February 12, 2024

A Foundation of Creative Collaboration

                           Brian Pieninck                              Walter Simmons
                 Brian Pieninck, President and CEO,      Walter Simmons, President and CEO,
                    CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield         Employ Prince George’s Incorporated

In talking with so many of you and visiting your hospitals (9 done, 10 more scheduled, and 42 to go!) I continue to hear of a need for increased stakeholders and partnerships to really address health in our state. And there are many ideas percolating, particularly over the past week as I met with several key business leaders including Brian Pieninck, President and CEO of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, and his Vice President and Chief of Staff Lester Davis.

The CareFirst discussion was excellent. We agree on multiple areas where we can work together to create change and make faster progress. Access, equity, workforce, and public health and education are top of mind for us all and can be better addressed if we collaborate. We plan to explore the areas where we’re aligned and see how we might be able to leverage AHEAD to advance a stronger community-based continuum of care together.

Speaking of workforce, last week I also had the pleasure of meeting with Walter Simmons, President and CEO of Employ Prince George’s Incorporated. He is part of a broader group, Employ DMV, and they visit and connect with every middle and high school in the state. There are many synergies and opportunities here as it relates to workforce recruitment and development. They also have some exciting data related to health employment at the county and city level that we may be able to tap into.

It was also our pleasure to host AHA’s Chief Physician Executive Chris DeRienzo and Regional Executive Matthew Wright along with many chief medical officers. In just three days we took the AHA duo on great visits to University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center, Frederick Health, Johns Hopkins Howard County Medical Center, Sheppard Pratt, LifeBridge, and Luminis Health. The better AHA understands our work, ideas, and challenges, the better they can support us all at the national level.

And I have been in regular discussions with Health Secretary Dr. Laura Herrera Scott and HSCRC Executive Director Jon Kromm, another important part of the collaborative efforts, especially as we try to get ahead of AHEAD.

This has been an exciting week with some great foundations being built. My aim is to see how we can join resources and brains together to help hospitals build up and broaden our impact.
Melony G. Griffith
President & CEO