Episode 75:
On-Demand, Front Door Healthcare
Todd Latz, CEO, GoHealth
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In this episode of Fireside Chat, we sit down with Todd Latz, CEO, GoHealth, to talk about the opportunity for improving quality and performance in sharing best practices across GoHealth national leading health system partners. We also discussed the necessary principles underlying what makes a partnership work well and how the system has responded to the COVID crisis.

Todd Latz is the CEO of GoHealth Urgent Care, one of the nation’s fastest-growing and largest urgent care companies, with approximately 160 locations. GoHealth has created a unique partnership model with leading health systems, such as Northwell Health in New York, Dignity Health in California, Mercy in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas, Hartford HealthCare in Connecticut, Novant Health in North Carolina, Legacy Health in Oregon and Washington and most recently ChristianaCare in Delaware. GoHealth develops, manages and leads joint ventured urgent care centers that deliver unparalleled experiences through an innovative and effortless customer journey that is seamlessly integrated into the broader continuum of care. Read more

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Todd Latz 0:03
Scale is absolutely about best practice sharing. We have this amazing benefit thanks to our partners, of seeing multiple different geographies and to go try things in different areas of the country and, as you know, healthcare is pretty local at times, Gary, and so we’re able to pilot different opportunities.

Gary Bisbee 0:25
That was Todd Latz, CEO, GoHealth commenting on the opportunity for improving quality and performance by sharing best practices across GoHealth’s leading health system partners. I’m Gary Bisbee and this is Fireside Chat. Todd followed his year as a Fulbright fellow with law school and a budding career as a transactional attorney before being attracted to a position as general counsel and ultimately CEO of MedQuest. He then assumed the position as GoHealth’s CEO and solidified his career in healthcare. Todd described GoHealth’s partnership strategy with leading health systems and the necessary principles underlying what makes a partnership work well. Todd reviewed the importance of GoHealth’s health system partners providing the medical staff for on-demand clinics. Let’s listen.

Todd Latz 1:13
The clinicians that operate within our joint-ventured centers are actually, in nearly every circumstance, members of our health system’s medical group. So we really rely on our leading health system partners for all of that clinical expertise and the long-established reputations they have for high-quality care.

Gary Bisbee 1:37
As a partner with 7 health systems from coast to coast, Todd has an excellent vantage point to see firsthand the effect that COVID is having on health system priorities, which he discussed in depth. Todd responded to the question of whether he viewed himself as an entrepreneur or an operator as follows.

Todd Latz 1:54
I came to it very, very early on and it was incredibly entrepreneurial. The path forward was not always clear, it was pretty unproven. And so I loved the entrepreneurial spirit of the team and that pursuit. So I certainly would consider myself, and it resonates with me, to be in an entrepreneurial, agile, nimble environment that moves at warp speed. But with that said, I also love the operations. And while that entrepreneurial angle can be really invigorating, as you well know, it doesn’t last for very long if you can’t operate.

Gary Bisbee 2:28
I’m delighted to welcome Todd Latz to the microphone. Well, good afternoon, Todd, and welcome.

Todd Latz 2:37
It’s great to be with you, Gary. Thanks for having me.

Gary Bisbee 2:39
Well, we’re pleased to have you at the microphone. It’s always interesting to dig into a CEO’s background and, in a manner of speaking, find out what makes them tick. You graduated from Duke. Are you from the south to begin with Todd?

Todd Latz 2:53
I’m actually not, Gary. I can’t claim the South. I grew up in the Midwest and spent most of my formative years in St. Louis.

Gary Bisbee 3:00
Duke was good for you. I know your wife went to Duke, right? So it must have been pretty good for you.

Todd Latz 3:05
It’s certainly a special place for us. We met there and it was just an incredible, incredible journey. And we really enjoyed our time there.

Gary Bisbee 3:12
So you majored in economics and history. What was your thoughts about post-Duke with those majors?

Todd Latz 3:18
I knew that I wanted to go to law school, Gary, but I wasn’t sure that I was ever going to practice. I was just interested in maybe the intellectual pursuit of it. So I knew I wanted to take a year off before I went to law school. I knew I was going to law school and then pretty unclear after that.

Gary Bisbee 3:35
You won a Fulbright scholarship, which is pretty awesome. How did that work out?

