Full Name
Karen Johnson
Job Title
Director, Performance Improvement & Innovation
Washington Health Alliance
Speaker Bio
Karen has a passion for making health care work better for more people at a cost they can afford. Achieving success in this endeavor often involves drawing outside the lines to create new approaches to old problems or forging unexpected alliances with this singular goal in mind. She possesses a broad understanding of the complex healthcare ecosystem with specific expertise in value-based strategies, advanced provider payment models, primary care transformation, clinical data interoperability, healthcare systems, health policy, and international comparative studies.

Karen has worked with employers, health plans, providers, and health systems over her 30+ year career. She bring a strong understanding that self-funded purchasers face having worked as a benefits broker/consultant for many years. She also brings a deep understanding of provider payment models having worked with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) on its value-based payment strategies and providing contracting initiatives, including shared-risk ACO contracting. Karen was integral to the development and successful evolution of Blue KC’s Patient-Centered Medical Home program. She co-wrote the successful Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation application which led to Kansas City’s selection as a Comprehensive Primary Care Plus region. This innovation program is estimated to bring approximately $50 million in new primary care payments to the Kansas City region over the course of its five-year duration.

In her role at the Washington Health Alliance, Karen works with all stakeholders to drive improvement in health and health care across the state. She works particularly closely with the clinical leaders from health care organizations (providers and health plans) that comprise the Quality Improvement Committee and the employers and unions that are represented in the Alliance’s Purchaser Affinity Group.

Karen holds a Ph.D. in Health Policy & Management.
Karen Johnson