Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase appoint CEO for healthcare venture

Henrietta Strickland
June 21, 2018

The trio of employers have selected Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon and a professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, they said in a news release.

The still-unnamed joint healthcare initiative spearheaded by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase has found its CEO.

In both his writing and his speaking appearances, Gawande has been outspoken about topics such as wasteful healthcare spending, unnecessary care amping up costs and the slow pace of innovation in healthcare. The group has offered few details on how it plans to tackle healthcare costs, but the companies said they would initially focus on technology solutions to provide employees and their families "simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost". That included too many tests, too many surgeries and too many visits with providers.

In an wonderful decision that won lots of praise, Atul Gawande-a New Yorker writer and surgeon who won a MacArthur fellow for his work conveying modern medical practices and ethics, was chosen to lead the new healthcare company set up by Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway. He said in a statement Wednesday that he has devoted his career in public health to building solutions for better care delivery. The piece focused on McAllen, Texas, and why the Medicare program spent $15,000 a year on the town's older patients, thousands of dollars more than in other areas.

The piece attracted the attention of Warren Buffett and his business partner Charlie Munger.

"You have these enormous variances around the country". And they're going with a Renaissance man.

Munger thought the article was so socially useful that he blindly mailed Gawande a $20,000 check, Buffett told CNBC at the time. Gawande donated the money to an global project to improve surgical equipment in developing countries, according to the Huffington Post. He said it will look for ways to help employees make better choices for their care and give them the best options available. The move rattled shares of the healthcare supply chain, including CVS Health and Express Scripts, among others.

By Robert LangrethThe Harvard surgeon and author picked to run a heralded new health-care venture has compared the USA medical system to a auto built with Porsche brakes, a Ferrari engine and a BMW chassis.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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