September 2021 Edition
PHA Welcomes Bayer Pharmaceuticals as Our First Founding Corporate Partner
Bayer Pharmaceuticals, a multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, has agreed to become the Founding Corporate Partner of the Population Health Alliance. Bayer is committed towards better patient care across the globe. They focus on patient engagement, innovation, research, and collaborations with industry and academia. As a corporate partner, they will be involved with many aspects and programs of PHA. Bayer’s commitment in the Corporate Partner II category is a strong commitment to growth at PHA. We welcome Bayer to the PHA community and look forward to a longstanding partnership.
Health and Racial Equity Training Sessions Start Friday, September 17th
In just two weeks, PHA is kicking off a special eight-hour virtual training course on health and racial equity training. The four trainings will be held over four, 2-hour sessions on consecutive Fridays this fall.
During this course, brought to you by PHA and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, skilled instructors will review common terms and concepts used to promote health and racial equity within the public health spectrum. Participants will explore social determinants of health (SDOH), review case scenarios of successful institutional change, and enhance the knowledge and skills needed to apply a health and racial equity lens. Participants will build capacity to support actions that reduce disparities through policies, programs, and practices.

Sessions will be held on the following four consecutive Fridays
from 1:00pm- 3:00pm EDT: 
Session #1 – Friday, September 17
Session #2 – Friday, September 24
Session #3 – Friday, October 1
Session #4 – Friday, October 8
Registration Fees
PHA Members | $550
Non-Members | $750
Space is limited; so secure your spot today! Time is running out!
Number of participants will be limited to the first 35 slots
and then a waitlist will be started
Recent PHA-CareSignal Webinar Shows How to Drive Value-Based Success with Scalable Remote Monitoring
Our most recent webinar was a great success. Presented by PHA Member CareSignal on September 1, the hour-long session, "The Promise of Population Health: Driving Value-Based Care Success with Scalable, Equitable and Impactful Remote Monitoring," discussed how superior scalability of Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring addresses how companies can provide clinically valuable digital care while at the same time reach a broad population. The webinar was presented by CareSignal CEO and Founder Blake Marggraff, and PHA Board President Jaan Sidorov, MD.

To learn the nine key takeaways from the session, or to view the presentation in its entirety, click here.
Biden Administration Releases Medicaid and CHIP Guidance Targeting for COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing
As part of its implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), the Biden-Harris Administration is issuing guidance that provides essential information to states as they navigate the options available to advance COVID-19 vaccination and testing, and the Medicaid program’s broader aim of providing much-needed health coverage for millions of eligible individuals. To help states support families and communities and to continue to address health disparities, CMS will provide guidance to states about additional ARP funding for states to promote the importance of COVID-19 vaccination for eligible children and adults enrolled in Medicaid.

Testing for COVID-19 is an essential component to keeping the country’s schools open, which is why CMS’s new guidance highlights Medicaid and CHIP coverage for diagnostic and screening COVID-19 testing in a variety of settings, including schools. The guidance also reinforces that COVID-19 vaccines are available to nearly all Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries for free.

Under the ARP, states can receive a temporary increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) if they newly extend Medicaid coverage to certain low-income adults. Additionally, the ARP temporarily makes 100% federal matching funds available for states’ Medicaid and CHIP expenditures for COVID-19 vaccine administration.

“The Biden-Harris Administration continues to remind states that the fight against COVID-19 requires increased efforts to boost testing and vaccination,” said U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. “As families prepare children to return to school, today’s guidance reaffirms our commitment to provide free COVID vaccination and testing for all eligible Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries. I will continue to work with the states to get our communities vaccinated and healthy across the country.” Read more.

