To those of us who work at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, it seems very fitting that The Detroit News has named Dan Loepp, our president and CEO, as one of its Michiganians of the Year. The headline in today’s special section reads “Dan Loepp: Native Detroiter helps bring ‘buzz’ back downtown.” The Detroit News has bestowed this honor over the past 35 years to outstanding citizens and unsung heroes, who have helped to make the state a better place to live, work, learn and play. We at BCBSM are honored to have our leader recognized on this year’s list. There is no doubt that the initiatives Dan has led, including relocating more than 3,000 of our employees into Detroit from the suburbs, and partnering on the “Live Downtown” program to incentivize them to move their residences to Detroit, have made a real difference in building a better Michigan. The story also touches on Dan’s role in shepherding a new state law that will enable BCBSM to transition to a nonprofit mutual insurance company and give consumers in Michigan a more competitive market for health insurance coverage. Dan Loepp has led a fundamental transformation of our business — and health care in general — since being named CEO in 2006. We are a smarter, more efficient and more forward-thinking organization under his leadership. Our programs and initiatives are helping to improve the health care system for everyone in Michigan. Dan is smart enough to realize that in order to affect change we have to partner with others, whether they are physician groups, hospitals or other large downtown Detroit employers. Collaboration is a business philosophy Dan has embraced throughout his career. The Detroit News story features a video clip that includes an interview with Paul Hillegonds, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at DTE Energy and a former Republican state House speaker who worked alongside a Democrat – Curtis Hertel – in the 1990s to manage through a rare joint-power sharing arrangement when each party held 55 seats in the House of Representatives. Back then, Dan Loepp was chief of staff to co-Speaker Hertel. Under such circumstances, with neither party in the majority, Dan quickly came to embrace the importance of finding consensus among opposing interests to get things done for the people of our state. Collaboration is a philosophy that has served the Blues well under Dan Loepp’s leadership. It has led the Blues to building the largest Patient-Centered Medical Home program in the nation, and 14 other programs called Collaborative Quality Initiatives coordinated at the hospital level that delivered more than $400 million in cost savings in Michigan in 2012 by identifying better ways to practice medicine, eliminate errors and improve patient outcomes. Read Dan’s story here, and check out the full list of deserving 2013 Michiganians of the Year. Andrew Hetzel is vice president of Corporate Communications for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
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