Atul Gawande Says U.S. Health System Is ‘Very Expensive Pile Of Junk.’ As Head Of Billionaires’ Initiative, Will He Be Able To Fix It?
The health world has been closely watching to see who Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase would choose to lead their health care initiative geared toward reining in astronomical costs. Atul Gawande, a highly respected doctor and writer on health care policy, is a "well-known luminary" in the field, but the pick was also a surprise to some because he lacks hands-on experience running a large organization.
The New York Times:
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway And JPMorgan Name C.E.O. For Health Initiative
It’s a marquee name for a marquee venture. Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, the powerful triumvirate that earlier announced its hope to overhaul the health care of its employees and set an example for the nation, said on Wednesday that it had picked one of the country’s most famous doctors to lead the new operation. Dr. Atul Gawande, a Harvard surgeon and staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, will become chief executive of the new company, which will be based in Boston, on July 9. (Abelson and Hsu, 6/20)
The Associated Press:
Amazon, Buffett, JPMorgan Pick Gawande To Lead Health Firm
Berkshire Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett has described health costs as a "hungry tapeworm on the American economy." And the leaders of the three companies see a lot they want to fix, even though they have said little yet about how that will be done. "We said at the outset that the degree of difficulty is high and success is going to require an expert's knowledge, a beginner's mind, and a long-term orientation," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement Wednesday. "(Gawande) embodies all three, and we're starting strong as we move forward in this challenging and worthwhile endeavor." (Murphy, 6/20)
Atul Gawande: CEO Of Health Venture By Amazon, JPMorgan And Berkshire Hathaway
"I have devoted my public health career to building scalable solutions for better healthcare delivery that are saving lives, reducing suffering, and eliminating wasteful spending both in the US and across the world," Gawande said in a press release announcing his new job. "Now I have the backing of these remarkable organizations to pursue this mission with even greater impact for more than a million people, and in doing so incubate better models of care for all. This work will take time but must be done. The system is broken, and better is possible." (Hensley, 6/20)
The Washington Post:
Atul Gawande Named To Head Cost-Cutting Health-Care Venture From Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway And JPMorgan Chase
Choosing Gawande, a practicing surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and a writer for the New Yorker magazine, suggests that the company will be focused on innovation that could ripple broadly. Gawande was praised Wednesday by colleagues as a creative, visionary leader who has devoted his career to devising health-care solutions that can be widely adopted to improve surgery, childbirth and end-of-life care around the world. He is best known for making surgery safer through the implementation of a simple checklist. "He's never one to shy away from a problem, particularly a problem that appears to be unsolvable," said Elizabeth Nabel, the president of Brigham Health. "For Atul, it’s always about reducing suffering, saving lives and creating efficiencies in the health system. So I think the best is still ahead of him. He's such a creative and talented individual, I think we don’t know yet what his scalable solutions will be." (Johnson, 6/20)
Doctor And Journalist Atul Gawande Picked For Dimon-Bezos-Buffett Health Firm
Gawande is a prominent name in health-care policy circles, though hasn’t run a major business. Many details of the new venture -- its name, size, budget and authority -- weren’t immediately available. It will be an “independent entity that is free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” the group said in the statement. “Almost of the same import is who does Atul hire as his COO,” said Vivek Garipalli, the CEO of Clover Health, a closely held health insurer that serves Medicare patients, and has focused on coordinating their care to try and cut costs. “That vision has to be translated by somebody who understands the nuances” of contracting with doctors and hospitals, health insurance markets and other details. (Tracer, Chiglinsky and Davis, 6/20)
The Wall Street Journal:
Gawande To Head Health Venture Of Berkshire, Amazon, JPMorgan
In January, Amazon, Berkshire and JPMorgan announced they teamed up to figure out how to reduce health-care costs and improve care for their hundreds of thousands of U.S. employees. The companies said the entity would operate independently and be free from profit-making incentives and constraints. Together, Amazon, Berkshire and JPMorgan have more than one million employees, though not all of them in the U.S. (Wilde Mathews, 6/20)
Can This Surgeon Help Buffett, Bezos And Dimon Solve America’s Health-Care Crisis?
The Harvard surgeon and author picked to run a heralded new health-care venture has compared the U.S. medical system to a car built with Porsche brakes, a Ferrari engine and a BMW chassis. “You put it all together and what do you get?” Atul Gawande asked the audience at a 2012 TED conference. “A very expensive pile of junk that does not go anywhere.” Now the 52-year-old physician is in the driver’s seat. (Langreth, 6/20)
5 Ideas That May Steer Gawande As CEO Of Amazon-Backed Health Venture
Atul Gawande has yet to speak out about his plans for leading the new Amazon-JPMorgan-Berkshire Hathaway health care organization, but his past speeches and writings provide some clues to what he might do in the job. Here are five key points about Gawande’s views. (Joseph and Thielking, 6/20)
Amazon, JPMorgan And Berkshire Crown Gawande: Does He Have The Business Chops?
But with the lofty goal of trying to fundamentally change the financial scope and delivery of healthcare, which effectively is an economy the size of Germany, it would be helpful to have a CEO with more experience managing healthcare businesses and more time to dedicate to the job, said Craig Garthwaite, a health economist at Northwestern University. "I am disheartened to see that he will maintain all these other jobs while running the firm. It is a full-time endeavor," he said. "I don't see how you can have yourself involved in all these other ventures at the same time and be effective." (Kacik, 6/20)