Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the government had a tremendous role in keeping its citizens healthy.  Whether it was through programs like Medicare and Medicaid or through the VA or TRICARE, the government has been in the business of providing both acute and preventative care for decades.

And in a recent interview with Corporate Growth….Capital Style, Jericho Seguin, MAXIMUS Senior Vice President for Corporate Development, points out that the government’s healthcare enterprise is evolving. 

As the cost of healthcare rises, the government is turning to private sector expertise and technologies in order to provide quality care efficiently, while reducing the cost of care. 

In the below interview, Mr. Seguin points out why governments are making new investments in healthcare and healthcare technology, how private industry can contribute, and why the National Capital region is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that the industry creates. 

Corporate Growth…Capital Style (CGCS): Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your history at Maximus?  What involvement do you and Maximus have in the health and wellness industry?

Jericho Seguin: I joined MAXIMUS over a decade ago and lead its M&A, strategic planning, and new growth platform activities. Over the years, I also coordinated embassy relations and supported capital market activities as well as numerous strategic initiatives.

When I joined MAXIMUS, we had approximately $750 million in revenue; we recently reported over 30,000 employees worldwide and nearly $2.9 billion in revenue. A substantial amount of that growth has come from repositioning on new growth areas, including federal, healthcare appeals and assessments, and new geographies. In fact, MAXIMUS is a proud partner to government agencies in the United States, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, where it enables citizens to successfully engage with their governments at all levels and across a variety of services programs, including health and wellness.

CGCS: Why do governments require core capabilities like the ones that Maximus offers to run healthcare programs?  What value does that add compared to them doing it themselves?

Jericho Seguin: MAXIMUS helps government serve the people; more specifically, we support many vital programs that citizens rely on to get access to healthcare and social safety-nets, including Medicare, Medicaid, and international equivalents. Governments seek our core services because they strive to enhance the level of service that citizens receive while reducing costs to taxpayers. What makes MAXIMUS especially good at this is our years of running similar programs and developing programmatic expertise, process improvements, and building technology, together with people management. We have built tremendous intangible, irreplaceable value, and enable our customers to run programs more effectively.

CGCS: Health and wellness is a large and growing sector of the economy.  From your perspective, what are some of the most promising secular growth areas that people should be paying attention to within it?

Jericho Seguin: We have been blessed to work with healthcare and social care agencies around the world. This experience has given us insight into some of the common challenges that healthcare systems face.

Beyond problems relating to sustainability and cost effectiveness, there is the question of outcomes, and that is where wellness has the most potential. While the quality of our acute care system is undeniable in treating urgent needs, there is a tendency to forget about the patient as a unique and living being, and whose wellness is impacted by many factors outside the control of his or her doctor or insurer; the impact of that individual’s wellness on his or her happiness, productivity, or cost to the healthcare system is not unsubstantial.

Let’s not forget that wellness has some very basic tenants that many of us learned early in life including diet, exercise, the company we keep, and spiritual sustenance; but what is missing is the incentives for individuals to follow basic principles such as these, and for the healthcare industry to earn a return on related investments without cannibalizing their existing ones.

Policymakers and the private sector are making progress in figuring out the missing links. This is where tools that MAXIMUS is developing, such as MAXIMUS Connected Wellness, enable positive health behavior changes and help halt the progression of chronic diseases using evidence-based health coaching, and motivational interviewing and goal setting.

With that stated, the government wellness market is still very young with many competing theories and technologies available, like many areas of healthcare, it is slow to mature and adopt new technologies and processes, so it is very much a work in progress.

CGCS: How do you think COVID-19 will shape the health and wellness industry?  Are there technologies, or capabilities, that will need to be developed or used more widely in response to the epidemic?

Jericho Seguin: Historically, health and wellness has focused on physical health and wellness. Post COVID-19, there will likely be a faster shift to include more mental and emotional health and wellness as part of an overarching health and wellness strategy.

Indeed, while many are focused on the health and wellbeing of customers, employees, and stakeholders, there are new opportunities for the epidemic ecosystem of technology and service providers as COVID-19 highlights the importance of health and wellness. For example, the morbidity rate of those infected with COVID-19 is substantially lower for those that are healthier and free of chronic diseases. Additionally, reducing chronic diseases frees up hospital beds, which are needed in response to this epidemic.

Unfortunately, the impact of COVID-19 is not only a direct healthcare impact on the individuals and families infected, but also an economic and wellbeing one on those that are losing their jobs, livelihood, social and spiritual centers, and key services. The economic impact, in turn, has its own health and wellness ramifications on a much broader set of the population, hence the unique nature of this epidemic. Additional changes are in process; for instance, increased use of telehealth and reducing regulatory barriers are being addressed.

CGCS: Lastly, how is the National Capital region uniquely positioned to take advantage of this growing industry?

Jericho Seguin: The National Capital region is unique in that the intersection of policy, government, technology, and research and education have helped create one of the largest science and engineering workforces and hi-tech centers in the U.S. Healthcare policy development, federal governmental decisions or federal funding for state-administered healthcare programs happen in our region. These dynamics have generated a healthy level of deal-making and strategic growth initiatives. Any company with aspirations to pursue the health and wellness industry located in our area is in the right place.

To learn more about MAXIMUS and how it’s helping governments foster health and wellness solutions, click HERE.