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Unwrapping Healthcare Disruption and Christmas Cheer

December 20, 2023

Prepare to voyage Beyond the Stethoscope with us, as we reminisce on season 3’s highlights and look to season 4’s promising future. From inspiring conversations with awe-inspiring guests to heartwarming news stories and thrilling travel plans, our podcast has been a journey worth reliving. Brace yourselves for an exciting ride through the unchartered territories of the future of healthcare, where disruptors are on the rise and AI, virtual care, and M&A activities are all set to change the game.

This episode, we also put a spotlight on Kroger’s successful model of serving healthcare right where the people are.

Join us in celebrating the spirit of Christmas, reflect, unwind, and soak in the magic of the season. Remember to stay tuned till the end for a special bonus surprise that we promise, you won’t want to miss!

Guest: Jason Crosby, VP Network Integration & Strategic Planning, SHP

Jason currently serves as the Vice President of Strategic Planning & Network Integration for Strategic Healthcare Partners (SHP) of Savannah, GA, with whom he has been employed for 13 years. With SHP, he oversees the Clinically Integrated Network activity, as well as the Business Development and Strategic Planning function.

Prior to joining SHP, Jason served as Finance Director for Georgia Emergency Associates, Decision Support Manager at Memorial Health, and as a Finance Lead with Gulfstream Aerospace.

Guest: Aaron Higgins, Data Manager & IT Strategist, SHP

Aaron Higgins has worked with SHP since 2019 as the Data Manager and all around Quality Payment Program expert. In 2021, his role expanded to include IT Strategy to help SHP navigate the changing IT landscape in a post-COVID workplace. Prior to working at SHP, Aaron worked in various private practices starting in 2008, where he typically held dual roles as both the Health IT Administrator and Meaningful Use/PQRS Manager, and in 2015 he moved to the Savannah area to oversee the Quality Payment Program for a private practice. Every year, since coming to SHP, Aaron has provided a webinar series updating QPP eligible practices on the proposed & final rule changes coming to QPP (recordings of which can be found on the SHP website).

When not reading the annual Final Rule or answering questions about QPP, Aaron can be found serving on the board of Family Promise of the Coastal Empire, church committees, and on the Pooler city council. Aaron lives in Pooler, GA with his wife and golden retriever.


Aaron Higgins: 0:02
Welcome to Beyond the Stethoscope Vital Conversations with SHP. I’m Aaron Higgins and I’m joined today with my co-host, Jason. In today’s festive episode, we dive into the spirit of the Christmas season, reflect on the incredible journey of season 3, share some uplifting news and offer a sneak peek into the exciting topics lined up for season 4. Stick around to the end for a special bonus surprise. Now join us as we navigate the intersection of healthcare and humanity. Let’s get started on another vital conversation. Well, good afternoon Jason. How are you today?

Jason Crosby: 0:40
Hey, aaron, doing well. How are you?

Aaron Higgins: 0:43
I’m pretty good. With Christmas just around the corner here I’m getting a little panicked because I realized I haven’t done a whole lot of shopping yet and my wife’s birthday is Christmas Eve, so I’m a little behind the able here, yeah, that’s a tough one. Hello Amazon. I have the opportunity to play Santa every year, as you know, but our audience doesn’t. I was on the back of a fire truck waving to kids the other night and I saw an Amazon person and we stopped and I leaned over and I said you are the real Santa. She smiled and then she started to cry Happy tears. So it was a touching moment. It was an unexpected I thought I was being funny and clever but apparently a touching moment between me and the Amazon delivery person.

Jason Crosby: 1:42
Instead, you made them cry. Okay.

Aaron Higgins: 1:45
Yeah, it was happy tears, Happy tears. She was smiling, and my defense, she was smiling.

Jason Crosby: 1:52
Well, that’s good. It’s a great time of year. Christmas starts at the Christmas music November 1st, so I feel like we’re pretty deep in the Christmas season these days. But, yeah, happy times. We are wrapping up season three and, just as we did during Thanksgiving, I think you and I have talked about reflecting and thankful for the success of the podcast, the fun that it’s been, the people we’ve met and just really looking forward to season four. But always good to kind of reflect on the season’s past.

