Health Plans Receptive, But Not Ready for Change

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media , July 9, 2013

HLM: Does the culture of the health insurance industry also have to change in order to respond more quickly?

Phillips: Absolutely. Changing the culture has to happen. One of the speakers, Brad Perkins, MD, (Chief Transformation Officer/Executive Vice President of Strategy and Innovation) from Vanguard Health, approached the issue with what he called the Turkey Fable. The turkey is moving along, getting fattened up and happy, but unless the turkey convinces people he doesn't need to be on the Thanksgiving table, then he's got a problem.

All of it ultimately comes down to changing culture. That [story] illustrates one of the great benefits of the Nashville Health Care Council Fellows program. It's creating an atmosphere where you are not only forced to look at each other across the table, but also recognize that you bleed the same kind of blood they do.

HLM: What kind of work did you do with your healthcare industry peers?

Phillips: They would take us through case studies. They gave us homework assignments to read and we would have to be prepared to defend your concept or recommendations. We went through accounting exercises, and we also had to be prepared to defend the posture of our accounting mechanisms. When you critique case studies in a microscopic way, it forces you to think more like an academic and less like a business person.

HLM: Was your mind changed at all about anything?

Phillips: I became more of a believer in the distinct possibility of having the market disrupted. The market seems so entrenched in so many ways and it is hard to fathom a complete change, but look at the housing market. It's completely different after the collapse a few years ago, and so are the financing instruments behind it. So, when you look at it from that perspective, you can begin to see the healthcare industry differently.

Jacqueline Fellows is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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