Aetna Taps New California HMO Executive for CMO
Aetna Inc. has named Ronald Williams, president of WellPoint Health Networks subsidiary Blue Cross of California, to the position of chief of medical operations, the AP/Hartford Courant reports (AP/Hartford Courant, 3/15). Williams has worked at Blue Cross of California since 1987. Dr. Jack Rowe, Aetna's newly appointed CEO said, "Ron Williams brings a proven track record as a successful leader in the industry. He has managed on a national scale and demonstrated his ability to deliver consistently solid results through health insurance industry business cycles" (Aetna release, 3/15). Aetna has been criticized over its claims handling processes and the way in which it "governs the services doctors can provide." In addition, Aetna was among six HMOs sued in February by the Connecticut State Medical Society over their business practices and doctors in New York, Georgia and Texas have alleged that Aetna has "dragged its feet on paying claims." The AP/Courant reports that many doctors and consumer groups are not sure what to expect from Williams' appointment. Dr. Robert Lincer, a general surgeon who heads a group of "dissatisfied" Fairfield County, Conn., doctors, said he has not seen a change in Aetna's operations, adding, "it's a large organization and I'm sure it takes time to change the way things work" (AP/Hartford Courant, 3/15). Williams said the new executive team has "focused on putting the patient at the center of everything Aetna does and building strong partnerships with physicians and hospitals." He added, "This will not only transform Aetna, but ... will pave the way for major improvements in the health care delivery system" (Aetna release, 3/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.