Q&A: Jaime Wissler, Executive Director of the One Utah Health Collaborative, on the work ahead
Jaime Wissler is a seasoned public servant with 25 years of experience coordinating with industry partners, and local, state, and federal governments.
Wissler has worked a variety of criminal investigations surrounding health care fraud, illegal narcotics, bank fraud, money laundering, wire fraud, identity theft, assault, workplace violence, and more.
Wissler is a compassionate leader who is enthusiastic about affordable and equitable health care. His regular integration with marginalized and vulnerable populations throughout his career inspired him to pursue the new role of Executive Director of the One Utah Health Collaborative.
State of Reform: In your own words, what are the vision and goals of the One Utah Health Collaborative?
Jaime Wissler: “The One Utah Health Collaborative’s vision is to unite stakeholders to become the nationwide leader in cost-efficient, innovative health care. As a community-owned value alliance, we aim to reduce the growth of total health care spend in the state of Utah while strengthening affordability, outcomes, and equity. We envision a high quality of life for all Utahns.
The Collaborative is committed to bridging disparity gaps based on race, ethnicity, sex, geography, or background. Our initial priority areas of primary care, behavioral health, data infrastructure, and coverage and access help narrow our focus to achieve the greatest impact in early stages. Our success will not happen overnight—Governor Cox and key health care stakeholders have prudently established a 15-year plan for Utah’s health transformation.”
SOR: How will the One Utah Health Collaborative address the rising costs of health care? What insights has the organization’s analysis revealed?
JW: “The problems facing health care in our state and our nation are so large, and so imperative to our economic future, that if we do not solve them here in Utah, they will not be solved for us. Utah is well known for a capacity of innovation and collaboration that is unrivaled. We plan to lead the way and believe that innovation by the brilliant players in our state is the solution. The Collaborative is not the administrator of innovations; however, we will facilitate scaling worthy projects to achieve broader reach and cost savings.
Collaborative members are already participating in pilot or otherwise smaller-scale projects surrounding interoperability, not only to achieve apparent benefits to patient care, but also to reduce redundancy and repeat testing to increase affordability. Other organizations are addressing rising costs by piloting programs to deliver home-based care and care [that is] accessible to rural Utahns.”
SOR: How will Utah’s value-based care innovation impact health equity and outcomes?
JW: “This is an important question and at the heart of our cause. The Collaborative exists, in part, to care for our state’s most vulnerable populations—and needs which have never been adequately addressed. COVID-19, researchers, and stakeholder conversations have identified barriers to innovation that are limiting our ability to promote equity in health—including lack of interoperability, siloed reform efforts, increased administrative costs, and rigidity of payment structures.
The Collaborative’s patient-centric culture will serve as the guide and focal point for innovation. Stakeholders are already experiencing momentum with several innovation projects which are improving patient outcomes, including employer efforts surrounding social determinants of health, and aligning behavioral and physical health services.”
SOR: What will be keys to success for the collaborative and how will those metrics of success be measured?
JW: “Governor Cox convened brilliant minds, representing all health sectors, to establish a truly community-owned nonprofit. Participants in this effort are driven by a genuine concern for health equity and addressing rising costs. Dedicated expert volunteers on organizing committees have worked tirelessly to produce a roadmap to navigate how the Collaborative will function and thrive. These stakeholders and everyday Utahns will serve as the stewards of our community-owned goals, metrics, priorities, and shared objectives. The structure is in place to succeed.
Building trust is also critical to our success. We need all stakeholders—whether payer, provider, employer, supplier, or government—to establish and strengthen trust in this value alliance. The industry feels a common pain with skyrocketing health care costs and inequity, which motivates industry leaders to take ownership and become part of the solution.
The Collaborative was energized by a recent signing event at the Utah State Capitol where participants pledged their commitment to achieve our vision of system-wide change and claimed a shared stewardship over the success of the Collaborative. Establishing trust from the onset is key to moving forward.”
This interview was edited for clarity and length.