A Healthy Dose with Andrew Dreyfus

Andrew Dreyfus is one of the most well respected, forward looking leaders in healthcare. Since 2010, Andrew has served as the president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, where he leads the company’s effort to make quality healthcare affordable for everyone. BCBSMA serves nearly 3 million members and is one of the largest independent, not-for-profit Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in the country. Andrew has spent his career focused on developing cutting-edge solutions for today’s healthcare challenges.

In this episode, we cover diverse topics such as:

1. Andrew’s non-traditional path to a lifelong career in healthcare

Andrew began his career far from healthcare policy as a newspaper journalist in Boston. After several years he was ready for change and joined the administration of then newly-elected Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. During this period, healthcare quickly became a hotbed of issues - from the HIV epidemic to healthcare cost containment. In 1988, the governor passed the first universal healthcare law, which gave Andrew his first real taste of the intricacies of the American health policy and the potential promise of covering people without health insurance. It was this experience that kicked off a lifelong career in healthcare, and its why Andrew advises graduates and people early in their career to go into government.

"In government, you get a really wide perspective and aperture of what's going on in healthcare, but you're also given significant responsibility at a fairly young age. If you demonstrate talent, you can have a lot of management and administrative training that's much harder to earn in the private sector."

2. Value-based care appears to be a bipartisan initiative

The guys spend time discussing how forcing the move towards value-based care was one of the core tenets of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) and is now being pushed forward through the Primary Cares Initiative by the Trump administration. Andrew, Steve, and Trevor discuss what’s exciting about the move from a fee for service system to a value-based reimbursement system and why value-based care appears to straddle party lines.

Moving from a fee for service system to a value-based reimbursement system was one of the big tenants that was not fully understood in the Affordable Care Act. It may be when we look back 20 to 30 years from now, historians will see that.

3. How healthcare startup founders can get on the radar of massive healthcare organizations like Blue Cross Blue Shield

One of the fundamental challenges of getting a healthcare startup off the ground is selling to the legacy healthcare institutions, which often have 12-24-month sales cycles. Andrew advises founders to get in early and let potential buyers be part of the proof of concept. He cautions that healthcare organizations already run on many different technology systems, so plug-in-play technology built in a vacuum is seldom compatible. Andrew also advises founders to fully understand where healthcare organizations are going and to develop technology that will radically improve where the organization is headed.