Todd Latz 3:40
That was really fabulous. So you’re exactly right. I had a Fulbright to study East German privatization, so lived actually in Germany and East Germany and studied that process and then got to participate in it while I lived over there for a year.

Gary Bisbee 3:56
Looking backward on it, what was the ultimate value of the Fulbright scholarship do you think?

Todd Latz 4:01
If you go back to really the tenets of why it existed, one of the unique things about the Fulbright is it’s not specific to Germany. And it’s really designed to create cultural understanding and experience. So there are Fulbrighters that come from foreign countries into the US, and obviously, like me, those who go elsewhere. And for me, it was an opportunity to be in a country that was really in transition, again, with that focus on privatization and to see how a different country handles what was a very unique situation. And so the experience I got, the people that I met, and frankly having the ability, I’ve lived outside the country a couple of times, the ability to look back at the United States and see it from another country’s perspective is a really unique one and something that certainly I would encourage everyone who could do it to do it.

Gary Bisbee 4:49
That sounds like a really terrific opportunity. And not to make light of applying to law school, but it probably gave you a great topic to write up in your UVA application, huh?

Todd Latz 5:01
That’s exactly right.

Gary Bisbee 5:02
How did you find UVA? A Midwesterner who went south to college and then went back to the south for law school?

Todd Latz 5:09
Yeah, I loved it. UVA was an amazing place to go to law school. Charlottesville, if you’ve spent any time there, is a pretty incredible place just from the scenic standpoint and a great place to go to law school and to study, and I really, from my Duke days, I really loved the Southeast. I live in Atlanta and call it Atlanta home and have for two decades now. So Duke sent me on that path and UVA kept me in this geography and I haven’t regretted it.

Gary Bisbee 5:35
My daughter went to Darden, so I did get down there for a couple of years, and boy we loved Charlottesville. However, driving from DC to Charlottesville, seemed like every time I drove down there, I got a speeding ticket. So I wasn’t too fond about that.

Todd Latz 5:50
That sounds about right.

Gary Bisbee 5:52
After five years of a law firm off to an executive role with MedQuest. What was the draw to leave practice, Todd, and get into an operating entrepreneurial role?

Todd Latz 6:05
I think you just hit it. And the question is, I had mentioned earlier, I wasn’t sure that I ever wanted to practice law. But as I was doing that, I was at King & Spalding here in Atlanta, and I did love it. I really enjoyed what I was doing – a lot of M&A and securities work and general corporate counseling. But what was really attractive to me about the MedQuest opportunity is, it was leaving to be a general counsel and getting that role at a relatively young age. But the thing I think that really tipped it over for me was they said, “If you can come out and help on the legal front, you can always backfill your legal position, and you could do something more operational within the business.” And that was a really unique opportunity from my perspective, at the time. And one of the things that I had done in my practice, which was transactional, is you would swoop into a company at a critically important point in time, you’d really learn the business and I loved getting into the operations and understanding the business, but then you’d parachute right back out and you never really lived with the consequences of your decisions. And so ultimately, for me, leaving the practice and going into a business was about wanting to deal with those consequences, right, of your decisions, whether they’re good, bad or otherwise. And to really get into building something versus parachuting in as you do as a professional services context. You’re there for a really important period of time, but then you come out and go do it with someone else. And I was looking for something that was a little stickier and that could build something and watch it grow.

Gary Bisbee 7:34
What about healthcare? When did you become interested in healthcare? Or was that incidental to just moving into an operating role?

Todd Latz 7:42
I would certainly say somewhat incidental. I had done a handful of healthcare transactions when I practiced law, but I had not set out to say I want to go into healthcare. Specifically, it was one of the things I really liked about the MedQuest opportunity, so I was excited about that. But if I’m perfectly honest about it, I think I really backed into healthcare and it’s an area that I don’t envision myself leaving anytime soon. I’ve really come to love it. And there’s so many different aspects of it that make it dynamic going forward. And so there’s a lot to do for all of us in healthcare.

Gary Bisbee 8:18
When you think about being dynamic, what’s actually the most rewarding about being in healthcare?

