Update from the Chairman

In my last update, I shared that our new 2019 Membership fee structure would result in a reduction in your annual costs for UR participation while supporting our data strategy.  The response from current and potential new members has been tremendous. I also shared our #1 priority was to engage health plan payers in a collaborative dialogue to develop value-based cost of care models. Today, I wanted to update you on significant changes at United Rheumatology to support these initiatives. Late last year, Douglas Tardio, a member of our board for over 4 years assumed a more functional role at UR reviewing current operations and developing our new business strategy. I am pleased to announce that Doug has accepted my offer to assume the role of Chief Executive Officer. As you have heard from me before, Doug’s extensive experience working with payers and building CareCore National (now Evicore), the largest benefit management company in the country, places a seasoned healthcare executive at our helm.  I also wanted to inform you that United Rheumatology and Mr. Glaudemans (Jon) recently agreed to part ways. The Company thanks Jon for his many contributions and wishes Jon every success in the future. Doug will be supported by William Moore our Chief Technology Officer, Lynette in Operations, Kelley in Member Solutions, and a new face to UR, James Albano.
Jim is a seasoned, strategic health care executive with extensive expertise in hospital and physician network strategies, reimbursement innovations, coupled with a strong background in health plan operations. Jim was responsible for catalyzing the transformation of health care delivery in New Jersey from pay for volume to pay for value, with a focus on primary care population health as Vice President, Network Management, Pharmacy Services and Healthcare Innovation Strategies for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey from 2012 until 2015, introducing shared risk and shared savings arrangements which shifted accountability to the treating physician in a significant way.
Jim started his career with Horizon serving in a number of operational roles, learning the inner workings of a health plan.  This proved to be of great benefit in terms of relationship building as Jim moved into working directly with larger customers in 1995, leading all operations for Horizon’s largest customer, the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program, with over 600,000 members. During that same time, Jim was asked to serve as Horizon’s Enterprise Service Quality Director, a role designed to lead the organization through a series of internal process changes in order to vastly improve the level of service being offered to external customers.  This experience gave Jim the foundational skills to lead the provider-based transformation to value-based reimbursement as he became Vice President of Network Management for Horizon in 2006. Jim performed in this role from 2006 until 2012, focusing on improving network relationships and the perception of Horizon among the hospital and physician community.
Upon assuming the formal role in 2012 as Vice President of Healthcare Innovation Strategies, Jim became the public spokesperson for Horizon on population health, patient centered medical homes and accountable care relationships on television, print media and with New Jersey regulators and legislators. Jim also co-chaired Horizon’s efforts to commercialize the pay for value arrangements by creating tiered networks and new product designs featuring these concepts. Later in 2015, Jim took on a similar role at EmblemHealth, a New York City based health plan which had already developed full risk relationships with key providers such as the Montefiore health system and Health Care Partners, a very large physician led organization serving a significant number of Emblem members. Jim led the expansion of those programs to additional Emblem members. Jim left EmblemHealth in August of 2017 to pursue an independent consulting career.
We have additionally kicked off a national search for a Chief Financial Officer with Korn Ferry. Finally, we have engaged Farragut Partners, a DC based lobbying firm, to assist us in developing and executing on our “Payer Awareness Campaign”, ensuring that by the end of 2019 all health plan payers recognize United Rheumatology and our offerings.
I have said to many the validation I feel from three executives with remarkable resumes making the decision to join UR, when they could have found futures in many other businesses. That speaks volumes to what has coalesced here and what assets we have created… a network, pathways developed by that network that reflect what we actually do, data capabilities, all to support the commitment to become accountable and responsible in defining how care is provided in a truly cost-effective way for our patients.
These are truly exciting times for me and the rest of our team.  In the weeks ahead, you will be hearing from Doug and me on a series of new offerings that will dramatically expand our capabilities to support you and the independent practice of rheumatology.
— Max

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