Aaron Higgins: 2:27
Yeah, it really has been a blast and I’d like to think that we’re just getting better and better. Maybe that’s just from my limited perspective here, but we’ve really had some wonderful conversations with folks that we never would have really had an opportunity to talk to or share with anybody else, so really grateful for the podcast and the guests that we’ve had this season.

Jason Crosby: 2:52
Yes, great group. We let off season three with Allison Griffin, administrator over urological associates in Savannah. We had Damien Scott, CEO of a Emanuel Medical Center. That was a two-parter and kind of gave us the insights as a roles hospital CEO. Craig Kilgore, another two-parter that we had out of Charleston, but from the practice side. Craig’s got great experience. Of course we had a little nice banter of Georgia versus Tennessee, but good one there. Matt Usher, who actually is this week with a two-parter as well. Matt giving us insights on healthcare or health insurance trends, on health plans, especially for small employers very insightful. But of course the best was Aaron Higgins, two-parter on QPP. All just excitement about QPP. We kind of took a different bent, aside from yourself and Matt. Obviously we were trying to look at more from the provider side, but I thought it was a really good balance of three folks responsible for provider setting and then you and Matt kind of tying in some subject matter expertise that those settings should be aware of, and so it was a very informative, helpful, very well-listened two-season I think.

Aaron Higgins: 4:12
Yeah, and honestly, I look forward to next season and it seems like we’re always just doing that. We’re just teasing the very next season or the next episode. But hey, we’re in podcasting. That’s what we do when we’re in podcasting we’re always teasing the next thing. So I know you and I were talking just before we recorded this podcast. There are some ideas that were kicking around, anything that we want to share with our audience right now.

Jason Crosby: 4:40
Well, of course we can only tease. We’re not going to fully unwrap the gift, right, but some details, timing. We’re going to follow previous seasons, so start looking for some activity in the late February timeframe. The ideal word there is see. You might see some activity with our podcast next season. We’re hoping so. We’ll more there, but some more interesting guests on the provider side and some other interviews. We think will be very fun, but we’re expecting big things.

Aaron Higgins: 5:12
So, jason, I want to put a bug in your ear. If we’re going to see something, I think we need to go and see something, yeah.

Jason Crosby: 5:22
Well, you know, sometimes I like to hit the road to get to a place.

Aaron Higgins: 5:30
Don’t shake the gift too hard there, Jason.

Jason Crosby: 5:34
Yeah. So you know, in springtime that’s a great time to kind of get out. Yeah, yeah See the world. See things, we’ll see.

Aaron Higgins: 5:46
Okay, I’m sure our audience is like okay, we get the hint, we get the hint. So, yeah, stay tuned. We’re going to be releasing some information in the late winter, early springtime about season four. We’re excited. We got some really great ideas and hopefully we’re able to get all the pieces in place to make this the biggest and greatest season we’ve had so far. So, switching gears, Jason, we have our news episodes, our infamous news episodes where you just bring us the most happy news that you can possibly lay your hands on. Let’s switch things up a little bit and let’s actually bring some happy news. You know this, this time of year it’s Christmas, right, it’s a time for us to reflect back on a year of good and bad things. It’s a time to be grateful and thankful for the things that we do have, but it’s also a time to be optimistic and look forward to the future. I think you found a few news headlines, some articles we can briefly discuss here, that do just that sort of thing.

Jason Crosby: 6:59
Yeah, we’ll touch on a couple things. One, you know, I’ve had a theme, I think, for the last couple of seasons, so all of 2023, about the retailer space, right. And one I found interesting was Kroger Health. I live not too far from Kroger, I shop at Kroger and I was somewhat surprised. I did not realize the little clinic is what it’s called by Kroger launched in 2003 in Kentucky, so they’re very first clinic, so they’re doing an expansion here, coming in 2024 in Atlanta, and they’re targeting medically underserved areas, right. And another statistic I found interesting they have 225 clinics now in nine states. But here’s the key part 60% of those people that visit the clinics do not have a primary care provider. And so, yeah, I see this as very positive because we you know I talked a lot about disruption and how best buy an Amazon, walmart and all these places, right. Well, I like to see that, because we talked one episode, you know, about Dollar General, right, where are the people in rural healthcare? Go where they are and provide them care there, don’t have them try to come to you, sort of thing. And so I just found it interesting, but also something that’s productive, I think helpful and a positive thing, like you mentioned that someone like a Kroger health, where lots of people go shopping, 60% don’t have a primary care doctor, so why don’t we go to them? And so that was I thought was a very positive thing that Kroger is looking and doing in 24. We talked about predictions, right, you know this is the time of the year. You start seeing predictions for the next year in the industry and we, I think you’re going to continue seeing more disruptors. You’re going to see a lot more and I know this is a run up your alley a lot more of the AI. You’re going to see a lot more, and there’s already trends in virtual care and M&A activity, and so you put all those things together. Remote patient monitoring you put all that together. You’re getting a lot more self care. You know, remote patient care, less going to the hospital that trend is only going to continue and I think that’s a positive thing.