CDC to Launch New Center for Research and Analysis
Recently it was announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will launch a Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics. The new Center’s goal is to accelerate access to data for public health decision-makers who need information to mitigate the effects of disease threats. Read more from article, here.
Howard University Announces Center to Research Health Disparities
Last month, school officials announced that Howard University, along with several development partners, will begin construction in 2023 on a new center dedicated to researching health disparities. The aim of the National Research Center for Health Disparities — which will be next to the school’s college of medicine — is to attract pharmaceutical companies and biomedical research organizations that are focused on treating chronic illnesses, especially those that affect communities of color. The project, which will take up 260,000 square feet, will include a laboratory and an office building. Read more of article, here.
PHA Welcomes Hallie Allen to the Team
We're pleased to announce a new member to PHA staff. Hallie Allen started this month as Thomas Johnson's Administrative Assistant. Hallie will be a great help in keeping us all organized and to lend a hand with the PHA committees, webinar and basic administrative work. Hallie comes to us from Pinnacle Talent Acquisition (PTA) where she served as a Marketing and Research Specialist and focused on recruitment, human resources and quantitative and qualitative research.
From the Desk of the Executive Director...
COVID-19 Never Left....
Even though the public may have felt at ease, the health professionals knew; we were not in the clear with regards to COVID-19, and have returned with a vengeance. And with the presence of the Delta variant, as well as other strains abroad, the inability to reach desired vaccination rates has caused COVID-19 cases to skyrocket among the unvaccinated. Consider the following: 
  • Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Florida, and Arkansas have less than 10% left of their ICU-bed capacity according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Idaho had just four ICU beds available out of the 400 beds total in the state; 

  • The CDC presented data at its CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meeting that showed a hospitalization rate 16 times greater in the unvaccinated population than in those vaccinated; and

  • Last week’s 7-Day average is 142,006 of daily new cases, up 2.8% from the prior week. That average is 107.2% higher compared to the peak observed on July 20, 2020 (68,522). 
PHA Executive Director
According to the CDC website, a new study shows that the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States continue to be highly effective at reducing the risk of severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death. But protection against asymptomatic, mild, and moderate disease may decrease over time. On August 18th, HHS public health and medical experts announced a plan to begin offering vaccine booster shots this fall. 

All of this falls under the backdrop of a torrent of misinformation and disinformation primarily from social media that presents a serious threat to public health. Vaccine hesitancy is real, and all of us in the health care community must face the challenge of continuing our own efforts to educate those who are hesitant to get immunized. 

Bottom line is this: COVID-19 never left, and it may not be going anywhere anytime soon.  
Take a look at some of the latest happenings from our PHA Members:
ACLM Releases 3rd 'Food as Medicine' Installment

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) is pleased to announce that the third installment of its multi-part "Food as Medicine" CME- and CE-accredited course for medical professionals is now available. The course is intended to fill the gap in medical education on nutrition as an approach to help prevent, treat and mitigate many chronic diseases. The "Food as Medicine: Calorie Density-A Simple Yet Powerful Concept," installment defines calorie density and demonstrates the benefits of this approach with patients for weight control and optimal health. Lead faculty for the course is Anthony Lim, MD, JD, DipABLM, medical director of the McDougall Program and Lecturer at Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Santa Rosa, CA. This third installment follows “Food as Medicine: Nutrition for Prevention and Longevity,” launched in March 2021. More information and registration info can be found at 
Leaps by Bayer Leads $45M Financing in Sound Agriculture to Accelerate Sustainability Solutions for Food and Agriculture

Sound Agriculture, a company that is tackling sustainability through groundbreaking advancements in both food and agriculture, announced today that it has secured a USD 45 million investment led by Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment arm of Bayer. Northpond Ventures, a leading science and technology-driven venture capital firm also participated in the round, along with existing investors Cavallo Ventures, Fall Line Capital, S2G Ventures, and Syngenta Group Ventures. “We are focused on progressing breakthrough solutions that are grounded in biotech science to provide long-term answers to today’s food production challenges,” said Jürgen Eckhardt, Head of Leaps by Bayer. “Sound Agriculture is a true pioneer in the industry, bringing not one, but two never before seen platform technologies to market that have tremendous potential to innovate and advance sustainability in our food system.”
CareSignal Has a New Partnership!