Todd Latz 8:24
I think that clearly, Gary, for me, and I think this is true of our whole team, what’s most rewarding is the mission – how passionate healthcare people are, how much compassion there is. And I think about it this way when you’re a leader in any organization, you think about how do you invigorate your team? How do you align your team around the true mission, and frankly, I find that to be pretty easy to do in health care because people are so passionate, all of us are about what we’re trying to do. It’s harder to get everyone to wake up in the morning if the goal is to make and sell some more widgets. But when you have the ability 1,000s and 1,000s of times each and every day to truly make a difference and when you’re in this constant pursuit or evolution of trying to make healthcare better, that’s something that’s easy to get behind in the beginning. And it’s something that’s, I find, to be really easy to stay passionate about. And the team orientation of healthcare, I think is also really unique.

Gary Bisbee 9:27
One more personal question, then we’ll be on to GoHealth. Do you view yourself as an entrepreneur or an operator?

Todd Latz 9:35
I’m going to hedge my answer on this one, Gary, I think with one caveat that my wife is the true entrepreneur in the family. She started her own business from scratch. And I was not the founder of GoHealth, but I came to it very, very early on. And it was incredibly entrepreneurial. The path forward was not always clear. It was pretty unproven. And so I loved the entrepreneurial spirit of the team and that pursuit, so I certainly would consider myself and it resonates with me to be in an entrepreneurial, agile, nimble environment that moves at warp speed. But with that said, I also love the operations. And while that entrepreneurial angle can be really invigorating, as you well know, it doesn’t last for very long if you can’t operate and you can’t execute. And I have a true fondness and respect for operators. And certainly growing up as a transactional attorney, I take it as a compliment anytime someone refers to me as an operator.

Gary Bisbee 10:33
Speaking about GoHealth, and some of us are more familiar with GoHealth than others, could you please introduce us to GoHealth and describe GoHealth for us, Todd?

Todd Latz 10:42
Absolutely. I would describe GoHealth as a purpose-built, consumer-focused, on-demand care business with a unique and differentiated partnership model. What I mean by that is, every one of our nearly now 160 centers from coast to coast and 10 states is in a deeply integrated true joint venture partnership today, all of them with leading, progressive health systems. The business is certainly very technology forward. It’s an omnichannel business. And what I mean by that today, Gary, is that we are fully integrated both in center, brick and mortar experiences, we also have a robust virtual platform that we had well before the onset of COVID. And the other key component of the GoHealth business today, and when I think about that term on-demand, that the breadth of it is we have always had a direct-to-employer component to the business that is probably one of our fastest-growing aspects to it today. So to try to wrap all of that I would say, we are literally the front door and this is the literal and digital front door to the healthcare ecosystem.

Gary Bisbee 11:50
Urgent Care is in the name. I don’t know that urgent care is a term that everybody would define similarly or it even totally characterizes what GoHealth is doing now. But could you just define urgent care for us, Todd?

Todd Latz 12:06
Historically, Gary, urgent care has been episodic illness and injury. Our model is a little bit different because of the deep partnership with leading health systems. We can go further and wider than most do in urgent care, but you think of it is episodic illness and injury everything up to, but not including life threat.

Gary Bisbee 12:28
What was the logic when you first became involved in GoHealth, you were indicated that it was already an existing company, although you’ve grown it substantially over time. But what was your thinking back then, Todd, at the time about the attractiveness of that type of business?

Todd Latz 12:45
I think really two main points there, Gary. The first was, I always liked it. It resonated meaningfully with me, this notion of being at the tip of the spear or that intersection of consumerism, retail, and healthcare. There are many aspects, and this was true of my imaging business before GoHealth, where you had some other form of gatekeeper or you had a pre-authorization component, the patients weren’t self-actuating in so many others. Ambulatory surgery is another example. I loved the notion of this on-demand care of business where you could meet the consumer where they are and where they want to be. So the focus on the consumer piece was extremely important to me and to us in the model, originally, and the fact that it was such a dynamic, fast-moving component and where we could really offer something different in the form of this partnership model. And the way that I think about that, in its simplest terms, is it’s a one plus one equals three or four. By marrying the best of a nimble, entrepreneurial, on-demand care business with all of the breadth and depth that you get with leading health systems and their play across the entire healthcare continuum. It just felt like a really unique opportunity to focus on our customer. And you’ll hear me refer to customers more than patients. And while doing all of that, to take costs out of the system. And so you improve the experience for customers, you improve the experience for other providers and health systems, and for payers as well.

Gary Bisbee 14:23
What’s the relationship GoHealth has with physicians in any given one of your centers?

