MSNJ Member Profile – Richard Popiel, MD, MBA

Richard Popiel, MD, MBA, is a member of the Medical Society of New Jersey and President and Chief Operating Officer of Horizon Healthcare Innovations.  He will be a featured panelist on Wednesday, December 14th at 8:00 am when MSNJ co-sponsors “Innovation through Collaboration: A Healthcare Transformation Forum” along with Horizon Healthcare Innovations & the NJHA. MSNJ recently asked Dr. Popiel to provide us with his vision on how Accountable Care Organization (ACO) and Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) models will transform the way care is delivered in New Jersey.

MSNJ: Please tell us how you became interested in the implementation of Accountable Care Organization (ACO) and Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) models.
Dr. Popiel: Most health care leaders agree that our delivery system needs to be reformed when it comes to the quality and cost of care.  The status quo of the delivery system is not sustainable, and urgent action is necessary to collaborate with others to transform and improve New Jersey’s health delivery system.  Horizon Healthcare Innovations, which is a subsidiary of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, is launching programs, like Patient Centered Medical Homes and Accountable Care Organizations, to deliver improved patient care at a lower cost.  We feel these patient-centered care models give our delivery system the best opportunity to help all stakeholders achieve the goals of better health and better care at lower costs.

MSNJ: How do you see health care being delivered in New Jersey in the next 3-5 years?
Dr. Popiel: Over the next five years health care stakeholders will begin to work more collaboratively and focus on improving care coordination, preventive and well care, and help empower patients to take control of their own health.  In addition, the way health plans and government entities pay providers will move from a volume-based or fee-for-service approach to one where providers are supported to get and keep their patients healthy.  Health Information Technology systems to improve care coordination, as well as using new technologies and various communication methods to engage patients will be critical to transforming the delivery system.

MSNJ: What role do you see insurers having in the marketplace?
Dr. Popiel: Health plans play a leadership role in collaborating with providers to improve quality and make health care more affordable.  To this end, health plans can facilitate a more integrated and efficient delivery system.  Insurers have comprehensive patient data, strong IT systems and the ability to share this valuable information with doctors, hospitals and other providers.  This information can be a tremendous resource and give physicians and hospitals timely data to provide higher quality, more coordinated care for their patients.  Business as usual is not the solution. Health plans throughout New Jersey and the country need to step up in a collaborative manner and be a catalyst of change. 

MSNJ: Will the financial benefit to physicians be better or worse if they sign up to participate in ACOs or PCMHs?
Dr. Popiel: A key component of these new care models, including ACOs and PCMHs, is to pay physicians and other providers for delivering better care at lower costs.  Paying doctors for the number of tests ordered or treatments given doesn’t create a healthier New Jersey.  Physicians and provider groups that can get and keep their patient population healthy and provide efficient care may financially benefit from participating in these new programs.

Richard Popiel, MD, MBA, is President and Chief Operating Officer of Horizon Healthcare Innovations, a Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey company. His scope of responsibilities includes managing all aspects of the company, whose purpose is to launch new models of reimbursement and care delivery with network providers. He continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of Horizon Healthcare of New Jersey. He is also a member of the Board of the New Jersey Sharing Network (local Organ Procurement Organization), the local chapter of the American Cancer Society and the George Washington University Alumni Association.

Formerly, Dr. Popiel held the position of Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. His scope of responsibilities included all medical management activities at Horizon BCBSNJ including Quality and Care Management, Utilization and Pharmacy Management. Dr. Popiel served as the Chair of the National Council of Physician Pharmacy Executives, a Blue Cross Blue Shield Association council comprised of all Chief Medical and Chief Pharmacy Officers. He also served as the Chair of the Chief Medical Officer Leadership Group at American Association of Healthplans (AHIP) and was a member of AHIP’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Popiel earned multiple degrees while attending George Washington University in Washington, D.C., including a Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine. In addition, he earned a Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management in Chicago. He completed residency training in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine as well as fellowship training in Toxicology. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.

For more information on the “Innovation through Collaboration: A Healthcare Transformation Forum” please visit or click here to register online.


About MSNJ

Founded in 1766, the Medical Society of New Jersey is the oldest professional society in the United States. The organization and its dues-paying members are dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, working to ensure the sanctity of the physician–patient relationship. In representing all medical disciplines, MSNJ advocates for the rights of patients and physicians alike, for the delivery of the highest quality medical care. This allows response to the patients’ individual, varied needs, in an ethical and compassionate environment, in order to create a healthy Garden State and healthy citizens.

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