Innovation & Insights

Providence Health Plan's Don Antonucci on his role in advancing health equity in Portland and beyond

30 April 2024

Don Antonucci, CEO of Providence Health Plan (PHP), recently spoke with Candace Beeke, President and publisher of the Portland Business Journal, about the role of health insurers in advancing health equity in the communities they serve.

As a Portland Business Journal Executive of the Year honoree, Don shared the steps PHP has taken to drive this cause in Portland and beyond. Read some key takeaways from the interview below:

The role of health insurers to advance health 

"I'm coming up on 30 years of experience in healthcare; I've had a lot of conversations about affordable, quality, accessible healthcare. And underpinning that is ensuring that we can get to a place where health care is equitable, where there is health equity."

Don pointed out that he believes it is the responsibility of health insurers and plans like Providence Health Plan to ensure that barriers are broken down and that healthcare navigation is as easy as possible. Social determinants of health are often the obstacles between a person receiving good health care or not receiving health care at all, making it more important than ever to make care accessible and simple.

A shared philosophy of growth

"Providence and Providence Health Plan share a promise to know, care for, and ease the way of our members, our patients, and our providers. This promise is not only the cornerstone of our work, but it's where we begin."

The health plan's promise shows up not just in the care that patients and members receive but also in their interactions on the phone, in person, and as they navigate their health journey.

When considering growth, PHP has expanded to places like Washington State and Orange County, California, to develop further the successful work being done by the plan in Medicare Advantage (MA). By creating and strengthening the delivery of MA in Oregon, there have been emerging opportunities to expand that success to other markets.

Setting the plan apart from other payers

"The key thing that sets us apart and why I joined Providence Health Plan is that it's a mission-driven organization. I did not know until I got here two and a half years ago just how deeply ingrained the mission is in the fabric of this organization. That is the reason people are here."     

While PHP uses network partners outside of Providence, the connection with Providence provides a unique perspective of providers' activities, strategies, and experiences. Provider burnout is a national issue, and being able to communicate and combine a health plan with a delivery system gives PHP a different vantage point.

You can watch the full interview on the Portland Business Journal's website:

Learn more about Don and his philosophy on leadership:

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The common language of value-based care: Why payer-provider partnership matters
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