Cambia Health Solutions

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Cambia Health Solutions
IndustryHealth care
HeadquartersPortland, Oregon, United States
Key people
Mark Ganz: President & CEO
Number of employees
5,000 (2017)

Cambia Health Solutions is a nonprofit health care company based in Portland, Oregon.[1] It is the parent company of Regence, a member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association operating in Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Washington; Asuris Northwest Health; BridgeSpan Health; and LifeMap.[2][3]

Prior to November 2013, Cambia was known as The Regence Group.[1] Cambia is the parent company and/or investor in more than 20 companies in the U.S. According to Cambia, as of 2017, the company has approximately 5,000 employees serving six health plans in four states, and provides insurance to more than 2.6 million people.[4]

On March 12, 2019, Cambia and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced a strategic affiliation. The entities would remain separate but would be managed by a unified team operating under the Cambia name.[5]


Cambia began in the Pacific Northwest as Pierce County Medical Bureau in 1917, when timber workers decided to pool their wages together in case one of them experienced injury or sickness. Cambia's predecessor company was formed by a series of mergers in the 1990s to create a "regional alliance" (Regence) of nonprofit health plans that would be substantial enough to continue operating in its historical service areas as national for-profit insurers entered the market.[4]

In the Pacific Northwest, there were approximately 30 health plans in 1997 and by 2002 there were 20. Activity increased when Thurston County Medical Bureau merged with King County Medical Bureau, and increased more when Pierce County Medical Bureau and King County Medical Bureau merged with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon (which had themselves merged in 1983), to form The Benchmark Group in 1995 with Richard Woolworth as CEO. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Utah joined in 1996, and Blue Shield of Idaho joined shortly thereafter, under an administrative services agreement that allowed BSI to remain owned by its members as a mutual insurance company, but have Regence handle the management. Skagit County Medical Bureau and Whatcom County Medical Bureau merged in 1998, as part of the unaligned movement, to form Northwest Washington Medical Bureau. In 2001, Northwest Washington Medical Bureau merged with Regence. In 2003, Richard Woolworth retired, and his place was taken by Mark Ganz.[6]

In 2017, Cambia celebrated their 100-year birthday by giving all employees four hours of paid volunteer time and a 50 percent match on all their charitable giving during August.[7]

Cambia Grove[edit]

In 2015, Cambia Health Solutions founded Cambia Grove, a health care innovation hub. According to the company, Cambia Grove was created as part of their ongoing innovation strategy. The hub focuses on supporting health care startups through the creation of a startup census, a database of health care startups in Washington State that includes 468 health startups in Washington state, 305 in the life sciences area, and a number of companies in the digital health, health IT, and health care services.[8]


In 2007, the Cambia Health Foundation, Cambia's 501(c)(3), was founded as a grant-making organization focusing on investments in the areas of palliative care, health care transformation, and children's behavioral health. The company's regional health plans launched their own comprehensive palliative care benefits program in June 2014. Since 2009, the Cambia Health Foundation invested more than $30 million to advance palliative care awareness, access and quality.[9]

The foundation's investments include Sojourns, a program focused on developing, planning and implementing hospital-based palliative care programs in the Pacific Northwest. In 2014, the Cambia Health Foundation created the Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program to promote the next generation of palliative care leaders by investing in their projects and professional development. Selected scholars each receive a two-year, $180,000 grant to conduct innovative and effective clinical, research, education, or policy project and to develop and implement a personal leadership development plan. In addition, an Advisory Board member mentors each scholar. As of June 2017, the Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program has approved four cohorts, each consisting of 40 leaders in the field (10 each year), and given out a total of $7.2 million in grants.[9][10][11]


Cambia Health Solution invests in non-insurance health care technology and service companies such as GNS Healthcare, Qliance, and True Link. Most of these investments are through their investment arm, Echo Health Ventures.[12] In 2016 Cambia Health and the investment arm of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Mosaic Health Solutions, combined to form the investment entity Echo Health Ventures.[3] According to Echo Health Ventures, their goal is to deploy capital to health care companies with a consumer-centric focus. Cambia Health Solutions has also made investments in digital health companies such as TytoCare, MDsave, Maxwell Health, Wildflower Health, PokitDok and ClearCare. It has launched companies including HealthSparq, OmedaRx, LifeMap, SpendWell, and Hubbub Health.[13][3]

