Episode #163 – Dr. John Abramson, Who Teaches at Harvard is an Expert Witness Who Has Seen Millions of Insider Documents in 15 Big Pharma Trials. His New Book “Sickening” Lays it All Out Why We Pay so Much For so Few True Benefits in Overmedicated America – and Why We Are The #1 Pill Poppers by a Factor of 10x.

In this episode Ron chats with Dr. John Abramson, Author of the book “Sickening: How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care and How We Can Repair It”. Here, they discuss John’s new book and discuss the problem that is Big Pharma, which funds most clinical trials and therefore controls the research agenda, withholds the real data from those trials as corporate secrets, and shapes most of the information relied upon by health-care professionals. They also do a deep dive into fix many of the issues with Big Pharma.

After completing a residency in Family Medicine and a 2 year Robert Wood Johnson fellowship, John Abramson, MD MSc, worked as a family physician in a small town an hour north of Boston for 20 years.   He served for 7 years as chairperson of the department of family practice at Lahey Clinic. He has been on the Harvard Medical School faculty since 1997, and is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Health Care Policy. From 2005 through the present, Dr. Abramson has served as an expert in litigation involving prescription drugs and medical devices, giving him access to millions of pages of confidential corporate documents and unreleased clinical trial data. He has also served as a consultant to the FBI and U. S. Department of Justice on a case that led to the largest criminal fine in U.S. history.

Dr. Abramson has published articles in medical journals critiquing the quality of scientific evidence available to practicing physicians including: “Are Lipid-Lowering Guidelines Evidence Based” published in Lancet, “Can We Trust the Evidence in Evidence Based Medicine” in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, and “Clinical Trial Data is a Public Good” published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Dr. Abramson was the lead author of a paper published in the BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) titled “Should people at low risk of cardiovascular disease take a statin,” and an op-ed in the NY Times titled “Don’t Give More Patients Statins.”   Dr. Abramson has appeared on more than 75 national television shows, including two appearances on the Today Show.  He has written additional op-ed pieces in the New York Times, LA Times and more.

Dr. Abramson is the author of two books: Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine, published by HarperCollins in September 2004; and Sickening: How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care and How We Can Repair It, published by Mariner/HarperCollins in February 2022.

Episode #162 – Chris Deacon Found the State of NJ 800,000 Employees/Retirees $1.5 Billion with Health Benefit Redesign and Left Early with Another $3 Billion on the Table. A hero Here Speaks with Clarity and Deep Conviction.

In this episode, Ron chats with Christin Deacon, Principal Owner at VerSan Consulting, LLC. Here she discusses her career journey, how corporate America has woken up to the benefits of direct primary care, her new consulting firm, how she is working with strategic large employers that are ready to take the journey to better and more affordable care for their employees.

Christin has served in a variety of capacities both in government service and in the private sector throughout her career. She previously served on the Department of Treasury, Division of Pensions and Benefits. She also served as Assistant Counsel to former Governor Chris Christie, where she handled a portfolio consisting of Department of Banking and Insurance, the New Jersey Lottery, Division of Investments, and all other agencies within Treasury. Prior to serving in the Governor’s Office, Christin was a Deputy Attorney General for the State where she was involved in high profile projects and litigation, including matters related to the State and School Employee Health Benefits Plans (SHBP/SEHBP). In private sector, Christin was a corporate restructuring attorney handling corporate debtor and creditor work and she is barred in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She also served as Chief Clerk to the Chief Bankruptcy Judge for the District of New Jersey for three years.

When she is not pushing the envelope at work, she is likely pushing around a double stroller on her way to her son’s soccer games or headed to a tennis match!

Episode #161 – Tom Gentile is CEO of Spirit AeroSystems a 14,800 Employee Airframe Manufacturer Who Just Adopted On-Site Direct Primary Care, Labs, X-Ray, Pharmacy and Navigators. They’ve Bundled Volume Discounted Pricing on Surgery and More Too. He Won’t Ever Go Back.

This episode features Tom Gentile, President & CEO at Spirit Aerosystems. Here, he discusses their organizations decision to adopt on-site primary care and join the direct contract movement. He does a deep dive into how this decision has greatly benefited both the organization and their employees.

Tom Gentile was named president and chief executive officer of Spirit AeroSystems in August 2016 after joining the company in April 2016 as chief operating officer.

