Peoples Health Announces Promotions

Peoples Health, a Medicare Advantage company serving Louisiana residents, has announced the promotion of Warren Murrell from the position of chief operating officer to his new post as president and chief operating officer, reporting to the CEO, Carol Solomon. The company also announced the promotion of Dr. Frank N. Deus to chief medical officer. 

Murrell’s new dual position reflects the increased role he has played in representing the company at all levels, both within Peoples Health and out in the community. Murrell oversees project management and daily operations, helping to direct and implement innovative strategies designed to optimize health outcomes for the company’s Medicare Advantage plan members and foster continued company growth. He also represents the company locally, statewide and nationally with regulatory and government agencies.

He has been a key participant in developing the strategic plan for the future and continued growth of Peoples Health as the company continues to implement its model of care. Murrell is helping the company establish its overall model for all health plans it offers and endeavoring to improve health outcomes for all participating plan members.

Murrell brings more than 22 years of healthcare experience to this role, 15 of which have been with Peoples Health. Previously, he served as chief operating officer for the company, as well as the regional director of IPA services and vice president of IPA services.

Prior to joining Peoples Health as sales manager in 2000, Murrell developed his healthcare expertise at Memorial Sisters of Charity Health Network and Prudential Healthcare, both in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Deus oversees internal operations of medical processes and medical and clinical strategies for the company’s regional care teams, comprised of medical directors and nursing and non-nursing staff. 

Previously, Deus served as a medical director, including medical director for benefits and medical review. In these roles, he oversaw the Peoples Health medical review unit, claims review, network physicians, field team staff and member census reviews. He also ensured compliance with medical necessity and quality requirements and served as a liaison between healthcare providers and the member services department. 

Deus practiced medicine in the New Orleans area for 12 years. He has served as chief resident at Tulane University School of Medicine, as well as chief of surgery and chief of staff at Doctors Hospital of Jefferson. He has also performed administrative roles with Peoples Health as a founding member of the Pontchartrain Independent Physician Association in 1994.

UnitedHealth to Buy Catamaran for $12.8 Billion in Cash

The Wall Street Journal

March 30, 2015 6:00 a.m. ET

UnitedHealth Group Inc. plans to acquire Catamaran Corp. for about $12.8
billion in cash, bulking up its pharmacy-benefit business as spending on
cutting-edge drugs is a growing concern for employers and insurers.

Catamaran, the fourth-largest pharmacy-benefit manager in the U.S. by volume
of prescriptions processed, will be merged into UnitedHealth Group's OptumRx
unit, the industry's third-largest player and part of the Optum
health-services arm of the health-care giant.

Pharmacy-benefit managers typically work for employers and health plans,
managing the pharmacy benefits and seeking to negotiate favorable prices
with pharmaceutical companies and drugstores. The two companies are betting
that their combined size will generate increased negotiating heft and
economies of scale, as they compete with Express Scripts Holding Co., the
biggest in the industry, and CVS Health Corp., the No. 2.

Insurers and employers are bracing for the prices tied to expected new
treatments for cancer and other conditions such as elevated cholesterol.
Pharmacy-benefit managers are eager to show they have tools to counter those
costs on behalf of clients.

If the OptumRx deal with Catamaran is consummated, each of the big-three PBM
players would offer a different setup. Express Scripts has the largest
volume in the industry. CVS has its own network of pharmacies.