Moda Health President Dr. William Johnson balances life, work, play

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Articles - September 2013
Monday, August 19, 2013


0913 LWP WilliamJohnson
Moda Health President William Johnson is a self-proclaimed "gym rat." 
// Photo by Adam Wickham

Dr. William Johnson is the first president of Moda Health, formerly known as ODS Health. A thoracic and vascular surgeon, he attended medical school at the University of Southern California and completed a fellowship in thoracic surgery at Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Johnson lives in Portland, with his wife, Dr. Nathalie Johnson, and 13-year-old daughter, Noelani. His son, Akhi, is an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. “Our life is made up of one large book, each chapter building on the next,” Dr. Johnson says. “My goal is avoiding the trap of not learning from the previous chapters. If I can accomplish this one tiny objective, the book will undoubtedly have a happy ending. So far, so good!”

“I keep a number of different books at my bedside that I refer back to and re-read. One is A Complaint Free World. Daily we can forget about what incredible opportunities we have and how thankful we should be. Another is The Purpose Driven Life — why are we here and how can we improve? I’m also reading Quiet, about introverts. It resonated with me because I’m a pretty quiet individual.”

“My wife is a breast surgeon in Portland. We met during residency. She was a couple years ahead of me when I was an intern. She invited me over to a dinner party, and I thought a bunch of residents would be there. It turns out I was the only guest; she asked me out on a date! She is my absolute best friend, my soul mate and my confidante. I could not envision my life without her.”

“My wife and I like going for long walks, hiking, mountain biking in Whistler. Because our lives are so busy, we really like to shut out the rest of the world and just spend time with the family. I am an absolute gym rat. However, I do have two deep, dark junk-food weaknesses. Everyone at work knows, because whenever they have to give me bad news, I’ll find Snickerdoodles and dark chocolate Kit Kats on my desk.”

“People always say ‘used to be a surgeon,’ but I laugh about that. I’m still a surgeon. When I applied to USC undergrad as a biology major, my goal was to work for the FDA. As a bio major, everyone assumes you’re pre-med, so that’s how I went down the physician path, which I loved. But the business side of me has always been there. This role has allowed me to use that other talent I had all along.”

“What I love about my job is teaching and helping develop leaders. Our motto is ‘be more, be better,’ and having the ability to help Oregonians improve their lives from a health standpoint is the most important thing. When I practiced surgery, taking care of the patients one at a time was very gratifying, but now taking care of entire populations at a time is incredibly rewarding.”



+5 #1 MsGuest 2013-10-19 03:18:46
Dear Dr Johnson,

I'm so glad Moda is in such good financial shape they were able to pay $40 million to get their name on the Rose Quarter. Was that why my premiums went up? How does this improve my healthcare? Or is that not exactly what Moda is all about?

Just Wondering,

Taizz Medalia RRT
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+2 #2 RE: Moda Health President Dr. William Johnson balances life, work, playGuest 2013-10-19 05:55:15
Dr Johnson -- Please think about "taking care of entire populations" by leaving our sports arenas alone and lowering our health-care costs while improving our health care. That is your job. Please do it, or resign. Thank you.
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+3 #3 I hope he sleeps well at night...Guest 2013-10-29 05:53:47
meanwhile, the company he is president of squanders their profits, kicks disabled children off their insurance plan and denies payment for a medication for a terminally ill cancer patient.
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+3 #4 Once a doctor...Guest 2014-08-13 21:49:41
He now has Moda health denying any new physicians the abililty to contract with Moda. This is the only insurance company in Oregon doing so. As a primary care physician my advice is to avoid Moda Health at all costs and choose another insurance provider. This guy seems to be more about boosting his own ego than taking care of Oregonians.
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-3 #5 ignoranceGuest 2014-10-16 09:04:40
All of these comments are just opinions of folks who have no idea what they are talking about. its a good idea to get the facts before you spout off your mouth
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+1 #6 CheatGuest 2014-12-10 18:48:11
He also was caught cheating on his re certification exam for surgery. Really?
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0 #7 Peter PerlygatesGuest 2014-12-19 04:15:19
Quoting Guest:
All of these comments are just opinions of folks who have no idea what they are talking about. its a good idea to get the facts before you spout off your mouth

Oooh. Deets please. What do you know? What has the article missed? Why do you defend this cheater? Or are you Mr/Dr Johnson? Hmmmm?
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0 #8 Peter PerlygatesGuest 2014-12-19 04:17:43
This guy's actions are out of this world. Even worse, MODA CEO's response -- whaaaa?? If this is o.k. with MODA's CEO, then there's bigger problems here.
Johnson should not be at MODA in 2015. He's not fit to lead. Period.
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