RamaOnHealthcare May 21, 2024

The Next Generation of Principled Healthcare Leaders

Today, RamaOnHealthcare talks with Dr. Sachin Jain, CEO of SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan, not-for-profit organizations tackling some of the biggest issues in healthcare for older adults, including chronic illness, access to care, homelessness, inequities and loneliness. In a recent Forbes article, Dr. Jain proposed the creation of an elite leadership academy to train the “next generation of principled healthcare leaders.” We sat down with him to learn more about what such an academy would look like.

Dr. Sachin Jain, CEO of SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan

Dr. Sachin Jain, CEO of SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan

RamaOnHealthcare (ROH): We’re intrigued by the idea of creating a leadership academy for healthcare leaders specifically. Why do you think that’s necessary?

Dr. Sachin Jain (SJ): Those who follow my writing know that I’ve long argued that our broken healthcare system is the result of a leadership crisis. Simply put, healthcare leadership too often fails to wrestle with ethical challenges. Financial success and virtue come into opposition, and the former almost always comes out the winner.

…our broken healthcare system is the result of a leadership crisis.

ROH: Several of your ideas for a leadership curriculum are focused on building empathy among leaders. Can you explain that focus?

SJ: When it comes to creating health systems, too often leaders fail to put themselves in the proverbial shoes of their members and patients. Put another way, they fail to ask themselves, “Would I want to be treated this way?” That’s why I argued for courses that simulate the experience of being sick or over-medicated. It’s also the reason I think it’s imperative for leaders to work as front-line care navigators in a health plan or health system. That’s where they’re going to truly learn what it means to be a patient in the system.

…I think it’s imperative for leaders to work as front-line care navigators in a health plan or health system.

ROH: What do you think patients contend with that healthcare leaders don’t understand?

SJ: I think healthcare leaders don’t realize how hard it can be just to get a doctor’s appointment. Or to ensure that lab results get sent to the right office. Or to make sense of a bill. In fact, I think healthcare leaders should be required to demonstrate a full understanding of how money flows through the healthcare system—not from the perspective of someone watching it move around, but from the perspective of someone who has to pay co-pays and deductible costs without going broke.

ROH: One of the things you encourage healthcare leaders to do is take risks. Why is that so important?

SJ: American healthcare is in crisis, and we need solutions now. I’ve been in too many situations where risk-averse leaders in charge of risk-averse organizations fail to implement programs that could benefit patients. Good ideas surface and then are funneled into tiny pilots and studies that take forever to show results. Instead, leaders should focus on the widespread deployment of common-sense solutions.

American healthcare is in crisis, and we need solutions now.

ROH: I know your article is partly tongue in cheek. But are you implementing any of these ideas at SCAN?

SJ: Absolutely. We’re very fortunate at SCAN to have a supportive board of directors that wholly believes in our not-for-profit mission, which enables us routinely to make decisions that are not in our financial interests but are squarely in the interests of our members and others in the communities we serve. For example, we have more than a dozen teams providing healthcare to unhoused people on the streets through our Healthcare in Action medical group. We didn’t launch the program to make money—we did it because we knew people were suffering and it was the right thing to do.

ROH: Healthcare in Action provides street medicine to unhoused people. But it’s not the only way SCAN is addressing the homelessness crisis, is it?

SJ: No. SCAN actually has three teams that work together to address the healthcare needs of housing insecure individuals. Healthcare in Action is a street-based medical group. They’ve expanded throughout Southern California and have provided care to more than 5,000 people. They’ve also successfully moved more than 250 people into housing, which is extremely difficult for a number of reasons. Meanwhile, our Independence at Home program works with community-based organizations to assist housing-insecure older adults. And within the health plan, we have specialists who address our members’ housing needs, working foremost to ensure that they don’t lose their homes. We like to think of these three teams as creating an ecosystem of support for older adults who are either homeless or in danger of becoming unhoused.

About Dr. Sachin Jain

Sachin H. Jain, MD, MBA is CEO of SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan, where he is charged with leading the organization’s growth, diversification, and emerging efforts to reduce healthcare disparities. SCAN’s revenues top $4.8B and the organization serves more than 300,000 members.

Under Dr. Jain’s leadership, SCAN was rated number one in customer satisfaction among Medicare Advantage plans in California by J.D. Power; received 4.5 STAR ratings an unprecedented six years in a row; launched a range of new products—including Affirm, the first ever LGBTQ+ health plan product and Inspired, the first health plan designed specifically for women; and expanded its operations into Arizona, Nevada, Texas and New Mexico. SCAN has also launched four subsidiary medical groups intended to support seniors through the full range of inflection points in the aging process. In a little over three years, SCAN’s total revenues have grown by more than $1.5B.

Previously, Dr. Jain was President and CEO of CareMore Health and Aspire Health, innovative care delivery systems with more than $1.6B in revenues. Prior to joining CareMore, Dr. Jain was Chief Medical Information & Innovation Officer at Merck & Co. From 2009-2011, Dr. Jain worked in leadership roles at the US Department of Health and Human Services, where he was Senior Advisor to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Dr. Jain was the first Acting Deputy Director for policy and programs at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). He also served as Special Assistant to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Dr. Jain graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a BA in government and continued on to earn his MD from Harvard Medical School and MBA from Harvard Business School. A respected thought leader in healthcare, Dr. Jain’s columns for Forbes are widely read by healthcare leaders. He has been recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the “100 Most Influential People in US Healthcare,” by the Boston VA Medical Center for excellence in clinical care with the “Golden Heart Award,” and by Brigham and Women’s Hospital for excellence in mentorship. LinkedIn named him its top voice for healthcare industry-related content.

Find out more about SCAN

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