Episode 95: Ochsner’s Warner Thomas Talks About How Pandemic, Storms Have Changed Healthcare

Over the last two years, Ochsner Health and other healthcare providers have navigated an extraordinary set of challenges related to the pandemic and extreme weather events. On this week’s podcast, Warner Thomas, the president and CEO of Ochsner, discusses the lessons learned in the process and how they will change the healthcare industry going forward.

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Warner Thomas is the president and chief executive officer of Ochsner Health, which oversees a network of 40 hospitals and nearly 200 sites of care throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. Ochsner offers an array of services through its 4,500 affiliated physicians and has 34,000 employees that serve more than 1 million patients each year.

Ochsner recently launched an initiative to raise Louisiana’s overall health ranking among U.S. states from 49th to 40th by 2030. In collaboration with leaders and organizations across the state, this strategy includes major investments designed to eliminate barriers to healthcare in underserved urban and rural communities; use technology and innovation to improve outcomes; collaborate with academic partners to research and better understand health disparities; and expand educational programs and scholarships to develop Louisiana’s next generation of healthcare providers.

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Thomas has spearheaded programs designed to help patients manage chronic conditions while also maintaining focus on preventive measures, health screenings and education. In 2015, he launched innovationOchsner, a lab designed to create health advancements that address national issues including chronic disease, as well as to support and partner with companies working to revolutionize patient-centered care. He also led the creation of the Ochsner Learning Institute as well as other professional education programs.

Thomas is a board member of the American Hospital Association and a member of Baylor Scott & White Holdings board of trustees. He is a former member of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, served as chairman of the American Hospital Association Section for Health Systems Governing Council and is a past member of the board of the American Medical Group Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges Advisory Panel for Health Care and Council of Teaching Hospitals. He is also a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a former Louisiana Hospital Association board member. Thomas received an undergraduate degree in accounting and computer information systems from New Hampshire College and his MBA from Boston University.


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