After dedicating 40 years to the healthcare field and working to improve care systems, Rene’ Coult-Calendine is retiring!

We honor her role in Minnesota’s healthcare industry and reflect on her career spanning the payer and provider space.


Where did you grow up?

I was born in California and grew up in the Twin Cities.

What did you study in college?

For my undergraduate degree, I attended the University of Minnesota where my studies focused on Education and Psychiatry. Subsequently, I received my MBA from St. Thomas.

What was your first job?

I started working at North Memorial in a coffee shop when I was 16 years old. My mom was the head of dietary for North Memorial, so anyone who knew my mom or me ended up with a job there! I stayed at North Memorial through college and worked in the emergency room as an ER tech. It was a fast-paced job where I gained a great appreciation for medical care and the importance of connected teams.

What’s your family like?

My husband Cal and I have two grown children, Ben and Layne. Ben and his wife Kelly have two children – Quinn (4) and Levi (2) – and our daughter, Layne, is married to Ryan. We are a close-knit family and love to spend time together at our cabin up north.


Where do you work?

I have been with M Health Fairview for the last 10 years.

What is your current role?

I am the Vice President of Business, Market, and Product Development. While I have enjoyed my career at Fairview immensely, the time to retire has come and I did so on June 1!

How did you get your start at M Health Fairview?

I had been working at Blue Cross Blue Shield on the health plan side for almost 20 years and wanted to get back to the care system side. The desire to influence care pivoted me towards Fairview.

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?

Early on at Blue Cross, I was in charge of product development and built out a complete health and wellness portfolio called Blueprint for Health. We oriented all of the resources at Blue Cross towards a portfolio framework to take services to market
and augment health products. This is a very common practice now, but was a new way of thinking at the time.

More recently at M Health Fairview, I led the development of the new Accountable Care model and the establishment of multiple payer relationships. Many of the ACO products and models in the market today actually originated out of M Health Fairview as a result.

M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital


What is your Healthcare background?

When you start out working in a hospital like I did at North Memorial, you become familiar with that environment. Thanks in great part to that early background, I ended up staying my entire career in healthcare. After North Memorial, I started working at United Hospital (before it was purchased by Allina), then Cigna, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and M Health Fairview.

What challenges do you see needing to be solved in the healthcare industry?

First, collectively as health plans and care systems, we still need to get a good handle on how to effectively manage and bring down the cost of healthcare in the industry. This challenge requires a level of collaboration that we’re just starting to see in various relationships and emerging payment models. Second, there are areas of duplication between healthcare and health plans. We need to look where we continue to overlap and offer differentiation in our service delivery.

Collectively as health plans and care systems, we still need to get a good handle on how to effectively manage and bring down the cost of healthcare in the industry.

What areas are you seeing the most innovation in healthcare right now?

We’ve seen innovation happening in new payment models and ways to access care - including virtual care, remote monitoring, and telehealth. The COVID-19 environment has really accelerated adoption and increased consumer comfort levels in interacting with the healthcare system in a more virtual way, as well as provider comfort in managing patient care remotely.

What major changes can we expect in healthcare post-COVID-19?

In addition to increased comfort with virtual care, I think we will see an ongoing move to more consumer engagement and control as people take more responsibility for their own health. We will likely see a change in how many actual clinics and brick-
and-mortar facilities are in a particular community, as other ways to access care and reduce the need for physical spaces.


How were you first introduced to RHR?

I worked with Rajat Relan [founder of RHR] at Blue Cross Blue Shield and he reached out to me when he first considered forming the Advisory Committee. I was one of the first to work with him and get involved!

How long have you been on the Advisory Committee for RHR?

I have been on the Advisory Committee since it was formed seven years ago.

What has been your favorite panel so far?

There have been so many informative panels! One that really stands out was ‘Debunking the Myths of Behavioral Health & Technology’ with panelists from MOBE, Ginger, and Optum. They shared about innovative, virtual programs and challenged one another in a way that I really appreciated.

Who would you love to see on a panel someday?

More than a specific individual, I would love to see an upcoming panel centered on the topic of for-profit healthcare versus not-for-profit healthcare and the models that emerge as a result. It would be interesting to discuss what offers a better contribution to society.


What movie could you watch over and over?

I have a great fondness for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The Big Chill is another one – I love the soundtrack in that movie.

What was the last book you read?

I read a lot of books, probably two or three a week. One that stands out is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – it was so well-written that you easily get absorbed into the story.

Where is your favorite travel destination?

We love spending time at our cabin, but in terms of big trips, I would pick the South of France. I’m French by background and feel a unique sense of home and belonging when I’m there, as if I’m with my people.

Where is your favorite place to eat?

My husband is an excellent cook, so I enjoy his meals at home. I like The Sample Room and The Sonder Shaker in Northeast Minneapolis, as well. The latter has outstanding Tuna Poke Nachos!