Jason Dinger has been called the “resident entrepreneur” at St. Thomas Health System, Nashville. Before he joined the five-hospital system, he had already started and sold his own consulting company. He began his healthcare career working as a hospital administrator in rural Zimbabwe, helping to design new buildings and set up other infrastructure. So when it came time to build the system’s accountable care organization—a new healthcare delivery model—Dr. Mike Schatzlein, CEO of St. Thomas Health, knew who to choose for the job.
Dinger, 38, stepped into the CEO role of MissionPoint Health Partners last year, tasked with developing a vision for the ACO, assembling a team and launching the program.
The ACO formally launched in August 2011. At the time, Dinger set a goal of getting 400 physicians on board to care for MissionPoint’s 13,000 members, including St. Thomas’ own associates.
By January, more than 1,000 physicians had signed on and in July, the CMS chose the ACO for inclusion in its shared-savings program. Dinger says he expects MissionPoint to have 50,000 members by the end of 2012.
“Thus far, we’ve exceeded our expectations,” he says. “There are a lot of gaps in care, and what MissionPoint does is fill in the gaps.” Schatzlein compares the energy at MissionPoint to Google, noting that the group is filled with young, creative people with new ideas about healthcare; it is also adopting new technology to meet cost savings and quality targets.
MissionPoint is using a product from the Advisory Board Co. for quality measurement and working in partnership with Cisco on a telehealth product. The ACO also uses personalized health services such as checking in with patients to make sure they’re taking their medications.
St. Thomas had a chance to glimpse Dinger’s entrepreneurial spirit a few years earlier when he expanded a local program that distributed unused prescription drugs to low-income patients in a national network.
The program began with one physician in Tennessee who hated to see prescription samples go to waste and sought to find a way to distribute them to patients who couldn’t afford their medication.
The program, now known as the Dispensary of Hope, was given to Dinger in 2007 to grow. It has locations in 15 states and more than 1,300 physicians who donate drugs. Dinger says it’s similar to the Netflix model, meaning clinics can go online and make requests for medications to have sent to them.
“He can take a concept and he can articulate it in such a way that people become engaged very quickly,” says Greg Pope, St. Thomas’ vice president of philanthropy. “He’s an entrepreneur at heart. He’s a social entrepreneur.”
“He can take a concept and ... articulate it in such a way that people become engaged very quickly.”
38, CEO, MissionPoint Health Partners, Nashville