Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) CEO Jarrod McNaughton is not your average chief executive. He is known for his approachability with team members and IEHP members and his willingness to travel to every corner of the region to listen, learn and compassionately serve the needs of the most vulnerable populations within the Inland Empire.
As CEO of one of the top 10 largest Medicaid health plans and the country’s largest not-for-profit Medicare-Medicaid public health plan, he works collaboratively with the IEHP Governing Board to set the strategic vision, and provides executive leadership to over 3,000 team members and growing. He cultivates IEHP’s strong partnership with providers, hospitals and hundreds of community partners to deliver quality, whole-person care for more than 1.6 million members. Additionally, he ensures financial stewardship and stability for IEHP’s more than $5.4 billion operational budget.
McNaughton’s unwavering commitment to improving the health and well-being of the entire region led to the creation of IEHP Foundation. He is an active IEHP Foundation Board of Directors member, providing guidance and insight to fellow board members and Foundation leadership.
Outside work, he enjoys spending quality time with his wife, Heidi, singing, watching musical theater and flying single-engine planes.
We asked McNaughton about his vision for the IEHP Foundation and how the health plan and Foundation will work together to advance Vibrant Health for all in the Inland Empire:
Q: Why was the Foundation established? And how is it connected to IEHP?
A: When we originally thought about creating the Foundation, a tremendous amount of research and work went into carefully creating the “why.”
While IEHP does a fantastic job of caring for our members, we knew we needed an instrument to help raise the tides for all who call the Inland Empire home. The Foundation can tackle even broader regional issues by focusing on Vibrant Health: lower the incidence of disease across the IE, find ways to improve air quality, reduce food deserts and be a force for greater equity, social justice and reduce disparities.
Since IEHP Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization with a separate board of directors, it can partner with other grantmaking organizations and funders who want to see significant change in the IE.
Q: What are some of the strengths/opportunities within the Inland Empire?
A: We have so many strengths and opportunities in the IE, it would be hard to list them all! From our growing demographics, making our region one of the state’s only growth areas, to the unique geography that makes us a perfect innovation testing ground for new and novel ideas, the IE is poised to do incredible things. Our communities are some of the most passionate you’ll ever find with a sense of community that is second to none.
Q: What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the region?
A: Our region has some huge obstacles, including housing, transportation and health care quality. While we’re seeing a massive influx of people into the IE, affordable housing must be at the forefront of our community decision-makers, so we’re never pricing our own residents out of the area.
Because the IE is so geographically large, with the largest landmass county in the U.S., transportation is vital in ensuring people have access to food, high-quality health care, education and more. And speaking of high-quality health care, we have an enormous opportunity to continue focusing on supporting our provider community through innovative ways to meet national and state benchmarks in quality. Our providers have the desire to improve quality measures, but our systems and how we connect with one another limits our ability to demonstrate just how good we are. We must find inventive ways to be more connected and share data seamlessly.
Q: What is your favorite place to visit in the IE?
A: I love Mexican food! I’ll stop at local restaurants throughout the IE to try different versions of enchiladas, tacos and more! We have some of the best Mexican food in the U.S. right here in the IE!
What does “inspiring and igniting Vibrant Health” mean to you?
A: Our Mission and Vision at IEHP Foundation is all about being a catalyst for our community. The ideas, willpower and grit already exist in our community. All we need to do is be the magnifying glass to get these ideas in motion, ensuring our local residents know their passion for positive change will be supported!