Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Jack Stoddard's role in a lawsuit filed by UnitedHealth's Optum unit. He testified in the case; he was not a party to the lawsuit.
It took more than a year, but the venture created by three industry titans to lower health care costs finally has a name.
Drumroll, please …. Haven.
“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,” Haven CEO Atul Gawande wrote in a message on its website, which was unveiled on Wednesday. “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.”
The non-profit company has been shrouded in mystery since it was first announced in January of 2018. Gawande, a renowned surgeon and author, has said little since he was hired last summer. It faces a herculean task since rising health care costs are one of the nation’s thorniest problems. Other companies have tried – and largely failed – to truly make a dent in their spending.
The venture’s name reflects its goal to help individuals and families get the care they need and to work with doctors and others to improve the overall system, according to its website. Its focus is the 1.2 million employees and dependents of Amazon (AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM), though it says it will share its knowledge with others.
“The good news is the best results are not the most complicated or expensive,” said Gawande, who has been meeting with the companies’ workers to learn more about their health care experiences. “The right care in the right place is often more effective and less costly than what we get today.”
The Boston-based company aims to make primary care easier to access, insurance benefits simpler to understand and use and prescription drugs more affordable, the website says. It seeks to harness data and technology to make the overall health care system better. It notes that solutions may take time to develop.
“We believe it is possible to deliver simplified, high-quality, and transparent health care at a reasonable cost,” the site says, noting that those who have a regular and reliable source of care and can afford medications and treatments can live more than 80 years, on average, and enjoy a better quality of life. But many Americans don’t have these basics.
Its leadership team includes Chief Operating Officer Jack Stoddard, formerly of Comcast and UnitedHealth Group, Chief Technology Officer Serkan Kutan, who worked at Zocdoc, Amazon, Goldman Sachs and Microsoft, and Head of Measurement Dana Safran, who came from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Stoddard recently testified in US District Court in Boston in a lawsuit filed by UnitedHealth’s Optum unit, which is trying to prevent a former employee from working for the new venture, according to press reports.