October 2021 Edition
PHA's Innovation Summit Moved to Next Spring!
Hybrid In-Person and Virtual Leadership Event Rescheduled for April 12-13 in DC
Due to the increase in COVID cases across the country, and the impact the escalation is having on travel and attendance for both speakers and registrants alike, PHA has decided to reschedule this important leadership event to next year, so we can safely meet in-person and get the most out of our networking opportunities.

Originally scheduled for late October, now our next Innovation Summit & Capitol Caucus, entitled, Innovation in Resource Allocation: Population Health Management Strategies to Recover Losses and Accelerate Gains,” has been movedin its entiretyto April 12-13 at the same location at the Top of the Hill on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. This two-day event will also be a hybrid event, so you can continue to participate virtually, if you wish.

"Instead of making this special event just another virtually-only conference like so many others are having this fall, we thought it would be more advantageous to move the entire event as planned to a time when it should be safer to travel, with hopefully more people vaccinated, more who have had their booster shots, and during a warmer time of year," explains PHA Executive Director Thomas L. Johnson. "With DC hospital emergency room filled to more than 90% capacity, we wanted to be prudent to ensure the well-being of all attendees and speakers, but not compromise the quality of the program or experience."

For those who have registered already taking advantage of the early bird rates we simply transferred your registration to the new date and time. Watch this space for more news and developments about the spring of 2022 program. We will have more information coming to you very soon. And if you have questions, contact us at staff@populationhealthalliance.org
PHA, along with Healthcare Industy Mourns the Passing of Dr. Samuel Robert Nussbaum
PHA is deeply saddened hearing the sad news that renowned endocrinologist, physician executive, professor and researcher Sam Nussbaum, MD, lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on September 23. Sam served on the PHA Board and was PHA president in 2003-2004, when the organization was formerly known as the Disease Management Association of America.
Sam is known most for his time serving the Chief Medical Officer of WellPoint/Anthem and, was previously, Executive Vice President for BJC HealthCare. He had a wealth of executive experience in population health, care management, data analytics, provider contracting, and medical and pharmacy policy and contracting. As a professor and clinical leader at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital he has led basic science research, drug discovery, clinical studies, teaching and patient care.
Sam was a giant of the healthcare world. We send our sincerest condolences to his wife, Rhonda and his large loving family.  Read full obituary.
Merck and Ridgeback’s Investigational Oral Antiviral Molnupiravir Reduced the Risk of Hospitalization or Death by Some 50%
Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics today announced that molnupiravir, an investigational oral antiviral medicine, significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death at a planned interim analysis of the Phase 3 MOVe-OUT trial in at risk, non-hospitalized adult patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. At the interim analysis, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%; 7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalized or died through Day 29 following randomization (28/385), compared with 14.1% of placebo-treated patients (53/377); p=0.0012. Through Day 29, no deaths were reported in patients who received molnupiravir, as compared to 8 deaths in patients who received placebo. At the recommendation of an independent Data Monitoring Committee and in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recruitment into the study is being stopped early due to these positive results. Merck plans to submit an application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the U.S. FDA as soon as possible based on these findings and plans to submit marketing applications to other regulatory bodies worldwide.

“More tools and treatments are urgently needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become a leading cause of death and continues to profoundly affect patients, families, and societies and strain health care systems all around the world. With these compelling results, we are optimistic that molnupiravir can become an important medicine as part of the global effort to fight the pandemic and will add to Merck’s unique legacy of bringing forward breakthroughs in infectious diseases when they are needed most. Consistent with Merck’s unwavering commitment to save and improve lives, we will continue to work with regulatory agencies on our applications and do everything we can to bring molnupiravir to patients as quickly as possible,” said Robert M. Davis, chief executive officer and president, Merck. “On behalf of all of us at Merck, I thank our network of clinical investigators and patients for their essential contributions to the development of molnupiravir.”

PHA Submits Comments to SDOH Caucus
PHA submitted a letter to the members of the leadership of the Social Determinants of Health Caucus in response to the Caucus issuing a Request for Information about SDOH priorities. Our letter pointed to a number of priorities that PHA urged for the Caucus to consider, including but not limited to:

  1. Pandemic data clearly demonstrates that people of color are more likely to die or have severe cases of COVIS-19;
  2. Medicaid and social spending should be rebalanced;
  3. The power of data using health IT should be harnessed;
  4. Community-based workers should receive adequate pay; and
  5. There should be a match for community social need to social system capacity.

