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HL20: Bruce Bodaken—Survival and the Need for Continuous Change

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, December 13, 2012

In our annual HealthLeaders 20, we profile individuals who are changing healthcare for the better. Some are longtime industry fixtures; others would clearly be considered outsiders. Some are revered; others would not win many popularity contests. All of them are playing a crucial role in making the healthcare industry better. This is the story of Bruce Bodaken.

This profile was published in the December, 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

 "All of us have a responsibility to be a part of the system and we need to make a way for those who can't afford to get care."

Bruce Bodaken, the long-time chair, CEO, and president of Blue Shield of California will retire at the end of 2012.

He acknowledges that he is walking away from his healthcare career just as a lot of exciting things are happening in the industry and at Blue Shield. Healthcare reform holds the promise of bringing accessible and affordable healthcare to millions, and Blue Shield is at the forefront of efforts to develop accountable care organizations and other interesting programs.

But Bodaken thinks 12 years is long enough for one CEO to lead a company. "When I took over I told the board that in my vision, for organizations to evolve and make sure they are at their very best requires continuous change," he says.

Bodaken's tenure has included his early support for universal coverage, as well as Blue Shield's 2011 announcement that it would voluntarily limit its income to 2% of revenue and redistribute anything over that amount to its members, providers, and the Blue Shield Foundation.

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