Earlier this year, Michael (Mike) Roaldi was named the CEO of the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Ohio. In this role, Mike is responsible for overseeing UnitedHealthcare’s Medicaid business in the state. An Ohio native, Mike brings many years of Medicaid experience both at UnitedHealthcare and prior to his roles in health care, as a practicing attorney and as the executive director of the state of Ohio's Tax Credit Authority.
Mike is especially passionate about children’s health initiatives. He has worked to improve pediatric health care both in Ohio and around the world, serving as a governing board member for the Tiny Lives Foundation, which provides shelter and medical care to children affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Lesotho.
Mike recently answered a few questions related to his new position and shared some of his background.
What are your responsibilities in your new role?
My overarching responsibility is to execute on our mission – to help people live healthier lives and help the health care system work better for them. The way we set out to accomplish that in Medicaid is unique because our members face a variety of obstacles. For example, they are on average more likely to have medical conditions and challenges related to social determinants of health. We, as a managed care organization, have a unique opportunity to use the resources and efficiencies of UnitedHealthcare to serve this population, and it is ultimately my responsibility to ensure we do that in the best way possible.
What are your goals in this position?
Our main goal is to serve our members. I believe that managed care can have an impact on the biggest health-related challenges the state faces. We have all of the tools and resources to impact the opioid crisis, infant mortality, chronic diseases and even homelessness. If we use our enterprise resources in a disciplined, data driven way, we can be part of the solution for those key challenges. To do that, we need to make data part of our DNA. We are constantly evaluating the impact of our clinical programs to understand how we are impacting member health. For instance, our analysis has shown that an opioid addicted member is far more likely to seek treatment if we are able to reach them and assign a care manager to them. We took that information and used it to inform our care management strategy, but also designed a value-based contract to incentivize providers to do the same. That allows us to broaden the reach of care management to address more members.
What is the biggest health challenge in the state?
It is hard to pick just one. I’ve already mentioned some of the work we’re doing to combat the opioid crisis, I’ll highlight our efforts to reduce infant mortality, which is another huge issue facing our state. While we still have a lot of work to do, I know the work we’re doing with the city of Columbus and the CelebrateOne program is making a difference. We’ve collectively set out to reduce the infant mortality rate by 40 percent and cut the racial health disparity gap in half by 2020. And we’ve been able to help the city reach these goals by providing a $1.7 million grant to train and deploy 72 Community Health Workers across Columbus to educate mothers to-be, mothers and their families. The Community Health Workers have screened more than 3,600 women since the inception of the program and have educated more than 13,000 Columbus residents and connected them with resources, programs and services to help reduce infant mortality.
What is one of the best books you’ve read and why? Or, what is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve been given that sticks with you to this day?
Someone wrote in my high school yearbook, “Learn these three words and you will be successful in life: ‘I was wrong.’” That was a wake-up call. I think about that all of the time, and I’ve learned that the ability to admit my mistakes is what allows me to grow.
As far as books go, I tend to read the classics, and Hemingway is my favorite author. My favorite business book is “Good to Great.” It’s a little dated, but I took a lot of lessons from that book. That book crystallized for me the importance of building a great team, staying committed to your people and having a clearly defined mission.
What is your managing style?
I’m a promoter. The most satisfaction I get professionally is seeing someone on my team succeed. I look for opportunities to put team members in a position to succeed and then try to get out of their way. I consider it the ultimate success as a manager when someone on my team gets promoted, even if it means they’ll leave my team. That said, I also think it is important to give people meaningful feedback, especially high performers. It’s easy for managers to neglect giving feedback to high performers because they are doing a good job, but I find that they actually crave the advice. Regular feedback helps keep them engaged and they are the most likely to act on it.
What has impressed you about the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan team since taking over as CEO?
Their compassion. We have a fantastic care management team, led by Kim Crandall. I have had the pleasure of traveling around the state to meet with our teams in what we’re calling “Regional Drop In” sessions. When I ask for feedback, the responses are ALWAYS focused on ways we can better serve our members.
What do you do in your spare time away from the office and the day-to-day grind of the job?
I have three children and all are under the age of seven. They take up the majority of my spare time, and I love it. We spend a lot of time at parks, pools and museums. We also like to travel. We have family spread out all over the country, so we’re always looking for opportunities to go visit them.
Favorite spot for lunch or dinner in Ohio?
Truthfully, my favorite place for dinner is my parents’ kitchen in Cleveland. Both of my parents like to cook traditional Italian food, and usually a few family members or neighbors are also joined around the table. It’s always a lively crowd and great food.
Mike received his undergraduate degree in history and philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and received his law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School. He is a member of the Colorado, Illinois and Ohio Bars. Mike and his wife have three children and lives in the Columbus area.