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David L. Holmberg is president and chief executive officer of Highmark Health, a $21 billion blended health organization that includes one of America's largest Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers and a growing regional hospital and physician network. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Highmark Health’s 37,000 employees serve millions of customers nationwide through the nonprofit organization's affiliated businesses, including Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, HM Insurance Group, United Concordia Dental, and HM Health Solutions.
One of the nation's most influential and transformative health care executives, Holmberg is helping to shape the future of this fast-evolving industry. He has proactively and regularly engaged with trade associations, regulators, peer organizations, strategic partners, and government entities — both regional and national — to resolve critical health care issues and ensure the equitable treatment of Highmark Health’s patients, policyholders, and business customers. In 2016, Highmark Health sued the U.S. government in federal claims court, resulting in a 2020 Supreme Court ruling that affirmed that the federal government must fulfill its promises to preserve the trust that makes successful public-private partnerships, including the ACA marketplace, possible.
Holmberg joined Highmark Inc. in 2007 and served in a series of executive positions, including president of its Diversified Businesses, where he was responsible for businesses representing more than $3.5 billion in revenue, chief executive officer for HVHC Inc. and chief executive officer and chairman for HM Insurance Group, United Concordia Dental and San Antonio, Texas-based Visionworks, which was divested in 2016 for $1.6 billion.
Under Holmberg's leadership, Highmark Health successfully navigated the tumultuous post-ACA years as well as the financial turnaround of Allegheny Health Network, which was nearing bankruptcy when it was acquired by Highmark Inc. in 2013. In addition to delivering 11 consecutive quarters of positive operating income prior to the COVID 19 pandemic, the health delivery system has expanded to include 14 hospitals in western Pennsylvania, as well as five multi-specialty medical malls. In 2019, Holmberg successfully negotiated an agreement with the Pennsylvania Attorney General to provide residents of western Pennsylvania with continued access to the region's two leading health systems.
In early 2020, Highmark Health's financial strength and stability enabled the rapid deployment of resources needed to diagnose, treat and support the organization's members and patients through the COVID 19 pandemic. It has also enabled the implementation of a bold transformation strategy designed to lead the change in the health care experience for consumers by providing affordable, accessible, high-quality, community-based medicine and coverage options. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic accelerated that strategy due to Highmark Health’s differentiated position in the industry as a vertically integrated payer-provider.
Board of Directors Affiliations:
Thought Leadership Topics:
Unlike many of his peers, who are tenured doctors or career health care executives, Holmberg is applying his retail industry expertise and proven customer-centric concepts to the health care experience — all designed to disrupt the industry by delivering higher quality care at lower cost on consumers' terms. The Patient Health Experience
The Inevitable Health Care Revolution
Making Allies out of Adversaries
Appetite for Health Transformation: Verily & Highmark Health live from HLTH 2021 Medical Marketing and Media (MM+M)
Pittsburgh Business Times: 2021 Outstanding CEOs and Top Executives, September 2021
Health Evolution Summit: Payer Insights, August 2021
"Highmark Health is able to take full risk and that's what we are doing; with millions of patients, we learn and figure out what works from a value-based outcome standpoint. It has to improve quality and safety outcomes and reduce friction. And if it does those things, it will also impact affordability."
Kaiser Health News: Covid was a Tipping Point for Telehealth. If some have their way, virtual visits are here to stay, June 2021
"We've seen that telehealth is an extraordinary tool. It's convenient for the patient, and it's convenient for the doctor… Now we need to make it sustainable and enduring."
OODA Health Panel: The Inevitable Revolution: From Healthcare to an Ecosystem of Health, May 2021 The inevitable revolution: From healthcare to an ecosystem of 'health' — YouTube
Axios View from the Top, May 2020: The Hidden Health Crisis
"[Being an insurer and a health care provider], we knew we would be the front line of defense if [COVID 19} came to America. As cases developed in Europe and ultimately patient zero in New Rochelle, we realized that we needed to stand up our pandemic operations center. It is designed to give us as much information as possible, both from the Blue Cross Blue Shield side but also from the front line caregivers to be able to look for the early indicators."
Washington Post Live, May 2018: The Future of an Evolving Industry
"I think the biggest challenge in health care is recognizing that we can — it's no longer about us, it’s got to be about them. It's got to be about the people that we serve. And meaning, we need to have a retail mindset where we understand what motivates that individual, how do we connect with them, and then how do we provide them the services and capabilities that fit their lifestyle and their choices?"
Highmark Health Straight from the CEO Blog Series
Highmark is a registered mark of Highmark Inc. © 2022 Highmark Inc., All Rights Reserved.
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield serves the 29 counties of western Pennsylvania and 13 counties of northeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Shield serves the 21 counties of central Pennsylvania and also provides services in conjunction with a separate health plan in southeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia serves the state of West Virginia plus Washington County. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware serves the state of Delaware. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York serves eight counties in Western New York and Highmark Blue Shield of Northeastern New York serves 13 counties in Northeastern New York. Each of these companies is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Blue Cross, Blue Shield and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
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