Gail Warden has been both an advocate and a shaper of policy in the healthcare quality crusade. Warden, 63, president and chief executive officer of Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, has examined quality issues from the inside and out.
The 1995 chairman of the American Hospital Association's board of trustees and executive vice president of the AHA from 1976 to 1981, Warden was also the first chairman of the board of directors for the National Committee on Quality Assurance.
Warden has managed to straddle the divide between hospitals and insurers. Henry Ford is one of the few healthcare systems left that owns and operates a successful HMO. Before joining Henry Ford in April 1988, Warden was president and CEO of health insurer Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound in Seattle, a job that he says was a pivotal choice in his career and one that led to his current position in Detroit.
"It's very clear that some of the pressures that were part of the creation of the managed-care concept, which was to assure that care was cost-effective and that we don't have overutilization, have resulted in policies and decisions being made that clearly have had an impact on the quality of care that's available to the patient," Warden says.
In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed Warden to the Federal Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry, and Warden has since served as chairman of the National Forum on Health Care Quality Measurement and Reporting.