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Geisinger CEO Will Not Join Amazon/Berkshire/JP Morgan Chase Healthcare Initiative

June 12, 2018
by Mark Hagland
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On Jan. 30, David Feinberg, M.D. announced definitively that he will remain CEO of Geisinger Health System

Despite some initial discussions around his joining the Amazon/Berkshire Hathaway/JP Morgan Chase  healthcare initiative, David Feinberg, M.D., CEO of the Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health System, last week confirmed to Christina Farr of CNBC, that he will remain in his position at Geisinger.

In a story published on Thursday, June 7, Farr wrote, “David Feinberg, the CEO of Pennsylvania-based health system Geisinger Health System, has told CNBC that he will remain with the firm. Feinberg was at one point in discussions to lead the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan joint venture to fix health care in the United States, according to people close to the selection process.” And she quoted a statement provided to her by the Geisinger organization, in which Dr. Feinberg said that "I appreciate being part of the conversation, which I believe reflects the accomplishments of the entire Geisinger team. I personally remain 100-percent committed to Geisinger and remain excited about the work we are doing and the opportunities ahead as we continue to deliver exceptional care to our patients, our members and our communities."


David Feinberg, M.D.

As Farr noted, “On Thursday morning, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon announced on CNBC that they had found a final candidate and would publicly name a leader of the venture within two weeks. According to people close to the situation, they did not announce the name on Thursday because Feinberg had not accepted the job.

As Healthcare Informatics noted in a news report published on January 30, “With an ambitious-sounding, if vaguely worded, announcement, three corporate giants—Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced Jan. 30 that they were launching an initiative to improve satisfaction and reduce costs for their companies’ employees. The three companies’ announcement Wednesday morning opened thus: ‘Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) announced today that they are partnering on ways to address healthcare for their U.S. employees, with the aim of improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs. The three companies, which bring their scale and complementary expertise to this long-term effort, will pursue this objective through an independent company that is free from profit-making incentives and constraints. The initial focus of the new company will be on technology solutions that will provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.’”

With regard to the involvement of Feinberg in discussions, CNBC’s Farr noted that,  “According to two people familiar with the selection process, the top ten candidates were asked to write a white paper on how they would fix the health care system,” Farr wrote. “From those white papers, three people were chosen to go through a harrowing interview loop. First, all three talked to Dimon, who referred his two favorite picks to Buffett. Buffett's top choice then interviewed with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who could have vetoed the pick. Feinberg,” she noted, “has been advising the group since the announcement was made in January of this year but ultimately emerged as a top pick to lead the initiative himself, said a person familiar.”

Feinberg, she noted, has been Geisinger's CEO since 2015, after serving as the CEO of the UCLA Hospital System. At Geisinger, he oversees a complex integrated health system that serves more than 500,000 patients in Pennsylvania, which includes 13 hospitals, two research centers and more than 1,600 doctors, as well as a provided-sponsored health plan.

 

 

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Leadership Changes at HHS as CIO Transferred to New Role

August 21, 2018
by Heather Landi, Associate Editor
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Beth Killoran is stepping out of the role of CIO at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is moving over to a new role at the Office of the Surgeon General, within HHS.

The news was first reported by Federal News Radio. In an email, a HHS official confirmed that Killoran, who stepped up to the HHS CIO role in July 2016, has joined the Office of the Surgeon General at HHS to develop a "comprehensive information systems strategic plan for the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.”

The HHS official also confirmed that Ed Simcox, the HHS Chief Technology Officer, will take on the added role of serving as the HHS Acting CIO, until a permanent selection is made. “Simcox has led multiple, large IT transformation efforts, both as an industry executive and consultant. As HHS’s CTO, he leads HHS’s efforts on enterprise data management, data sharing, technology-related healthcare innovation, and public-private partnerships,” the official said via email.

Simcox started as the HHS CTO in July after serving as acting CTO starting in May and deputy CTO since July 2017, according to Federal News Radio.

Killoran began working at HHS in October 2014, moving over from the Department of Homeland Security. At HHS, she has served as the acting Deputy Chief Information Officer and as the Executive Director for the Office of IT Strategy, Policy and Governance. The HHS official stated that Killoran has served in a number of high-level information technology positions at HHS, “providing leadership on a number of high priority projects.” Killoran also worked for the Department of the Treasury, where she provided IT infrastructure support and operations for over 20,000 employees across 1,500 locations.  During her tenure, she provided IT operational support in response to the 9/11 and Oklahoma City bombing events, the HHS official said.

Federal News Radio reporter Jason Miller reported that, during her time as HHS CIO, Killoran tried to move the agency forward in a number of areas through an updated strategic plan and a more aggressive approach to cloud adoption. “Recently, Killoran led a reorganization of the CIO’s office, naming Todd Simpson as the first chief product officer and promoting innovation,” Miller wrote.

Killoran becomes the fourth major agency CIO to be reassigned during the Trump administration, joining former Treasury Department CIO Sonny Bhagowalia, former Agriculture Department CIO Jonathan Alboum and FEMA CIO Adrian Gardner, according to Federal News Radio’s reporting.

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University of Texas Health Science Center to Launch First Doctorate Program in Health Informatics

August 17, 2018
by David Raths
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Instead of dissertation, program requires students to complete project in a healthcare organization

The School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI) at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston is creating the first doctorate degree program in Health Informatics (DHI).

At its July 26, 2018 meeting, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved and authorized the creation of the DHI program, making it the first advanced, practice degree in health informatics in the nation.



This program will offer curriculum custom-built for professionals seeking a terminal, applied degree in the field of health informatics. In order to apply, applicants must have documented executive or management-level healthcare experience. After discussions during a faculty retreat in 2016, a plan to launch the DHI was conceived.

“Many prospective students are searching for a doctorate-level degree in biomedical or health informatics but want to focus on solving real-world problems rather than hypothesis-driven research for a dissertation,” said Susan Fenton, SBMI’s associate dean for academic affairs, in a prepared statement. “After encountering numerous executive-level informatics professionals seeking an advanced degree with an applied focus, we realized there was a real need for this degree and we are very pleased to be the first school to launch the program.”

Because the program is geared towards working professionals, instruction for the DHI is in a hybrid environment with more than 50 percent of the coursework taught online. Rather than write a dissertation for the culminating project, the DHI program requires a large-scale translational project that students must complete in a healthcare organization.

SBMI held focus groups with Texas Medical Center healthcare executives, SBMI alumni and industry leaders across the country in the development of the DHI.

 “We aim to educate executives so they are skilled in the application of advanced health informatics tools and can work towards improving patient care at their organizations,” said Jiajie Zhang, SBMI’s dean and the Glassell Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Informatics Excellence, in a statement.

While executive-level career experience is required, the degree offers educational background flexibility. Students without a master’s degree in health informatics, or a related field, can enter the program with a bachelor’s degree. However, those students must complete 33 semester credit hours of didactic coursework before starting the DHI curriculum. Students who hold a master’s degree can immediately start the 63-semester credit hour program. 


The DHI program will begin in fall 2019 and SBMI will start accepting applications before the end of the 2018 calendar year.



 

 

 

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