Dr. Lisa Ali had been on a lifelong quest to find her professional home. “I’m a fixer,” she says. “I wanted to find a place where I could fix things and really have a major impact.” As soon as she learned about agilon health’s vision of transforming care delivery, she knew the company was a place where she could do just that.
agilon health is transforming health care in the United States by partnering with primary care physicians at the local level to enable the transition to value-based care for their senior patients. Value-based care rewards quality of care over volume of services. Ali, a veteran leader with two decades in the healthcare industry and ten years in senior-level positions at large and complex managed care organizations, joined agilon in 2019 and now serves as the organization’s chief compliance officer.
It’s a role she spent her entire life preparing for after pivoting from working in corporate law to healthcare. The Caribbean native once spent her days in a Belize law firm assisting attorneys but was not excited by corporate law. Being exposed to setting up US corporations, one thing sparked her attention: the photos and descriptions of Long Beach, California, where some of their clients was based.
With her husband’s desire to move closer to his immediate family there, she set her sights on moving and relocated two blocks from the beach, making Long Beach her new home. The transition set Dr. Lisa Ali on a new and exciting path. She took a job as a medical assistant and found fulfillment in helping people get better.
But the more she helped patients, the more passionate she became. She wasn’t content with just doing the basics. Ali wanted more. She used her knowledge to help patients understand disease processes, prevention, and treatment, but one of Ali’s peers said she was acting “outside her role.” Ali responded by taking the necessary steps to elevate herself to the role of registered nurse (RN). “I wanted to help people in a more direct way, so I dedicated myself to getting the required education and professional training to do just that.”
As a new registered nurse, Ali found herself “at the bedside” where she worked with critically ill patients. In efforts to educate patients on preventive measures, she realized they weren’t in the right frame of mind to be educated while going through “health crises.”
“I started wondering what role would allow me to prevent patients from getting hospitalized in the first place,” she explains. So, she decided that she needed to see what exactly was happening in patients’ homes; she decided to become a home health nurse to meet patients where they were most comfortable and open to change and learning.
During her quest and research to get ahead of health problems, Ali discovered the role of case manager and realized that through education and proactive actions and interventions, she could have an impact by preventing admits and readmits in patients. To “copy, print, repeat” a skill that was now second nature to her, she became a manager of case managers with later advancement to director, then vice president.
Guided by the standards from the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Ali had her first taste of compliance. She started finding new opportunities to make improvements and set up policies and processes to ensure her teams and employer were compliant with the rules and guidelines.
By the time Ali joined agilon in 2019, she had completed a master’s degree at California State University and earned a doctorate in Organizational Leadership. She was looking for the right place to leverage her education and experience. That is when she learned that “agilon is forming partnerships with physicians to change the way patients receive care. I saw this as the future of health care, and I wanted to be a part of it,” she says. “Every step I made in my career led me to this place.” She had learned about providing care, case management, and compliance.
agilon’s model emphasizes quality, not fees. Ali started at agilon as director of healthcare services, later incorporating roles in quality management and quality improvement before becoming their chief compliance officer.
Dr. Lisa Ali set out to continue the compliance program and has helped further develop agilon’s program around the foundations and pillars that shape an “effective compliance program” in accordance with the Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, and US Sentencing Guidelines.
“Every step I made in my career led me to this place,” she says. Her experiences in providing care, case management, and compliance came together as Ali started to unite disparate guidelines to ensure agilon continues to comply within existing rules and laws as it moves forward. In doing so, she worked to align the program with the company’s vision and mission. Forming good relationships helped Ali encourage her colleagues to understand and embrace a culture of compliance.
Despite her passion for her work, Dr. Lisa Ali has managed to reserve time to serve as a coach and mentor. She acts as an advocate, coaches people from past and current employers, is a member of agilon’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, and leads agilon’s Black@agilon employee resource group.
As these things come together, Ali fulfills her lifelong goal of making a major impact on people, companies, and communities.