Medicaid Buy-In: Episode#1- Interview with Henry Chao

Henry ChaoCTO, FEI Systems

Henry Chao is Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at FEI Systems. As CTO, Mr. Chao leads FEI’s enterprise architecture activities. He guides solution development for both Federal and State Medicaid initiatives. In addition, he coordinates product alignment with FEI’s State and commercial health care business. Prior to FEI, Mr. Chao was the Deputy Chief Information Officer and Deputy Director of the Office of Information Services at the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS). In these roles, he was a key agency executive driving improvements and optimization of operational systems and effective change management. At CMS he also served as CTO at the Office of Information Services, Deputy Director of the Information Systems Design and Development Group, and more. Mr. Chao also served as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Secretary. At CMS and HHS, he assumed leadership roles in planning and executing legislative initiatives to transform health care. He led efforts to leverage modern Agile approaches to establish secure, cloud-based IT infrastructure to support CMS programs, including the Insurance Marketplace for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Mr. Chao brings FEI 20 years of experience formulating strategies, leading solution development, and delivering program capabilities for Federal and State health care initiatives. Mr. Chao has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from St. Mary’s College. Recently, Mr. Chao authored the book Success or Failure? The Untold Story of

Highlights from this episode

  • The beginning of the story  
    • Marketplaces as part of incremental story of Medicaid expansion, but biggest leap to date
    • The ACA Public Option
    • Original design for Public Option in ACA
    • How having the original Public Option at ACA launch would have allowed more consistency of original implementation
    • The launch
  • Risks and challenges
    • Risks of focusing on the technology vs identifying key elements needed to solve for the problem
    • Challenge of solving problems for which there are no real precedents
    • How long it takes for technology changes to settle in large scale implementations
  • The complexity of the stakeholder environment
    • The breadth of the stakeholder environment in large system implementations
    • Impact of process re-engineering across a wide stakeholder base for most public sector technology projects
    • The service delivery chain of healthcare systems makes technology projects even more complex
  • Lessons learned for states around healthcare marketplaces
  • Multiple insights for technologists and and policy makers, especially the importance of:
    • decoupling dependencies and managing what we can actually control
    • constantly breaking down larger problems into their smaller parts
    • measuring results against what actually exists today
    • quality communication. Without it you get impossible deadlines and people still expecting good outcomes
    • Anticipating stakeholder reaction to tech system changes
    • Driving to an implementation date in public policy, but launch dates are not the finish line (they are the starting line)
  • Determining when its ok to continue to patch systems vs a system replacement
  • Key takeaway: Technology doesn’t mean anything if you don’t understand the business problem. 

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