Horizon’s New Chief Medical Officer to Focus on Empowering Patients and Engaging Physicians to Transform Healthcare

Taking another critical step in its efforts to transform how healthcare is delivered in the Garden State, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) announced today that Dr. Thomas R. Graf, MD, has been named Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Graf will report directly to Allen Karp, Horizon BCBSNJ Senior Vice President, Healthcare Management.

“Horizon is fully embracing the transformation to value-based care and population health management to deliver better healthcare at lower costs and Dr. Graf is the ideal fit culturally and philosophically. Tom brings more than a quarter-century of experience working on the front lines and making healthcare work better for patients,” said Robert A. Marino, Chairman and CEO of Horizon BCBSNJ. “As our senior physician, Dr. Graf will work with our OMNIA Alliance Partners, our network of physicians and our Healthcare Management team to engineer and execute Horizon’s clinical transformation goals.”

Dr. Graf has served in senior-level roles at Geisinger Health System providing clinical and administrative leadership to more than 650 physicians and 400 advanced practitioners. Before taking his position at Horizon BCBSNJ, Dr. Graf was the National Director Population Health for Chartis Group where he consulted with the nation’s leading healthcare providers on clinical transformation and value-based care.

“In his role as CMO, Dr. Graf will work with Horizon’s network of providers to help them move from traditional fee-for-service to value-based care. He will develop strategies that align incentives between Horizon and its providers with the goal of achieving improved quality, lower cost, and more satisfied members,” said Karp.

“To continue the transformation to value-based care we need total buy-in from providers and members. You can’t push a rope. You need physicians and patients both working on their ends,” said Graf. “We can and should help members understand their health status so they’ll be able to engage with their doctors to help empower their decision-making. There is a huge opportunity and an equally as large need to make dramatic improvements to the system of care in New Jersey and I’m excited to join a team that has the vision and commitment to be the catalyst for that change.”

Chief Medical Officers at insurance companies have typically spent the bulk of their time developing medical policies and reviewing claims and very little time engaging their physician peers.  Horizon BCBSNJ is pursuing a different model that reflects the company’s commitment to transforming New Jersey’s healthcare system.  Dr. Graf will be at the frontline using new data tools to help guide providers and deploy transformational strategies.

Dr. Graf received a Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine from the University of Michigan. He has served on the Board of Directors for such organizations as Keystone Accountable Care and National Association of ACOs. Dr. Graf is a member of the American Academy of Family Practice and the American Association for Physician Leadership.  He was a Founding Member, Board of Directors for the National Association of ACOs.

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