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Healthcare Services Panel

“Revolutionizing the Delivery of Healthcare Services through Technology and Systems Integration”

  • Moderator: Aran Ron MD ’89, President, Health Strategies Consultants and Operating Partner, Bessemer Venture Partners
  • David Alge, Vice President for Strategy and Financial Planning, New York-Presbyterian
  • Thomas Gordon, Senior Vice President, Cedars-Sinai Health System; Chief Executive Officer, Cedars-Sinai Medical Network Services
  • Gil Irwin '79, Senior Vice President, Global Health Practice, Booz & Company
  • Paul Kusserow, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Humana
  • Robert S. (Rob) Merkel ’98, Vice President, Americas Healthcare Industry Leader, IBM Global Business Services


  • Perspective on future implementation of, changes to, US health reform legislation and its impact on providers and payors.
  • Structural challenges and scale-up issues in establishing integrated healthcare systems/ ACOs and other entities, and their likelihood of success.
  • Attractive opportunities for hospitals to participate in post-acute care continuum of care, and what is the future role of hospitals.
  • How payors are incorporating value-based insurance design, pay for performance, risk transfer, disease management and other approaches to meet cost and quality objectives, plus new growth areas payors are currently pursuing.
  • How is the use of analytics, IT and emedical records being used to create more efficient and effective healthcare delivery and promote data integration and is there a business model that supports their use? 
  • Sub-sectors within healthcare services that will see the greatest M&A activity and consolidation including implications of private equity in purchasing hospital systems and payers purchasing provider entities.

Dr. Aran Ron
President, Health Strategies Consultants
Operating Partner, Bessemer Venture Partners

Dr. Aran Ron is president of Health Strategies Consultants and an Operating Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. He provides consulting services to various health care sectors including insurance, provider delivery systems, and venture and private equity.

He served as president and chief operating officer of Group Health Incorporated (GHI) and chief medical officer of EmblemHealth Plans. Prior to joining GHI he served as Medical Director at Oxford Health Plans and Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs at New York Downtown Hospital and Director of Quality Programs at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. He received a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and holds a degree in business and public health from Columbia University and trained in internal medicine at New York Hospital.

He served on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management, is a member and former Chair of the URAC accreditation committee, on the board of GHI PPO and HMO. He lectures at Cornell Medical College where he won the 2008 excellence in teaching award and serves as Chairman of the Board of St. Christopher’s Inc. a non-for-profit agency providing educational services for troubled youth.

David Alge
Vice President for Strategy and Financial Planning
New York-Presbyterian Hospital

David Alge, MBA, is the Vice President for Strategy and Financial Planning, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, overseeing service line strategic planning, new clinical program and business development, the assessment of innovative technologies, and long-term strategic planning. He also manages the Hospital's corporate and service line business planning, decision support, and strategic pricing programs, and provides strategic and financial planning support to the NYP Healthcare System.

Previously he worked as Vice President, Operations for the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System helping to develop and implement key strategic initiatives and serving as primary liaison for IT, legal and planning issues. Before joining the Hospital in 2004, Mr. Alge worked at Mount Sinai Medical Center, first in the hospital as Director of Health System Development, then in the medical school as Assistant Dean for Affiliations and also as Associate Dean for Operations before returning to the hospital as Vice President for Ambulatory Care, Medical Records and Social Services. Prior to that, he was Associate Director for Managed Care at the Elmhurst Hospital Center.

Mr. Alge obtained his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Southern Illinois University and his health care-focused MBA from Baruch College.

Thomas Gordon
Senior Vice President, Cedars-Sinai Health System
Chief Executive Officer, Cedars-Sinai Medical Network Services

In his role as Senior Vice President of Cedars-Sinai Health System, Thomas D. Gordon oversees the organization’s Medical Delivery Network of primary care and specialist physicians. One of Tom’s many roles is Chief Executive Officer of Cedars-Sinai Medical Network Services, a management services organization that handles the administrative functions of Cedars-Sinai Medical Care Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Group, Cedars-Sinai Health Associates (IPA) and California Heart Center.

The Medical Delivery Network, which covers a wide geographic area in Southern California, consists of more than 800 physicians, providers and specialists; 150,000 patients, fee-for-service and managed care; and employs about 700 staff.

