December 17, 2003

IS Associates Presents Distinguished Executive Leadership Award

Los Angeles — UCLA Anderson School of Management's IS Associates has selected health care executive Leonard Schaeffer as the 2003 recipient of its exalted Information Systems Associate Executive Leadership Award. As chief executive officer of WellPoint, the nation's second largest health insurer, Schaeffer has endeavored to and succeeded in improving the health status for a majority of Californians.

The IS Associates Executive Leadership Award is an annual honor that recognizes a senior executive's leadership in the exceptional application of information technology within an organization. IS Associates, a part of UCLA Anderson for more than 20 years, has conducted cutting-edge research and education in information systems and has contributed considerable intellectual capital in the area to Southern California's rich body of information systems professionals.

"We're pleased to honor Leonard Schaeffer for his success in implementing information technology solutions that improve access to and quality of health care for millions of Californians," said Bruce Willison, dean of UCLA Anderson. "His leadership offers an inspiring example for others to follow."

Schaeffer went out on a limb in 1992 and organized a Blue Cross plan that was customer-focused. While most other Blue Cross plans are organized around product and function, WellPoint revitalized itself through Schaeffer's efforts and by 1996, had established two independent foundations - The California Endowment and the California HealthCare Foundation.

WellPoint is a different health insurance company model for numerous reasons. Schaeffer and his associates, understanding that too much vital knowledge was previously only on paper, have capitalized on advances in information sciences and technology to provide better value through choice-based products, significant service enhancement, simplified (paperless) transactions and better access to cost and quality information.

The company weaves its unique perspective on technology into its primary goals. WellPoint aims to capitalize on technology as a competitive advantage. In its business strategies, the company encourages the use of technology as a service, cost and advantage that achieves rapid and effective responses to customers' ever-changing needs.

The inability of health plans to pay in a timely manner has been a key source of concern over the years. Under Schaeffer's guidance, WellPoint dared to be different, reminding others how important its members and hospital and physician customers really are. While Wall Street has held on to the myth that health plans should delay payment, WellPoint has coupled human and financial capital with information technology to explain why they should and will pay claims faster. Orderly pay improves its relationships with hospitals and physicians in its network, and it makes for more timely data for actuarial analysis. Finally, WellPoint lowers its administrative costs by using technology to collect and process claims, and reduces the numbers of duplicate bills.

Another information systems initiative under WellPoint's belt is the Subimo and Consumer Cost Guide. The company partnered with Subimo to provide members with easily accessible, quality information that compares hospitals in their communities. Using the guide, members can be the architects of their own care - comparing in-patient care, overall safety standards and reputations. In addition, members can contrast the number of procedures done at each facility, the complication rate, the infection rate, as well as the physician staffing within the ICU.

Clearly deserving of this award, Schaeffer shows no signs of slowing down in the IT arena. WellPoint plans to further implement IT solutions in its efforts to be a better mediator between the company and its many constituents.

According to Schaeffer, only a large company with sustained investment in information technology can use its significant membership size to collect, aggregate and interpret huge amounts of data from multiple sources. By doing so, WellPoint plans to remain the insurance company role model that they've become.

Contact Information

Media Relations, (310) 206-7707, media.relations@anderson.ucla.edu

Media Relations