Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) today announced the appointment of Peter Andruszkiewicz as the president and chief executive officer of the local, nonprofit insurer effective late May 2011. James E. Purcell, who has undertaken a sweeping transformation of the company’s operating strategy in an effort to moderate long-term healthcare costs and improve the quality of care for all Rhode Islanders, will retire at the end of 2011.
“Peter Andruszkiewicz’s track record of working collaboratively with providers, customers and other stakeholders to improve the healthcare system make him the ideal choice to continue the transformative work started by Jim Purcell,” said Deborah R. Jacobson, BCBSRI Board Chair. “He fully supports our mission to provide Rhode Islanders with improved access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. In addition, Peter’s 30 years of health insurance industry expertise make him uniquely qualified to play a leading role in working with the state’s leaders to implement healthcare reform here in Rhode Island.”
Andruszkiewicz will leave his post as president of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia, where he spent three years successfully leading operations for the state’s largest nonprofit health plan. His many years of health insurance expertise include a strong background in sales, marketing and general management at Kaiser, CIGNA HealthCare and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of the National Capital Area (now CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield).
A native of Salem, Massachusetts, Andruszkiewicz graduated from Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts and serves on its board of trustees. He is an active community member, having also served on the boards of the Henry W. Grady Health System Foundation, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta YMCA, among others.
“I'm so honored to have been selected for this important role,” said Andruszkiewicz. “Although I’ve enjoyed working for larger organizations in other parts of the country, Rhode Island’s size and deep local relationships provide such a unique opportunity to have a real impact on helping people live healthier lives. I grew up just north of Boston, have family in the Providence area, and am really looking forward to coming home to New England.”
According to Jacobson, the search for BCBSRI’s next president and CEO was a methodical and thoughtful year-long process. To help identify the best possible pool of qualified candidates and ensure the integrity of the selection process, BCBSRI’s Board of Directors secured a national search firm, Spencer Stuart. In an effort to determine the type of leader best suited to lead BCBSRI, Spencer Stuart interviewed key government, community and medical leaders. A total of 124 different local and national candidates were contacted and/or considered for the job.
“Jim Purcell is a real leader,” explained Jacobson. “He initiated sweeping and transformative change of BCBSRI as part of his ongoing efforts to improve healthcare quality, access and affordability. He is a national advocate for mental health parity, delivering testimony to Congress in support of these important benefits. But most importantly, Jim championed the state’s primary care physicians, increasing their reimbursement rates and making long-term investments in electronic health records and patient-centered medical homes in an effort to improve the quality of care and make primary care physicians the focal point of local healthcare.”
To ensure a smooth transition, Purcell will honor his current contract and remain onboard in an advisory capacity through the end of 2011. Purcell, 65, has served as president of the health insurer since January 2005. Under his leadership, BCBSRI has strengthened its position as a market, industry and community leader and remains the only commercial insurer in the state that provides guaranteed health coverage, regardless of pre-existing conditions. Among his many achievements, Purcell leaves a rich legacy of dedication toward improving the Rhode Island community through charitable good works and support for the uninsured and underserved.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state’s leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit www.bcbsri.com and follow us on Twitter @BCBSRI.