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Dr Sandra Stein: Banner Health Plans Prioritizes High-Quality Care, Member Experience


Sandra Stein, MD, of Banner Health Plans, details how she provides clinical and medical leadership in her role as chief medical officer.

Sandra Stein, MD, of Banner Health Plans, summarized her responsibilities as chief medical officer. She explained that, within her role, she focuses on member experience and providing high-quality care while taking into account behavioral health, social determinants of health, physical health, and health equity.

Stein was a part of the panel discussion at The American Journal of Managed Care®’s Institute for Value-Based Medicine® (IVBM) event held in partnership with Banner|Aetna on December 12, 2023. The discussion centered around a commentary published in JAMA Network titled "Health Systems and Social Services—A Bridge Too Far?" which stated that health systems should not invest in social determinants of health.


Could you please explain your responsibilities in your role of chief medical officer for Banner Health Plans?

We [Banner Health Plans] see ourselves as a community leader as a safety net health system. As my role, I provide clinical and medical leadership and, really, a multi-pronged, very broad strategy. As we're very focused in the community, we look at making sure we provide integrated and innovative care. Our integrated lens is very broad; we think about behavioral health, physical health, social determinants of health, and health equity that are absolutely critical.

My key areas end up looking at the utilization management of care, which really looks at, basically, the right services, at the right place, at the right time for our members or patients. Also, the highest quality of care, so we're ensuring that our members are getting evidence-based services and that they have quick access to those services because, certainly, there are issues with the capacity within the system.

We want to make sure member experience is as easy as possible. We all know that health care can be hard, and our mission is making health care easier so life can be better. That's one of my key focuses, and we certainly want to make sure that our providers are doing just that, focused on providing care and reducing that burden associated with provision of care.

In addition to that, we really want to focus on keeping our members as well as possible. How do we provide education? How do we support nutrition? How do we support relaxation? Exercise, innovation, technology, are absolutely critical. We learned about that during COVID; health care will never be the same, really leveraging traditional services with technology and other forms of innovative in-home care.

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