Press Release

West Health announces major summit on high cost of healthcare

3 min
November 14, 2017


Surgeon and Bestselling Author Atul Gawande and Former CMS Chief Andy Slavitt to Deliver Keynotes

SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nov. 14, 2017 – To better address the rising cost of healthcare in America, West Health, a family of nonprofit organizations dedicated to enabling seniors to successfully age, has announced it will convene the foremost thought leaders and experts from every sector of healthcare for an innovation summit in the nation’s capital next year.

The goal of West Health’s Healthcare Costs Innovation Summit: “Taking Bold Action and Creating Accountability to Solve Our Nation’s Healthcare Costs Crisis” is to slow the trajectory of healthcare costs and transition from a largely fee-for-service system to a value-based one, where incentives and payments are based on health outcomes rather than solely on the number of services provided. It will be held on February 21, 2018 at the Amphitheater at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. The event is open to the public; please register at for more information.

The Healthcare Costs Innovation Summit (HCI-DC 2018), announced at the Aging 2.0 OPTIMIZE conference on innovations for older adults, marks the fifth installment of the HCI-DC series, which convenes policymakers and the public and private sectors to discuss innovative solutions to our nation’s healthcare costs challenges.

“Most agree that we are moving in the wrong direction when it comes to the cost of healthcare, and it’s particularly devastating for vulnerable seniors,” said Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of West Health. “We need a better system that is more affordable and more sustainable, and that requires fresh thinking, agreement on common goals, and closer collaboration between stakeholders from every sector of healthcare. This summit will be an important forum for this to happen.”

Rising costs for prescription drugs, medical tests and procedures and hospital admissions are making healthcare more expensive and leaving patients with less coverage, more out-of-pocket costs and rising premiums. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), national health spending was $3.2 trillion in 2015 and accounted for 17.8 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Spending on prescription drugs alone was $324.6 billion. An estimated one in three Americans report having difficulty paying their medical bills, which is one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy.

Bestselling author, surgeon and staff writer for The New Yorker Atul Gawande, MD, MPH and Andy Slavitt, the former Acting Administrator for CMS, are featured keynote speakers. They will be joined by dozens of other top leaders and thinkers for panel discussions and the development of recommendations for transforming the healthcare system. Sessions will focus on value-based care, the role of patients and providers in driving down costs, drug pricing and healthcare policy.

“Americans have a lot of outrage around skyrocketing healthcare costs, but now we need the will to do something about it,” said Tim Lash, chief strategy officer, West Health. “Our goal with the summit is to provide a framework that leads to lower costs, better care and smarter policy that does not leave anybody behind or bankrupt because they can’t afford good healthcare.”

The summit will bring together leaders from every sector of healthcare, including policymakers, healthcare providers, health systems, economists, insurers, government, drug companies, pharmacy benefit managers, advocacy groups and patients. The goal is to come up with new ideas, innovations and practical policy prescriptions that change the trajectory of the cost of healthcare in America.

Please visit for more information and join the conversation on Twitter using #HCcosts and #HCIDC.

About West Health
Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health includes the nonprofit and nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Institute and Gary and Mary West Foundation in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. These organizations are working together toward a shared mission dedicated to enabling seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. For more information, visit and follow @westhealth.

Media Contact:
Tim Ingersoll
West Health