Tom began his medical management career in 1988 as a consultant to the Medical Group of Beverly Hills. Within a year, he became the group’s Chief Executive Officer. Five years later, in 1993, Tom oversaw the medical group’s merger into the Cedars-Sinai Health System.

Tom obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1971. After graduation from UCLA, he pursued graduate studies in Business Administration, with an emphasis on management. During his professional career, Tom has enjoyed management responsibilities in such diverse industries as screen-printing, advertising, retail auto services and consulting. He founded and was a principal in a graphics company and immediately before his affiliation with the Medical Group of Beverly Hills, he founded a management and marketing consulting firm.

Tom is dedicated to serving the entire health care community and sits on a variety of boards to include: the California Association of Physician Groups, the Wilshire Foundation, the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, LivHome, Inc., as well as the Cedars-Sinai Medical Care Foundation and Cedars-Sinai Medical Group. Tom is also an active member of the Medical Group Management Association and the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Tom is a preceptor in the Graduate Program in Health Care Administration and is a Member of the Professional Advisory Council for the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also a guest lecturer at UCLA’s Andersen School of Business and the School of Public Health.

Tom has been a keynote speaker for many conferences and executive retreats at the local and national level on topics related to managed care, training and motivation, leadership and management expertise. Tom has been married for 38 years and has two married daughters, a three-year old granddaughter and a one-month old grandson.

Gil Irwin
Senior Vice President, Global Health Practice
Booz & Company

Mr. Irwin is a Senior Partner of Booz & Company and a leading member of its Global Health Practice.

During his more than 20 years of consulting with Booz & Company he has specialized in strategy development and transformation of national and regional health plans. His engagements include numerous corporate, distribution, operational and IT strategies and programs. Importantly, he helps companies transform themselves to higher-performing organizations, reflecting the strategic imperatives they face.

He has served many of the leading national health plans, BCBS plans, regional NFP plans, PBMs, ancillary health companies as well as several provider organizations.

He is currently co-leading the Firm’s Health Care Reform team exploring the post-reform environment and how health plans must position themselves to respond.

He earned an MBA from Columbia School of Business and received his BA degree in economics from Rutgers College. Prior to joining Booz he was a Vice President with Citigroup’s Investment Bank.

Paul Kusserow
Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer

Paul Kusserow joined Humana as Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer in February 2009 with responsibility for Humana’s strategic planning function as well as its merger and acquisition and venture-capital activities.

Prior to joining Humana, Mr. Kusserow served as Managing Director of Private Equity at the Chicago-based investment firm B.C. Ziegler and Company where he focused on early-stage investments in health care services and health care IT.

From 2004 to 2007, he was Managing Director of San Ysidro Capital Partners LLC, a health care services consulting and investment advisory firm.

From 1997 to 2004, he served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Tenet Ventures, at Tenet Healthcare Corporation, where he was responsible for identifying, evaluating and directing the company's investments as well as implementing corporate strategy business development initiatives.

Mr. Kusserow also served as an executive in strategic planning, new business development, M&A and marketing capacities at Colonial Williamsburg, National Geographic and Reader’s Digest. A Vermont native, Paul is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wesleyan University, where he was a Brown Scholar, Olin Fellow and Fellow at the Center for the Humanities. He received his Master of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Robert S. (Rob) Merkel
Vice President, Americas Healthcare Industry Leader IBM Global Business Services

Robert Merkel is the Vice President and Americas Healthcare Industry Leader within IBM Global Business Services. In this role, he is responsible for IBM’s portfolio of services related to consulting, systems integration and application management services.

Mr. Merkel has over 20 years experience on a wide range of consulting assignments related to all phases of business transformation. He has driven strategic planning assignments, large scale systems implementations and application support initiatives for major IBM clients across both Healthcare and Life Sciences. He is a frequent speaker at Industry events, has authored several publications and has been interviewed on CNBC and in numerous print media.

Mr. Merkel serves on the IBM Chairman’s Integration and Values Team and is a member of IBM Global Business Services’ Senior Leadership Team. He has pioneered strategies across IBM’s brands to develop industry specific solutions and globally integrated delivery models that benefit our clients.

Mr. Merkel earned his bachelor of science in industrial engineering from Lehigh University and masters of business administration from Columbia Business School. He resides in New Jersey with his wife and two children.