Margaret E. O'Kane
President, National Committee for Quality Assurance
Margaret E. O'Kane is the founding President of the National Committee for Quality Assurance and one of the nation’s leading advocates for improving health care quality through measurement, reporting and accountability. NCQA is the foremost accrediting organization for health plans including HMOs, PPOs, and consumer directed plans. NCQA-Accredited plans provide coverage and care to more than 80 million Americans. NCQA has developed, maintained and expanded the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), the nation’s most widely used health care quality measurement tool. HEDIS evaluates whether—and how well—health plans and health care professionals deliver the right care at the right time to the right patient.
In addition to her leadership of NCQA, Ms. O’Kane plays a key role in many efforts to improve health care quality. She is a member of the Quality Alliance Steering Committee, chaired by Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt. In 1999, Ms. O’Kane was elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine, a highly-regarded organization of health care providers, researchers and others that is frequently called upon to help shape national health care policy. She serves on many notable Boards of Directors, including those of the National Quality Forum, the American Board of Medical Specialties and the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making. She is also a member of the Composite Committee of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination. Under her leadership, in 2005 NCQA received awards from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, the American Diabetes Association and the American Pharmacists’ Association.
During her career, Ms. O’Kane has received numerous awards and recognitions. She was named Health Person of the Year in 1996 by the journal Medicine & Health. She also received a 1997 Founder’s Award from The American College of Medical Quality, recognizing NCQA’s efforts to improve managed care quality. In 2000, Ms. O’Kane received the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Champion of Prevention award, the agency’s highest honor. Ms. O’Kane frequently appears on Modern Healthcare’s annual list of the 100 Most Powerful People in Health Care.
Ms. O’Kane is a sought-after public speaker, regularly addressing audiences across the country on topics such as pay-for-performance, the value of accountability and the need to expand measurement in health care. She grants about 75 media interviews a year and has been a guest on the Today show, CNN, NBC, ABC and NPR and is regularly quoted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and other major daily papers. She holds a master’s degree in Health Administration and Planning from The Johns Hopkins University.