Boeing: Audio and transcripts from last week’s news conference

Last Friday, we participated in a press conference to announce Providence and Swedish’s new health care contract with Boeing in Western Washington. Mike Butler, our president of services and operations, represented Providence at the event. He did a great job of articulating our strategy for working with employers, so I wanted to be sure to share his remarks with all of you.

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From left to right: Mary McWilliams, Washington Health Alliance, executive director; Alan May, senior VP of human resources for Boeing Commercial Airplanes; and our very own Mike Butler

“We really think it’s a moral obligation of ours to be more than just a health care provider but to focus on healthier communities, and we believe we have to do it together. I think a great example of ‘together’ is the three of us here at the table today.”  -Mike Butler, Providence president of services and operations

Below you’ll find an audio clip of his comments along with the written transcript. Have a listen, and as I mentioned in my last blog post,  if it stimulates additional questions or ideas, please share them in the comments section below. This is a topic we’ll continue to talk about, so we’d love to know what additional information or context would be helpful for you and what ideas and suggestions you have for us. play button

“I was in New York recently doing our bond rating agency review, and I had an analyst pull me aside after hearing the vision of what we’re doing. The comment was if you look at the Pacific Northwest, Nordstrom really changed the thinking as it relates to customer experience. Obviously, Microsoft changed how we do our business every day. Starbucks changed coffee from a commodity to a culture. Amazon is changing the world on retail, and Boeing flies us around the world. Why can’t we here in the Northwest do the same for health care?  I think between the things we’re thinking and the things Boeing is thinking and wants, we have a real shot at doing that. We’re real excited about what’s possible.”  

Read the full transcript.

Introduction

Thank you, Alan, and thank you, Mary. It’s an honor to be here today. We’re really excited about what’s possible together as we move forward.  What I thought I would do today is bring you up to speed on who Providence is, some of our experience in population health management and the things we hope to do to achieve the vision that Alan has laid out.

What you may not know about Providence

Providence is the third largest not-for-profit health care system in the United States. We currently serve the five states along the West Coast.  We are a great community citizen. We do about $1 billion a year in annual community benefit. We’re strong operationally with about $1 billion in annual EBIDA (earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization) that allows us to invest in innovations like the work here. Our strategic outcome across our five-state system is to create healthier communities together. We really think it’s a moral obligation of ours to be more than just a health care provider but to focus on healthier communities, and we believe we have to do it together. I think a great example of “together” is the three of us here at the table today and the work we’re doing together.  We hope to accomplish this over time by creating the healthiest communities measured by specific health indexes in each community we serve.

From convenient primary care to specialty institutes of excellence

We want to be the best at providing retail health care in terms of everything from great same-day primary care appointments to the use of apps to track things like blood pressure and so on. We also want to make sure we maintain institutes of excellence. As we know, craniotomies will never be done at home. Glioblastomas, unfortunately, will not be going away with an aging population, and we need to provide those services in the best possible institutes we can. We’re also approaching it a little differently doing it from an “n” of one, or the individual. How do we improve health and costs for the individual? What would it take for us to do that related to a tech “millennial” or a Boeing engineer or a group of patients with MS across all five of our states?

Our population health experience

We’re really excited and want to thank Boeing. To a certain degree, Boeing handed us a new product. We want to deliver on that, and we want to make it available to a lot of other organizations. Related to population health management, Providence has vast experience doing this. We currently serve about 750,000 people under a population management global capitation type of model. We have leading physicians and care management teams across all our states, and some very unique organizations. We have the Facey Medical Group in Southern California, which has been doing global risk capitation population management for about 50 years. This year alone, they were able to reduce their hospital admission rate by 8 percent. What that has allowed us to do is lower premiums in that particular market. In addition, as you know we recently added Pacific Medical Centers to our portfolio of services. They bring vast experience in population health management. They have one of the highest  enrollee engagement scores in the Puget Sound. They also have one of the highest same-day appointment rates, which we think is an imperative, and they continue to have one of the lowest per cost per member per year rates. We think we can utilize their values in the market place to move forward. In Oregon, we happen to manage all the state employees there, and for third consecutive year, we’ve been able to reduce their overall health care costs on a per member per year basis. Recently, we were awarded that contract for another three years. What we’ve done is we’ve made available to Dr. Joe Gifford (chief executive of our Washington ACO) all the expertise to utilize related to our ACO and the work with Boeing.

Working directly with employers

We’re also incredibly excited to be working directly with employers now. What we’re finding is employers truly understand the need for a healthier employee. They see it from the perspective of improving productivity and making it a great place to work. It’s refreshing to us because, at times, we’re guessing what employers are thinking. There’s also the fact that we’re engaged in actually developing the plan design for the employers we work with. It allows us to tailor it to the “n” of one. The other nice thing that we’ve been able to identify is getting good information and really understanding what each patient needs and how we put them in the right care setting at the right time. So we’re excited about that.

Using technology to improve the patient experience

When it comes to the “retail” experience and technology, we’re investing in different innovations, externally as well as internally. We recently hired Aaron Martin, as our senior vice president of innovation and strategy. He was Wharton trained, McKinsey trained, owned three businesses, and was at Amazon for eight years. He was part of the team that disrupted their company with Kindle and then disrupted the publishing industry with the online publishing product. He actually led the implementation of that, so he is bringing to us how to take innovation to a different level through the use of technology. In fact, one of the elements of the Boeing contract is about five pages of (digital) expectations that we have to deliver on for their enrollees and dependents. We’ve assigned that to him with 40 technology people to be able to figure out how we can automate a number of components, so we’re excited about what’s possible. The other thing is that in the United States businesses account for about 44 percent of the health care costs because of some of the subsidization it takes on, so we are also taking this work to other populations. We’re working directly with the Medicaid population, which is growing dramatically particularly in the state of Washington with Medicaid expansion. We hope that will also bring value to employers over time.

