Twenty years! Hard to believe we founded the HBS Healthcare Alumni Association two decades ago in 1998, and it’s still going strong thanks to so many dedicated alumni. This year during the annual conference (November 8-9, 2018), I had the honor of presenting the Ellerin Achievement Award to Andy Slavitt ‘93.
Most know Andy for his work as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) or his roles as CEO of Ingenix and EVP at Optum. Many don’t realize Andy went to HBS and did not set out to go into healthcare. He was a banker at Goldman, a consultant at McKinsey and ran a PE-backed business. But like many of us, something happened that forced him to take an interest.
Andy’s college roommate from Penn was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died within 5 months, leaving behind a wife and two children. Andy volunteered to help Jeff’s wife figure out how to deal with all of the paperwork and payments. That is when he saw what we all know to be the tragedy after the tragedy – the tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills that can accrue from a single clinical episode. Andy told me that experience made him realize how tragic it is that the healthcare system can prey on the most vulnerable people at the worst time of their lives. That shaped what he would do next which was found Health Allies in 1999. He sold the business to UnitedHealthcare a few years later.
Today Andy is involved in multiple organizations dedicated to building a sustainable, high quality health care system that is available to all Americans. He is co-founder of Town Hall Ventures, which closed it first fund at $115 million dollars in September. The firm is dedicated to funding and building companies that address the health care challenges of the most vulnerable Americans – their mandate is to direct millions of dollars to invest in communities that have long been ignored.
Will be interesting to see the impact Andy has next!