All In: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Own Kaizen

Session focus: 

Change leadership, daily problem solving, visual communication, coaching, storytelling, Fostering Problem-solving without relying on events

Are you having trouble sustaining a culture of continuous improvement? Have you found it difficult to find the right level of involvement? We have too – and we have helpful information from what we tried to do about it. Hear the stories, lessons, and perspectives of a panel of our senior leaders at Premera as we change the work we do each day. We’ll discuss going to the gemba, doing our own kaizen, building daily management, and how to respond to problems among other things.

Target Audience: 



Brett Jackson
KPO Workshop Leader
Premera Blue Cross (Kaizen Promotion Office)

Brett Jackson is a Lead Kaizen Consultant at Premera Blue Cross. Having joined Premera in 2003 as a claims processor and part time East Asian medicine practitioner Brett joined the original Kaizen Promotion Office as a specialist in 2005. Over the past 2 years Brett has been coaching the leadership group of the Health Care Services organization within Premera which has achieved a new level of engagement in improvement previously unseen at Premera.

John Espinola, MD, MPH
Executive Vice President of Healthcare Services
Premera Blue Cross

John Espinola, MD, MPH is the Executive Vice President of Healthcare Services for . He provides leadership for Premera's healthcare strategy, including provider network development, value-based contracting, clinical solutions, and healthcare quality. He leads Premera’s collaboration with healthcare providers and other partners to develop innovative solutions that meet the needs of Premera’s customers. He also leads Premera’s innovation and strategic investments efforts. Espinola joined Premera in 2010. Prior to that, he served in various roles at other health plans. He also practiced geriatric medicine in the Seattle metro area in a variety of settings. Espinola is board certified in geriatrics and internal medicine. He trained in internal medicine at Scripps Clinic in San Diego and in geriatrics at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He has Doctor of Medicine and master’s degree in public health from Tufts University School of Medicine, a master's degree in business administration from the University of Washington, and a bachelor's degree from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Ross Laursen
Vice President of Health Care Economics
Premera Blue Cross

Ross Laursen is Vice President of Health Care Economics (HCE), where he leads several teams that provide actuarial and analytic support for Premera’s provider management and network development activities. Ross provides strategic leadership on emerging healthcare topics and trends, including value based payment initiatives. Ross joined Premera in 2005. Prior to that he was a Principal & Consulting Actuary, specializing in healthcare, with the consulting firm of Milliman for twelve years. Ross is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA).  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Pacific Lutheran University.

Beth Johnson
Senior Vice President of Healthcare Services
Premera Blue Cross

Beth Johnson is Senior Vice President of Healthcare Services for Premera Blue Cross. She is responsible for provider contracting, provider service, and network management. Johnson started as the Vice President of Provider Network Management at Premera in May 2014. In that capacity, she directed network development, provider relations management and contracting for all of the Premera and LifeWise markets for medical, dental and ancillary services. Johnson has over 25 years’ experience in the health insurance industry. Prior to joining Premera, she served as Vice President Network Management & Contract Strategy for Regence BlueShield where her responsibilities included contracting and managing the relationships with all provider networks for Regence. Johnson also held leadership roles at First Choice Health, and MultiCare Health System. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University, as well as a master’s degree in Health Administration from the University of South Carolina. She and her husband reside in Edmonds with their three children.

Michael Hjort
Vice President of Lean
Premera Blue Cross

Michael Hjort joined Premera in 2013 as the Vice President of Provider Network Service in the Health Care Services Division. In that role, he was responsible for Provider Network Operations and Provider Experience. A 20 year veteran of the Property Casualty industry, Hjort was with AIG, Travelers, and Liberty Mutual/Safeco. Throughout, he held leadership positions in a wide variety of departments including Distribution, Service, Sales, Marketing, Claims, Finance, and Operations. His last position prior to joining Premera was Regional Vice President in the Northeast for Liberty Mutual.

Chad O. Murphy
Vice President of Pharmacy, Contracting and Consulting
Premera Blue Cross

Chad Murphy is Vice President of Pharmacy, Contracting, and Consulting at Premera Blue Cross. His responsibilities within Integrated Health Management include pharmacy services, vendor contracting, vendor relations and operations, and communications & consulting. Murphy has years of experience managing pharmacy benefits and leading teams within the health plan industry. He joined the Premera Pharmacy team in 2007 as a Pharmacy Manager after serving in a variety of roles at two local managed care organizations. He was an early participant in Premera’s Leadership Development Program and won the CEO Award in 2009. He is an Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy and serves as a guest lecturer for various doctoral level courses. Murphy serves on the Board of Directors for the Washington Vaccine Association as well as the School Commission at his children’s school and volunteers as a coach for youth basketball and soccer. Murphy has a bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga University and a doctorate of pharmacy from the University of Washington.