Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina as president and CEO-elect on Oct. 1, 2017. He will succeed Brad Wilson as CEO at Wilson’s retirement by the end of 2017. Conway most recently served as Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In this role he also held the position of Director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). As the most senior non-political leader at CMS, he worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations and is considered one of the driving forces behind the national movement to value-based care, with health care payments tied to quality and innovation. At Blue Cross NC, Conway is continuing that commitment to delivering the best health outcomes and best service experience at the lowest cost for customers. Read his full bio.

Interview with Patrick Conway of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Q: In the past, you served as director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. What are you most proud of accomplishing at CMMI?

A: During my tenure at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, one of my many roles included serving as the Director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. It was an honor to lead the dynamic Center during a major health care shift in our country. I had the pleasure to direct and work alongside very talented leaders and staff to develop, test, spread and scale payment models and stand up key delivery system reform policies. CMMI was one avenue in creating a platform to test new approaches to health care payment and delivery while improving the value of care for Americans. We initiated major changes to make real progress in transforming the health care system during my tenure. We made it a priority to actively seek stakeholder feedback and utilized human-centered design approaches.

There are myriad accomplishments from my CMS career in which I take great pride, specifically from my CMMI tenure. Through dedicated efforts, we received CMMI’s first actuarial certifications to expand the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model. The Medicare DPP model aimed to prevent type 2 diabetes for individuals with pre-diabetic indicators. We closely collaborated with the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and YMCA to encourage lifestyle changes in people with high risk for the disease. This evidence- and community-based prevention program demonstrated that costs could be lowered and quality could be raised – and those improvements could be sustained. The Pioneer ACO model was very successful, allowing providers to transition from a shared savings payment model to a population-based model, separate and apart from the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

In addition, we partnered with the states of Maryland and Vermont to modernize the all-payer model for hospital services to improve patient healthcare and reduce costs. We also developed the Oncology Care model (OCM) to begin tackling the effectiveness and efficiency of specialty care for Americans. Specifically, OCM worked with physician practices and commercial payers to enhance care coordination and chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients. We also developed the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement model to begin addressing episodic care associated with hip and knee replacements in this country – the most common inpatient surgeries – to improve quality and coordination of care through recovery.

Lastly, we developed the Quality Payment Program, an alternative payment model to provide incentives to clinicians participating in high-quality, valuable care for episodic care or populations. In 2012, we had 0 percent of payments in alternative payment models, where providers were accountable for quality and total cost of care. By 2016, over 30 percent of provider payments were in alternative payment models like ACOs, bundled payments, or comprehensive primary care.

The shift toward these new payment models represented over $200 billion, which is a giant leap forward for value-based health care. CMS is now headed toward 500 ACOs in the public market, and even more in the private market. Under our Delivery System Reform efforts, we collaborated with a range of stakeholders to move from volume payment of care to value payment of care. We launched the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network to improve care, lower costs and promote healthy populations.

Q: Do you think that some kind of Medicare-for-all health insurance system could work in US health care?

A: The cost of health care is a fundamental problem facing the health industry. Collectively, we must address the prices we pay for quality health care.

Instead of creating a new health care system, we should focus on solutions that lower costs for all populations, including patients with multiple chronic conditions. It’s imperative that we collectively address rising prescription drug prices and actively work to lower these costs.

One area where we must make progress is in looking holistically at health, to include examining social determinants of health and sustaining healthy populations through focused efforts on primary and preventive care.

Americans have more personal choice in health care and insurance than anywhere else in the world. That range of options is fundamental to a health care system that offers affordable care with better health outcomes.

America’s health care system is a global leader in innovation and offers some of the world’s best hospitals and treatments. We shouldn’t give up on what’s good about our health care to build a new, unproven system.
I’ve had the pleasure of leading the country’s largest health payer and now leading North Carolina’s largest health insurer. Value-based care is crucial to a sustainable health care system that provides life-long quality care for Americans. And we all need to pick up the pace of change to bring about a value-based system.

