Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS, And Other ACHP Board Members Meet With HHS Secretary Alex Azar
ACHP board members meet with Sec. Alex Azar. Photo courtesy of ACHP.

Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS, and other ACHP board members meet with HHS Secretary Alex Azar

Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS, CEO and executive director of The Permanente Medical Group, met recently with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar as part of a meeting with board members of the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP).

Dr. Isaacs sits on the ACHP board, which also includes Anthony Barrueta, senior vice president of Government Relations for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. Both were among the 8 ACHP board members that joined ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly for a meeting with Sec. Azar in Washington, D.C. on July 15, 2019. The meeting took place a few weeks after President Trump signed an executive order directing the Health and Human Services Department to develop a policy that encourages price transparency in health care.

When meeting with Azar, board members discussed a range of topics, including price transparency, the future of the Medicare Advantage program, and incentives for fee-based, transparent pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

Dr. Isaacs, who also serves as president and CEO of the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group and co-CEO of The Permanente Federation, touched on efforts to improve clinical quality and shared examples of how the Permanente Medical Groups and Kaiser Permanente are being innovative in improving quality and value for patients through programs such as Enhanced Recovery After Surgery and Care Without Delay.

He also cited the example of how Medicare currently incentivizes cataract surgery be done on one eye at a time (with a 10-day wait before performing on the other eye) when Kaiser Permanente has the technology and process to do both eyes during one appointment.

“I thank Secretary Azar for providing us the opportunity to share how Permanente Medicine’s innovation can be a model for others,” Dr. Isaacs said. “I appreciate the Secretary’s strategic focus on the big issues facing health care today, and I look forward to partnering with my ACHP colleagues to help develop a national health care quality roadmap that drives the best, consistent care while being cost-effective to patients.”