Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dr. Michael Sherman, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

Today's guest is Dr. Michael Sherman, the Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President for Health Services at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Harvard Pilgrim is a New England-based regional health plan with 1.25 million members. It has been ranked #1 by NCQA for the past ten years. Michael holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Medical Anthropology, he attended Yale Medical School, and is a board certified anesthesiologist. In the mid-1990's he made the decision to pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School with the thought that he would seek to blend together his clinical expertise with a business education, but he was sure of one thing: that he would never work for an insurance plan. In this podcast he tells the story of his career, about becoming a physician, making the transition to executive leadership, and how he ultimately worked for three health insurers (ironically, the payers he said he would not work for). Michael's career involves a great deal of serendipity, but it also shows his deliberateness as he worked to develop the skills he knew he needed to progress as an executive by gaining exposure and experience in a wide array of organizations. He is also quite candid about his successes and challenges, which shows that the road to senior leadership is never smooth sailing.

His discussion of the work he is doing with value-based payment and bundling at Harvard Pilgrim is particularly useful and timely. It is very popular to demonize health insurers, but Michael’s efforts to create win-win arrangements between Harvard Pilgrim and its partners in the provider community shows what is actually possible. It is interesting to see how his passion for developing these agreements meshes with a recurring theme of negotiations from different points in his career leading up to his current role. The podcast concludes with a discussion about Michael's leadership style, and his recommendations for physicians who are looking to make the transition from clinical leadership to executive leadership.

The interview is available in its entirety at the unabridged link below. The podcast outline corresponds with the unabridged version. There is also an abridged version of the interview that focuses primarily on Michael's work immediately leading up to his current role. 

Links to the Podcast:
             Abridged: https://anchor.fm/healthleaderforge/episodes/Abridged-Dr--Michael-Sherman--Chief-Medical-Officer--Harvard-Pilgrim-Health-Care-egra7r
Stitcher: https://listen.stitcher.com/yvap/?af_dp=stitcher://episode/41445563&af_web_dp=https://www.stitcher.com/episode/41445563
YouTube: https://youtu.be/nxkYEFZWuKU

Podcast Outline (these times apply to the full length version)

background education, becoming a physician
decision to go to business school
the importance of establishing self as a physician before going into business/leadership role
DaVita, Inc.: Director of Corporate Development, DaVita, Inc.
HealthAllies: Vice President, Provider Business Development and Product Management
IMMUSOL: Vice President, Medical Affairs
Thomson Reuters: Vice President & General Manager, Health Plan Solutions
Transition to the payer world: United Health Group
Humana: Corporate Medical Director, Physician Strategies
about Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Harvard Pilgrim Institute/Harvard Medical School Department of Population Health
Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Health Services
Paying for value, one size doesn't fit all
Consolidation of Health Insurers
Thoughts on leadership, hiring the right talent, and being an executive
Professional Organizaitons
Advice to clinicians who want to make the transition to clinician executives

Topics Discussed:

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

Harvard Business School


HealthAllies (Optum HealthAllies)

Thomson Reuters

UnitedHealth Group


America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

Articles by Dr. Sherman:

              Paying for Value: What's Next?

              How to Design a Bundled Payment Around Value

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