Q: How might the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) be able to help facilitate health care system change among Blue Plans and beyond?

A: Health care is delivered locally, personally. It’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Health insurance has to be just as focused on the individual.

The great advantage of the collective power of Blue Plans is our deeply embedded roots in the communities we serve. Nobody knows our markets like we do, nobody has the history and relationships we have with our provider networks. Simply put, we’re best positioned to lead the transformation toward value-based, consumer-focused health care.

BCBSA plays a critical role in facilitating communication and information sharing among Blue Plans, identifying what’s working and how those successes can be scaled and replicated across the country.

BCBSA is a central source for insurance claims information, taking the lead on utilizing big data to stay out in front of emerging trends. By collecting and analyzing claims information from Blue Plans across the country, BCBSA can identify trends and even help mitigate health crises before they reach a critical stage.

BCBSA sifts through its mountains of data for monthly Health of America analysis reports. These reports help payers, providers and consumers understand why health care costs have been rising so dramatically and by making the data public, we can provide insights on consumers’ role in moving toward value-based health care.

Q: What is your perspective on the proposed mergers involving CVS and Aetna? Walmart and Humana? What are your thoughts on the business alliance of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan? What impact, if any, would those have on US health care?

A: Mergers and alliances can create disruptive change and lead to innovation into the market. With change, there is opportunity. I don’t view these alliances or mergers as threats. They are a wake-up call for all of health care: Change must happen and it has to happen now.

With CVS-Aetna, time will tell. It will interesting to see how the companies integrate and maximize value throughout the partnership.

In terms of the Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-JP Morgan Chase plans, my biggest takeaway is that they’re so upset with the current system that they want to disrupt it – and my reaction is, we should listen. They’re identifying a real problem; we want to be part of the solution, too.

At Blue Cross NC, we’re actively working to be the change for our customers. We are creating a value-based health care system committed to more choices, better access, lower cost and higher quality of care. We are keenly focused on primary care, social determinants of health, provider and beneficiary relationships, using human-centered design approaches to keep the focus on consumers.

Interview with Ken Bloom of Ambry Genetics

Q: Tell us more about your organization/company. What patient population are you serving and which services are you specializing in?

A: Ambry Genetics is a recognized leader in high quality complex genetic testing. We seek to find the genomic cause or contributors to rare diseases, abnormal phenotypes and hereditary disorders.

Read More

Interview with Lee Pierce of Sirius Computer Solutions

Q: What is the state of big data and analytics in healthcare, and how to best use the reams of data available?

A: More than ever, Healthcare organizations are achieving measurable value through use of their data and analytics assets. There is more raw material available than ever to create value. This raw material is the data flowing from internal systems and applications and also from devices and systems external to healthcare organizations.

Read More

Interview with Anita Nelsen of PAREXEL

Q: There are various new, emerging technologies that bring us closer towards a cure for life-threatening disorders such as cancer, HIV, or Huntington’s disease. Prominent examples include the popular gene editing tool CRISPR or new and improved cell and gene therapies. By when can we expect these new technologies being part of routine clinical care?

A: Today’s emerging technologies are making the promise of individualized treatment a reality.

Read More

Interview with Ilan Kirsch of Adaptive Biotechnologies

Q: The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded recently to James Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their work on unleashing the body’s immune system to attack cancer, a breakthrough that has led to an entirely new class of drugs and brought lasting remissions to many patients who had run out of options. The Nobel committee hailed their accomplishments as establishing “an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.” What is your first-hand experience the impact that those new drugs had on patients?

A: For decades cancer was viewed as solely a cell-autonomous condition.

Read More

BMS buys Celgene | Lilly buys Loxo Oncology – Does this Signal a Return to Strong Deal-Making Activities in 2019?

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s blockbuster $74B deal to buy Celgene creates an oncology powerhouse amid industrywide excitement about the rapidly evolving science and explosive growth of the sector. The agreement could signal a return to deal-making for the pharmaceutical industry in the $133B global oncology therapeutics market.

