HLM: Were you surprised to get this call?
Cosgrove: Totally. The day before Thanksgiving I got an email from Steve Schwarzman [CEO of Blackstone, a global investment firm, and chair of the policy forum], telling me what he was doing and asking me to call him.
I called him the day after Thanksgiving and we had about a 30- to 45-minute conversation about it and then I talked with people here at Cleveland Clinic and got their approval.
HLM: Do you know any of the others on the forum personally?
Cosgrove: I've known or met most of them previously. Some of them are acquaintances and some are friends. I have spoken about healthcare with several of the members. I met some through meetings, through mutual friends or introductions, from business interactions, and even from vacation.
Three of the leaders have spoken at Cleveland Clinic for our Ideas for Tomorrow speakers' series. I'm truly looking forward to working with the members of this group.
HLM: Do you know if President-elect Trump plans to attend these sessions?
Cosgrove: Well, supposedly these are meetings with him on a monthly basis. Whether that ends up being monthly or less frequently, I don't think we know at this time. We meet first in February.
HLM: What are some of the most important healthcare policy areas you feel the administration should address quickly?
Cosgrove: It's important to address the rising cost of healthcare, high drug prices, and wellness to reduce the burden of chronic diseases. The health of our nation is only as good as the health of its citizens. We need to move from sick care to healthcare.
HealthLeaders: What's your top piece of advice to healthcare CEOs worried about big changes from a Trump administration?
Cosgrove: As I told [Cleveland Clinic leaders], there are two things we have to do on the continuing march we've been on.
One, we have to improve quality. And two, we have to make healthcare more affordable. Those are no-regret moves regardless of what kind of policy we have. I'd be happy to talk more about this once I know exactly what it's going to be about.
Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.