Premera Blue Cross Adds New VPs

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MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WA – In Premera Blue Cross’ continuing efforts to provide strategic direction to employers and advance groundbreaking work with healthcare providers, the company today announced that Bill Akers has been named the Vice President and General Manager of Premera’s Washington Group Market and Beth Johnson has been recruited to replace Akers as the Vice President of Premera’s Health Care Delivery Systems.

In his new role, Akers will lead the strategic direction of Premera’s employer business in Washington state. He will focus his efforts on managing Premera’s group business, specifically looking to attract and retain Washington employers with 2 – 4999 employees.

“Bill is committed to making sure employers’ interests are heard and represented in the market,” said Jim Messina, Premera’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Executive. “A key focus area will be to deliver products and services that appeal to employers as the healthcare industry and the needs of our customers continue to evolve.” Messina added that “Bill’s knowledge and expertise of the providers we partner with will be invaluable in his new role.”

Akers joined Premera in 2004 and served as the Vice President of Premera’s Health Care Delivery Systems since 2005. In 2007 he also took over as the General Manager of Premera’s Spokane office, and remains the General Manager of that office in his new role.

Over the last decade, Akers has been instrumental in developing strategic relationships with major hospitals, doctors and clinics across Washington, Alaska and Oregon. He also took the lead on rolling out Premera’s successful Global Outcomes Contracting model, which rewards healthcare providers for cost-effective, evidence-based care. Global Outcomes Contracting has saved $10.8 million over the last three years and continues to provide higher quality and better outcomes to Premera customers, according to their 2013 Annual Report

Johnson will replace Akers as Vice President of Premera’s Health Care Delivery Systems and will be responsible for managing Premera’s and its affiliates’ provider networks in Washington, Alaska and Oregon. She will also be responsible for the continued evolution of Premera’s value based payment and delivery system reform efforts.

“We are fortunate to have Beth join the Premera team,” said Rich Maturi, senior vice president of Premera’s Health Care Delivery Systems. “Her extensive experience working in health care organizations and health plans in the Pacific Northwest will be extremely valuable in our efforts to provide our customers with access to high quality, affordable health care options.”

Johnson spent the last six years at Regence Blue Shield, serving as Vice President of Network Management and Contract Strategy. Prior to Regence, she worked for 10 years at First Choice Health, most recently as Vice President of Network Management. Johnson received her master’s degree in Health Administration from the University of South Carolina and most recently served as a board member with the March of Dimes, the Cambia Foundation and the Washington Health Alliance.

About Premera Blue Cross
Premera Blue Cross is a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, providing comprehensive health benefits and tailored services to more than 1.6 million people, from individuals to Fortune 100 companies. Premera is committed to providing its members peace of mind about their healthcare. The company offers innovative health and wellness solutions focused on quality outcomes for patients and controlling costs. Premera Blue Cross, which has operated in Washington since 1933, is a not-for-profit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Premera Blue Cross is a member of a family of companies based in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., providing health, life, vision, dental, stop-loss, disability, workforce wellness and other related products and services. The family of companies employs over 3,600 people and provides healthcare coverage and related services to nearly 1.9 million members.