Pennsylvania Health Secretary will become Geisinger’s head of innovation

The Secretary of Health in Pennsylvania will leave the state to join the executive team at Geisinger Health System.

Karen Murphy, R.N., Ph.D., has been named executive vice president, chief innovation officer and founding director of Geisinger’s Steele Institute for Healthcare Innovation. Her last day with the state is Friday but she won’t start her new job at Geisinger until September.

Murphy will be a perfect fit with the integrated delivery system because her career has focused on developing innovative ways to improve health and transform healthcare delivery, David Feinberg, M.D., president and CEO of Geisinger, said in an announcement.

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Prior to becoming Secretary of Health, Murphy served as director of the State Innovation Models Initiative, a $900 million Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services investment designed to accelerate healthcare innovation across the United States.

Her new role will help the Pennsylvania health organization’s efforts to improve patient experience, quality, cost, efficiency and outcomes, Geisinger spokeswoman Wendy Wilson told PennLive."This is [covering] the entire continuum of patient care," she said. "It's building a much smarter healthcare delivery system."

Geisinger serves more than 3 million residents throughout 45 counties in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania, and also in southern New Jersey at AtlantiCare. The physician-led system has 30,000 employees, including nearly 1,600 employed physicians, 12 hospital campuses, two research centers and a 551,000-member health plan.

Governor Tom Wolf said Murphy was a valuable member of the administration and played a big role in the state’s efforts to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic.

Murphy has had a long career in healthcare, including stints as president and CEO of the Moses Taylor Health Care System in Scranton, as well as founder and CEO of physicians Health Alliance Inc., an integrated medical group practice within Moses Taylor.

Murphy told The Times-Tribune that her experiences in both the private and public sector gives her a broader perspective of innovation. “Geisinger has a history of innovation, so we will be looking for ways to build on that foundation,” she said. “Throughout my career, I’ve been very interested in improving health and transforming healthcare delivery … Our country is at a crossroads, while we’re under the debate of access to insurance, I think the focus should be investing resources on improving health and transforming healthcare delivery.”