Blue Cross Appoints Dr. Ken Phenow Chief Medical Officer

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has named Dr. Ken Phenow, MD, MPH as its chief medical officer and senior vice president of clinical affairs.  In this role, Phenow will provide clinical leadership and oversee the company’s medical staff, and lead quality-based clinical improvement programs and medical policy development.

Phenow joins Blue Cross after serving as the chief medical officer for CIGNA Healthcare in North Texas and Oklahoma. He also has worked with UnitedHealthcare in various medical leadership roles, including time spent as the company’s medical director. He began his managed care career with Scott & White Clinic as an associate medical director in the College Station, Texas market.

Phenow is board certified in family medicine. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin through the U.S. Navy Health Professions Scholarship Program.

Phenow earned a master’s degree in health services administration and policy analysis from the University at California at Los Angeles School of Public Health. He also attended the University of California at San Diego, where he achieved bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and political science.

Blue Cross President and CEO Mike Reitz said that Phenow was chosen specifically for his experience and knowledge in improving healthcare quality and affordability. “Dr. Phenow’s appointment signifies Blue Cross’ continuing commitment to cutting-edge quality improvement programs,” Reitz said.

Phenow is already at work on several key initiatives. “We have two immediate priorities,” he said. “First, we need to empower Louisianians to participate fully in healthcare. Second, we need to change the pay model for healthcare to one where physicians are reimbursed for the quality of care they provide, rather than how many services they provide.”

Phenow says empowering patients will require education and building infrastructure, such as patient-centered “medical home” clinics where patients collaborate with their doctors on medical decisions.

Phenow also said he believes it’s time to spread the word about wellness. “It’s true that 70 percent of disease can be prevented by lifestyle changes.  Our challenge is to speak to the hearts of 100 percent of people and get them involved in the easy process of healthy living.”

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (BCBSLA) is the oldest and largest Louisiana-based health insurance company. BCBSLA is a not-for-profit, fully taxed mutual insurer, owned by policyholders and governed by a local Board of Directors. It is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

The company provides group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to more than 1.3 million members. With headquarters in Baton Rouge and eight district offices, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana employs more than 1,800 Louisianians who are committed to improving the lives of its customers by providing them with health guidance and affordable access to quality care.

Learn more on the company’s website at or on Facebook at Follow Blue Cross on Twitter at and CEO Mike Reitz at