Aaron Higgins: 9:15
You said correct me if I’m wrong Kroger has had its clinic since 2003. So they’ve had that clinic for 20 years In Kentucky.

Jason Crosby: 9:26
I had no idea they call it the Little Clinic. It’s very much an urgent care sort of approach, but that’s all you need. And so kudos to those guys that are disrupting the market, which we’ve interviewed a few of those ourselves but kudos to those trying to bring care to the people themselves. My tidbit of what I think is both a mix of positive news meets predictions in 2024, and then tie a little bow around it, and then we’ll have some Christmas time to what you and I have talked about so many times in 2023 itself in terms of disruption and health care for the positive. So I think we have that look forward to in 24.

Aaron Higgins: 10:08
Yeah, I think the whole leaning into AI we’re really seeing that starting to pay off, even for non-healthcare businesses. You have now, since we last talked, and in just a month ago, there’s all that drama over at ChatGPT, OpenAI, and that in some ways has reignited the conversation around AI and its place. And then Google launched a new version of its BARD and then we’re seeing Microsoft continue to invest billions and then a lot of other companies are starting up and Epic EMR has really embraced AI and their next major release is going to have all sorts of AI baked into it. So, yeah, I think we’re going to see a lot of good stuff come out of the AI world in 2024 and, honestly, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’re going to see a whole lot more of AI in the next few years. It’s going to accelerate exponentially. It’s just the nature of technology, but really the nature of these large language AI models they learn faster and faster the more they learn. So an exciting time and looking forward to it for 2024.

Jason Crosby: 11:36
Yeah, in particular on the AI front. We’ve seen some legislation come through recently on regulation and so I think AI we’re going to read a lot about it in 24. I’m sure you and I will talk a lot about it on the podcast here as we get back up and go into the next couple of months.

Aaron Higgins: 11:53
Well, certainly we don’t want to just keep talking our audiences at your off. So any Christmas slots you want to share with us, jason, as we wind down not just this episode, but this season.

Jason Crosby: 12:06
Yeah, as Aaron mentioned, as you mentioned at the beginning, this was our third season. We’ve interviewed a large number of folks different backgrounds, different locations etc. And I would like to think, as we just sort of open up that communication, we learn things just as much as anybody else we bring. Hopefully there’s some enjoyment out of these episodes that our listeners take from it, and we’re always open for feedback. And as we enter the Christmas season, I just wish everybody a very merry Christmas, very safe holiday and to not get caught up in all the stresses that can exist during the holidays even though that does exist for all of us but just take that moment to sort of step back, relax and appreciate the season for what is not the people in your lives as well.

Aaron Higgins: 12:52
Yeah, I just want to leave this thought with our listeners the Christmas season, and no matter what religion or faith or creed or tradition you have, is an important season about remembering our fellow man and remembering we’re all human and we’re all in this together, and what we need to be doing is looking forward to how can we give back to our communities, how can we build people up instead of tearing them down. I would encourage you this holiday season, take time to pause, reflect, unplug a little bit literally unplug. You know, we have our phones with us all the time. Now you know the hop off of Twitter X or whatever it’s called these days and spend time with your family and love on your neighbors, cause that’s really what truly matters at the end of the day, and I think if we all did that just a little bit more, the world would be a better place for it. So, with that modeling sort of thinking, jason, I want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.

Jason Crosby: 14:08
Same to you, Aaron. Merry Christmas, happy New Year to you and your family, to all those that are listening.

Aaron Higgins: 14:13
All right, jason, you have a good one. Take care everybody.

Jason Crosby: 14:17
You’ve been listening to Beyond the Stethos cope Vital Conversations with SHP. This has been a production of strategic healthcare partners.

