ROI Influencers: Health Care 2021 — Sector Stars, K to Z

Allen Karp
EVP, health care and transformation
Horizon BCBSNJ

The resume says he leads Horizon’s health care value strategy and clinical and network operations — as well as the pharmacy, behavioral health and health care analytics organizations. But it’s more than that. With more than three decades of experience in leading health care delivery and service organizations, he is a go-to person at the organization at every level. His innovative approaches have helped the organization move away from fee-for-service to a value-based model that rewards doctors and hospitals for quality, cost-effective care and enhanced member experience.

Scott Kobler
McCarter & English

One of the most quietly powerful health care lawyers in the state, Kobler has his ears to the ground on the goings-on of the industry. Widely respected for his knowledge of the industry as much as for his legal skills, Kobler always is on the short list of lawyers to consult, whether to bounce around ideas, consult on an idea or broker a deal. Kobler is a treasure trove of insight and information. But you wouldn’t know it by his reserved nature.

Suzanne Kunis
VP, behavioral health solutions
Horizon BCBSNJ

She brings more than 30 years of experience in the health care industry with a significant focus on behavioral health. A registered nurse, she joined Horizon in 2017 to lead the development of the long-term strategy for integrating medical and behavioral health services. She is responsible for the development of new behavioral health capabilities, programs and services, including issues around the opioid crisis and, now, all of the issues stemming from the pandemic, including waves of people newly diagnosed with anxiety or depression, including first responders and frontline medical workers.

Jeff LeBenger
Executive chairman
Summit Health/CityMD

LeBenger stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the company he helped build into a regional health care powerhouse earlier this month. He will now concentrate his efforts on long-term strategy — a strategy that does not include his retirement. “To put it blunt and frank: I am not retiring. I’m moving away from the day-to-day operations, but I am going to continue to develop our clinical model and our growth through mergers and acquisitions, as well as organic growth within the organization.”

Kevin Lenahan
Chief business and strategy officer
Atlantic Health System

Lenahan, who assumed the role of chief financial officer in 2010, has been at Atlantic Health in numerous capacities since 1995. In his current role as the chief business and strategy officer, he is operationally responsible for strategic growth, partnerships and government affairs, along with oversight for finance, facilities and strategic sourcing, business intelligence and insurance.

Don Liss
Chief medical officer
Horizon BCBSNJ

Using a mandate of “Do what’s best for our members and providers,” Liss led an internal team of senior officials tasked with one goal: Ensure members’ medical needs came before financial concerns. He has been one of the pillars of Horizon’s efforts during the pandemic — and someone the state’s largest insurer will look to as it continues to move to a value-based model using some of the new-age techniques the company has learned during the pandemic.

Paul Marden

The CEO since 2015, Marden recently added the Pennsylvania and Delaware markets to his watch. Marden will be tasked with overseeing UnitedHealthcare’s reputation in the community, as well as his team’s relationships with customers, brokers, regulatory and legislative bodies, by developing and executing initiatives that drive health care value and efficiency.

Mike Munoz
Market president
AmeriHealth New Jersey

Munoz, who assumed the role in 2017, has overall responsibility for profit-and-loss management and business operations for the statewide health plan. He previously led the company’s sales and marketing organization for more than a decade, leading new business sales and retention across all market segments in addition to product management, marketing and public relations. 

Various companies

Glebar Cos. increased production of syringes. Kuehne Co. upped its output of bleach. Zago Manufacturing made more of the fasteners that were needed to help ventilators run. And Super Stud Building Products produced more of its diverse offerings of cold-formed steel framing stud, track and joist components to help health care systems build sealed rooms. The initial scares of the pandemic may be over, but the need of the state’s manufacturers to help the sector has never been greater.

Ronald Nahass
ID Care

He heads the largest physician group for infectious disease specialists in the state — one that started in 1997 (with just six doctors) and became an overnight sensation when the pandemic struck. ID Care has more than 40 physicians and 10 offices — although it practices at more than 130 locations around the state if you count hospitals, long-term care facilities and any other type of health care establishments.

John Oyler
Co-founder, chairman, CEO

In a huge announcement that seemingly got lost in the summer, BeiGene — a global biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing innovative cancer medicines — announced it plans to build a new campus for research & development and manufacturing on a 42-acre site at the Princeton West Innovation Campus in Hopewell.

Dean Paranicas
HealthCare Institute of N.J.

One of the top thought leaders in the state, Paranicas has been in charge of HINJ for 10 years — joining the organization after a storied career at BD. The role of HINJ, the trade association for the leading research-based biopharmaceutical and medical technology companies throughout New Jersey, only figures to grow along with the state’s rise in research.

Annette Reboli
Cooper Medical School of Rowan University

Reboli, who still serves as a professor, is the chief academic officer with ultimate responsibility for all areas of the school. She previously was founding vice dean at the school, responsible for oversight of the accreditation process, undergraduate and graduate medical education, faculty affairs and faculty development and developing affiliations for the medical school.

Ward Sanders
N.J. Association of Health Plans

As the country scrutinizes health care costs, whether it be drugs or insurance, the calm and cautious Sanders always strikes the right tone. It’s why everyone — yes, everyone — respects him on health care policy in the state. Beyond his booming voice and tall stature, his knowledge commands the attention of legislators and industry insiders alike.

Linda Schwimmer
N.J. Health Care Quality Institute

Schwimmer’s measured approach and strategies have helped the HCQI maintain an edge in the policy space. Rather than wait for laws to be enacted, the HCQI works to prove strategies, programs and methods work. That includes one of the hyperlocal strategies of engaging mayors in the health care of local communities. She also has the ear of some key politicians in the state who frequently introduce health care legislation.

Bonita Stanton
Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine

The founding dean of HMH’s medical school and the president of academic enterprise, Stanton has helped put the institution on the map from the beginning. Unique elements of the program shaped by Stanton include a three-year core curriculum with the ability to graduate and enter residency after three years; an individualized fourth-year curriculum; and, through the strength of the network and partners, maximized collaboration and optimized innovation. 

Christine Stearns
Director, Government Affairs Dept., and administrative director of Trenton office
Gibbons P.C.

Stearns doesn’t miss a beat on health care goings on in the state. Whether it’s policy, budget or industry trends, insiders regularly cite Stearns or seek her counsel. She also has a reputation as a powerhouse among female leaders in the state, regularly on panels for both women’s events and health. That dual role keeps her busy, but she manages to stay tuned. Her objective analysis on Trenton happenings is a rare find in today’s political bubbles.

Brian Sweeney
Jefferson Health – New Jersey

Sweeney is overseeing Jefferson Health’s commitment to care in New Jersey, which is best exemplified by the recent announcement of the $184 million Silvestri Tower, a seven-story, 240,000-square-foot expansion that will add 90 private rooms to the facility — including 30 in a new Intensive Care Unit. The announcement is part of Phase 1 of the hospital’s expansion, one geared toward giving South Jerseyans another in-state option for quality care.

Vijay Venkatesan
Chief analytics officer
Horizon BCBSNJ

Big Data is changing health care, and Venkatesan is leading Horizon’s push to bring disparate sources of data together and use it to drive improvements in clinical outcomes that can lower the overall cost of care. He focuses on integrating and enriching data from multiple sources, deploying predictive analytics that rely on artificial intelligence to anticipate the future, integrating with clinical partners to develop clinical interventions and solutions, and aligning Horizon’s product strategy with all those business solutions.

Read the entire list: