This Week in the C-Suite

March 6, 2020

Send your news to Senior Editor Peter Wehrwein at pwehrwein@ajmc.com and we will included it in next week's This Week in the C-Suite.

Send your news to Senior Editor Peter Wehrwein at pwehrwein@ajmc.com and we will included it in next week's This Week in the C-Suite.

So what else has been going on this week besides cancellations and travel restrictions because of COVID-19?

Cigna has hired Gina Conflitti, MD, to be the chief medical officer of the company's rapidly expanding Medicare Advantage business.
"We are so pleased to have Dr. Conflitti joining us at a formative time for our Medicare Advantage business," said Brian Evanko, president of Cigna's Government Business, in a press release.

In the CMO role, Conflitti will be responsible for leading the development of Cigna's clinical, medical policy, behavioral health, and innovation strategies of Cigna’s MA plans, according to press release. Like many insurers these days, Cigna is looking to boost its MA business. It currently has MA members in 18 states and the District of Columbia.

According to her LinkedIn page, Conflitti was previously the chief medical officer at Maryvale Hospital in Phoenix. Local news reports say that the hospital closed in 2017. 

Conflitti earned her medical degree from Wayne State University's School of Medicine in Michigan and holds an MBA from the University of Massachusetts Isenberg School of Management, according to the Cigna press release

Speaking of Phoenix, Brenda Schmidt, the Phoenix entrepreneur who spent more than four years building the powerhouse tech integrator Solera Health, has taken the reins as president of Coplex, where she will implement a “venture as a service” model to help subject matter experts see rapid growth in the tech sector. Schmidt retains the role of founder and executive chairman at Solera. She described her decision to join Coplex in a blog post: “In this role, I can fulfill two of my closest passions: healthcare transformation and creating thriving communities through entrepreneurship. Coming from healthcare, I know that this is just one industry ripe for innovation. Existing legacy systems and processes can be radically improved with digital business models that result in lower costs, improved patient experiences, and better care.”

Among the non-canceled meetings this week was the national conference of Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute (PBMI) in Orlando. MHE was there in person, and we heard ICER’s Steve Pearson talked up the organization’s foray into a new subscription service that will allow pharma, payers, and others to build their own ICER-like pricing models using their own assumptions (all these pricing models are buiilt on certain assumptions). Cigna’s Steve Miller, a high-energy presenter, made a pitch Cigna’s Embarc product for covering ultra-expensive gene therapy. And OptumRx’s David Calabrese talked about a new formulary that will de-emphasize rebates as the reason-to-be for formulary placement. “We don’t want to be reliant on rebates” said Calabrese, who is a member of our editorial advisory board.

Amazon came up several times at the PBMI meeting but pretty much in a glancing fashion. Can we declare the anxiety/excitement about Amazon disrupting healthcare over? Certainly, Priority Health’s Amazon news this week grades at mildly interesting not monumental. The second largest insurer in Michigan announced that its commercial group and individual market members will be able to spend their HSA and FSA funds on an Amazon storefront.  “Through the company’s branded storefront on Amazon, Priority Health members will be able to shop from thousands of HSA and FSA eligible items, ranging from bandages to contact solution, and place their orders,” said the press release. And people will be able to add their HSA and FSA debit cards to their Amazon accounts. 

Meanwhile, Box, the content management company (we use Box at MHE), announced that it had dumped its previous (not named in the press release) health plan and replaced it with Collective Health. "Box punches above its weight class and we needed a partner that does the same,” said MaryBeth Kramer, director of global benefits at Box, said in a press release. “The incumbent we were using was doing an okay job, but it was status quo. Things were fragmented, and we couldn't get the level of service we wanted for our people.“

Ouch for that incumbent.

The press release says that Collective Health hosted “curated events” during open enrollment to make the benefits information easy to understand. Several Collective Health “ambassadors”  staffed events ranging from a gelato stand (my gosh, a gelato stand!) to a puppy adoption pop-up (puppy adoption!), according to the press release. Collective Health’s other clients include Pinterest, Red Bull, Restoration Hardware, and Zendesk. 

Finally, Raymie McFarland, who has been with Glytec since 2012, has been promoted from vice president of quality initiatives and clinical excellence to chief innovation and outcomes Officer. Glytec offers integrated inpatient and outpatient software, including the FDA-cleared Glucommander suite of algorithms, to monitor blood sugar levels in individual patients and across populations by integrating with electronic health records.

Good luck in your new position, Raymie.