Prior to Spirit, he served as president and chief operating officer of GE Capital, overseeing global operations, IT and capital planning. Before this role, Gentile was president and CEO of GE Healthcare Systems, a $14 billion diagnostic imaging business. He also served as president and CEO of GE Aviation Services, a $7 billion global enterprise providing maintenance, repair, and overhaul as well as spare parts to GE Aviation’s global fleet of jet engines for commercial airlines. Gentile began his career at GE in 1998, holding a succession of leadership roles across GE Capital in the U.S., France and Australia.

He has held numerous other leadership and strategy roles with McKinsey and Company, U.S. broadcaster CBS and General Motors. In addition, Gentile was previously chairman and continues to serve on the board of InSightec, a global leader in non-invasive image guided therapy.

An active community member, Gentile serves on the executive committee of the Aerospace Industries Association and the governing boards of the Greater Wichita Partnership and Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters. Gentile is a champion of Spirit’s Good Neighbor Fund employee giving program and also serves as a Trustee of the ALS Finding a Cure organization. He previously served on the Greater Milwaukee Committee, as well as on the boards of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Gentile earned his bachelor’s degree in economics magna cum laude and an MBA from Harvard University, and studied international relations at the London School of Economics.

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Episode #160 – Peter Hayes is President & CEO of the Healthcare Purchaser Alliance of Maine and for 25 Years has Seen the Evolution of Jumbo and Small Employers Take Charge of the #2 Spend After Labor. He Explains Why Everything is About to Change Now..

This episode features Peter Hayes, President & CEO of the Healthcare Purchaser Alliance of Maine. Here, he discusses how healthcare has evolved over the past 25 years, the increasing healthcare costs, and how employees are slowly taking their power back. They also discuss the work his organization is doing in Maine, some of their biggest success stories, and more.

Peter Hayes currently the President & CEO of the Healthcare Purchaser Alliance of Maine and formerly a principal of Healthcare Solutions and Director of Associate Health and Wellness at Hannaford Supermarkets. He has been recognized as a thought leader in innovative, strategic benefit design for the past 25+ years. He has received numerous national awards in recognition of his commitment to working collaboratively with healthcare providers and vendors in delivering health benefits that are focused on value (high quality efficient care). He has been successful in this arena by focusing on innovative solutions for patient advocacy, chronic disease management, and health promotion programs.

Peter has also been involved in health care reform leadership roles on both the national and regional levels with organizations like Center for Health Innovation, Care Focused Purchasing, Leapfrog, co-founder of the Maine Health Management Coalition, and been appointed by two different Maine Governors to serve on Health Care Reform Commissions to recommend public policies to improve the access and affordability of health care for Maine citizens.

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Episode #159 – Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Part 2 Dives into Mostly Free Cardiovascular Health Hacks, Counterintuitive but Solidly Backed by Science – More Sun/Salt/Nose breathing are a Few Essentials.

In this episode Ron continues his conversation with Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, Author of the new book “The Clot Thickens”. Here, they further explore his book and the truth about cholesterol and if it is the true culprit causing most of the heart disease seen in the world. They also discuss a wide variety of other issues around heart disease and helpful tips to improve your heart health.

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick is a primary care physician living in the UK, just south of Manchester. He graduated in Aberdeen, Scotland, in the dim and distant past. He has had long interest in cardiovascular disease, and what causes it, mainly triggered by the fact that when he was at medical school, Scotland had the highest rate of cardiovascular disease in the world – and the explanation given just did not add up. He has a blog drmacolmkenrick.org and he has written “The Great Cholesterol Con”, “Doctoring Data”, “A Statin Nation”, and his most recent book is “The Clot Thickens”. This, he claims, is the last book he will write about heart disease. Thirty-five years of research later. He hopes that the cholesterol hypothesis will be toppled in his lifetime.

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Episode #158 – Meet Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, Author of The Clot Thickens -a Master Class Solving the Greatest Scientific Mystery of our Time. He Demolishes Statins and the Cholesterol Hypothesis it’s Based on Replacing it with Overwhelming and Pure Data and a Logical Alternative.

 

In this episode Ron chats with Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, Author of the new book “The Clot Thickens”. Here, he does a deep dive into his book and explores the truth about cholesterol and if it is the true culprit causing most of the heart disease seen in the world. They also discuss a wide variety of other issues around heart disease.