A copy of the letter sent to Rep. Bustos is attached here. PHA Member YMCA of the USA (the Y) also submitted comments, which can be found here
Federal Policies Recommended to Improve the Care of Individuals Living with COVID
COVID Patient Recovery Alliance’s Interim Report Outlines Recommendations for Federal Policymakers to Help Promote Recovery and Restoration

Recently, the COVID Patient Recovery Alliance released an interim report, “Towards Recovery and Restoration: Policy Recommendations to Improve the Care of Individuals Living with Long-COVID.” The multi-sector alliance aims to help the health care sector and federal policymakers address the health care challenges faced by individuals with post-acute sequelae of COVID-19, also known as “long-COVID."

The Alliance is a multi-disciplinary group of more than 20 leading organizations and individual experts across the health care sector. Together they are marshaling resources in a coordinated effort to analyze data to inform the development of models of care and assess the adequacy of current payment structures to help ensure individuals with long-COVID can get the care they need to recover and return to full health. Alliance members are leading health care organizations and include health care providers, health systems, health researchers, health data scientists, health policy experts, consumer advocates, and others.

PHA Welcomes Two New Members on Board — Xcellent Life and Mars, Inc.
Xcellent Life becomes one of our newest members!

Xcellent Life provides a comprehensive digital health platform that evaluates more factors utilizing a three-dimensional approach involving advanced methodologies (Relational Bayesian Networks, Polytomous, and Kaplan-Meier and its proprietary method for real-time human diagnostics (RtHD) for predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. And as a result, provides more personalized health insights and to help identify potential issues more accurately and faster than any of the other solutions. Xcellent Life uses an approach of being a data source agnostic then couples it with analytic capabilities to set them apart from the existing vendors who are providing generalized insights, but not RtHD as the Xcellent Life solution is designed to do.

Xcellent Health provides solutions in population health, corporate wellness, patient engagement and empowerment, insurance optimization, and research acceleration. Victor Brown is the CEO of Xcellent Life. 

"I believe that improving the health of the population is synonomous to advancing society, " states Brown. "The opposiste is also true; so it is imporant that we use our collective capabilities to ensure a better future, where human health and wellness is empowered by innovations and technological advancements."
Mars, Incorporated joins the PHA Family as well!

Mars, Incorporated is an American multi-national manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products, as well as a provider of animal care services. 

For more than five generations, Mars has evolved to create products and services that people (and their pets) love. Their history began in a kitchen when two men discovered their passion for food and created beloved confections that stood the test of time. However, in the more than 100 years since, they set our sights on also making a better life for people and pets alike. Mars is powered by science and the desire to be bold in order to create a better world for us all, today. As a family-owned, global business, they have the unique ability to have a big impact on the world. 

Cathryn Gunther, Global Head of Associate Health and Wellbeing, will serve as the main contact to PHA. 
PHA Joins Better Medicare Alliance in Pushing for Additional Medicare Benefits
PHA, as part of Better Medicare Alliance (BMA), recently sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to protect all Medicare beneficiaries in the upcoming Reconciliation bill. PHA was among the Coalition’s 46 leading consumer, disability, minority health, and provider organizations thanking Congress for taking steps to protect Medicare Advantage beneficiaries when adding new benefits to Fee-for-Service (FFS) Medicare and encouraging lawmakers to maintain this language in the final bill. 

FDA Amends Emergency Use Authorization on Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine
On September 22, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for use of a single booster dose to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series for:

  • individuals 65 years of age and older;
  • individuals 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19; and 
  • individuals 18 through 64 years of age whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19, including severe COVID-19.

