This October, Coreen Dicus-Johnson marks her one-year anniversary as president and CEO of Network Health. In the face of uncertainty and instability in health care, she says the organization is well-poised to meet the challenge. Dicus-Johnson sat down with Insight staff reporter Jessica Thiel to reflect on her first year, the culture of transparency she’s building and what lies ahead.
It’s exciting to talk about how much we’ve accomplished in the last year. We recruited a whole new executive team — nine new executivesin seven months. Every new executive has at least 20-plus years of experience in insurance or health care services. They all have energy. They are collaborative. It’s been palpable, the energy.
We have created a fantastic buzz in the marketplace. We are very, very busy. Our enrollment and underwriting teams have just been fantastically busy. We have employers, brokers and agents and providers who have been calling us up and talking to us about opportunities we haven’t had in the past.
In calendar year ’17, we are poised to write more business than we did in calendar year ’15 and ’16 combined. And that’s not by accident. That’s by getting out there. We’re talking to everybody, we’re showing that this organization is really poised for innovation, partnership, and our calls are being answered.
We just got our clinical integration off the ground. We brought on some new physician leaders. Basically, what that is meant to do is help us as an insurance company work more closely with the physicians and providers who provide the high-quality care that we provide to our communities and be able to be more collaborative.
Sometimes in this business, it can be kind of adversarial between insurance companies and providers, and so we’re building a clinical integration program that works on collaboration, cooperation, sharing of information, joint planning to be able to get those high-quality outcomes and a better experience for our members.
One of the things that is key (to our culture) is that every associate in the organization understands what we’re trying to accomplish, so understanding the strategy for everybody, from the receptionist to the C-suite. Everyone needs to understand what our strategies are.
I would say that one of the cultures we’re creating is that collaborative approach. In health care, in many companies, it’s easy to get siloed — this is my job, this is what I need to do. If every associate doesn’t understand that what they do translates to the bigger picture, you don’t get the results you’re looking for.
Our team knows it’s been a struggle to plan in some of the most unstable and uncertain times. On the federal policy on health care, we’ve gone from fixing it to trying to keep it stable, and that’s even not entirely secure. That’s one of the benefits of being owned by providers because we have the ability to collaborate with our provider-owners in a way that others don’t have.
We’re jointly putting our strategies and planning together so we can actually have a stable platform for employers to be able to know that, just like we’ve had in the past where we’ve had predictability in our premiums and predictability in the service, we have the ability to continue that.
We’ve launched Network Health Connections. It’s an internet site, it’s got great videos, information for people, not only in terms of health care services to be provided, but also on the health care literacy from a financial perspective — how to maximize your benefits, how to understand what your benefits are.
I feel very confident that Network Health has got a strong financial future ahead of it. We’re looking backward and seeing where we started as this new team and where we are, and as we’re looking forward, plans are coming together. And the other thing is, we’re going to celebrate. We’re going to make sure our associates know we can’t do this without them, and the future for Network Health is very bright and very strong.