Interview with Canopy Health CEO, Joel Criste

Meet the driving force behind the Canopy Health alliance and learn more about what to expect from our network in 2018.

2018 has been a year of growth and innovation for Canopy Health. Our CEO, Joel Criste, recently sat down for an interview. With over two decades of experience in the healthcare industry, Mr. Criste has remarkable insight into the world of Bay Area healthcare. In the following questions, he reflects on the current state and future of Canopy Health and the industry.

Q: What attracted you to Canopy Health?

I was drawn to our leadership’s vision and level of commitment to Bay Area healthcare. They were clearly willing to put their time, energy, and resources into developing something new, different, and beneficial for Bay Area communities.

Q: Building a healthcare alliance isn’t a simple process. What lessons have you learned during your tenure as Canopy Health’s CEO?

I’ve learned the importance of patience and meaningful communication. Canopy Health’s alliance includes a diverse group of hospitals and medical groups that have their own unique goals, values, and challenges. Balancing all our interests and priorities is an art. We always try to focus on the long view. 

Communicating our vision and strategy is the key to a successful relationship with our alliance physicians and hospitals. When we listen to our alliance members’ concerns, such as their need for better communications technology, we can build solutions together and help them understand Canopy Health’s value proposition. 

Q: How does your extensive experience with managed care organizations (including over 20 years with Meritage Medical Network) impact your approach and perspective?

The healthcare industry has a lot of moving parts. My previous and current experience has focused on coordinating collaboratives of independent organizations. While the size has increased from 700 physicians and a half-dozen hospitals to 5,000 physicians and 18 hospitals, I’ve spent decades working on similar goals.

I always aim to raise the tide for all boats and communicate openly and honestly with all of our partners. We try to work with each organization, educating them about their ability to grow and benefit from Canopy Health’s alliance.

Q: How will Canopy Health’s expansion impact Bay Area healthcare?

With our recent expansion, our members have access to care in eight Bay Area counties and can choose from almost 5,000 physicians and 18 hospitals. It’s important to note that primary care providers can refer their Canopy Health members to any provider within our network. This is a powerful tool that offers significant value to patients.

Our expansion does more than increase access to care. We’re working with our alliance providers to raise the bar on how patients experience healthcare. We’re also committed to improving healthcare outcomes. These commitments introduce more competition into the field, pushing everyone to improve their care, quality, and service. Hopefully, this will put pressure on everyone — including our competitors — to offer better, more transparent care to the Bay Area.

In the past, the healthcare industry focused primarily on selling insurance and providing products and care. Now, we’re seeing a definite shift — the consumer’s experience is becoming central. This is very exciting. We’re asking ourselves, “How can we better serve the consumers of healthcare, helping them meaningfully engage with their providers and health plans?” 

No matter how big or small an issue, Canopy Health is working together with its alliance to improve our members’ experience — offering them better access to care, improved cost transparency, and more digital engagement.

Q: What are your goals for Canopy Health in 2018 and beyond?

In 2018, we’re focusing on operational excellence. We have a lot of groups to serve: our enrollees, physicians, and hospitals. We want to improve communications between health plans, providers, and our members. We’re working to build a strong operational foundation that serves both Canopy Health and its members in the long-term. 

Beyond 2018, we want to continue to incrementally improve all of our members’ experiences. We’d also love to expand our geographic reach to include the entire Bay Area.