More information on the FDA’s authorization can be found here.
Additionally, on September 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended:
  • people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
  • people aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
  • people aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks, and
  • people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

More information on the FDA’s authorization can be found here.
More information on the CDC’s recommendations can be found here.
PHA Member Transition to Success:
Z Codes and SDOH
PHA Member Transition to Success held a webinar on September 21st on "Housing and Food Insecurity: New "Z" Codes Effective 10/1/21" with presenter Lolita Jones, a Medico-Social Coding consultant who provides medical coding and reimbursement services. The ICD-10-CM codes included in categories Z55-Z65 and Z75 (“Z codes”) identify non-medical factors that may influence a patient’s health status, such as the member’s socio-economic situation, including education and literacy, employment, housing, lack of adequate food or water, or occupational exposure to risk factors such as dust, radiation, or toxic agents.

Here is a CMS link for the updated code as well as the slides from the 9/21 webinar presentation.
PHA ED Appears on 'Empowering Corporate Wellness and Population Health' Webinar
On September 20th, PHA Executive Director Thomas Johnson spoke as a featured panelist at a virtual forum promoted by EthAum Venture Partners, an incubator and accelerator which specializes in the deep-tech startups. The program, entitled "Empowering Corporate Wellness & Population Health." also included Saralynn Malott, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Grabango, and Victor Brown, President and CEO at Xcellent Lifeour newest memberas panelists.

Take a look at some of the latest happenings from our PHA Members:
Ray Fabius' Study Published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Congratulations go out to PHA Board member Ray Fabius, co-founder and president of HealthNEXT. The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) recently published his study, "Companies That Promote a Culture of Health, Safety, & Well-being Outperform in the Marketplace," in its June 2021 print magazine. The study featured as a Fast Track article reflects a decade of research to "connecting the dots" between employers' efforts to build and sustain a culture of health and their stock market performance.

Welldoc recently announced that it received another FDA 510(k) clearance for its BlueStar diabetes treatment platform. Columbia, Maryland-based Welldoc’s new clearance for BlueStar—the ninth in total—expands insulin dosing support to most types of insulin, including bolus and premixed insulin titration for type 2 diabetes. Previous FDA clearances include in June 2020 when the FDA cleared the BlueStar Insulin Adjustment Program for basal insulin titration. It also holds clearances for advanced AI capabilities and enhanced product features, according to a news release. Read full announcement.
CareOregon CEO Eric C. Hunter Named to Modern Healthcare's Top Diversity Leaders List

CareOregon is proud to announce that both the organization and its CEO Eric C. Hunter are being recognized by Modern Healthcare for leadership in diversity. CareOregon was named one of just 10 healthcare organizations nationally to receive this recognition. Likewise, CEO Eric C. Hunter was named one of the Top 25 Diversity Leaders in Healthcare. “I am humbled to be recognized alongside such a diverse group of leaders in healthcare,” said Hunter. “As an organization serving 500,000 Oregonians on the Oregon Health Plan, ensuring equitable access to care and services is core to our mission. The profiles of all the honorees and honored organizations are featured in the September 20 print issue of MH magazine and at ModernHealthcare.com/top-diversity-leaders.
CareOregon's Jonathan Weedman Appointed to Project Access NOW's Board of Directors

Jonathan Weedman, Vice President of Population Health at CareOregon, recently joined the Board of Directors at Project Access NOW. Project Access NOW, a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit organization, works to improve the health and well-being of Oregon communities.
Populytics, Inc. Makes the List of the Greater Lehigh Valley's Fastest-Growing Companies

Populytics, Inc., a leading population health management and analytics firm, and wholly owned subsidiary of Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), once again made the list of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s Fastest Growing Companies. This is the fifth consecutive year Populytics’ growth was recognized by Lehigh Valley Business and its event sponsors, Baker Tilly and Highmark. All 45 eastern Pennsylvania companies on the list have been identified as the region’s most dynamic and have significantly impacted the local economy in a positive way.
Bayer Middle East Announces Partnership with the United Nations' Population Fund Egypt

Bayer Middle East has announced the launch of a strategic five-year family planning partnership with the United Nations Population Fund in Egypt to support the Ministry of Health and Population’s campaign, entitled "Your Right to Plan." The campaign promotes rights-based approach to family planning and offers free family planning services. Furthermore, the campaign aims to provide access to family planning and reproductive health services, to raise community awareness, and increase demand for family planning services to Egypt’s underserved communities. Read full press release.
Kepro Acquires eQHealth Solutions LLC, Strengthens Population Health Managment and Technology Solutions

