On July 8, 2021, the National Quality Forum (NQF) Board of Directors announced Dr. Dana Gelb Safran has been appointed as the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Safran will assume office effective August 16. This appointment concludes a six-month nationwide search conducted by a Search Committee of the NQF Board of Directors, led by the Board’s Vice Chair, Cristie Travis.
“Dana Gelb Safran’s unparalleled expertise and track record of using next-generation measurement science to improve performance, drive value, and promote equity makes her the ideal person to lead NQF as it enters its third decade of driving measurable health improvements. I know she will work tirelessly and effectively with NQF members, staff, and stakeholders in advancing our vision that every person experiences high value care and optimal health outcomes,” said Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA, NQF Board Chair, and President, Clinical Operations and Chief Medical Officer, HCA Healthcare.
Interim President and CEO, Chris Queram also shared a few remarks, “In my time leading NQF, I have come to believe that the next CEO would ideally be a recognized, respected, and accomplished leader with a deep understanding of the organizations, agencies, and individuals that comprise the measurement enterprise. Dana Gelb Safran fits that description perfectly. She possesses the vision, stature, expertise, and temperament to guide NQF to its rightful role at the center of our country’s quest for better health and healthcare value.” Following Dr. Safran’s appointment, Mr. Queram will move into a temporary advisory role.
Dr. Safran is an internationally recognized healthcare executive with a unique blend of accomplishment in business and academia. A central feature of her work has been combining the science of quality measurement with the art of its use to drive significant change in the quality, outcomes, and affordability of care. She was a lead architect of a payment model that combined accountability for quality, outcomes and total cost of care, and the results of which helped catalyze the payment reform movement nationwide. She has authored more than 85 peer-reviewed scientific articles on quality measurement, payment reform, healthcare disparities, and the use of behavioral economics to improve health outcomes and spending.
“I am honored to join the NQF team at this critically important time. The role of quality measurement in U.S. healthcare has never been more important,” said Dr. Safran. “The country’s continued shift toward value-based payment demands a next generation of performance measures in order to deliver on payment reform’s promise of better quality, better health, and increased affordability. In addition, the profound health inequities laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic demand urgent action, and measurement will play a central role in efforts to make progress toward equity. NQF’s history of bringing together public and private sector stakeholders is a tremendous platform from which to build and execute on this important and expanded set of priorities,” she concluded.
Dr. Safran’s prior roles include serving for more than a decade as a senior executive at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA), where she was a lead architect of the BCBSMA Alternative Quality Contract (AQC), which served as a model for public and private payers nationwide in the shift toward value-based payment. She was also a founding member of the executive team at Haven, a joint venture of major healthcare purchasers Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase to achieve better health outcomes, care experiences, and costs of care through transformative partnerships and innovation in care delivery, insurance, and payment. Most recently, she served as Senior Vice President, Value Based Care and Population Health at WELL Health, Inc. Dr. Safran has held a broad range of advisory roles in the public sector supporting efforts to improve health and healthcare and evaluating the appropriate role of quality measurement. Since 2017, she has served as a Commissioner of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). She holds a BA in Biology and Government from Wesleyan University and completed her post-graduate studies at the Harvard School of Public Health to earn an ScM and ScD in Health Policy and Management.
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The National Quality Forum (NQF) works with members of the healthcare community to drive measurable health improvements together. NQF is a not-for-profit, membership-based organization that gives all healthcare stakeholders a voice in advancing quality measures and improvement strategies that lead to better outcomes and greater value.