Todd Latz 14:30
The clinicians that operate within our joint-ventured centers are actually, in nearly every circumstance, members of our health system’s medical group. So we really rely on our leading health system partners for all of that clinical expertise and the long-established reputations they have for high-quality care. And so we work really closely with our health system partners and hire, the clinicians are hired into their medical group, which we think allows the joint ventures to both hire and then retain a higher quality clinician and thus provide more connected care. So one of the other components of our model is either a common or bidirectionally interfaced EMR. And so again, from a clinical offering perspective able to do something that not everyone does.

Gary Bisbee 15:23
What’s the breakdown of physicians versus advanced practitioners?

Todd Latz 15:28
We, in our model, and this is true of all of our markets across the country, rely very heavily on advanced practice. So that’s physician assistants and nurse practitioners. It really is a dynamic thing here, depends on the geography, certainly, there are regulatory aspects of it in different states. In some of our markets, you might say, it’d be one MD or DO to three or four NPs or PAs. And then in some of our west coast markets, it’s actually a larger percentage of APPs. We believe very deeply in that model. We have plenty of physicians with some pediatric specialties, certainly, from the medical director and leadership perspective, a lot of emergency medicine experience. But in our centers, in that we have with our partners, huge value, and a lot of expertise and great consumer experience focus from our PAs and NPs.

Gary Bisbee 16:27
Todd, could you share with us how you think about GoHealth’s growth strategy?

Todd Latz 16:33
Absolutely. So that’s been a big piece of our story from really day one. Since I have been in the business, we’ve effectively grown it from 7 locations to almost 160 across the country. Today we have 7 large scale joint ventures with leading health systems. And so we think about growth in a number of different ways. So one is, the number of partners we have and we see a huge go-forward opportunity to continue to add partnerships around the country. We see huge growth opportunities, both in terms of center count and in other veins within our existing markets. And that could be from a virtual care standpoint, that’s a huge piece of our business today, and not just COVID related, really accelerated there, but a huge go forward growth opportunity for us. And then in the employer realm, so supporting the employer in all of our markets, that’s been another huge growth opportunity for us. So we’ve always been a really fast growth-oriented business and we see likely more opportunity going forward today than when we got started.

Gary Bisbee 17:45
It sounds like growth to date has been primarily organic even though it’s adding additional partnerships. But do you see any acquisitions in your future?

Todd Latz 17:55
I do. So you’re exactly right, Gary, that we have done mostly de novo, organic growth, although we have a history of M&As. And we think about that in the context of, we’ve certainly done tuck-in acquisitions in a number of our existing markets. And I would say as we think about growth opportunities going forward, you will likely see us do more of that just given the dynamics of what’s happened throughout COVID. And anytime you have a black swan event, like what we’ve all experienced in 2020, and continue to experience today, you see a lot of separation, what models work and what’s happening. And we continue to see a huge opportunity going forward for our model with our partners. And so I think you’ll see us do more acquisitions of existing business. But we have a very unique model. And so for us, it has to be the right fit from that acquisition standpoint, because there are a lot of, what I’ll say legacy type urgent care businesses that we think that on-demand business and the landscape competitively has shifted and changed quite a bit. And so we look for opportunities that really fit into where we see the business moving.

Gary Bisbee 19:06
Todd, as GoHealth grows, how important is scale? Or to ask it a different way, where does scale matter?

Todd Latz 19:14
I think scale is really important. I think you have to be careful, especially in any growth business like ours, not to push scale just for the sake of scale. Right, size for the sake of size doesn’t make sense. I think you have to be really smart about that. But it does open new doors. And for us and our partners, it allows us to care for and meet the needs of customers in some unique and differentiated ways. So maybe the most basic way to think about it is simple market coverage. So we deploy a much smaller center footprint model that allows us to get in closer to where our customer lives, works, and plays and then virtual allows us to cover an even broader landscape there and also to load balance our operations. I think scale allows us as well to make investments that allow us to stay on the cutting edge. And that’s certainly true of technology platforms and customer-focused tools. Again, for us virtual is a good example. Since we were doing that well before COVID, that was pretty unusual in the urgent care, on-demand care space. We do things like AI/ML driven volume predictors to make sure that we have the right staffing, efficiency, and that we can take full advantage where there’s opportunity to get more volume. And then I think for us scale is absolutely about best practice sharing. We have this amazing benefit, thanks to our partners, of seeing multiple different geographies and to go try things in different areas of the country. And as you know, healthcare is pretty local at times, Gary, and so we’re able to pilot different opportunities that can be in, in core on-demand and it could be things with employers, it could be taking risks and managing risk populations. And then we can test things in one market and then deploy them where they’re successful around and through all of our partnerships. And so in that context, scale is really important for us.