Aaron Higgins: 14:25
Your hosts are Jason Crosby and me, Aaron C Higgins. This episode was produced and edited by Nyla Wiebe. Our social media content producer is Jeremy Miller.

Jason Crosby: 14:37
Transcriber is myself and our executive producers are Mike Scribner and John Crew.

Aaron Higgins: 14:42
For more information about SHP, the services we offer, including the back library of episodes, episode transcripts, links to resources that we discussed and much more. Please visit our website at shpllc. com/ podcast. Thank you for listening.

Jason Crosby: 15:01
One of the other great things about the holiday season are the awesome movies that typically only roll around this time of year.

Aaron Higgins: 15:09
No doubt.

Jason Crosby: 15:10
And without saying which ones are mine, I’m gonna ask you first, aaron, name your top. Let’s say three Christmas movies that you can just watch over and over and over.

Aaron Higgins: 15:24
Boy. There’s been a lot of great Christmas movies.

Jason Crosby: 15:28
If you gotta go up to five, I’ll let you go up to five.

Aaron Higgins: 15:31
Well, we’ll do four. How’s that? It’s a wonderful life. That’s number four. Number three would have to be a Christmas story. Two Will Ferrell’s Elf and one is highly controversial. But let me tell you, it’s not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls off the top of Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard One.

Jason Crosby: 15:59
First of all, yes, I agree, Die Hard is a Christmas movie, thank you. I’m not sure it cracks my top four when you went through your 234, I was a little bit embarrassed because I was with you lock and step. And one thing, if you don’t know, Aaron and I we do not want to agree on everything. That’s not our thing.

Aaron Higgins: 16:20
That’s right.

Jason Crosby: 16:21
You mentioned your 234, I fully agree with. Here’s where I’m stuck. If I had to go to five, you did four. I won’t go five. I want to add to your three. I’m alone and die hard for kids, but okay, Die hard seven, and I gotta say I’m almost a little bit embarrassed but I love Sinbad so I gotta go with Jingle All the Way. Is that bad? Like that’s the one that just doesn’t make sense in that list?

Aaron Higgins: 16:51
But it doesn’t, but the fact that you have kids does, so that helps explain it.

Jason Crosby: 16:57
That helps explain it. Okay, no, I appreciate that. First of all, that’s my personal by myself. Christmas Eve tradition Just to watch the marathon, so Christmas story, just watch Christmas story. So good, call Christmas story.

Aaron Higgins: 17:14
You like it.

Jason Crosby: 17:15
Number two yeah, I tell you who we left out National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. I kind of feel a little bad, a little guilty about that. I may have to replace Jingle All the Way with some Chevy.

Aaron Higgins: 17:31
You know? I mean, it is the thing to fight over, right? I can hear that what Christmas movie is the best? Okay, so what’s your number one?

Jason Crosby: 17:42
My number one of all time. Oh gosh, I’m gonna have to go with a Christmas story. That’s a good choice. I’m gonna have to go with that. You know, I can hear folks now, what about Miracle on 34th Street. Wow.

Aaron Higgins: 17:57
Oh, Natalie Wood version or the 92 remake.

Jason Crosby: 18:00
Oh, not the remake. No, you got to go back yeah.

Aaron Higgins: 18:03
Okay, okay, so the original Natalie Wood.

Jason Crosby: 18:06
Yeah, so I’m sure we’ve got folks listening going. You morons, how’d you not include that in your top list? Who’s your number one?

Aaron Higgins: 18:14
No, no, you got Die Hard one. Die Hard is my favorite Christmas movie.

Jason Crosby: 18:19
Okay, I’m going, christmas story that’s good. Yeah, yeah, okay, I think that’s a good list. Love me some elf, I mean, who doesn’t, you know. But that’s a good list. I think I’m gonna go and watch one or two of those this evening. Problem. I think that’s a great idea. Let’s do it. Well, we hope all of you go out and first of all, we want to hear feedback. What did we miss? What was a Christmas movie we missed that you guys will put out there? I know there’s some of the cartoon versions there’s. Watch Tim Allen, Santa Claus the other night.

Aaron Higgins: 18:54
And Santa Claus one. That’s a good one.

Jason Crosby: 18:57
Santa Claus one, that’s right, there’s so many good Christmas movies there are. There are, but hopefully everybody has a lot of time with some hot cocoa on the couch. Watch some Christmas movies next couple of weeks, because I sure will.

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