New Health First Health Plans CEO Ready to Serve

Recognized within the health care insurance community as a skilled strategist with exceptional business acumen, Ed Griese is using his expertise and unique perspective to improve quality of life for every sector of the industry.

Today, Griese is the newly-appointed president and CEO of Health First Health Plans, Central Florida’s only fully integrated delivery network. With more than 25 years of experience, he is an industry expert in managing health insurance and reinsurance companies, third-party administrators, business process outsourcing, IPAs/PHOs and health plans.

“One of the main reasons I joined Health First is to be part of an integrated health system with a team that is focused on providing quality and cost effective health care to our patients and our members,” Griese said.

Griese was first drawn to the health care insurance sector in the 80s when the managed care industry was performing exceptionally well and growing rapidly. When a former boss called and offered him a new role at a growing company, Griese jumped at the opportunity. “I describe my early years as being a ‘fireman,’ where my bosses and mentors helped me with crisis management, the importance of planning and developing cost reduction plans,” Griese explained. “Later in my career, our discussions have been more about leading, growing and running different businesses.”

One of the most strategic decisions Griese made in his career might come as a surprise – he decided to move abroad with his family and work internationally for 10 years. Not only was it a great way to learn how health care is delivered in different parts of the world, but it also enabled him to meet the international markets’ needs by adjusting U.S.-managed care tools and techniques.

“Having worked in multiple countries, I have a unique perspective, especially in the new Affordable Care Act era,” he said.

In this new and uncertain era, many consumers are anxious about the rising costs of health care and the decline of access to it. Griese responds by stating that rising health care costs have always been an ongoing problem for the industry, and that a great place to start is to work closely with employers, members and providers to develop innovative solutions while improving quality of life.

“In some regards, we are going ‘Back to the Future,’” Griese said. “Only this time, I think employers, members, providers and insurers are better prepared to focus on health and wellness while managing health care expenditures. We will continue to see tiered provider networks, more coordinated care and innovative solutions, such as patient-centered medical home programs.”

Whether it is on his own team or with members across the globe, Griese believes that the one unchangeable aspect of health care is simply this – improved quality of life for all.