Chief medical officers at managed care companies are not cut from the same cloth. They follow different paths to the jobs, and the jobs themselves vary widely as do the CMO perches on the corporate organizational chart.
Some may be at the very top of the organizational chart and responsible for all matters medical for the entire company. Other portfolios may be defined by a strategy, such as population health, or a geographic region.
Some have learned on the job. Others have burnished their academic credentials by picking up an MBA or an MPH. Many keep their hand in clinical practice by continuing to take care of a few patients.
Managed Care spoke with three CMOs to get their takes on their jobs: Roy Beveridge, MD, CMO for Humana, the national insurer headquartered in Louisville, Ky.; Esteban López, MD, the CMO and Southwest Texas Market President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas; and Omar Latif, MD, vice president of medical management for commercial business at Anthem, based in Indianapolis.
Roy Beveridge, MD, was named senior vice president and CMO of Humana in 2013. He reports directly to Bruce Broussard, Humana’s president and CEO, and is in charge of the company’s clinical strategy as well as policies for clinical employees across Humana’s clinical organizations. With 14.2 million members and a strong presence in the Medicare Advantage market, Humana is the fifth largest health insurer by market value, according to Forbes, although it has an uncertain future because of a possible acquisition by Aetna, a deal that may be blocked on antitrust grounds.
Beveridge, 59, was born in Australia, but grew up in Washington, D.C., where his parents worked as economists. He earned his BA in cell biology from Johns Hopkins and his medical degree from Cornell and did his residency in internal medicine at University of Chicago Hospitals before topping off his education with a fellowship in oncology at Hopkins.
His resume shows that leadership beckoned early: co-director of the bone marrow transplant program at INOVA Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., then executive vice president and medical director of US Oncology, then CMO for McKesson Specialty Health after it was acquired by US Oncology.
Beveridge does not have an MBA, but he feels he earned his stripes on the job at US Oncology, a 1,400-member oncology group. He sees his job as making sure patients get the care they need with the help of the 400 physicians, 12,000 nurses, and nearly 700 pharmacists who work with Humana.
As CMO of a major insurer, Beveridge sees his role as bringing “my provider-centricity, my provider’s viewpoint” and inserting it into the payer world. “I think physicians have a very strong point of view, and given all the work that I’ve done with patient advocacy I wanted to make sure that those points of view are front and center in this payer world.”
He said he enjoys the corporate philosophy of keeping people healthy as opposed to providing episodic care. “It’s a very different mindset and that’s why it’s so exciting working at Humana, because that’s the mindset of the whole company.”