merrill speak at the annual meeting of the Midwest Business Group on Health in April.  A charismatic and humorous speaker, Dr. Merrill pulls no punches when describing the drivers of poor health, and the resultant high costs for American employers and their employees.  More importantly, he shares insights about how one employer addressed the problem with considerable success.

Dr. Merrill joined Perdue Farms, the third largest poultry processing producer in the U.S. (20,000 employees) in 1990 as its corporate medical director. He retired in 2014 as chief medical officer. During his tenure he spearheaded a strategy that resulted in:

  • Health care costs at half the national average
  • Measurably improved health status of employees 

Dr. Merrill, a practicing internist in Salisbury, Md. for 30 years, also served as chief of staff of Peninsula Regional Medical Center, a 425-bed tertiary care institution, and was a member of its Board of Trustees for eight years.  Presently Dr. Merrill operates the consulting firm Merrill Health Strategies, whose clients include business coalitions, health care systems and individual employers. 

Dr. Merrill’s keynote address for our meeting, Health Delivery at an Enlightened Employer – It CAN be the Best of Times, will detail the strategy Perdue Farms embarked upon under his direction.  The strategy was three-pronged and included the use of:

  • Onsite clinics with a strong emphasis on primary care
  • Health risk assessments and coaching to identify the most dangerous modifiable risks with interventions personalized to each individual
  • Evidence-based plan design to move members towards care with proven value and away from care with negative value

Many of the themes in Dr. Merrill’s presentation – a focus on value, the critical role of primary care and a balanced approach requiring responsibility from providers, employees and employers – reflect the tenets the BHCG has long promoted.  How one employer successfully integrated all these elements into a comprehensive strategy is a fascinating story you won’t want to miss. 

The BHCG will also be presenting its fourth annual Driving Meaningful Change Award and recognizing the sponsoring organization partner placing the most new business with the BHCG in 2014.

This is a complimentary program, but space is limited, so please register today and join us for what promises to be an engaging and informative morning! 

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