Up & Comers - 2017
COO, Texas Health Aetna
For Genevieve Caruncho-Simpson, healthcare was the family business. Growing up in Seattle with a mother and brother in the industry, she had an initial interest in clinical social work. After a practicum at the Veterans Affairs Department where she worked directly with veterans, she started to see some of the industry's biggest challenges and opportunities.
"I got to work with veterans who were transitioning back from active duty and facing challenges in behavioral health, physical health and mental health," she said. "Seeing the challenges they faced was eye-opening. I saw how affordable access to healthcare can make a sizable impact in so many lives, especially the most vulnerable."
"We can't wait for the federal government to solve all our problems; the transformation drivers in each market are locally based."
Since then, she's focused her career on helping marginalized populations. While serving as the system director for strategy and business development at Miami Children's Hospital from 2011 to 2013, she launched four urgent-care centers. This was a multimillion-dollar investment that resulted in a joint venture with a multidisciplinary ambulatory center and Florida International University.
She also helped develop a maternal-fetal medicine strategy that resulted in a partnership with Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Later, she helped Humana launch Medicaid managed care across Florida and headed the insurance giant's Medicare Advantage operations.
After working for Ascension Health for a little more than a year, Caruncho-Simpson became COO of Texas Health Aetna in April. While there may be gridlock in the federal government, Caruncho-Simpson isn't discouraged, as she sees the potential for innovation locally.
"On the grassroots level, there is tremendous opportunity to make market changes. Fundamentally healthcare is local and the local solutions are what will transform the industry," she said. "We can't wait for the federal government to solve all our problems; the transformation drivers in each market are locally based." --Valerie Lapointe