Our partners

We couldn’t do this without our partners. We have a great set of partners. The Everett Clinic, Group Health, Minor and James, Polyclinic, Proliance Surgeons, which is an interesting surgery group that really allows us to do surgery at a lower cost and more convenient setting. I had to have my knees scoped a year ago and went there because it was the best solution for me economically and from a service perspective. We also have PacMed and Puget Sound Family Physicians. We’re aligned on improving experience.

The Nordstrom and Starbucks of health care

Again we thank Boeing for the opportunity. We look forward to working with each other. I was in New York recently doing our bond rating agency review, and I had an analyst pull me aside after hearing the vision of what we’re doing. The comment that was made was that if you look at the Pacific Northwest, Nordstrom really changed the thinking as it relates to customer experience. Obviously, Microsoft changed how we do our business every day. Starbucks changed coffee from a commodity to a culture. Amazon is changing the world on retail, and Boeing flies us around the world. Why can’t we here in the Northwest do the same for health care?  I think between the things we’re thinking and the things Boeing is thinking and wants, we have a real shot at doing that. We’re real excited about what’s possible.

Related posts

Watch my video interview with Joe Gifford, M.D., chief executive of our Accountable Care Organization in Washington

rod and joe

5 Comments
  1. I believe the arrangements between Boeing, Swedish, and Providence required massive efforts from many people to bring this model of care to life on a this scale. I am proud to be a small part of helping to make this happen. It seems there will be a great deal of energy and resources directed toward making community health an achievable reality.
    I wish to call your attention to a similar effort underway in rural Alaska on the island of Kodiak. Kodiak Community Health Center (KCHC) and Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center (PKIMC) are working from a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant to implement Guided Care. The objective is to coordinate access to more appropriate care resources for those high-frequency patients whose primary source of care is the emergency room at the local critical access hospital. It seems that this work is a model reflection of what the Sisters have focused on for as long as they have been in the Northwest.
    The reason for drawing your attention to this effort comes from information shared with me, which includes:
    • HRSA requires submission of specific information on a scheduled basis
    • This data seems to have been submitted to our grant administration department on several occasions
    • This information has not been received by HRSA, as evidenced by repeated requests for overdue information
    • Failure to submit this required information may result in revocation of grant funds
    While the scale of the effort to implement a guided care approach comes nowhere the Boeing, Swedish, Providence undertaking, it is the only effort currently underway in the Kodiak, Alaska community. The HRSA grant seems to be money on the table. As the conveyor of this message, I have little, to no, additional information to share about the difficulties faced by the people of Providence on Kodiak Island.
    Is there not a way to ease their way through improved administration of this grant money by Providence?

  2. From your post “How do we improve health and costs for the individual? What would it take for us to do that related to a tech “millennial” or a Boeing engineer or a group of patients with MS across all five of our states?”
    Providence Specialty Pharmacy(PSP)in Portland is licensed in all states in which Providence has a presence. We are the exclusive specialty pharmacy for PHP and together we have built a clinical management program that brings value to PHP and their membership.
    We provide care to over 2400 patients with MS, RA, and other chronic conditions.
    Will PSP have the opportunity to be a network provider for Boeing employees and employees of affiliates that are part of Western HealthConnect? If so, who should I be in contact with? We are excited about the possibilities and would love to be included.
    Thank you,
    Debbie

  3. From above in your post, “We really think it’s a moral obligation of ours to be more than just a health care provider but to focus on healthier communities, and we believe we have to do it together. I think a great example of “together” is the three of us here at the table today and the work we’re doing together. We hope to accomplish this over time by creating the healthiest communities measured by specific health indexes in each community we serve.”

    The “moral obligation” you refer to should include an improvement of the continued stagnant wage increases given to the thousands of PH&S employees who make this happen and support the effort. This call to serving the community rings hollow and undermines faith when we continue to see great efforts to the Noble Cause but neglect those of us who are annually asked to sacrifice more in terms compensation (both wages and health care benefits)while we do not see the same across the board in leadership.

    Let’s see you and the rest of leadership accept, for example, the same 1.5% pay increase we had to accept this year. That would be a healthy, remarkable and least of all an honorable beginning!

    1.5% for many of the leadership throughout Providence is more that the average total Annual pay for most of us. An announcement and commitment to “sharing the burden and the payoffs” would go a long way to restoring a growing disillusionment with the Mission at Providence.

    • Bill – Thank you for the candor. To respond to your specific point about leadership, none of our senior executives received any kind of increase this year. We couldn’t justify it for the reasons you mention, and we wanted to reallocate the executive savings to meet other needs across the system. I know this has not been an easy time and there is a lot of disappointment around the 1.5 percent, especially with how hard everyone is working and the amount of change we’re asking of each of you. A lot of what we’re experiencing is the reality of health care but Providence is leading the transformation, and we will get to the other side with our Mission guiding us. I hope we can earn your trust in the process. Thank you again for the honesty and for all you do for Providence. -Best, Rod