CMO and EVP of Banner|Aetna is focused on creating a culture of curiosity; see how he's promoting open-mindedness

Robert Groves, MD, is the executive vice president and chief medical officer of Phoenix-based Banner|Aetna. 

Dr. Groves will serve on the panel "The Rise of 'Pay-viders': What Works and What Doesn't for Health System-Owned Health Plans" at Becker's Payer Issues Roundtable. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference on Nov. 7-8 in Chicago. 

To learn more and register, click here.

Becker's Healthcare aims to foster peer-to-peer conversation between healthcare's brightest leaders and thinkers. In that vein, responses to our Speaker Series are published straight from interviewees. Here is what our speaker had to say.

Question: What is the smartest thing you've done in the last year to set your system up for success?

Dr. Robert Groves: Focus on creating a culture of curiosity. Curiosity is a skill that can be developed. We nurture it in our staff by encouraging them to engage or respond instead of reacting or defending when challenged. By remaining open to other perspectives, we can achieve more collaborative solutions to serve our members and improve the health care experience overall.  

Q: What are you most excited about right now?

RG: I am particularly excited about offering our eligible members access to Virta Health, an evidence-based diabetes reversal program. Virta is the first program that combines personalized nutrition and virtual care to help patients achieve normal blood sugar without medications. That is where Banner|Aetna shines — identifying things that make a difference to members to bring to market.

Q: How are you thinking about growth and investments for the next year or two?

RG: A few ways. This year we began offering individual and family plans on the Affordable Care Act health exchange. Next year, we'll be expanding into additional counties in Arizona. I'm excited to see the industry-wide enrollment growth for this market partly due to increased funding for Affordable Care Act navigators and enhanced subsidies. Also, as an industry, we've seen an uptick in behavioral health concerns since the pandemic started. As a result, we are making it easier for our members to understand their options and self-select the type of care they want to receive.  

Q: What will healthcare executives need to be effective leaders for the next five years?

RG: Healthcare executives will need to have the ability to adapt rapidly to changing realities, including ongoing staffing challenges and supply chain issues. I also think it's critically important to shift towards value-based care practices. When the payer and provider share accountability for claims costs and profit or losses, they both have an equally vested interest in getting patients the right level of care at the right time.

Q: How are you building resilient and diverse teams?

RG: Culture comes first. We can work together to fix health care when we have a strong culture of curiosity and innovation. 

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