RISE National 2021 Remembers Dr. Martin L. Block
Dedication to Medicine Fueled Administrator’s Passion to Improve Patient Care
Some people remember the late Dr. Martin Block’s natural ability to engage and inspire audiences. Others recall his knack for simplifying keen industry insights for risk and quality professionals. But most people reminisce about how his passion to improve patient care influenced them.
In the spirit of the RISE National's (formerly RISE Nashville Summit) mission to encourage continuous improvement in the healthcare system, organizers each year give out The Dr. Martin L. Block Award for Excellence and Innovation. A relatively new award, this prestigious accolade acknowledges an individual’s effort to enhance the lives of America’s seniors through clinical leadership, policy vision and by superior example.
Block’s Career in Medicine Spans 35 Years
Dr. Block’s focus on delivering quality patient care led him into healthcare administration early on in his career. As doctor of 35 years, his dedication to improve medicine fueled his rise among the ranks of several major health plan management companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Aetna and United Healthcare.
No matter his title – medical director, chief medical officer or vice president of clinical services – he stayed fixated on his mission to improve quality of care, and he worked long hours every day to develop and improve processes that benefit patients and healthcare professionals.
A Brief History Behind the Block Award
As a regular speaker at the annual Medicare Advantage mega-conference, Dr. Block was at home on the RISE stage educating and inspiring his audiences.
Before his 2013 RISE presentation, Dr. block passed out. Another testament to his dedication, he continued with his presentation shortly after he was revived. Later, he went to the emergency room and eventually was diagnosed with brain cancer. Dr. Block died six month later, at age 62, on Oct. 28, 2013.
In recognition of his contributions to innovations in risk adjustment, and to honor his life’s work, the RISE Association, Dr. Block was posthumously recognized with the first Martin L. Block Award in March 2014. His wife, Rita, and daughter, Abbey, accepted the award on his behalf.
A Dedicated Life and Career
Dr. Block, or Marty, graduated from Northwestern University Medical School with a Doctor of Medicine degree. He completed his internal medicine residency in 1978 at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. He began his private practice in Riverside, CA, where he was active in the medical community.
As a certified professional coder, Dr. Block gained critical insights into risk adjustment, quality and outcomes management. He eventually moved to Scottsdale, AZ, and went on to earn several awards for his dedication and passion.
The 2019 award recipient is Mark Dambro, M.D., senior vice president of health informatics for Signify Health. In his current role, Dr. Dambro uses his clinical and technology background to transform the quality and delivery of care.
Dr. Dambro was selected largely in part for his career spent enriching the lives of his patients, fellow physicians, and colleagues through his unwavering dedication to improving patient experience and care by utilizing data and technology.
The recipient of the 2018 Martin L. Block Award is Manjusri Vennamaneni, MD, Chief Medical Director and Chief Quality Director for Access Health Care Physicians, LLC. Dr. Vennamaneni leads the group practice and its Independent Providers' Associations (IPAs) with special focus on compliance, quality, care management, patient engagement and outcomes.
The award recognized her multifarious achievements that contribute directly to the mission of Access Health Care Physicians and its IPA. “It is a great honor to receive the Martin L. Block award,” said Dr. Vennamaneni. “It is a very humbling experience. Learning about Dr. Block’s services to the community and healthcare inspired me to continue to strive for better quality care for patients.”