Unit­ed­Health’s Tuck­son takes di­rec­tor post at bio­pharma com­pany

Unit­ed­Health clears exec to serve on ven­dor board

Modern Healthcare - - MODERN HEALTHCARE - An­dis Robeznieks

Aprominent physi­cian-ex­ec­u­tive with Unit­ed­Health Group has taken a seat on the board of a bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany, and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the in­sur­ance com­pany said it re­viewed and cleared the ap­point­ment for po­ten­tial con­flicts of in­ter­est.

Dr. Reed Tuck­son, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and chief of med­i­cal af­fairs at the Min­netonka, Minn.-based in­surer, was ap­pointed to the board of di­rec­tors for Cell Ther­a­peu­tics, a Seat­tle-based de­vel­oper of on­col­ogy prod­ucts.

The Cell Ther­a­peu­tics news re­lease noted that Tuck­son, who made Modern Health­care’s 50 Most In­flu­en­tial Physi­cian Ex­ec­u­tives in Health­care and Top 25 Mi­nor­ity Ex­ec­u­tives in Health­care lists last year, “over­sees the clin­i­cally re­lated pro­grams of the com­pany’s six op­er­at­ing busi­nesses and the work of more than 10,000 clin­i­cally re­lated per­son­nel.”

Ac­cord­ing to a com­pany fil­ing with the U.S. Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­son, Tuck­son will re­ceive a base re­tainer of $40,000 plus 18,000 re­stricted shares of CTI com­mon stock. He will also be el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive a $2,750 fee for at­tend­ing board meet­ings—ei­ther in per­son or over the tele­phone—and $1,250 for at­tend­ing any board com­mit­tee meet­ings.

Jane Pen­ning­ton, Tuck­son’s chief of staff, said there is no con­flict of in­ter­est, not­ing that Unit­ed­Health re­lies on a third party for rec­om­men­da­tions of any on­col­ogy drug for­mu­la­ries.

“Dr. Tuck­son’s par­tic­i­pa­tion on this board will deepen his knowl­edge in both in­no­va­tion and emerg­ing op­tions in health­care,” Pen­ning­ton wrote in an e-mail. Pen­ning­ton said the com­pany’s chief com­pli­ance and ethics of­fi­cer re­views po­ten­tial board po­si­tions and can ad­vise em­ploy­ees to de­cline the ap­point­ment or “set up terms and pro­cesses for re­cusals where ap­pro­pri­ate.”

Ac­cord­ing to a Unit­ed­Health news re­lease from Feb. 9, 2010, the com­pany uses clin­i­cal and claims data from more than 2,600 on­col­o­gists and 8,600 pa­tients to com­pare and eval­u­ate the qual­ity of care breast, colon and lung can­cer pa­tients re­ceive as de­ter­mined by the guide­lines de­vel­oped by the National Com­pre­hen­sive Can­cer Net­work al­liance of 21 lead­ing can­cer cen­ters.

The in­sur­ance in­dus­try trade or­ga­ni­za­tion Amer­ica’s Health In­sur­ance Plans has no guid­ance to of­fer in these types of sit­u­a­tions, spokesman Robert Zirkel­bach said.

Tuck­son, an in­ternist and former se­nior vice pres­i­dent of pro­fes­sional stan­dards for the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion, also serves on the boards of the Al­liance for Health Re­form, the Amer­i­can Telemedicine As­so­ci­a­tion, the National Pa­tient Ad­vo­cate Foun­da­tion, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foun­da­tion, Project Sun­shine and the Arnold P. Gold Foun­da­tion.

In the news re­lease, Cell Ther­a­peu­tics CEO Dr. James Bianco praised Tuck­son’s “un­wa­ver­ing consumer health ad­vo­cacy and com­mit­ment to pa­tient wel­fare.”

In an es­say pub­lished in the July 25 is­sue of Modern Health­care, Tuck­son wrote that, “We also should worry that, as our sys­tem be­comes even more ‘modern’ through the in­evitable ad­vances in molec­u­lar sci­ence, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy, our al­ready-chal­lenged de­liv­ery sys­tem is in great dan­ger of be­com­ing more com­plex, in­ef­fi­cient and more costly.”


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