Category: Announcements

Happy 14th birthday to the Health Business Blog

published date
March 12th, 2019 by
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Happy 14th!

My main job is president of Health Business Group, a boutique healthcare strategy consulting firm I founded in 2003. As a sideline, I write the Health Business Blog, where I provide a behind the scenes look at the business of healthcare, featuring my spin on healthcare topics in the news, interviews with entrepreneurs, and policy prescriptions.

The blog is turning 14 years old this month!  Continuing a tradition I established with birthdays one,  two,  three,  four,  five,  six,  seven,  eight,  nine,  ten,  eleventwelve, and thirteen I have picked out a favorite post from each month. Thanks for continuing to read the blog!

March 2018: Tufts Health Plan CEO Tom Croswell on value baed care (podcast)

Tufts Health Plan CEO Tom Croswell is a veteran of the health plan world. I sat down with him to discuss value based care, collaboration, diversity and how Tufts tries to set itself apart in a crowded market. Tufts is best known for serving Massachusetts but is also expanding into neighboring states. It has a joint venture in New Hampshire and had just announced its entry into Connecticut in partnership with Hartford HealthCare.

April 2018: Ten pharma policy topics in just one article!

Kaiser Health News is a non-profit news service that does a great job of exploring healthcare policy topics. Still I was impressed that one article (How a drugmaker turned the abortion pill into a rare-disease profit machinemanaged to directly and indirectly raise at least 10 important policy topics.

May 2018: Partners and Harvard Pilgrim aren’t really going to merge, are they?

The news was full of stories about merger discussions between Partners HealthCare and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. No one denied the reports, so we can assume there was some truth to the rumors. But why would these organizations contemplate a merger and how likely would it be to happen? I compared it to a scene from a Cheech & Chong movie.

June 2018: Boston Globe and Boston Herald quote David Williams on Harvard Pilgrim CEO departure

A month after Harvard was talking about merging with Partners, the company’s CEO was out. It had something to do with his behavior… Both the Globe and Herald wanted to hear what I had to say about departed CEO, Eric Schultz.

July 2018: Nurse triage lines 3.0. Podcast with AxisPoint Health

Nurse triage lines have gone through three phases of evolution. In phase 1 they were implemented to ‘check the box’  for member education, phase 2 brought “demand management” to keep patients out of the emergency room, and now in phase 3 health plans are creating a gateway to innovative programs and services.

I discussed these topics with a leading company in the field.

August 2018: John McCain. A healthcare legacy

We don’t normally think of Senator John McCain as a healthcare leader, and yet he played a significant role over the years in various policy matters. CareCentrix CEO, John Driscoll and I paid tribute in a short edition of #CareTalk.

CVS Aetna merger goes through. I’m quoted in Chief Executive

published date
October 11th, 2018 by
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Hand it over!

The combination of CVS and Aetna will work out great for the investment bankers and members of senior management who are able to cash out. Beyond that I’m skeptical about what value this colossus will add to the health care equation.

When the deal was announced I expressed skepticism about the rationale (CVS + Aetna. Are we sure this adds up?)

If the idea is to get health insurers to offer plans that favor retail clinics, why not just contract with those plans? Aetna is a big company but as a national plan its market share in many geographies is relatively modest. Often –like here in Massachusetts– the local Blue Cross has the biggest market share. If CVS is big and powerful enough to actually buy Aetna, surely it can get that company and others to come to terms on retail clinics.

Now that the deal is done, Chief Executive asked me for my take. (CVS-Aetna merger approved by DOJ: What CEOs should know). They put me, quite rightly, in the “skeptical” category and quoted some of my concerns.


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

Health Wonk Review is up at Xpostfactoid

published date
September 27th, 2018 by

Xpostfactoid hosts the Map of Malfunction issue of the Health Wonk Review. He describes it –accurately– as “a smorgasbord of smart takes on the morphing ACA marketplace; various dysfunctions (and one or two functions) of U.S. health care; and political wars over Medicare and the ACA.”

You may be glued to your seat today for the Kavanaugh hearing, but you can read the Review when you take a break.