GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--()--Priority Health announced today that Jim Byrne, M.D., will retire from his position as chief medical officer after 20 years with the award-winning health plan, effective July 1, 2013.
“He has modeled an excellent example, using his passions for primary care, evidence-based medicine and chronic disease management for not only Priority Health, but for the medical community as a whole. His legacy will be long-lasting, and the entire Priority Health family wishes him nothing but the very best.”
“Dr. Byrne’s tenure as a valuable medical leader and advisor for Priority Health has helped build the foundation for a truly integrated health system,” said Michael P. Freed, president and CEO for Priority Health. “He has modeled an excellent example, using his passions for primary care, evidence-based medicine and chronic disease management for not only Priority Health, but for the medical community as a whole. His legacy will be long-lasting, and the entire Priority Health family wishes him nothing but the very best.”
Since joining Priority Health in 1993, Dr. Byrne has been at the forefront of supporting primary care and improving the quality of care for patients. One of his key initiatives — Priority Health’s Partners in Performance (PIP) program — led Priority Health to create programs and services that far exceed the industry. As a result, patients in Michigan are more likely to get breast and colon cancer screenings and help managing their chronic diseases than anywhere else in the nation. Since the program launched in 1996, Priority Health has paid $170 million in support of primary care above standard payment.
Dr. Byrne helped strengthen the health plan’s national reputation. In 2007, the Michigan Association of Health Plans (MAHP) presented him with the Ellis J. Bonner Award in recognition of his leadership and contributions to the managed care industry. Also under his leadership, Priority Health earned an “Excellent” accreditation by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) in 2012, the highest level a health plan can earn, for its Commercial HMO/POS, Medicaid, Medicare PPO and Medicare HMO/POS plans.
“Dr. Byrne’s influence is felt nationally through his leadership of the primary care transformation initiative for the Alliance of Community Health Plans. Working with a group of the nation’s best community-based health plans, Jim shaped new standards for primary care and relentlessly pressed to keep the patient at the center of care delivery. Multiple organizations across the country have adopted the approach to managing back pain that was developed by Jim and his team and pioneered by Priority Health,” said Patricia Smith, president and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, based in Washington, D.C.
The White House Health Policy Committee, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Alliance of Community Health Plans frequently request Dr. Byrne to speak as a national expert in patient-centered care and evidence-based medicine. Prior to joining Priority Health, he practiced family medicine at Lakewood Family Medicine in Holland, Mich., which he helped found in 1977.
Dr. Byrne will continue to work with the executive team and physician leadership at Priority Health until his successor is chosen.
About Priority Health
Priority Health is an award-winning, Michigan-based health plan nationally recognized for creating innovative solutions that impact health care costs while maximizing customer experience. It offers a broad portfolio of products for employer groups and individuals, including Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. As a nonprofit company, Priority Health serves more than 600,000 people and continues to be rated among the best health plans in the nation by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.