Axis Community Health and Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center have become the newest organizations to announce their partnership with CareSignal and Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring. This partnership allows Axis and TVHC to identify opportunities for proactive care allowed in CCM billing and billable telehealth and in-person visits respectively. Here is a URL to our blog post with the full press release. Read press release.
3M Joins Water Resilience Coalition & Water Mandate

3M announced it is joining the Water Resilience Coalition (WRC) today, taking one more step forward in the company's ongoing commitment to help the nearly two billion people worldwide living in water-stressed and water-scarce communities. "3M is proactively applying our science and innovation to improve the water supply used in our operations and the communities we serve," said Mike Roman, 3M CEO. "We are committed to sharing our expertise on global water solutions, and our participation in the WRC will expand and amplify our efforts." By joining the WRC leadership committee and endorsing the United Nations Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, 3M will be working to preserve the world's freshwater resources and achieve a net positive water impact. It will also be better positioned to advance its ongoing work to improve the environment and build a brighter future around the world.
Medecision Welcomes New CFO and CTO

Medecision, a leading provider of integrated health analytics and software to health plans and value-based providers, announced today the addition of Quyen Nguyen-Haelle, CPA as its new chief financial officer, and Pavel Grebenshikov as its new chief technology officer. The two bring a combined 35 years of experience in key areas of interest including strategic financial planning, business intelligence, digital platform modernization, and cloud transformation programs. These hires, along with the recent appointment of Kenneth Young as president and CEO, mark a strategic focus designed to develop capabilities and accelerate growth to better serve Medecision’s customers and their members and patients, as well as enhance its position in the marketplace.
UPMC Health Plan Non-discrimination Statement

Since HHS announced modifications to Section 1557 of the ACA that, among other things, removed protections against discrimination in health coverage based on sex stereotyping and gender identity, UPMC Health Plan has received many inquiries as to how or if this change will impact our existing coverage. We continue to believe that every individual deserves to have equitable access to patient-centered, high-quality health coverage and healthcare that is provided with dignity and respect. Our commitment to nondiscrimination will not change based on the roll-back of Section 1557 or the narrowing of sex- and gender-related regulatory protections. We will continue to establish, maintain, and reinforce dignity, respect, and equality for all our members and to apply coverage terms and member cost-sharing equally and without regard for gender identity or gender expression. The rule will not change our existing coverage policies for gender-affirming procedures and related health services for our fully-insured members.*FN (Self-funded coverage may vary.)
Merck: Study Now Enrolling Participants Who Live in the Same Household as Someone with Symptomatic, Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19

Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced today the initiation of the Phase 3 MOVe-AHEAD clinical trial to evaluate molnupiravir, an investigational oral antiviral therapeutic, for the prevention of COVID-19 infection. The global study is enrolling individuals who are at least 18 years of age and reside in the same household as someone with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection with symptoms. For more information on the molnupiravir MOVe-AHEAD clinical trial, visit or “As the pandemic continues to evolve and surges are being reported in many places around the world, it is important that we investigate new ways to protect individuals exposed to the virus from becoming infected with symptomatic disease,” said Dr. Nick Kartsonis, senior vice president, vaccines and infectious diseases, clinical research, Merck Research Laboratories. “If successful, molnupiravir could provide an important additional option towards reducing the burden of COVID-19 on our communities.”
YMCA of the USA Names Suzanne McCormick as Next President & CEO

Suzanne McCormick has been named president and chief executive officer of YMCA of the USA (Y-USA). She will be the 15th person and first woman to lead the Y in the United States. McCormick brings more than 27 years of experience as a senior and executive leader in nonprofit, for-impact organizations to the role, most recently serving as U.S. President of United Way Worldwide and a member of their global management team. McCormick’s s tenure with Y-USA will officially begin in September, replacing Kevin Washington, the organization’s first Black president and CEO who is retiring after serving as Y-USA’s president and CEO for more than six years and after more than 40 years of service to the YMCA. 
Franciscan Health Olympia Fields' Center of Bariatric Surgery Named Center of Excellence

Gerald A. Cahill, MD, board-certified surgeon and Franciscan Health Center for Bariatric Surgery medical director, announced that The Clinical Sciences Institute (CSI) of Optum has awarded Franciscan Health Olympia Fields with The Center of Excellence (COE) designation for bariatric surgery. Optum COE Bariatric Centers are nationally-designated healthcare facilities shown to deliver quality specialty care based on objective measures developed with medical community input for patient safety and better health outcomes. To earn this designation, the Olympia Fields facility has demonstrated success in patient safety, clinical qualification and maintains a cost-effective contract for participation in the network. The Center has proven to provide access to excellent care in bariatrics, ensuring its ability to support patients with obesity concerns. Its success in meeting patient safety as well as bariatric-specific quality measures, including complications and readmissions, for bariatric procedures exceed expectations. 

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