February 7, 2011

JHM appoints VP for health care transformation, strategic planning

John Colmers

John Michael Colmers, former secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, has been named Johns Hopkins Medicine vice president for health care transformation and strategic planning.

In this role, Colmers will support the executive leadership of Johns Hopkins Medicine in strategically positioning the expanding Johns Hopkins system to respond to health care reform and other near- and long-term market forces.

As secretary of health and mental hygiene, Colmers led a $9 billion agency that’s responsible for protecting, promoting and improving the health and well-being of Marylanders through a broad spectrum of programs including Medicaid, public health, behavioral health, state health facilities and regulatory oversight. Under his leadership, Medicaid coverage was expanded to more than 200,000 parents and children, substance abuse services expanded to 33,000 low-income adults, dental services to low-income children improved, and the Clean Indoor Air Act was enacted, among other achievements.

“As we prepare for the inevitable changes resulting from new health care reform laws and other market forces, it is imperative that we do so in a thoughtful, effective and strategic manner,” said Edward D. Miller, the Frances Watt Baker, M.D., and Lenox D. Baker Jr., M.D., Dean of the Medical Faculty at The Johns Hopkins University and chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “There are few individuals who are as qualified as John Colmers to help guide and shape our response to these sweeping changes.”

Ronald R. Peterson, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said, “John brings a unique set of skills and beliefs to Johns Hopkins Medicine. His vast expertise in health care policy issues and strategic planning is coupled with a strong humanistic belief in helping all Marylanders and others receive the best possible health care. This has been the guiding principle of Johns Hopkins for more than a century, so we believe that John is a perfect fit in terms of our strategic needs as well as our mission and vision.”

Prior to joining Health and Mental Hygiene, Colmers was senior program officer for the Milbank Memorial Fund, an endowed New York–based national foundation that provides nonpartisan analysis, study, research and communication on significant health policy issues. Prior to joining the fund, he spent 19 years in Maryland State government, where he held various positions, including executive director of the Maryland Health Care Commission and the Health Services Cost Review Commission, the agency overseeing Maryland’s all-payer hospital rate-setting system.

“I am thrilled to join Johns Hopkins Medicine, where I can apply what I have learned over the years in public service and in the private sector,” Colmers said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of an enterprise that is embracing the challenges of reform and strives to lead the nation in fulfilling the promise of the Affordable Care Act as it was enacted or may evolve.”

Colmers has a bachelor’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University and a master’s in public health from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the immediate past chairman of Academy Health and a member of its board of directors. He is also a member of the Commonwealth Fund’s Commission on a High Performance Health System and the past chairman of the steering committee of the Reforming States Group, a bipartisan group of executive and legislative leaders. From 2004 to 2007, Colmers served on the board of directors of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.