Health Benefits

Spotlight on Western Health Advantage and Sharp Health Plan

Female pediatrician examining neck of boy in examination room at hospital

In a series of discussions this year, leadership from our health plans share their work to deliver affordable, high-quality, equitable health care to our members. These spotlights give the CalPERS Board of Administration, stakeholders, and members the opportunity to learn more about each of the plans and how their offerings meet the needs of our members.

The spotlight series continued in March with leaders from two of our health plans discussing their work to deliver affordable, high-quality, equitable health care to our members.

Garry Maisel, CEO of Western Health Advantage (PDF), and Melissa Hayden Cook, CEO of Sharp Health Plan (PDF), shared what makes their regional health plans successful and their value to you, our members and our health program.

Western Health Advantage (WHA)

Maisel described WHA’s focus on the relationship between clinician and patient. “The goal from outset was to remove the health plan from the relationship between the patient and the physician,” said Maisel.

In the WHA business model, the physicians and hospitals conduct all first-level medical decisions, any authorizations, or medical reviews. “WHA does not insert itself into that first-line medical care and that’s one of the beauties of our model,” Maisel added. “The medical group in which your primary care physician operates makes those decisions.”

Learn more about how WHA supports members, including their clinical initiatives for health care access, quality, and equity by viewing the discussion.

Sharp Health Plan

Hayden Cook spoke of serving CalPERS members for 10 years and of Sharp’s commitment to members in the greater San Diego community. She highlighted the Sharp experience and culture “to transform health care every touch, every time.” On the topic of affordability, she stated, “Affordability for us is critical. You need affordability in order to create access in the community.”

Explore more about Sharp by viewing the discussion.

The next health plan spotlight will take place during the July 2024 off-site meeting.

You can learn more about the presentation from Kaiser Permanente’s CEO, who was the first health plan leader to speak with the board in February.