Ep 201 – Value-Based Change Management: Navigating the Human Side of Healthcare Economics, with Philip Eaves, MBA

In this episode of the Race to Value podcast, we are sharing inspiration for a more optimistic future in the value transformation of our country. This week’s interview brings a message of hope, compassion, and human connection balanced with the business success of value-based care within a national leading health system.

Albert Einstein once said that “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile” and no one better captures that spirit of servant leadership than our guest this week. Philip Eaves is the President and CEO of Ascension Seton ACO | Ascension Seton Health Alliance and the Vice President of Population Health at Ascension Texas, and he is a leader in the value movement that you should know about. In this interview we focus on change management, leadership, and the human side of healthcare economics. Overseeing the value-based care strategy and operations for one of the largest clinically integrated networks in Texas, Philip is leading the ACO to outstanding success…and transforming the lives of people along the way.


01:30    The human side of healthcare economics – compassion is the currency; empathy is the language.

02:00    Introduction to Philip Eaves, President and CEO, Ascension Seton ACO and VP of Population Health, Ascension Texas

02:30    Ascension Seton ACO is the largest clinically integrated network in Texas with 3,600 providers with 300K value-based lives.

04:45    “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile” — Albert Einstein

05:30    Philip shares how a humble, faith-based upbringing fueled his ambition, work ethic, and compassion as a healthcare leader.

07:30    “Healthcare is about serving others.”

08:30    Occupational medicine as a stepping stone to value-based care.

09:45    Team-based care that enables providers so they can build meaningful patient relationships.

11:00    $24M in MSSP Shared Savings for 23,000 Medicare beneficiaries to achieve a top 7% performance ranking of all ACOs in the country (#32 out of #482).

12:45    Valuable partnerships with independent practices (e.g. Austin Regional Clinic, Capital Medical Clinic).

13:00    “Physician engagement is the overall key to ACO success.”

14:00    The impact of Annual Wellness Visits (AWVs) in practice transformation.

15:00    HCC recapture for documentation accuracy as an area of educational focus.

15:45    Centralized versus Embedded Care Management.

16:30    Analytical insights to drive high risk CM interventions.

17:15    Quality campaigns to close care gaps and improve population health outcomes.

18:00    Refining a Post-Acute Care network for optimal transitional care.

18:30    An after hours program as an effective ED diversion strategy.

20:00    Change management to improve team culture and reinvent the business model for VBC.

22:00    Phillip shares his experience leading an inflection point for the ACO business.

23:30    Applying the principles of the Kübler Ross Change Curve in organizational change.

24:30    Inspiration from John Kotter (“Leading Change”) – Leadership versus Management.

25:00    Recognizing the need for change in shifting a new strategic direction.

26:00    Communicating the vision and creating short-term wins.

26:45    New initiatives: a new ACO for early adopters, Medicare Advantage risk, and Direct-to-Employer partnerships.

28:00    Financial toxicity as a driver of Direct Contracting between employers and providers in value-based care.

30:00    Employer frustration with rising medical spend and the lack of solutions from their brokers.

30:45    Designing an ACO value proposition based on employer pain points.

31:00    Leveraging network adequacy and CIN care infrastructure for commercially insured populations.

32:45    PBM transparency to reduce extreme spending on pharmacy drugs.

34:00    Forging a new partnership with Signify/CVS to support practice transformation.

37:00    Accessing capital within a landscape where there is mass provider consolidation.

39:00    Financial distress in both the hospital and independent PCP sectors.

40:30    Determining cultural fit with potential partners to support capital needs.

43:00    Understanding the business model and risk track record of potential partners.

44:00    More information on the Signify/CVS partnership with Ascension Seton.

45:45    “Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy

46:45    Parting thoughts on effective change management strategy and why we need to prioritize people in VBC business decisions.

48:45    Hope for the future. 😊

49:00    “The patient-provider-care team relationship is where the life change really occurs.”