Amazon, Berkshire and JPMorgan Pick CEO for New Health-Care Company

Dr. Atul Gawande									Aram Boghosian for STAT

Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have appointed surgeon Atul Gawande as chief executive of their newly formed partnership to address US employee health-care.

Gawande is surgeon and professor at both Harvard's Medical School and its T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The new company will be based in Boston and, the companies said, will "operate as an independent entity that is free from profit-making incentives and constraints".

The company, created by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Jamie Dimon and Berkshire Hathaway billionaire Warren Buffett, will focus on employee health care. But he said he will transition from being executive director to chairman of Ariadne Labs, which works on solving problems in health systems around the world.

In his 2014 book "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End", Gawande argued against prolonging a poor quality of life for the elderly and terminally ill, saying healthcare institutions often deprive people of independence and quality of life in their latter years.

"All felt that better care can be delivered and that rising costs can be checked".

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Health care researchers say this alliance may shake up how Americans shop for care. Since Buffett began his career as an investor, USA spending on health care has risen from around 4% of GDP to around 18%. "And it takes somebody that has a fervor for doing this beyond just having a job".

But in his note to friends, Gawande said that "this new health care organization represents one of the most promising opportunities to accelerate improvement of USA health care delivery".

"I have devoted my public health career to building scalable solutions for better healthcare delivery that are saving lives, reducing suffering, and eliminating wasteful spending both in the United States and across the world", Gawande said in a statement put out by the companies. "The work will be hard and take time, but it must be done".

Gawande has been on the radar of Buffett and the leadership at Berkshire Hathaway for some time. He is also well known for his books and writing in the New Yorker about the USA health-care system.

Gawande will continue to perform general and endocrine surgery during his tenure as CEO.



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