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Abarca holds summit to discuss future of healthcare

Abarca Health celebrated the first annual Abarca Forward event, a healthcare industry summit that hosted dozens of industry leaders from across the country, who discussed trends, best practices, and the vision of what healthcare should look like in 2030.

“We want to change the healthcare conversation and move it forward,” said Abarca President Jason Borschow. “Most people misunderstand the work of PBMs, but they play an incredibly important role in the United States healthcare system by empowering the entities that pay for healthcare and helping medical providers to improve their performance.”

Moderated by Forbes’ Bruce Japsen, the one-day event took place at the Caribe Hilton and featured presenters from companies such as Milliman, Kincentric, Pharmaceutical Strategies Group, Risk Strategies, RxBenefits, and the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association. The agenda included drug pricing models, improving the patient experience, government, and industry policy topics, and recruiting and retaining talent in the post COVID-19 era.

“This event is part of many conversations that we’re having. We’re aware that healthcare is far from what all of us want and deserve, and we’re working tirelessly to make that future a concrete reality,” said Borschow, explaining why healthcare should be simple and personal for patients. 

As part of the event’s discussion, corporate culture was identified as a critical aspect in the recruitment and retention of employees in the post-COVID-19 era, particularly in the face of what has been called The Great Resignation.

“One way to think about the Great Resignation is as the Great Reflection,” said Abarca’s Chief People Officer Mercibel González.

The demands of employees and employers are now very different, she explained.

“People are asking themselves: What makes me happy? What am I contributing to society? What are my values compared to the company’s values?” she said.

“Things aren’t going back to the way they were before the pandemic,” said González. “Abarca is adopting a hybrid model that gives employees flexibility choosing the days that they will be physically at company offices.” 

The executive said company values are often featured on office walls and tend to be more abstract and aspirational instead of accurately describing the current culture and suggested separating the “real” from the “aspirational” in company culture.

“The approach to culture has to be intentional. In our case, values are aligned with company strategy. As a service organization, it is driven by the work that people do,” she said.

González acknowledged that most organizations have been under close public scrutiny, increasing pressure on business models and working arrangements.

That pressure can translate to a toxic corporate culture or working environment, which generates employee stress, leads to burnout, and creates anxiety, impacting both mental and physical health. This, in turn, imposes increased costs for both companies and employees, said González.

After COVID-19, the outlook of employees has changed, and instead of a work-life balance, people are thinking more of life-work balance, according to Kincentric’s Global Director of Culture & Engagement Ashley Hajnos, who spoke at the event.

After being at home for the past two years, “people feel overworked but at the same time under stimulated,” said Hajnos.

Globally, half of the employees say they would quit their jobs if not provided with post-pandemic flexibility, according to Kincentric data. On the company side, the pandemic has also accelerated other changes as 85% of companies say they have accelerated digitalization efforts, and over 70% of the manager-employee relationships are now expected to be remote.

Hajnos attributed the changes in employee mindsets to shifting personal priorities and the time spent home.

“COVID made people think differently about their families, friends, and personal lives. As a result, mental health became a bigger issue,” she said.

People now have different expectations about life and work.

“When attracting talent, historically, it was about great pay and good benefits. But people now want more. They want flexibility and a culture that supports their personal values,” she said, noting that those values include acknowledgment, autonomy, opportunities, and recognition.

Hajnos advises taking a deep look at the organization’s culture, making sure that it is reflective of the company strategy and that new hires experience the culture that they were promised. 

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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