Jack Stoddard, a former Accolade executive in Plymouth Meeting who also worked at Comcast Corp., has been hired as a top executive at the new venture backed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase & Co. that wants to revolutionize U.S. health care by improving care and cutting costs for companies.
A spokeswoman for the Boston venture — as yet unnamed — confirmed Stoddard's hiring as chief operating officer, saying he began last Tuesday. Stoddard, 48, of Glenside, was not available for comment.
Backed by companies with a combined $1.8 trillion in market capitalization on Wall Street and hundreds of thousands of employees, the venture could bring big changes to a health-care industry with bloated costs, uncoordinated care, and massive bureaucracies, observers believe. Health care now accounts for about 20 percent of the nation's gross domestic product and is considered a factor in the nation's income inequality.
Whatever path the venture takes in transforming the health-care industry, it will have instant credibility because of the partners' economic power. Many also look to the drastic changes that Amazon has forced on retailers, observers said.
Stoddard gained his experience in the health-care industry as a top executive at Accolade, a health-care advisory firm in Plymouth Meeting that received early financial support from Comcast's venture arm, Comcast Ventures.
Big employers such as Comcast hire Accolade to counsel and assist employees with health-care problems, with a focus on controlling care costs associated with chronic illnesses.
"You cannot make a change without harnessing the data systems," said David Nash, dean of the Jefferson College of Population Health in Philadelphia.
"What's motivating this is that most employers are fed up with waste, medical errors, and poor outcomes," Nash said, noting that the United States has the world's highest health-care costs but ranks No. 17 in overall health of its population.
In January, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan announced they would create an "independent company that is free from profit-making incentives and constraints" to improve health care and reduce costs for corporations.
"The ballooning costs of health care act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy. Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable," Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett was quoted as saying in the release.
In July, Boston surgeon, best-selling author and New Yorker writer Atul Gawande joined the venture as its chief executive officer. He practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital and is a professor at Harvard Medical School.
Stoddard had been the chief operating officer at Accolade.