- Haven, the Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-J.P. Morgan Chase joint healthcare venture, has hired Sandhya Rao as vice president of clinical strategy, CNBC first reported and Healthcare Dive confirmed.
- Rao, who previously served as senior medical director for Partners Population Health, will join Haven CEO Atul Gawande and a fledgling staff tasked with improving healthcare for the three companies' 1.2 million employees.
- A spokesman for Boston-based Partners Healthcare confirmed Rao's move to Haven, saying she had "played an important role in our commitment to drive health care transformation for the benefit of all patients. We are excited for the opportunity for Dr. Rao to join another member of the Partners family, Dr. Atul Gawande, to build on this work and drive further innovation and commitment to value-based care on the national forefront."
Rao is the latest high-profile player to join Haven. After tapping New Yorker author and Harvard Medical professor Gawande for CEO, the venture named former UnitedHealth and Comcast exec Jack Stoddard as COO.
The organization also named ex-SVP of enterprise analytics at BCBS Massachusetts Dana Gelb Safran as head of measurement and former Optum exec David Smith as director of product strategy and research.
The high-profile company announced its name only last week with the launch of its website, scant on details of the venture's plans. The website suggests a technology-driven approach to drive incentives and patient engagement, but cautions against quick fixes.
The addition of someone to guide clinical strategy could signal the three employers may form their own provider network and contract directly with hospitals and outpatient providers. Such a plan could potentially disrupt the payer sector.
According to a Willis Towers Watson survey, employer healthcare costs increased 4.6% in 2017 and were expected to rise 5.5% last year. Ford Motor Co. expects health insurance costs for its 56,000 hourly workers to blow past $1 billion next year.
More employers are sidestepping payers and contracting directly with providers. A separate Willis Towers Watson survey found 22% of employers are considering the move in 2019, up from just 6% last year.
Haven's headquarters are in Boston, with an office in New York. The company has active job listings in 15 different fields, including data science, data analytics, strategy and research and information security.