Spotlight On …
With a rich and diverse background in health care, Jarrod McNaughton brings a person-focused philosophy to leadership and life. After serving for little more than a year as Chief Operating Officer at Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP), Jarrod assumed the helm of the organization in July with goals of continuing the legacy of innovation, driving forward the ideals espoused in IEHP’s core values and workplace culture, and maintaining the strength of the organization’s connections within the communities it serves.
What’s the biggest challenge in your role?
I think the biggest challenge is leading in a time of tremendous change. This season we’re in — and it’s true for health care across the board — is very unique. With the changes happening federally and in California, it’s challenging to keep up with the changes and especially to help folks understand why we’re doing what we’re doing. It’s also equally important that we don’t lose sight of those touch points that are happening in the community — those constant and critical reminders of why we do what we do. It’s not for shareholder value. It’s distinctly for the purpose of caring for those who need it most. And as mission-driven not-for-profits, I think local plans like IEHP do it the best.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
I love all the personal connection points that happen when I go out and put on a headset with the member services team, or visit a physician office or hospital campus. I’m getting to see mission in action among our team internally and externally through the work of our partners and the funding we provide to providers. That is incredibly rewarding because you get to see the fruits of your labor and the work of the individuals who are actually making an incredible difference.
Describe your leadership style in one word.
What person or mantra has had the greatest impact on your professionally?
A physician named Dr. Darel Courser. He sponsored me to go to private school when I was young. My family all migrated here during the Dust Bowl years from Oklahoma and we grew up very poor. He just saw something special and said, ‘I’m going to invest in this kid.’ He was an incredible mentor and supporter for me and really believed that the whole idea, as cliché as it sounds, that one person can make a difference is so true. He passed away a few years ago, but his spirit lingers on.
What health care trends do you think [or hope] we will see in the next five years?
I hope to see a more collegial and partnership-minded approach to solving issues on the front lines in our communities. Between the local health plans, the State and our providers and hospitals — the entire continuum — that there could be more of a collaborative approach. Now more than ever, it behooves us all across the continuum to find ways to really come together and be the voice of the patient and member.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
For me, it really comes down to taking care of people. I’ve always felt like our job as executives is to take care of the people who take care of people. And that whole concept can get lost sometimes in the corporate shuffle and the worry about bottom line and margin. I believe my “legacy”, if you will, in other roles has been that I’ve always made sure that that our work was treated as sacred because we’re caring for the most vulnerable people. That is a pretty amazing call to me.
What makes you tick?
I do what I do because I have a passion for our patients and members. This is a calling for me in that we do have a very unique mission to care for folks that need it the most. I don’t know of any other profession where you can have such a dramatic impact on the communities you serve. I love what I do.
Name one item on your bucket list.
My wife and I haven’t yet traveled down to South America. We really want to get down there; I’m hoping we can do that soon.
What’s the last book you read?
Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
I’m most content when I am ____________.
Doing what I love. When you feel like you’re really making an impact and a difference, that just gets you jazzed. You don’t need coffee in the morning to do that.