Read More

Interview with Gini Deshpande of NuMedii

Q: What need is NuMedii addressing?

A: NuMedii, has been pioneering the use of Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI) and systems biology since 2010 to accelerate the discovery of precision therapies to address high unmet medical needs. Artificial Intelligence approaches are a natural fit to harness Big Data as they provide a framework to ‘train’ computers to recognize patterns and sift through vast amounts of new and existing genomic

Read More

Interview with Minnie Sarwal of UCSF

Q: Genomic medicine is entering more hospitals and bringing with it non-invasive technology that can be used to better target and treat diseases. What are some key milestones that contributed to this trend?

A: Completion of complete sequence data from the human genome project, and the advances in proteomic, microRNA and epigenetic assays added a layer of pathway biology to the understanding of human diseases.

Read More

Interview with Shidong Jia of Predicine

Q: Once sequencing has been validated as a clinical solution via trusted workflows, and coinciding with the technological developments driving costs lower, we can expect accelerated human genome profiling for clinical Dx. How soon, do you think, will we see accelerated growth and what can we expect?

A: We will see accelerated human genome profiling for clinical Dx in 2019 and the coming years as more biomarker-based cancer drugs are gaining approval.

Read More

Interview with Iya Khalil of GNS Healthcare

Q: Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques have sent vast waves across healthcare, even fueling an active discussion of whether AI doctors will eventually replace human physicians in the future. Do you believe that human physicians will be replaced by machines in the foreseeable future? What are your thoughts?

A: I think that there’s a lot of speculation and uncertainty around AI, but I don’t foresee a time when we won’t need physicians.

Read More

Interview with Ilya Michael Rachman of Immix Biopharma Inc.

Q: The Nobel Price in Medicine was awarded recently to James Allison and Tasuku for their work on unleashing the body’s immune system to attack cancer, a breakthrough that has led to an entirely new class of drugs and brought lasting remissions to many patients who had run out of options. The Nobel committee hailed their accomplishments as establishing “an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.” Besides CAR T-cell therapy what do you think next generation immunotherapies will look like to successfully combat cancer?

A: The next generation of immunotherapies will build on the insights discovered by immunologists like James Allison and Tasuku Honjo and extend them to modify the body’s response to tumors.

Read More

Join me to Kick off PMWC Silicon Valley in the Santa Clara Convention Center, Focusing on Every Element of Precision Medicine

My team worked in collaboration with Bill Dalton, Kim Blackwell, Atul Butte / India Hook Barnard, Nancy Davidson and Sharon Terry to create a program that touches every component of precision medicine while bringing together all of its key stakeholders. Leading participating institutions including Stanford Health Care, UCSF, Duke Health, Duke University, John Hopkins University, University of Michigan and more will share their learnings and experiences and their successes and challenges, as they make precision medicine the new standard of care for all.

Read More

Interview with Dominic Eisinger of Myriad RBM

Q: The Nobel Price in Medicine was awarded recently to James Allison and Tasuku for their work on unleashing the body’s immune system to attack cancer, a breakthrough that has led to an entirely new class of drugs and brought lasting remissions to many patients who had run out of options. The Nobel committee hailed their accomplishments as establishing “an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.” Besides CAR T-cell therapy what do you think next generation immunotherapies will look like to successfully combat cancer?

A: Next generation immunotherapies include CAR-Ts, TCRs, cancer vaccines, ADCs, bi-specific antibodies, and checkpoint inhibitors.

Read More

2018 Year in Review Milestones: Stakeholder Partnerships Carving Precision Medicine’s Future

2018 has clearly been a year when significant opportunities intersected with strong partnerships to yield advancements. In particular, the clinical advancements that were realized are a testimony to stakeholders working together to deliver on promises affecting major aspects of precision medicine. 2018 has clearly been a year when significant opportunities intersected with strong partnerships to yield advancements.

Read More

Interview with Lisa Alderson of Genome Medical

Q: Tell us a little bit about Genome Medical. What market need is Genome Medical addressing and how?

