Aledade taps former North Carolina HHS secretary to run its new health services unit

Mandy Cohen, M.D., spent the last five years running North Carolina's health department and leading the largest change to the state's Medicaid program in its history.

As head of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, she transitioned the state’s Medicaid program to managed care with a focus on innovation and whole-person care, and it's a shift that's been closely watched by other states and Medicaid experts

Cohen also led the state’s COVID-19 response, which has been lauded for its focus on equity, data accountability and transparent communication.

She has now jumped into the private sector as the CEO for Aledade's new health services unit, Aledade Care Solutions (ACS). Cohen also will serve as Aledade’s executive vice president. She'll assume both positions in March, according to the company.

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"When I looked for the next opportunity where I could continue to work on the mission to build a more equitable, health-focused, proactive, and trusted system, Aledade quickly rose to the top of the list," Cohen wrote in a blog post.

Aledade uses data analytics software to help independent doctors’ offices transition to value-based models and works with more than 1,000 independent primary care practices and health centers. The company's technology helps practices identify and better manage their most at-risk patients. The primary care practices in Aledade's network provide care to more than 1.7 million patients under value-based contracts across all payers – traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage, commercial and Medicaid. 

"I saw the strengths of the Aledade model firsthand in North Carolina, where they are supporting over 200 practices and 300,000 patients," Cohen wrote in the blog post, noting that Aledade supports practices in delivering high-quality care with a financial model that aligns the incentives in the system and using data to target patients' needs.

Aledade announced the launch of its new health services unit at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference earlier this month, following its first tuck-in acquisition of Iris Healthcare, a company that offers virtual comprehensive advance care planning services.

One of Cohen's initial priorities will be to lead Aledade’s work to support the large and growing number of patients enrolled in Medicaid programs that are served by Aledade practices and health centers. "This work will further Aledade’s goal of bringing the benefits of value-based care to patients across all-payers, and help Medicaid enrollees benefit from value-based care," Cohen wrote in the blog post.

As CEO of ACS, she will also lead the implementation of targeted wraparound care solutions to support the more than a thousand primary care practices in Aledade’s nationwide network of accountable care organizations (ACOs). 

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Future care solutions will be explored with input from practices in the Aledade ACO network, finding ways to leverage data and technology, including remote and virtual services, to improve patients’ health and increase ACO savings, according to the company.

As Aledade makes strategic moves to expand its services, it also has benefited from significant growth in 2021. The network of practices and health centers working with Aledade now spans 37 states and has grown by 20% over the last year. Aledade’s value-based care contracts collectively cover more than 1.7 million patients and manage roughly $17 billion in total healthcare spending through 98 Medicare and 47 other value-based contracts.

Prior to her work as North Carolina's health secretary, Cohen, an internal medicine physician, served as the chief operating officer and chief of staff at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) helping to implement the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges and innovative new payment models. She also currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health.

“One of Aledade's secret powers has been our ability to welcome amazing executives from public service to come and serve the broader social good in a different way,” said Farzad Mostashari, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Aledade in a statement. “I have had the opportunity to work with Mandy when she was a leader at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and as Secretary of Health and Human Services for North Carolina. I have always been impressed with her proven track record of delivering results for people who need high-quality, whole-person care, and we are thrilled that she will be helping to guide this next phase in our growth.”