Medicaid Who’s Who Interview: David Kumpf

David C. Kumpf is the Chief Product Development Officer at Optimetra, In.c

Check out his LinkedIn profile HERE.

Which segment of the industry are you currently involved?

Broadly, business development for Medicaid MCOs and health and human services organizations working with the Medicaid population (Centers for Independent Living, home care agencies, and the like). While we develop many proposals for our clients in response to state and federal RFPs, we spend as much time on helping our clients identify, select, architect, and position the solutions that will help them be more effective at serving Medicaid beneficiaries in the future.

How many years have you been in the Medicaid industry?

I’ve spent nearly 28 years in healthcare consulting, beginning with commercial healthcare and then the federal TRICARE program. I began working in Medicaid in late 1999 – so, almost 20 years.

What is your focus/passion? (Industry related or not)

Bringing clarity, direction, and solutions for complicated problems. I love situations in which a room of a dozen people are trying to address an issue and are having a circular conversation about what to do; I listen, and then help illuminate a path – or choices – for them.

What is the top item on your “bucket list?”

I don’t think of life as being about ticking off items on a bucket list, but rather about seeking ways to learn, improve, and enjoy in different dimensions of mind, body, spirit, and family. What can I learn? How can I improve? So I’m always looking for opportunities to increase the breadth and depth of my knowledge about many subjects and for ways to try to raise my standard of practice for the things I already know how to do.

What do you enjoy doing most with your personal time?

Playing guitar. Riding a bicycle. Watching good TV or movies with my wife. Reading. Discovering great new (or new to me) music. And, apparently, being a Yorkie rancher (we have three).

Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

That’s practically impossible to answer. There are so many that have contributed (in positive ways) to shape the world we live in. Aristotle, Plato, Newton, Einstein, Curie, Washington, Adams, Lincoln, and scores of others. In my adolescence, I was a fan of General George Patton. More recently, Steve Jobs. The common thread between the last two is the single-minded obsession with realizing a vision – Patton with building the Third Army into a force for winning the war in Europe, Jobs with making complex technology intrinsically easy to use.

What is your favorite junk food?

Peanut M&Ms. Pizza, too, but if done right, it’s not so much junk food.

Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

Personally, having a wonderful wife to whom I’ve been married for 38 years; we have two successful children and a grandson.

Professionally, building Optimetra, with the help of my business partner (Holly Smith), into a successful consulting practice that has created exceptional results for our clients. Holly is running the company now as CEO, and I’m looking forward to where she takes the company next.

For what one thing do you wish you could get a mulligan?

I’m not a believer in obsessing over the past – everyone tries to make decisions based on the knowledge and ability they had at the time. Steve Jobs, in a commencement speech, said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

I do want to learn from what I did. I can’t always change it, but I can make different choices the next time. Or, if the context and timing is right, share it with others: “hey – I know you’re about to do such-and-such – you might consider…”.

What are the top 1-3 issues that you think will be important in Medicaid during the next 6 months?

At Optimetra, we are guiding our clients toward a unique value position in the market. Population health, value-based purchasing, and quality improvement are not independent disciplines – they are inextricably linked as part of a single system and member experience. In modern Medicaid, it is imperative to differentiate your organization from your competitors by listening to your customer(s) and prioritizing initiatives that have the highest probability of producing measurable improvements.


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