A: Genome Medical is a telegenomics company that is bridging the gap between available, genetic expertise and the clinical application of genomics.

Read More

Interview with Nasir Bhanpuri of Virta Health

Q: What need is Virta Health addressing?

A: Virta Health delivers an evidence-based treatment to safely and sustainably reverse type 2 diabetes without the use of medications or surgery. In the U.S. alone, type 2 diabetes and prediabetes affects 115 million people, and the economic burden is well-over $300 billion and growing.

Read More
Johns Hopkins
University Of Michigan

The Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC), in its 17th installment, will take place in the Santa Clara Convention Center (Silicon Valley) on January 21-24, 2020. The program will traverse innovative technologies, thriving initiatives, and clinical case studies that enable the translation of precision medicine into direct improvements in health care. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about the latest developments and advancements in precision medicine and cutting-edge new strategies and solutions that are changing how patients are treated.

See 2019 Agenda highlights:

  • Five tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
    • AI & Data Science Showcase
    • Clinical & Research Tools Showcase
    • Clinical Dx Showcase
    • Creating Clinical Value with Liquid Biopsy ctDNA, etc.
    • Digital Health/Health and Wellness
    • Digital Phenotyping
    • Diversity in Precision Medicine
    • Drug Development (PPPs)
    • Early Days of Life Sequencing
    • Emerging Technologies in PM
    • Emerging Therapeutic Showcase
    • FDA Efforts to Accelerate PM
    • Gene Editing
    • Genomic Profiling Showcase
    • Immunotherapy Sessions & Showcase
    • Implementation into Health Care Delivery
    • Large Scale Bio-data Resources to Support Drug Development (PPPs)
    • Microbial Profiling Showcase
    • Microbiome
    • Neoantigens
    • Next-Gen. Workforce of PM
    • Non-Clinical Services Showcase
    • Pharmacogenomics
    • Point-of Care Dx Platform
    • Precision Public Health
    • Rare Disease Diagnosis
    • Resilience
    • Robust Clinical Decision Support Tools
    • Wellness and Aging Showcase

See 2019 Agenda highlights:

    • Five tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
      • AI & Data Science Showcase
      • Clinical & Research Tools Showcase
      • Clinical Dx Showcase
      • Creating Clinical Value with Liquid Biopsy ctDNA, etc.
      • Digital Health/Health and Wellness
      • Digital Phenotyping
      • Diversity in Precision Medicine
      • Drug Development (PPPs)
      • Early Days of Life Sequencing
      • Emerging Technologies in PM
      • Emerging Therapeutic Showcase
      • FDA Efforts to Accelerate PM
      • Gene Editing / CRISPR
      • Genomic Profiling Showcase
      • Immunotherapy Sessions & Showcase
      • Implementation into Health Care Delivery
      • Large Scale Bio-data Resources to Support Drug Development (PPPs)
      • Microbial Profiling Showcase
      • Microbiome
      • Neoantigens
      • Next-Gen. Workforce of PM
      • Non-Clinical Services Showcase
      • Pharmacogenomics
      • Point-of Care Dx Platform
      • Precision Public Health
      • Rare Disease Diagnosis
      • Resilience
      • Robust Clinical Decision Support Tools
      • Wellness and Aging Showcase
  • Luminary and Pioneer Awards, honoring individuals who contributed, and continue to contribute, to the field of Precision Medicine
  • 2000+ multidisciplinary attendees, from across the entire spectrum of healthcare, representing different types of companies, technologies, and medical centers with leadership roles in precision medicine
Get Updates
Sign up for occasional updates on upcoming conferences, news, and other information.
We respect your privacy and will never share your email with anyone.
Something went wrong, please verify your input.
Thank you for signing up!

Don't Miss Important Precision Medicine Updates

PMWC is the most comprehensive precision medicine conference. To receive the lastest news and updates from the field, subscribe to the newsletter here.

Here is your coupon code: newsletter-5percentoff-THISWEEKONLY