In 2016, HealthSparq and SpendWell Health joined under the HealthSparq brand to offer a health care e-commerce platform that would allow members to comparison shop for health care and purchase medical appointments.[14][15]

Executive compensation[edit]

Regence's president, Mark Ganz, earned $897,671 from Regence BlueShield in Washington in 2008, including a bonus of $550,548. In Oregon, his compensation package totaled $872,665. In both states, Ganz brought home $1,770,336. The other high ranking Regence officials with six-figure salaries included Mohandas Nair, executive vice president and chief marketing executive, who earned $356,681 from Washington, and $295,140 from Oregon for a total of $651,821. Regence's treasurer, Steve Hooker, treasurer, who's announced his retirement, earned $337,543 from Washington and $304,641 in Oregon for a total of $642,184. William Barr, executive vice president of operations, took home $430,926 from Washington, and $377,119 from Oregon for a total of $808,045. And, Kerry Barnett, executive vice president of Regence's corporate division, earned $312,482 from Washington and $302,990 in Oregon for a total of $615,472.[16]

Regulation, investigations and lawsuits[edit]

The Seattle Times published an article on February 8, 2012 alleging that non-profit insurance outfits, including Regence BlueShield, are stockpiling billions of dollars in reserves while simultaneously increasing their rates.[17]

In 2014, a class lawsuit was filed challenging the corporations' nonprofit status, and it was dismissed with prejudice.[18]


  1. ^ a b Andy Giegerich (7 November 2011). "Regence parent changes name to Cambia". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  2. ^ Brad Carlson (22 March 2012). "New name for Regence Life and Health Insurance". Idaho Business Review. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Baum, Stephanie. "Mosaic Health, Cambia Health join forces to make digital health investments". Med City News. MedCityNews. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Cambia Profiles in Innovation" (PDF). Cambia Health Solutions, Inc. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Blues North Carolina CEO Conway to lead Cambia Health under strategic affiliation". Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  6. ^ "The Regence Group". Reference for Business. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  7. ^ Giegerich, Andy. "5 things to know for Monday, including a look back at Cambia's generous month". Portland Business Journal. Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  8. ^ McGrane, Clare. "As health tech booms, new census counts more than 460 health startups in Washington state". Geek Wire. Geekwire, LLC. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  9. ^ a b Maguire, Peggy; Pantilat, Steven Z. "Foundation Addresses Critical Need For Palliative Care Workforce And Leadership Development". Health Affairs. Health Affairs. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  10. ^ "Sojourns Scholar". Boston College News. Boston College. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  11. ^ Cruz-Oliver, Dulce M. "The Cambia Sojourns Scholars Leadership Program: Conversations with Emerging Leaders in Palliative Care". Journal of Palliative MedicineVol. 20, No. 8. Journal of Pallative Medicine. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  12. ^ Moukheiber, Zina. "Strategic Investors: A Digital Health Start-Up's Best Friend?". Forbes. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  13. ^ LaGasse, Jeff. "Mosaic, Cambia Health Solutions partner to create Echo Health Ventures". Health Care Finance. Health Care Finance. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  14. ^ Hayes, Elizabeth. "Cambia startup helps consumers get savvy about drugs". Portland Business Journal. Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  15. ^ "HealthSparq Creates First-of-its-kind Platform for Health Care Comparison Shopping and Appointment Purchasing". Cambia Health News. Cambia Health. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  16. ^ Lund-Muzikant, Diane. "Congress' Look at Executive Pay Includes Regence". The Lund Report. Lund Report. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  17. ^ Times Staff. "Surplus profits should be factored into insurance-rate decisions". Seattle Times - Opinion. Seattle Times. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Judge Dismisses Attempted Class-Action Suit Against Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon | The Lund Report". Retrieved 2019-06-15.