Kepro announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire eQHealth Solutions, LLC. This acquisition will expand Kepro’s population health management and technology solutions portfolio. “Facilitating care for priority populations is core to our work,” said Dr. Susan Weaver, President and CEO of Kepro. “The acquisition of eQHealth Solutions will enhance our ability to partner with government and commercial clients to improve healthcare quality, maximize efficiency and better leverage technology and analytics. I am excited about bringing the combined capabilities of Kepro and eQHealth to our clients.” eQHealth Solutions has been improving healthcare quality and reducing costs through innovative technology, population health management solutions and medical management services since its inception. The company’s expansive offerings include eQSuite®, a cloud-based, SaaS technology coupled with eQCare®, a community-based services solution.  
Geisinger St. Luke’s welcomes gastroenterologist to Schuylkill County

Geisinger St. Luke’s is welcoming a new physician to Schuylkill County to help continue making better health easier closer to home. Sagar Mehta, MD is now providing general and specialized gastrointestinal care for adults at the Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital campus. Dr. Mehta provides care for a wide range of GI problems and screenings. Dr. Mehta earned his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, completed his residency at Lenox Hill Hospital and completed fellowship trainings at Geisinger Medical Center and St. Luke’s University Health Network. He has been a physician in the Geisinger and St. Luke’s networks since 2012. He is board-certified in internal medicine and obesity medicine and is board-eligible in gastroenterology.
CareSignal Releases New Whitepaper with Partner, Innovaccer

Innovaccer, 2021 Best in KLAS for Population Health Management winner, has partnered with CareSignal to offer Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring to organizations and payers participating in value-based care on the Innovaccer Health Cloud. Learn from Dr. David Nace, Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Paul Grundy, Chief Transformation Officer, how Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring informs Innovaccer's risk stratification models for better care management with real time patient data. Read whitepaper here.
Four New Providers Join Franciscan Physician Network Obstetrics and Gynecology Lafayette

The Clinical Sciences Institute (CSI) of Optum has awarded Franciscan Health Olympia Fields with Franciscan Physician Network Obstetrics & Gynecology Lafayette is excited to announce it has four new providers who are ready to serve the Lafayette and surrounding community. These providers are Hollyn McCarty, MD; Ashley O'Shields, FNP-C; Jennifer Bradley, FNP-C and Taylor Becirevic, FNP-C. 

Hollyn McCarty, MD -a board eligible in obstetrics and gynecology. She received her Doctor of Medicine at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas. She then completed a Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology with Ascension St. Vincent Hospital Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. A clinical interest of Dr. McCarty's is da Vinci Robotic Surgery.

Taylor Becirevic, FNP-C - a family nurse practitioner, received her BS and Diploma in Nursing from St. Elizabeth School of Nursing in Lafayette, Indiana, in cooperation with University of Saint Francis (based in Fort Wayne, IN). She went on to receive her Master of Science in Family Nursing from University of Saint Francis. Taylor is certified in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Jennifer Bradley, FNP-C - a family nurse practitioner, received her BS in Nursing from Indiana Wesleyan University. At Wesleyan, she also received a Master of Science in Nursing. Later, she received a Family Nurse Practitioner Certification from Maryville University in St. Louis. Jennifer is certified in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Ashley O'Shields, FNP-C - a family nurse practitioner, received her BS in Nursing as well as her Master of Science in Nursing from Indiana University Kokomo in Kokomo, IN. Ashley is certified in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
American College of Lifestyle Medicine Adds Workplace Wellness Innovator Health Restoration Institute to Its Lifestyle Medicine Corporate Roundtable

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) has announced the addition of employee wellness innovator Health Restoration Institute to its Lifestyle Medicine Corporate Roundtable, a group of thought leaders and industry professionals who explore effective clinical innovations, activate marketing strategies, accelerate reimbursement and policy adoption, and pursue research and demonstrations of lifestyle medicine in practice. ACLM launched its Corporate Roundtable in 2016 and it now includes more than 35 active member organizations in the lifestyle medicine ecosystem. Read more of article.

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