Sinead Madigan, chief operating officer, Health Alliance Medical Plans, Champaign, Illinois
Madigan, 46, started at Health Alliance in 2008 as a pharmacy Medicare specialist. After less than two years, she moved into the corporate relations manager role, advancing the next year to become the director of government relations. After serving as executive director of Medicaid and government relations, she became a vice president in 2016 and assumed the senior vice president of government relations and business operations position in July 2018, then was recently promoted to chief operating officer. She is responsible for building its business and helping forge new relationships, as well as providing better customer service, and maintaining and expanding key provider partnership operations and compliance.
MHE: Why did you choose your profession?
Madigan: I started my career in state government. I believe in servant leadership, and have a keen desire to help others achieve their healthcare goals and understand how to be advocates for their own well-being through health literacy, strong provider-patient relationships, and optimal use of health plan benefits, including those beyond the plan itself.
MHE: What has been your biggest learning experience in the industry? What did it teach you?
Madigan: Our industry has been slow to focus on the customer experience. I’ve realized that our teams need to really think like a consumer in everything we do. We continue to break down internal and external silos to achieve continuous improvement for our patients and members.
MHE: What change would you like to see in healthcare in the next 5 to 10 years?
Madigan: I believe innovation is vital to improving healthcare. While government regulations serve as important guideposts, I would like to continue helping policy makers focus on ways to give the healthcare industry greater flexibility to innovate so we can best serve patients and members to achieve the positive health outcomes we all desire.
MHE: If you could sit down to dinner with anyone involved in healthcare who would it be?
Madigan: At the risk of jumping on the thought-leader bandwagon, I would spend time with Bill and Melinda Gates. I would soak up details about their health-focused global initiatives, as well as their big ideas to address healthcare and poverty for more specific needs—ideas our enterprise and industry can springboard off closer to home. Innovation isn’t just a buzzword with the Gates Foundation. It’s a way of life to help people reach their potential.