One of the best things about our profession is the opportunity to meet and collaborate with so many talented and interesting people at our clients and in the community. This blog series introduces some of the executives with whom we work and spotlights the ways they are leading and making their mark, both personally and professionally.
Laura Sutter is the payer relations program manager at the American Academy of Neurology, the world’s largest professional association of neurologists. Laura joined the AAN in 2017. Her responsibilities include establishing and maintaining relationships with medical directors at commercial health insurance companies, and collaborating with physician subject matter experts, representatives from patient groups and other appropriate stakeholders to respond to draft coverage policies. Prior to joining the Academy she held roles at Allina Health, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, and Weill Cornell Medical College, and received her master’s degree in public health.
What do you see as the biggest challenge in the healthcare industry today?
I think one of the biggest challenges and most exciting opportunities is the shift to value-based care. We’re seeing this movement in many different sectors of the healthcare industry. I think one of the greatest challenges will be coordinating these efforts on a national level while also ensuring individual specialties and delivery systems find models that serve their unique needs. It’s one of the reasons I’m excited to work on the Medical Economics team at the American Academy of Neurology. Our physicians are leading the design of alternative payment models and quality measures for neurologists, and as the staff member working on commercial payer relations I get to collaborate on scaling and disseminating these new models.
How does technology impact these trends, and how is the Academy using it to build momentum?
It’s important that any shift to new value-based care models or quality reporting programs doesn’t add to the administrative burden placed on providers. The Academy’s single largest investment in its members has been the Axon Registry®. The Axon Registry is a quality improvement registry as well as a qualified clinical data registry, which means that members can use it meet federal reporting requirements such as QPP’s MIPS program. The Academy continues to look into ways we can use the Axon Registry to support members; for example, through quality reporting programs with private payers and the development of alternative payment models.
Which local business organizations or local events do you attend to stay connected to the Minneapolis (and greater Minnesota) community?
From a healthcare perspective, I’ve enjoyed exploring the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST. I remember attending their TRUST Forum soon after I moved back to the Twin Cities and I was so inspired by the community. I subscribe to Pollen; a Midwest-based newsletter for professionals. I find the newsletter does a wonderful job of sharing in depth stories about local organizations and individuals. And I’m a big fan of shopping the farmer’s markets.
One of West Monroe’s core values is social responsibility, and we know the Academy has a strong commitment to giving back. What’s one activity your company is doing that you’re most excited about?
Each year we hold a Brain Health Fair in conjunction with the Academy’s Annual Meeting. This is a way the Academy gives back to the local community to thank them for hosting us in their city. The Brain Health Fair is a free day-long event where neurology patients, families, and caregivers, as well as the general public can interact with neurologists, learn about the latest advances in research, and participate in fun and informative activities. I especially love that it’s designed for all ages – brain health affects everyone, and it’s wonderful to host an event where the entire family can participate and come away having learned something new.
I’m also fond of the Academy’s annual Free Bike Helmet Giveaway in Minneapolis. I remember biking past it years ago before I joined the Academy, and thinking it was a really great way to give back locally while promoting brain health.
What’s your favorite thing about living and working in Minneapolis?
The people; Minneapolis is a small enough city that it feels like you can build a real community within your professional field. And people are committed to the city; I think it’s telling that so many of us who leave eventually move back. Also, the landscape is something no one takes for granted here. When I was in my mid-twenties I remember coming back to Minneapolis to visit and having it hit me that cities with chains of lakes are not the norm and should be celebrated!