Mike Murphy, one of the longest-serving Blue Cross Blue Shield CEOs, says relationships with providers have not worsened over his 16 years at the helm of Anthem BCBS Nevada — they've just grown more complicated.
"Certainly, I don't think they've gotten worse. When you look at the Blues, and especially Elevance, the number of providers we have reached agreements with across the country, it's in the high 90 percent of providers," Mr. Murphy told Becker's. "I think the complications of relationships have increased. It takes effort between us and providers, which everybody is putting in, to get to what that collaboration and agreement is."
Mr. Murphy has led Anthem BCBS of Nevada, an Elevance Health subsidiary, since 2006. He is tied with BCBS of Michigan CEO Daniel Loepp, who plans to retire at the end of 2024, as the longest-tenured Blues affiliate CEO.
He sat down with Becker's to share his perspective on key issues facing the industry and lessons learned from 16 years of leadership.
Keeping pace with innovation
Innovation in care is getting faster. This can add up to extra expenses for payers if they are not collaborative with providers, Mr. Murphy said.
"It's driven by the next piece, which I think is collaboration with providers. Collaboration has increased significantly in one: payment mechanisms. You're seeing a whole lot more value-based agreements, you're seeing a whole lot more partnerships, you're seeing a lot more relationships between the provider community and the payers that's been really important," Mr. Murphy said.
Rapidly accelerating developments in technology are also changing consumers' behavior, Mr. Murphy said.
"You've got a significant amount more adoption of technology and digital-type tools. People are accessing care in a much different way. Information has changed the way that consumers engage. They're much more informed now. Sometimes, that can be an overload. Usable information, and how we can get usable information to our members is incredibly important, and it's something we're very focused on."
BCBS Nevada is zeroed in on value-based care, Mr. Murphy said. Over 70 percent of its members are involved with providers in value-based agreements.
These sorts of agreements can lead to more complexity between payers and providers, but it can lead to healthier outcomes down the road.
"In my opinion, we have better discussions with providers that allow us to talk about, 'What is our common endgame?' The common endgame is helping people live longer, healthier lives and reducing the overall cost in the healthcare system," Mr. Murphy said.
Passion trumps everything
One thing Mr. Murphy wishes he knew when he began his tenure as CEO: It's okay not to know everything, but always strive to learn more.
"I think healthcare is so complicated and so broad, I think at times, it can be intimidating. You think you should know everything. It's a constant learning process, it's a constant partnership, and that's OK."
Leaders should be curious, ask questions and seek out solutions, he said.
"Passion trumps everything. Having a team around you that you trust is incredibly important, because when you can share the end game, you can be clear about it," Mr. Murphy said. "You can be consistent in your message and consistent in your actions. Your team can get around and be more effective. When people are passionate about understanding what the goals are, they become more effective."