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Linda Rosenberg

Former President and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health

NatCon17: Health Care’s Disney World … and More!

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As I was stepping off a flight from Nashville to Washington, DC, a clearly excited woman stopped me to tell me that she had just registered for NatCon17. She went on to explain that for her and her colleagues, the National Council conference is like going to Disney World, “There’s something special every time you turn a corner. You take away ideas and make memories that last for years.”

What a great description and what a compliment.

I wish I could say putting on health care’s best conference was easy, but that wouldn’t be true. We labor all year, but it’s a labor of love, and you deserve it.

NatCon is an annual opportunity for all health care stakeholders focused on addictions and mental illnesses to come together to learn, meet old friends, make new ones and generate fresh ideas and opportunities.

2017 brings a new set of challenges. We will have a new president and a new Congress with different ways of thinking and behaving. Things are unsettled. There’s concern about protecting the gains of the last eight years, while ensuring that we continue to make progress. That’s precisely why you can’t miss NatCon17.

You’ll hear from presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, MacArthur “genius” and acclaimed actress Anna Deavere Smith, neuroscientist and technology guru Tom Insel and health economist Uwe Reinhardt, to name just a few of our headliners. NatCon17 is about finding paths forward. No matter who is in the White House or in charge on the Hill, we will always put our mission first. Available, effective services is still our true north.

At NatCon17 you learn what works – and how to get what works to your community. Included in one price of admission is the Kennedy Forum with Patrick and his wife Amy leading the focus on the emotional needs of children and families and the Medicaid Bootcamp where you’ll learn all you need to know about waivers, value-based payment and contracting out services. And don’t miss the Solutions Pavilion, a showcase of technologies that transform how care is delivered and is transforming “business as usual.”

The Surgeon General’s report made clear— addiction is a public health crisis and NatCon17 explores how we can implement his recommendations. We examine integrated care services and what’s next for population health. In large and small groups, we discuss first-episode services, assessment and management of risk and measurement-based care.

NatCon17 celebrates the successes of Mental Health First Aid, but we also face our struggles – mergers and hospital acquisitions that haven’t turned out as expected, neglect of families and continued service disparities. We take on policymakers’ continual rollout of system “reform” while starving the safety-net that thousands and thousands depend upon. At a time of threatened entitlements, how can we not do everything possible to expand the Excellence Act and establish Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics in every community?

This is our biggest and best conference yet – and that’s saying a lot! Bring your passion, your insights, your concerns and a good pair of walking shoes – you’ll be covering lots of ground, both literally and figuratively.

There’s no way I can tell you everything that is planned for NatCon17 – there’s so much! You can learn more about the incredible scope of sessions, speakers and events from the Preliminary Program and register today for special Early Bird rates!

Seattle isn’t Disney World, but it’s one of the world’s premier cities. I’ll be there April 2, ready to greet you. I really hope that you’ll be there to greet me!