On Wednesday, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar announced the appointment of former MDwise CEO James Parker to the Secretary for Health Reform and Director of the Office of Health Reform at HHS. In his new role, Parker will be responsible for leading the initiative to address the cost and availability of health insurance.
In his most recent role, Parker served as CEO of MDwise, an Indiana Medicaid managed care organization with over 300,000 members and $1.4 billion in revenue. He also led the development of a provider-sponsored health plan and population health management capabilities within Indiana University Health, an Indianapolis-based integrated health system and served as co-chair of the Indiana University Health Population Health Management Services Organization. Mr. Parker previously spent 20 years with Anthem, Inc. in a number of senior leadership roles advancing initiatives to improve the quality and affordability of health insurance.
Jim Parker has spent his life working in the private sector to provide Americans access to quality, affordable health insurance. His knowledge and expertise will be vital to our work at HHS to ensure that Americans have access to insurance that meets their needs,” said Secretary Azar in the announcement.
The appointment follows the recent announcement of Daniel M. Best to serve as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Drug Pricing Reform and Brett Giroir, M.D., to serve as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Mental Health and Opioid Policy, in addition to his duties as Assistant Secretary for Health.
These individuals will help advance three of Secretary Azar’s previously identified four initiatives for his transformation agenda: combating the opioid crisis; bringing down the high cost of prescription drugs; addressing the cost and availability of health insurance; and transforming our healthcare system to a value-based system.
In addition, HHS Secretary Alex Azar has been readmitted to the hospital for further observation and treatment of diverticulitis, an infection of pouches in the colon that can be painful. Azar was initially hospitalized over the weekend with the condition in his home state of Indiana.