Modern Healthcare Aug. 18 announced its 17th annual “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” list with a group of four Indian Americans among the honorees.

The list is topped by U.S. President Donald Trump, with the publication saying of the most influential person in healthcare in 2018, “Politics aside, President Donald Trump's broad impact on the entire industry earned the top spot on 2018's Most Influential Person in Healthcare ranking.”

Modern Healthcare added that, even though the Affordable Care Act repeal failed, Trump has used his “bully pulpit and executive power to dramatically reshape the landscape.”

The publication added that it also wanted to spotlight how the industry is disrupting itself and thus the sizable tie for its No. 2 position.

There was a 12-person tie for second. Among the individuals in a dead heat for second were Aetna’s Mark Bertolini, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Humana’s Bruce Broussard, Apple’s Tim Cook, Dr. David Feinberg of Geisinger Health, Intermountain Healthcare’s Dr. Marc Harrison, Providence St. Joseph Health’s Dr. Rod Hochman, Dr. Stephen Klasko of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, Larry Merlo of CVS Health, Larry Renfro of UnitedHealth Group and Optum Ventures, Ascension’s Anthony Tersigni and Kaiser Permanente’s Bernard Tyson.

“These executives—some of whom have disrupted other industries—aren't standing pat and letting change come to them, rather they are forcing the industry to take a long hard look in the mirror,” the publication said.

Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Dr. Sachin Jain, president and CEO of CareMore Health; Dr. Atul Gawande, CEO of a still unnamed health venture led by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase; and Dr. Tejal Gandhi, the chief clinical and safety officer at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, were among the Indian Americans on the list.

Verma was the highest on the list, coming in at No. 18. One of Verma’s biggest priorities has been to grant states more flexibility in how they govern Medicaid, the publication said.

Earlier this year, the CMS issued a guidance for how states could apply for waivers and institute work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries, it said.

The CMS also has approved waivers giving states more flexibility to create individual market reinsurance funds, it added.

Also, Modern Healthcare said, under Verma’s watch, the agency has curtailed the number of physicians required to participate in the MIPS program and moved toward voluntary rather than mandatory involvement in bundled-payment experiments.

Jain was next in line at No. 36 on the list. Since joining CareMore Health in 2015 – and becoming CEO in 2016 – Jain has expanded the integrated delivery system's reach and scope.

Over the past year, the California-based Anthem subsidiary grew its footprint from six to eight states, the publication said.

Importantly, the healthcare publication said Jain oversaw the launch of a new CareMore at Home model, which targets patients unable to leave their homes for care. Jain also pushed CareMore to better integrate behavioral and physical health and standardize care where appropriate.

At No. 37, just behind Jain, was Gawande. A prolific writer and speaker on patient safety, quality and cost, Gawande was thrust into an even brighter spotlight earlier this year when he agreed to lead a yet-unnamed healthcare company being formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, Modern Healthcare said.

Although details have yet to emerge about the company’s plans, at the time of his hiring Gawande said he is focused on bringing scalable solutions to the industry, it said.

Gandhi, who comes in at No. 80 on the list, leads patient safety efforts for the IHI, which merged with the National Patient Safety Foundation in 2017.

She continues to serve as president of the Lucian Leape Institute, a think tank that operates under the IHI patient-safety umbrella, it said.

Earlier this year, Gandhi oversaw creation of a nationwide committee on patient safety. The IHI convened 23 organizations including the CMS, the Food and Drug Administration and the Joint Commission to collaborate on a national strategy to reduce patient harm. Gandhi will co-chair the effort.

The 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare awards and recognition program honors individuals in healthcare who are deemed by their peers and the senior editors of Modern Healthcare to be the most influential individuals in the industry, in terms of leadership and impact. The program allows for readers to vote for their top choices and selected honorees will be published in Modern Healthcare's annual ranking.

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