New Amazon-led health care company names surgeon Atul Gawande as CEO

Dr. Atul Gawande has been named CEO of the new healthcare company founded by Berkshire Hathaway Amazon and JP

Gawande was announced Wednesday to head the new venture after being picked by Buffett, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon. Candidates later were asked to deliver a white paper on how they would create a model for the way employers buy health benefits, what team the CEO would need to execute that strategy and how the new enterprise would use data analytics, the people said. Gawande "had an article last summer that was absolutely magnificent", Buffett told CNBC on March 1, 2010, according to a transcript of the appearance.

Amazon, JPMorgan and Berkshire said in late January that the initial focus of their new company will be on technology that provides simplified, high-quality and transparent care "at a reasonable cost".

The company will be headquartered in Boston and will operate as an independent entity free of profit-making incentives and constraints, officials said. The piece focused on McAllen, Texas, and why the Medicare program spent $15,000 a year on the town's older patients, thousands of dollars more than in other areas. That included too many tests, too many surgeries and too many visits with providers.

Warren Buffet, CEO and Chairman - Berkshire Hathaway - is confident that Gawande will be successful in curtailing the rising medical costs and providing better care to people.

"You have these enormous variances around the country". Munger was so impressed that he sent $20,000 to Gawande, who promptly donated the money to charity. Many other innovators have sought to find solutions to health care costs in the past but have run head-on into the complexity of the system.

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"He is the type of thoughtful and inspirational leader they need to attract great talent", Neupert said.

Fed up with the status quo, some major firms like Walmart Inc. have separately experimented with bypassing insurers entirely, instead buying health care for their workers directly from doctors and hospitals. Investors in drug-supply chain companies had expressed concern that the industry giants would disrupt the pharmaceutical industry.

The Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture could put pressure on those middlemen.

"For all that we spend, the serious problem is waste", Gawande said at West Health's Healthcare Costs Innovation Summit in February.

Neither companies nor many of their employees are happy with how the system now works.


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