Gary Bisbee 21:12
We’ve all had to live with COVID and the providers certainly have had challenges. What challenges and opportunities did COVID present GoHealth?

Todd Latz 21:22
From a challenge standpoint we were hit really hard like so many in healthcare. And if you think about our footprint, big presence with our partners on the west coast, so that’s Legacy Health and Dignity Health or CommonSpirit, and then obviously with our partner Northwell, great partner for us in New York, we have 52 locations there. And so in those hotspots, we saw a lot of COVID right out of the gate. And we made collective decisions with our partners that we were going to use our on-demand care centers as the true frontline. And so most of our markets, like almost everyone in healthcare, we saw some pretty meaningful volume drops at least early on. Ours bounced back relatively quickly, especially quickly in New York. And we’ve had all the same challenges that everyone else has seen from a staffing standpoint. At this point, Gary, more than 600 of our team members have either been COVID-19 positive or been in quarantine or isolation due to exposure. And so it’s made operating the business that much more complicated. And for us, it’s about being there. Access is so critical to what we do and to be open and stay open through the crisis and the pandemic for our communities has been really important. It’s been a challenging road. There’s really no way around that. But the second part of your question was, what opportunities has it presented. And I would say, there have been substantial silver linings for us in this. The Churchill quote about, “Never waste a good crisis” is probably, you know, far too overused in the COVID world that we all live in but it’s certainly apropos for us. And we’ve been able to advance our innovation plan, our strategic plan. We had an 18-month plan of what we were going to do from a digital and technology standpoint, that was true of virtual and rolling out across our entire footprint. And we achieved our 18-month plan in about 18 days, because we really didn’t have any other alternative. And I think that the crisis, the pandemic has certainly proven the value of on-demand care, the incredibly important role that it can and should play in the overall healthcare ecosystem. And I think it has certainly brought us closer together with our leading health system partners. We’ve been in this fight together and whether it was greater access and ability to source PPE in New York through Northwell. It was the ability to do COVID testing really early on in the pandemic. Probably too many to count, Gary, in terms of the opportunities and how much stronger I believe we are as partners together and as a business going through this.

Gary Bisbee 24:06
One thing’s for sure, you used the term on-demand and I would think that this whole COVID crisis has encouraged health systems to be even more focused on the consumer and the on-demand aspect of this. And sounds like GoHealth could be a leader within your partnerships in that regard.

Todd Latz 24:27
I think that’s right, Gary. I mean, certainly, collaboration is in our DNA. It’s one of our core values. We’ve believed from the very beginning in our model it was designed for partnerships. And at a time of crisis, you get to see what you’re made of and your partner is made of. And we’ve really been tested, right, in that vein over the last 10 months or so. And I think that on-demand piece is incredibly important. If you look at some of our data around virtual visits, we have some markets where we’re still as much as 30 to 50% virtual visits. And if you look at our online scheduling and queuing and the way that we’ve enabled patients to both more safely be seen, but also protect our team members, which is critically important to our ability to do the right thing, to care for patients, and to keep our team members safe, the ability to be on-demand but to be really technology-enabled in doing so has been incredibly important for our ability to thrive in what is an incredibly challenging situation.

Gary Bisbee 25:31
Why don’t we turn to partnerships? You’ve mentioned that several times and once at least as a unique part of the GoHealth business model. What are the key principles that make a partnership work for both parties, both for GoHealth and the leading health system?

Todd Latz 25:48
I will start, Gary, my answer by saying partnerships are not for the faint of heart. It’s not the, it’s not the first time I have said that and I think that’s true on both sides. One of those things where you look at it on paper and you say this makes perfect sense and it should be very straightforward and easy. I think of any of us who have been in partnerships, and we did this in a prior business as well, they’re hard. And there’s just no getting around that. But I do honestly believe that if you have a well functioning partnership and you have great alignment and transparency and open communication and trust with your partner, then you’re able to achieve more together than either side, could singularly. And that’s been a key component of our model and our belief system from the very beginning. I think one of the interesting things that you have to understand about an effective partnership as well is that they are never static, and frankly, shouldn’t be. And in a partnership, in some respects, it’s easier to evolve and move forward because you can leverage both opportunities or challenges on both sides of it. So I think those are at least a few of the key principles that make it work for both sides.

