Spine surgeon will advise HHS in new role at nonprofit


Nonprofit organization Mitre has appointed Stephen Ondra, MD, chief medical adviser of the CMS Alliance to Modernize Healthcare federally funded research and development center.

Dr. Ondra will serve as an adviser to all HHS organizations, providing thought leadership, guiding teams and building partnerships with the private sector to promote health and wellness in the U.S. He will be responsible for developing new ideas to advance private insurance markets, Medicare and Medicaid, value-based payments and care quality in partnership with HHS and the private sector.

"[Dr. Ondra's] experience as a business innovator, health insurance executive, clinician, researcher, veteran and public policy official will bring a unique vantage point to the complex health and human services problems facing our government sponsors," Kim Warren, vice president and director of CMS Alliance to Modernize Healthcare, said in a March 7 news release. "His experience will provide new perspectives to tackle hard questions and reimagine approaches to achieve health and well-being for all."

Dr. Ondra previously practiced spine surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where he served as senior vice president and CMO, and has experience overseeing clinical operations for Health Care Service Corp, the parent company of five Blue Cross Blue Shield plans.

President Barack Obama appointed the surgeon as the senior policy adviser for health affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and he also served in the executive office of the President.

Most recently, Dr. Ondra was CEO of Cygnus-AI, a company specializing in artificial intelligence and clinical decision support tools for diagnostic radiology.

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