Vivek Garipalli, co-founder and CEO, Clover Health, San Francisco, California
In his current role, Garipalli, 40, is addressing a demographic that is commonly ignored: seniors living with complex health issues that the healthcare system is unable to manage effectively. Under his leadership, he has grown Clover, which uses proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning models to improve health outcomes, to nearly 40,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and more than 500 employees.
Prior to Clover, Garipalli founded CarePoint Health, a fully integrated healthcare system serving Hudson County, New Jersey; Ensemble Health Partners, a national revenue cycle company headquartered in Huntersville, North Carolina; and a network of outpatient facilities.
MHE: Why did you choose your profession?
Garipalli: When I first entered healthcare, I saw it solely as an economic opportunity. But I stayed in healthcare because I knew it would offer me the chance to add value to the world. At Clover, our company’s success is directly related to our members’ health; that alignment of mission and business model is something incredibly special and unique. We believe that by leveraging technology in a logical way, we can have a dramatically positive impact on our current and future members’ health.
MHE: What has been your biggest learning experience in the industry? What did it teach you?
Garipalli: Four years ago at Clover, we had an idea to offer the same cost-sharing in and out of network and remove that friction for customers. Therefore, we created marketing materials and launched a plan. But CMS had a very different interpretation regarding physician obligations to see customers out of network, and we had to immediately cease the marketing approach. That experience taught me that the learning curve on compliance in Medicare Advantage was much steeper than I had realized. That’s when we hired a chief compliance officer. That experience taught me the importance of hiring subject matter experts, even if it’s a space you’re familiar with.
MHE: What change would you like to see in healthcare in the next 5 to 10 years?
Garipalli: I’d like to see more healthcare companies focus on underserved populations and helping the most vulnerable members of society. High-quality healthcare should not be restricted to the wealthy. At Clover, we’re committed to making healthcare more equitable, by serving a population that’s far more diverse than the industry average.
MHE: If you could sit down to dinner with anyone involved in healthcare who would it be?
Garipalli: Someone who’s been on my mind lately is Jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine. In the midst of the public debate of pharma pricing and research costs, he was an incredibly important figure who had zero interest in personal profit, sought no patent for the vaccine, viewed public health as a moral commitment, and in turn was responsible for saving hundreds of thousands, and potentially millions, of lives.