Gary Bisbee 26:56
What are the top reasons that a large health system would pursue a partnership rather than perhaps just working on it themselves?

Todd Latz 27:05
So when we think about our health system partners and their great threat of service, it’s difficult from a health system perspective because you have so many priorities and things that you’re trying to get done. And so I would say, one of the key reasons that a health system or frankly anyone else who’s a participant in the continuum would look to partner and, certainly this is true of our GoHealth partnerships, is, for starters, we are laser-focused on this on-demand care space. So it’s what we live, breathe, and think about all day long. We bring a speed and agility to it and have deep experience in a number of different geographies and contexts that we can bring to bear. And we have been customer-focused, so really thinking about consumers and maybe a retail approach to healthcare in that context from day one. We’ve built proprietary tools around that. We really focus on that voice and need of consumer and it’s allowed us in all of our mature partnerships to be the single largest driver of new patients into the health system. And if you think about where health systems are today, the evolving landscape, the aging demographic, the ability to be that front door and to access important patient contingents in their markets and to drive that back into the system where it makes sense is really of value.

Gary Bisbee 28:32
Do you think that as the financial pressures grow on the large health systems that they will seek out more opportunities for partnerships?

Todd Latz 28:44
I do, Gary, and I’ve been a big believer in partnerships. And as you and I both know, that can be defined differently. We do true joint ventures, but there are lots of different forms of partnership in terms of affiliation and other lighter versions of it. But one of the reasons that I chose to join this team and to really pursue the model that we have from the earliest days at GoHealth was a deep belief that partnership and collaboration is a way to solve so many of the issues that we all see in healthcare. In the earliest days, you may find this amusing, I had lots of people, when I chose to do GoHealth is what I’m referring to, “Why would you purposely join a partnership-oriented organization? I think about how difficult that’s going to be and everything that comes with it.” But I had an early, and we as a team had a deep belief and faith in the importance of the partnership model. And so whether it’s financial pressures today and those are certainly very real given COVID and otherwise, or just how everything is coming together, there are so many concentric circles or overlaps in healthcare now that really, again, we are biased about this, but have a very strong belief that partnership and collaboration is the answer. And so I think we’ll see a whole lot more of this across all aspects of healthcare going forward,

Gary Bisbee 30:06
Turn for a moment to the largest health systems you have the unique position of working closely with them on the inside, but you also stand back and look at them from the outside. What are the main results of the pandemic in terms of how they’re going to affect how large health systems think about delivery of care in the future?

Todd Latz 30:29
It’s a great question, Gary. I think, obviously, it differs for us market to market. And we see this both with our existing leading health system partners, but also in our business development pipeline. We spend every day and in many respects talking to other health systems that we’re not yet partnered with. And I think a couple of key pieces there. One COVID-19 has really forced an inward look, and what I mean by that, is back to acute routes, right? Given the surge in infection and the need to deal with some very sick patients, it has really taken a control room mentality and forced our largest health systems to really be COVID focused. And so it hasn’t allowed them to move forward on many of the strategic initiatives and other things that they’ve intended to pursue during 2020 and well into now 2021. As we go forward, I think we’re seeing more focus around capital constraints and just more of a sober view given the financial impact that COVID has had on most health systems about what investment looks like in the future. And I think one of the things that we saw as really important and key trend moving forward was the focus on value-based care. And I think, unfortunately, given the singular focus on COVID-19 over months and months, some of those evolutionary trends of value-based care and collaboration and thinking more broadly have had to be paused or put on hold. So when you think about where do we go from a risk alignment and aligned incentive perspective going forward, I hope we’ll get back on the path and that our systems will be able to focus there going forward. But I think they’re certainly, we’re seeing a delay there. One thing I will say that has changed is really a recentering around the value of virtual care and how important that’s going to be going forward. So that’s certainly been positive.

Gary Bisbee 32:26
I wanted to ask about the risk alignment value-based care and, in particular, if that picks back up again, which I’m assuming it will, probably slowly, but it will. What role can GoHealth play along with the health system to move toward risk alignment models?

