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June 8, 2018

Geisinger CEO was the top candidate to lead the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture. Here's why he said no.

Daily Briefing

    Geisinger Health President CEO David Feinberg was the top candidate to lead the health care venture launched by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan, but he'll stay with Geisinger instead, Christina Farr reports for CBNBC.


    Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan announced the partnership in January. At the time, the three companies said their goal was to identify "technology solutions" that would provide "simplified, high-quality, and transparent health care at a reasonable cost." The three companies said the new health care company will be "free from profit-making incentives and constraints."

    Read Advisory Board's initial take on the partnership

    In February, Berkshire Chair Warren Buffett in a CNBC interview added that the venture aims to find a lower-cost way of delivering better health care.

    Latest developments

    CNBC reported that Feinberg was "at one point the top candidate in discussions" to lead the new venture. But following CNBC's report, Feinberg said he was staying at Geisinger.

    Through a spokesperson, he said, "I appreciate being part of the conversation, which I believe reflects the accomplishments of the entire Geisinger team. I personally remain 100% committed to Geisinger and remain excited about the work we are doing and the opportunities ahead as we continue to deliver exceptional care to our patients, our members, and our communities."

    Feinberg has advised the venture since it was announced in January and emerged as a top contender to lead it, people familiar with the initiative said.

    Feinberg has led Geisinger since 2015. Geisinger is a Pennsylvania-based integrated health system with more than 500,000 patients and more than 1,600 doctors. It also has several insurance plans.

    As part of the CEO selection process, 10 candidates were asked to write a white paper on how they would fix the health care system, two people familiar with the selection process said. Based on the white papers, three finalists were chosen. Dimon interviewed all three and sent his top two to Buffet, who interviewed them and gave his final pick to Bezos, who had the power to veto the decision.

    CNBC has reported that other candidates who've been approached for the job include former CMS acting administrator Andy Slavitt, former U.S. chief technology officer Todd Park, and former Aetna senior executive Gary Loveman.

    Owen Tripp of Grand Rounds Health, a startup that provides second medical opinions to large employers, was also one of three finalists, CNBC reports (Farr, CNBC, 6/8; Rege, Becker's Hospital Review, 6/8; Chatterjee, Reuters, 6/7).

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