Buying sprees, business formations and corporate restructurings meant for a busy 2022 for the nation's healthcare leaders. As the new year gets underway, here are 10 leaders to watch.
Ones to watch: Keep an eye on these healthcare leaders in 2023
Co-founder and CEO Iman Abuzeid leads the healthtech hiring platform’s efforts to fundamentally change the way hospitals recruit nurses. Since founding the company in 2017, Abuzeid has overseen its partnerships with 600 hospitals and managed its software to support approximately 400,000 nurses on Incredible Health’s platform. Rather than having clinicians apply to health systems, the company’s algorithms assess which nurses are a good fit for open positions and send batches of qualified candidates to recruiters. In August, the company’s valuation rose to $1.65 billion. She plans to invest in free tools for nurses such as continuing education and pre-salary estimators, while also introducing educational scholarships and advancing the company’s new nurse graduate suite and personalized career support tools.
CEO Rosalind “Roz” Brewer led Walgreens on a buying spree in 2022 to expand its U.S. healthcare arm and is eyeing technology-related acquisition opportunities. In the latter half of the year, Walgreens’ VillageMD, a primary care company, announced it would acquire Summit Health-CityMD for $8.9 billion, decided to fully acquire post-acute care company CareCentrix for $392 million and agreed to pay $1.37 billion to fully acquire specialty pharmacy firm Shields Health Solutions. Brewer will continue to grow Walgreens’ integrated network by investing big and boosting the chain’s presence in some of the healthcare industry’s fastest-growing segments.
Mark Cuban continues stirring the waters. The billionaire entrepreneur is co-founder of the online pharmacy started in January 2021 to slash drug prices and cut pharmacy benefit managers out of the process. Its inventory has grown from 100 generic drugs to nearly 1,000 in a year. Within six months, the team hopes to offer more than 1,500 medications for just 15% more than it pays manufacturers. In October, the company partnered with its first insurer Capital Blue Cross, which will start covering members’ purchases at Cost Plus Drugs this year. The company in December entered the employer market by partnering with and EmansaRx, the pharmacy benefit manager spun out of the Purchaser Business Group on Health, to provide discounted prescription drugs to self-insured employers.
Marc Harrison left Intermountain Healthcare in August for venture capital firm General Catalyst for an unspecified role and later hinted about the formation of a healthcare company aiming to “make healthcare more equitable, accessible and affordable for millions of people across the country and around the world.” In November, General Catalyst announced a partnership with 10 health systems to create a digital health ecosystem and the company plans to add five more partners. General Catalyst will serve as a “think tank” for the 15 organizations and give them access to companies within its expansive digital health portfolio. Digital health is becoming a more integral part of healthcare delivery and Harrison is expected to be a leading voice in how that dynamic evolves.
Lina Khan, appointed chair of the FTC in June 2021 by President Joe Biden, has led the charge to update the merger guidelines used by regulators to determine whether consolidation violates antitrust laws. The FTC, under Khan’s leadership, and the Justice Department, are updating the horizontal and vertical merger guidelines to reflect the latest healthcare transactions and current market imbalances. Regulatory agencies have struggled to keep up with vertically integrated companies that combine insurers, providers, pharmacies and other stakeholders. The pending overhaul is expected to address issues such as worker-specific impacts and other non-price related consequences and the presumption that vertical mergers are beneficial. About 90% of acute-care markets in metro areas are highly concentrated, as many hospitals have expanded market share through small transactions that skirt regulatory review. Her term ends in September 2024.
Wright Lassiter took the helm as president and CEO of the second-largest nonprofit health system by revenue in August after serving as CEO of Henry Ford Health since 2016. To help stabilize the labor pipeline at the $33 billion, 140-hospital, 27-state system, CommonSpirit launched the nation’s largest nursing residency program in the fall. It also ended a 25-year joint operation with Livonia, Michigan-based Trinity Health when Trinity completed its acquisition of health system MercyOne. CommonSpirit plans to expand services in Maricopa County, Arizona, one of the nation's fastest-growing markets, and look for potential merger partners to “bolster our ability to deliver high quality, prospective care,” Lassiter said.
Neil Lindsay, as senior vice president of health services, spearheads the tech giant’s ambitions to disrupt healthcare. He was appointed in November 2021 and his first full year was memorable. In 12 months, the tech giant announced plans to acquire One Medical and shut down Amazon Care, launched Amazon Clinic and stopped supporting an Alexa-specific healthcare project. It remains active in primary care, pharmacy fulfillment, direct-to-consumer telehealth and cloud-based health applications. Amazon isn’t afraid to spend money in healthcare and a challenging macroeconomic environment could mean there are plenty of digital health companies looking for an exit. But in an industry that moves at a glacial pace, Amazon has struggled to scale its healthcare offerings the same way it has done in other sectors.
CEO Sarah London will focus on growing the health insurer's stock price in 2023 as the company proceeds with a value-creation plan pushed by activist investor Politan Capital Management. Since taking the top role in March, London has focused on selling Centene’s non-health plan businesses, particularly those related to pharmacy services. She also worked to transform the company from a network of local subsidiaries to a single, centralized operation. Centene will likely have to reckon with Medicaid redeterminations next year, and the insurer could face a steep decline in enrollment if it’s unable to convert Medicaid members into exchange customers. She will also have to look for new ways to grow the company's Medicare Advantage membership, as the insurer’s history of poor-performing plans will limit the quality bonuses and the opportunity to grow in the program in 2023.
Dr. Ana Pujols McKee, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, is putting health equity at the top of every health system’s strategic plan. This year she will oversee the implementation of new accreditation requirements for primary-care clinics, behavioral health centers, critical access facilities and hospitals that include designating an officer to lead a strategy for reducing health disparities, screening patients for social determinants of health and adding demographic breakdowns to safety and quality data. “My primary agenda for 2023 is to help health care organizations meet these new requirements as they address health care disparities within the communities they serve,” McKee said.
CEO G. Mike Mikan spent the past year slashing the insurtech’s operations to stabilize its rocky finances. The company exited 15 exchange markets, ended its Medicare Advantage operations in every market except California, sold $175 million worth of stock and cut nearly 20% of its staff. At the end of the year, it received notice from the New York Stock Exchange that its was in danger of being delisted because of its low share price.The company plans to restructure its provider arm, NeueHealth, and focus on contracting with outside payers in Texas and Florida, particularly those that enroll Medicare patients, and expand its participation in the federal ACO REACH program. Mikan has said in he expects to operate a profitable company in 2023 in terms of adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation.
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