Industry leaders 'welcome' the disruption that Amazon, JPMorgan, Berkshire Hathaway may ignite
Modern Healthcare solicited reaction from industry leaders to news that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase are teaming up to form a healthcare company to serve their U.S. workers. Here's a sampling of the comments we received:
"These announcements no longer come as a surprise to me. Healthcare insurance and delivery is ripe for disruption and frankly, I welcome it. Traditional healthcare is too expensive and not as service-oriented as it should be. Most efforts at improving just dance around the edges. There are reasons for this—healthcare (hospitals in particular) is far too regulated, which stifles innovation and our long-standing cultures take a very long time to change. New entrants—particularly in the insurance and ambulatory space—are able to innovate much faster as they don't have to change the old structures and culture. So it might be this disruption that enables both changes in regulation and the impetus to change the traditional structures more quickly. Scripps is pushing change right now more than we ever have before, and I see an alignment with our physicians, nurses and staff like I've never seen before. I think the external disruption is helping us to change more quickly ourselves."
—Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO, Scripps Health
"I think many providers would welcome this. The tapeworm is the outrageous administrative costs of healthcare in the U.S. and the expense of all the middle services. The pure waste and rising costs of prior authorization are one good example. We would welcome the opportunity to work directly with employers and their staff."
—Dr. William Conway, CEO, Henry Ford Medical Group; executive vice president, Henry Ford Health System
"My speculation is that these three companies may have joined forces to focus on disrupting the health insurance marketplace. Berkshire Hathaway is a major force in the insurance market; Amazon is expert on eliminating the middleman; and JPMorgan is a big bank financing company. These three companies together might create a new company that can work with large self-funded employers and fully insured employers to provide alternatives to traditional health insurance at significant savings to the entire system."
—Howard Kern, president and CEO, Sentara Healthcare
"Our nation remains challenged with ensuring universal access to quality, affordable health for all. I welcome anyone that can provide practical solutions to this problem. But to be successful, they will have to ensure it includes a major focus on public health and prevention."
—Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director, American Public Health Association
"Everyone's been speculating and anticipating Amazon's entrance into the healthcare sector. At the core this is an announcement about large employers wanting better healthcare for their employees. The nature and size of these employers is consequential, but the output and the degree to which it will impact average Americans is not yet well-understood. We'll be watching closely for follow-up details."
—Dr. Doug Fridsma, president and CEO, American Medical Informatics Association
"I, for one, welcome the participation of some of the most original thinkers from corporate America. We all realize that costs for healthcare in America are too high, and that we get less value for what we spend than many other countries around the globe. Some of our best breakthrough solutions over the years have come from employers who are paying many of the bills for our current non-system of care. The Kaiser (Permanente) approach, for example, began as an experiment by a forward-thinking shipbuilder. I also hope that ideas from this new partnership do not stop with those who enjoy commercial coverage. As a nation, we need to innovate to provide coordinated, affordable, quality healthcare for all our citizens."
—Dr. Mark Keroack, president and CEO, Baystate Health
"I believe the announcement today is just another indication that traditional healthcare organizations need to move faster, be more innovative, focus more on the needs and pain points that our patients feel everyday and understand that if we do not evolve and change today that others will make the change for us. It's important for all leaders of health systems, hospitals, clinics and insurers to become much more consumer and digitally focused."
—Warner Thomas, president and CEO, Ochsner Health System
"I am not surprised at all, I have always felt that the disruption of our industry would have to come from outside healthcare. Just like Uber disrupted taxis. I think we should see other large employers join them or start their own initiatives. The current cost is simply not sustainable."
—Michael Ugwueke, president and CEO, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
"I welcome their involvement and hope they find opportunities that those of us from within the industry may have overlooked. Fresh eyes, fresh perspectives. More power to them!"
—Julie Taylor, CEO, Alaska Regional Hospital
"We all agree that healthcare costs are too high and that we need to reinvent and transform care delivery. That's not the debate.
The issue is that none of these "disruptions" address the fundamental challenges: We are paid below actual costs for Medicare, Medicaid and the uninsured; more Americans are uninsured now than last year; bad debt is rising as ever higher deductibles and copays are simply not paid and so on.
Many from outside the industry have tried and I wish them well, but the system is far more complex than most realize."
—Dr. Ronald Paulus, president and CEO, Mission Health
"The announcement today outlines a concept and suggests how these employers are taking a more active role in their healthcare. At Highmark, we see all size employers actively engaged in their employee benefits. We have robust collaborations to work with employers to manage their costs and deliver customized solutions for their employees, oftentimes through channels focused on meeting their workforce on their own terms."
—Lynn Seay, director of corporate communications, Highmark Health
"There's a rapidly changing healthcare landscape and an immediate need for health systems to get out of their comfort zones to transform healthcare and provide the greater value that patients and payers are seeking. This should be a wake-up call: If health systems don't innovate, others will. And health systems have the requisite experience and insights to do it right for patients.
An example of this is the recent announcement of an Intermountain Healthcare-led initiative that includes Ascension, Trinity Health and SSM Health, in consultation with the VA, to start a not-for-profit generic-drug company to meet head-on the problem of medication supplies and unreasonably high costs."
—Dr. Marc Harrison, president and CEO, Intermountain Healthcare
"This new partnership is a significant employer evolution from self-insurance to bearing more risk in order to improve outcomes, cost and experience. This type of disruption will continue until there is a mindset change within the healthcare industry (payers and providers) that recognizes the patient and employer as an active consumer, and delivering what they need and want, when and how they want it, with value as an intrinsic property."
—Dr. David J. Bailey, president and CEO, Nemours Children's Health System
"The announcement today is a landmark event because it means that the most innovative employers do not believe that most of us see the burning platform. They are not comfortable with the only thing in their and their employees lives that is stuck in the '90s being healthcare. At a time when Amazon has technology to enter your house with same-day delivery or have a totally automated grocery store, they are not content with our lame explanations around transparency, inequities and even sending a believable understandable bill. I believe this is Jeff Bezos, Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett doing their "we're mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore" speech and taking it into their own hands. At Thomas Jefferson University and Health we embrace that mentality and are ready to join with Jeff, Jamie and Warren in the revolution!"
—Dr. Stephen Klasko, president and CEO, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health
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