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick is a primary care physician living in the UK, just south of Manchester. He graduated in Aberdeen, Scotland, in the dim and distant past. He has had long interest in cardiovascular disease, and what causes it, mainly triggered by the fact that when he was at medical school, Scotland had the highest rate of cardiovascular disease in the world – and the explanation given just did not add up. He has a blog drmacolmkenrick.org and he has written “The Great Cholesterol Con”, “Doctoring Data”, “A Statin Nation”, and his most recent book is “The Clot Thickens”. This, he claims, is the last book he will write about heart disease. Thirty-five years of research later. He hopes that the cholesterol hypothesis will be toppled in his lifetime.

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Episode #157 – Meet Dr Nirav Vakharia, a Practicing Internist Responsible as GM for Babylon Health North America. We Dive into the Metrics to See How Everyone Wins in the Babylonian Future. Seven Aims – Check!

In this episode Ron chats with Dr. Nirav Vakharia, VP/GM of US Operations at Babylon Health. Here, they discuss value-based care, Babylon Health’s mission, the importance of AI in healthcare, access, and more. They also do a deep dive into what makes Babylon Health’s model so special.

Prior to becoming the VP/GM of US Operations at Babylon Health, Dr. Nirav Vakharia held leadership roles in value-based care and quality & safety at the Cleveland Clinic and Partners Healthcare. He remains a practicing primary care physician.

At the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Vakharia was the Associate Chief Quality Officer overseeing transitions of care, readmissions reduction, and ambulatory quality for the health system. He then became the Associate Chief of Value Based Operations and President of Accountable Care, roles in which he led the development of its population health strategy to improve the clinical and financial outcomes for over 400,000 at-risk lives. Key to this success was the implementation of a team-based population health care model across its 70 primary care practices; scaling its house calls practice for frail and vulnerable seniors; and the creation of numerous tech-enabled home-based programs including ED @ Home, Hospital @ Home, and SNF @ Home.

Dr. Vakharia received his B.S in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He completed training in internal medicine and a chief residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. Before entering medicine he worked as a middle school math and science teacher in an underserved public school in Washington, DC.

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Episode #156 – Shawn Strash is the Self-Proclaimed Reformed CEO of 20 Hospitals. Here, He Discusses the Good, Bad, and Ugly that a Leader of a Big Has to See and Implement Daily.

This episode features Shawn Strash, Former CEO of Numerous Hospitals. Here, he discusses what he has learned from his years in healthcare, how COVID-19 has changed the healthcare landscape in America, and more.

Shawn Strash is a seasoned healthcare executive with more than 25 years in the space including: hospital operations, hospital start-ups, best-practice turn-around specialist, hospital and ASC mergers and acquisitions. He has been a top-level executive in publically-traded companies as well as owner of numerous private healthcare operations. He understands the intricate detail of ASC/hospital start-ups, turn-arounds and operations. He is also an ASC/hospital revenue cycle/billing expert. Over his career, Shawn has been CEO of 21 hospitals including two denovo facilites, has had operational responsibility for more than 75 ASCs and has also opened and acquired over three dozen ASCs. He is highly respected in the space.

Shawn has directed a number of turn-arounds where he served as CEO over multiple hospitals nationally. He also provides consulting services for hospital/healthcare systems and numerous clinic based physicians. He is a hospital/ASC consultant for Health Rosetta. Note that Shawn is not your typical “big-box” hospital CEO. Shawn works lean process, leads his team with a conciliatory approach, identifies the problem, works the action plans and lives the mantra: get it done.

As CEO of Landmark Hospitals, Shawn was hired to turn the company around and to add additional service lines. During his time as CEO, Shawn added four additional revenue streams to the Landmark Hospital portfolio including surgery, destination medicine, inpatient rehabilitation and Wound Care. Shawn grew the company from 7 to 9 hospitals. He cut over $1 million in corporate overhead shortly after he started with Landmark. Additionally, he increased profitability by over 340% on a YOY basis. In fact, 2017 was the best year operationally for Landmark Hospitals in over five years. He accomplished this via his measured yet bold leadership style by increasing revenue while at the same time reducing overall expenses. Regarding the implementation of surgical service lines in a Long-term Acute Care Hospital (LTACH): Shawn was told it couldn’t be done/that’s never been done, but that didn’t stop him. In six months, Shawn identified the roadblocks, educated payors, recruited the busiest and best surgeons and with his team executed on a highly successful surgical service line located in an LTACH. In fact, surgical services revenue and bottom-line out-paced typical LTACH revenue and profit. When he left Landmark, annual results reported an additional 104% improvement in profitability over prior year.