Todd Latz 32:46
It’s a really important question, Gary, and one that has been at the heart of the model that we have sought to build from the very beginning. As you know, value-based care is where the ball is bouncing, but it’s moved, I think, more slowly than any of us would have maybe expected, certainly would have liked. We, by the very definition of our model, we believe in aligned incentives. And we think about value based care both with our partners and with payers. And it’s pretty different for us depending on who our partner is or what the geography is. We have some partners, ChristianaCare would be a great example in Delaware that is really far down the spectrum of risk-based models and value-based care. And we’re able to align with them on it, think about patient populations differently, and caring for them very differently. And whether that’s the ability to do annual wellness visits when a customer comes in and they’re coming in to rule out an ankle fracture but we know that they haven’t had their annual wellness visit, we can jump in and do that. And so some of our partners own their own health plans where they are the payer, they’re fully at risk on a patient population, we’re able to identify gaps in care and think about other ways to ensure that that population remains healthier and that we are proactive in jumping in to handle situations before something festers and ends up in a much more acute scenario. And then there are other examples where both with our partners and directly we work with payers to align on where their focus is both in saving dollars for the system and for their members. And that can be something as simple as ED diversion, but a number of other opportunities that we see to both do outreach to patients and to think about caring for patient populations in a very different manner than I think you would typically see in an independent urgent care business.

Gary Bisbee 34:46
Todd, this has been a terrific interview. I’d like to ask a question or two about leadership as a wrap-up. What do you enjoy most about leadership?

Todd Latz 34:55
I think the thing that I enjoy the most about leadership is being able to enable a team to exceed their own expectations. Individual accomplishments are fine. Those are important to all of us at certain times. But healthcare, in particular, is a team sport. And collective accomplishments, especially when you do well by doing good are simply the best. And so for me, I think that’s the piece that I most enjoy about it.

Gary Bisbee 35:24
Turning to a leader in a crisis, what are the key characteristics of a leader during a major crisis like we have been and are in now with COVID?

Todd Latz 35:33
A key component for me is the willingness to be in the trenches with the team. You really have to live that mission and be a part of it. You can’t stand on the sidelines. And I think you also have to be or should be intrepid. And what I mean by that is, you think about the early days of the pandemic, there clearly were no answers, right? Lots of questions, no clear answers, no obvious path forward. And the speed and the changing rules of engagement were such that you just had questions that couldn’t be answered. So I think one key, from a leadership perspective in crisis, is that you can’t lose focus. You just have to work the problem even when the answer isn’t obvious. We’ve always approached things with a controlled intensity is how I would describe it, which is a bias to action and movement. You don’t have a lot of time in a crisis to sit back and over-analyze. And you just have to have the ability to pivot quickly, right, to be adaptable, because you have to take action and may learn very quickly that that wasn’t the right thing to do. And you need to be able to stay focused, pick yourself back up, and keep moving.

Gary Bisbee 36:50
Todd, terrific interview. We’re delighted you’re in healthcare. You didn’t start out there, but you’re certainly an important part of our healthcare scene. And we want to thank a good friend of yours and good friend of mine Nancy-Ann DeParle for getting you into healthcare.

Todd Latz 37:04
Absolutely. I can honestly say, Gary, it’s been a pleasure from day one. So I thank her and I thank you for this great opportunity and to the rest of our great health system partners today, whether that’s Mercy in the Midwest or Novant Health in North Carolina, we’ve just had this incredible opportunity, Hartford Healthcare in Connecticut to be with great people who are deeply rooted in healthcare. It’s a great place to be and we feel very fortunate.

Gary Bisbee 37:31
Fireside Chat with Gary Bisbee is a Health Management Academy podcast produced by Think Medium. Please subscribe to Fireside Chat on Apple Podcasts or wherever you’re listening right now. Be sure to rate and review Fireside Chat so we can continue to explore key issues with innovative and dynamic healthcare leaders. In addition to subscribing and rating, we’ve found that podcasts are known through word of mouth and we appreciate your spreading the word to friends or those who might be interested. Fireside Chat is brought to you from our nation’s capital in Washington, DC where we explore the strategies of leading health systems through conversations with CEOs and other interesting leaders. For questions and suggestions about Fireside Chat, contact me through our website firesidechatpodcast.com or gary@thinkmedium.com. Thanks for listening.