Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase have announced that their secretive health venture will be called Haven Healthcare. The company will tackle issues of affordability and care access.
The partnership between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase now has a name in addition to a high-profile executive team.
The venture, which aims to reduce costs and develop innovative approaches to care will be known as Haven Healthcare, CEO Atul Gawande, MD, MPH wrote on the company’s new website.
“As a surgeon, I’ve devoted my career to caring for my patients and working to make the health care system better. I believe all people deserve quality health care that is both affordable and accessible,” said Gawande.
“Haven was formed by the leaders of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase because they have been frustrated by the quality, service, and high costs that their employees and families have experienced in the US health system. They believe that we can do better, and in taking this step to form this new organization, they have committed to being a part of the solution.”
After being veiled in secrecy for more than a year, the company stated that its primary focus will be on “pursuing a number of common-sense fixes, as well as innovative approaches, to address issues like making primary care easier to access, insurance benefits simpler to understand and easier to use, and prescription drugs more affordable.”
Initially, any solutions developed by Haven Healthcare will be applied to the employees and families of the three founding companies, but the company anticipates expanding its reach to the broader industry over time.
“We know that this work will take time, and we’ll need the help of others, but we will tackle problems step-by-step and make sure that patients remain our top priority,” stated Gawande.
The surgeon and healthcare thought leader outlined three guiding principles for the venture.
“We will be an advocate for the patient and an ally to anyone – clinicians, industry leaders, innovators, policymakers, and others – who makes patient care and costs better. We will create new solutions and work to change systems, technologies, contracts, policy, and whatever else is in the way of better health care. We will be relentless. We will insure our work has high impact and is sustainable. And we are committed to doing this work for the long-term,” he said.
Amazon and its partners stirred up furious speculation in January of 2018 when they announced their intentions to take aim at healthcare, giving rise to questions about the retail giant’s role in a quickly changing, consumer-driven environment.
A trickle of details led pundits to believe the focus would be primarily financial, with commentary from leadership at the three partnering companies more or less confirming that healthcare spending would be a top target.
“The healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty,” Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said when announcing the project.
“Hard as it might be, reducing healthcare’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort. Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation.”
With such heavyweight names at the helm – and at a time when payer-centered megamergers are still very much in the headlines – the industry has been bracing for Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase to pose yet another potential threat to the traditional health payer paradigm.
Haven Healthcare, however, is presenting a much more benign demeanor to a wary industry.
“We are interested in working with clinicians and insurance companies to improve the overall health care system,” the website’s FAQs state. “We will be an ally of anyone who is working to make health care better for patients.”
“It’s very simple: our goal is not profit. We’re able to focus on creating value for families, not shareholders, since we are free from profit-making incentives and constraints. The organization will reinvest any surplus back into our work to improve health outcomes, patient satisfaction, and lower costs for individuals and families.”
Haven is currently looking to scale up its staff and, presumably, zero in on initial projects to tackle.
“We are focused on leveraging the power of data and technology to drive better incentives, a better patient experience, and a better system,” Haven said. “Our work may take many forms, and solutions may take time to develop, but Haven is invested in making health care much better for all of us.”
Date: March 7, 2019