The latest edition of the Hank Wonk Review (ok Health Wonk Review) is ably hosted by Hank Stern at InsureBlog. He’s getting a little ahead of himself by calling it a Midsummer Night’s edition, but rush on over anyway. You’ll find plenty of interesting and insightful posts to peruse.
I’m always happy to speak with the press to provide my take on healthcare business and policy. In the last few days I’ve been quoted in a few outlets:
Today’s Boston Globe: In a sudden departure, Harvard Pilgrim CEO resigns amid questions about his behavior
Harvard Pilgrim and Partners each said Tuesday that Schultz’s resignation does not affect their discussions about a possible merger.
But David E. Williams, a Boston health care consultant, predicted the leadership change at Harvard Pilgrim would slow any other major moves by the insurer.
“I think it reduces the chance that a deal will happen, especially in the near term,” Williams said. “The Harvard Pilgrim board can’t deal with two major things at once. Partners will want to wait and see if something else shakes out at Harvard Pilgrim.”
Today’s Boston Herald: Harvard Pilgrim CEO resigns over ‘behavior’
Neither Schultz nor a company spokeswoman would comment on the nature of his behavior, or whether he is receiving any severance payments.
“I think the board is likely to be sensitive to that topic here,” said David Williams, president of Health Business Group. “Any expense is going to be borne in some ways by the customer.”
Yesterday’s Boston Globe: Beth Israel and Lahey say they want to learn from missteps in earlier merger
Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey do seem to have much in common. Both have flagship medical centers and a network of community hospitals. Both are considered high-quality, and they have lower costs compared with the region’s largest hospital network, Partners HealthCare. On their own, both have struggled to compete with Partners, which includes the renowned Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals.
“There’s a decent amount of compatibility and similarity,” said David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group, a Boston consulting firm. “BI and Lahey spent a lot of time getting to know one another and making sure that this is a good fit.”
The current edition of Chief Executive: Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush resigns: Avoiding a similar fate
In both cases, Sonnenfeld says the boards didn’t have the fortitude to stand up to the attacks. David E. Williams, president, Health Business Group in Boston, similarly seen this scenario play out before where a founding CEO is ousted by investors.
“It actually usually happens at an earlier stage than what you’re seeing here. What’s so noticeable here is that [the CEO] has been involved with the company for a long time and is a large publicly-traded company,” Williams says.
Alexa: What can we expect from Amazon in healthcare? That was the title of my keynote address at last week’s Massachusetts/Rhode Island Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) managed care conference.
My basic message was that while other tech companies have stumbled in healthcare or at best made a bunch of money without really impacting the overall system, Amazon has the potential to do a lot more. It is still unlikely to transform the system, but it has the best shot.
In particular, Amazon has the potential to help shift healthcare to the home, and to surround patients with the full complement of lifestyle products and services to address social determinants of health and wellness. Amazon Prime, Echo, Dash and Key give Amazon unparalleled access to the home and make the company the default for any purchase.
Amazon Web Services is also a strategic asset as healthcare moves to the cloud; new devices like the Echo Look (introduced as a fashion assistant) have real potential in healthcare, too.
The company’s very long term outlook (which I illustrated with a reference to Jeff Bezos’ 10,000 year clock) and the fact that everyone is willing to provide Amazon with free advice, are also differentiators.
I shared my perspective on the Amazon/Berkshire Hathaway/JP Morgan cooperative venture as well, leaning on the thoughts I posted in Amazon: Force the healthcare system to become patient-centric.
If you’re looking for a conference speaker to hold forth on Amazon’s potential in healthcare –or another health business topic– please feel free to contact me.
Photo credit: HFMA
Saul Marquez’s weekly Outcomes Rocket podcast features interviews with healthcare leaders sharing lessons on best practices to improve outcomes and business success. I’m featured in the latest edition, discussing hot topics, how to tackle costs, value based care, and suggested areas of focus for 2018.