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BOSTON — Atul Gawande’s new Boston-based health care venture has yet to design any products, but it could be changing the way some employees of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase receive their health care within the year, the venture’s chief operating officer told a federal judge on Thursday.

The venture’s COO, Jack Stoddard, testified for an hour on Thursday at a Boston federal courthouse during a contentious, technical, and unusually long hearing. The hearing was intended to determine the fate of David Smith, a former midlevel executive at Optum. Smith began a new job at Gawande’s venture, referred to in court documents as ABC, earlier in January. Optum is suing to prevent Smith from continuing to work for the new company.


“We’ve been asked to solve a very big problem,” Stoddard said. “What [the founding companies] hear and what we hear is that [employees’] experience is not ideal. They’re not getting the care they need and their costs continue to rise.”

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