Reshaping the Future of Healthcare

from Hugh Lytle

The fragmented healthcare industry still doesn’t have a solution that helps independent healthcare providers deliver higher-quality care at a lower cost while addressing the whole-health needs of individuals across entire populations. When you start looking at the whole person, you have to reimagine how and when care is delivered to address physical, behavioral and social factors that impact overall health. An increasing number of health plans require healthcare providers to take on more risk for quality of care and cost containment. However, providers are experiencing higher administrative burdens, technological barriers and burnout, leaving very little time for advancing the doctor-patient relationship and the care people deserve and want.

To connect a fragmented healthcare system and treat the whole person, you have to design a delivery system that brings together a team of partners to proactively integrate and coordinate care. We designed a comprehensive network comprised of physical, behavioral and community-based organizations to do just that. We are not only the fastest-growing network in Arizona but the first to intentionally integrate behavioral health and community-based organizations into a tech-enabled delivery process. Our industry-leading care coordination technology, combined with our community resources platform, connects the team, gives a 360-view of the patient health status and enables providers to efficiently coordinate care.

Technology alone is not enough, so we added support service for providers, with training and aligned incentives to help doctors be their best and also make the entire practice efficient and sustainable as a business. This platform-as-a-service model is proving to be effective at serving nearly 200,000 Medicaid and Medicare Advantage lives under contract with eight health plans across Arizona. We took the route to transform healthcare delivery to help health plans partner with and evolve providers in this current risk-based environment. In the end, it’s what’s best for the individuals served. This year, we initiated the replication of our model in Southern California.


As Equality Health engages with the community, it is equally important that our employees are engaged with our mission and our values.

In Q4 2019, we rolled out our core set of company values to our employees; these values were developed by the Trailblazer executive team with input from our employees in a collaborative approach — not just driven by me. We administered a values survey mid-year to our employees to gauge how our employees perceived us living up to our values. This not only provided data into how we are performing as a team with our values but also gave us insight into our employees’ engagement level. Overall feedback demonstrated that we are collectively committed to living our mission and values internally as well as externally with our customers, our partners and our members.

As a healthcare company, we are equally committed to rolemodeling healthy behaviors, as we see that as part of our value system as well. This includes both physical and mental well-being, which we believe being engaged at work contributes to. Initiatives contributing to a healthy and engaged workforce are our Wellness A to Z participation (Platinum member); Lunch for 10 Strangers — bringing employees together from different departments, genders, ages and ethnic backgrounds so they get to know each other, thus creating collaboration; encouraging healthy living through onsite tools of free health snacks in our kitchens, onsite biometric screenings and flu shots, and bikes to ride around downtown Phoenix; and company-provided transit passes to contribute toward and promote healthier air quality. Measures of an engaged workforce often come from levels of participation in events outside of normal work hours. This year, we participated for the first time in Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation’s Wellness Wonders competition and took fourth place among other companies in the Valley, with more than 40 of our employees participating as well as their family members. We also had the highest number of volunteers, with more than 60 employees participating in the annual Healthy Fall Festival hosted by the Equality Health Foundation.

The best onboarding programs equip new hires with the knowledge they need to succeed in their roles. But all too often, onboarding focuses on paperwork rather than people, culture and performance. That’s why we created the Equality Health University to provide training and a more comprehensive onboarding experience, utilizing industry best practices that help engage employees and reduce the length of time it takes to get new hires proficient and productive in their roles.

Innovation without fostering diversity and inclusion leaves untapped ideas on the table that could help a company scale and perform at high levels. We believe in embracing culture to empower health, and know our employees hold the keys to reshaping the future of healthcare. We created a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Committee comprised of employees across the organization to provide insights, guidance and recommendations to the CEO and executive team, giving employees a seat at the table to shape winning strategies. This culture of wellness, innovation, inclusion and collaboration is attracting local and national talent and contributing to the 35-percent workforce growth that we are experiencing.

About Equality Health

Equality Health, LLC is an Arizona-based wholehealth delivery system focused on improving care for all populations, increasing access to quality care and establishing member trust. Through
an integrated care coordination technology and community platform, culturally competent provider network and unique cultural care model, Equality Health helps managed care plans and
health systems improve care delivery while simultaneously making the transition to risk-based accountability.

Equality Health was founded by Hugh Lytle, a self-described serial entrepreneur and healthcare rebel. The common thread throughout his 25 years of healthcare leadership is a focus on health
service innovations with a strong social mission and a desire to bring systemic change to the U.S. healthcare system.

As founder, chairman and CEO of Equality Health, Lytle works with managed care plans, employers and health systems to deliver a new level of care for hard-to-reach communities. Equality Health’s new primary care model encompasses culturally competent, wholeperson care that improves patient outcomes for more than 200,000 health plan members across a network of 4,000 physicians throughout Arizona and Southern California.

Prior to founding Equality Health, Lytle cofounded Univita Health, a care management business that improves the coordination and effectiveness of home care delivery. As president and CEO, he helped build Univita into a national platform, serving more than six million commercially insured, working-age Medicare and Medicaid patients. He also co-founded Axia Health Management, the nation’s leading population health management company, and the first true single-source provider of preventive health and wellness benefits for employers and health plans.

In addition to creating three successful health management companies, Lytle’s experience includes executive positions at CVS Health and Xerox. He holds an MBA from Butler University (1995) and a BA in economics from the University of Indianapolis (1989). Lytle is a guest lecturer at the University of Arizona Eller School of Management and serves on the Arizona State University Health Future’s Council as well as numerous healthcare advisory boards.

This is one part of the December 2019 cover story. To see the full story, click here.

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