Prior to joining Landmark, Shawn was an owner and CEO of Arise Healthcare System in Austin Texas. Arise was comprised of a physician syndicated hospital, three ASC‘s and more than seven outpatient locations with 105 physician partners invested in eleven different entities. Shawn was instrumental in improving processes for Arise Healthcare, a system which performed more than 20,000 surgeries every year but when he started at the helm, was in an overall loss position of over $10,000,000. He was hired and was offered equity in Arise upon achieving the goal of a turnaround to take Arise from that significant loss to positive earnings and to position the company for a lucrative sale which he did ahead of schedule and beyond pricing expectations.

Shawn previously served as Senior Vice-President of Corporate Services, Chief Compliance Officer and as a board member for AMSURG, now Envision. At the time, AMSURG had 10,000 employees and owned and operated over 250 outpatient surgery centers. Shawn had responsibility over six divisions. While at AMSURG, Shawn was instrumental in establishing anesthesia as a revenue stream. He also converted the entirety of the company’s rev-cycle function from a cost center to a profit center. Both of these accomplishments contributed significant EPS yield. Under his leadership and although he was again told it couldn’t be done, Shawn started the Hospital/ASC JV division: he and his team executed numerous profitable hospital/ASC JVs; in fact, he completed four in the new division’s first year.

Additionally, he has served as CEO of a number of physician-owned and general medical acute care hospitals including Paradise Valley Hospital in Phoenix Arizona, Oro Valley Hospital in Tucson Arizona, Redmond Regional Medical Center in Rome Georgia and Palmyra Medical Center in Albany Georgia. Shawn spent 10+ years with HCA initially as director of mergers and acquisitions and then on to operational responsibility for more than a dozen surgery centers and two hospitals in the Eastern Group. It is notable that he originated, developed and operated the only profitable pediatric surgery center in the entire company.

Shawn is originally from Canada. He served in the Canadian Coast Guard as a search and rescue specialist and later Coxswain (Captain) of numerous rescue units. With dual Masters degrees, he is also certified in Healthcare compliance. Married to Norma-Jean for 30 years, together they have raised three children and have two grandchildren.

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Episode #155 – All-In Bundled Pricing Surgery at 10-20% Cost of the Bigs? 300+ Procedures? Infection Rates, Complication Rates, Readmits that Plunge to Nil? Yup, When the Very Best Team Up at the Newest Market Surgery Center like Wellbridge Surgical. Meet Dr. Ron Piniecki it’s Co-Founder.

This episode features Dr. Ron Piniecki, Co-Founder at WellBridge Surgical. Here, he discusses what inspired him to launch WellBridge, being mentored & inspired by Keith Smith, the future of free market surgery centers in the US, the importance of competition in healthcare, and more.

Transplanted from New Orleans, Dr. Piniecki graduated from Indiana University Medical School and practices anesthesiology in Indianapolis, IN. His inspiration to co-found WellBridge was based on his belief that all patients have a fundamental right to understand the care they are receiving and what that service will cost.  Gaining understanding of the pricing methods of the hospitals and the effect that these profit margins have had on patients, families, employers and the healthcare system have galvanized his efforts and desire to make real change in the way that surgical care is delivered.

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Episode #154 – John Canion,NP Round 2. What’s Really Going on in the Most Trusted Profession 20 Years Running.

In this episode Ron chats with John Canion, a NP practicing Emergency Medicine in Texas. Here, they continue their conversation on the current state of Nurse Practitioners in the US, the role and responsibilities of NPs, working in the ER, needing to revamp the NP education system, and more.

John Canion graduated from Nurse Practitioner school at Abilene Christian University in 2005. He is certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner and as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner.  I have worked in fields that include Family Practice, Emergency Medicine, Urgent Care, Hospitalist Medicine, Urgent Care, Associate Professor for Family Practice Nurse Practitioners, and Critical Access Medicine. He has worked closely with national organizations on NP education and just finished a yearlong assignment with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners on their education committee. He gives lectures on many topics related to NP practice including business, contracts, scope of practice, and clinical information.  Over the last year he has been staffing covid relief. He is currently practicing Emergency Medicine in San Angelo, Texas.

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