July 2021 Edition
Planning for 2021 Summit Heats Up;
Dan Mendelson Slated to Keynote!
With this year's Innovation Summit and Capitol Caucus just around the corner October 26-27, 2021 there's been a flurry of planning activity as of late, to ensure the 2021 program is top notch!

Many speakers and panelists are already part of the program, and we're pleased to announce that Dan Mendelson, CEO of Morgan Health, a division of JP Morgan Chase, has just agreed to serve as a keynote speaker on Day One. Dan was previously Founder and CEO of Avalere Health, a healthcare advisory company based in Washington DC, and he also served as Operating Partner at Welsh Carson, a private equity firm. Before founding Avalere, Dan served as Associate Director for Health at the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton White House. Dan currently serves on the board of Champions Oncology (CSBR) and is adjunct professor at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. He previously served on the boards of Coventry Healthcare, HMS Holdings, Pharmerica, Partners in Primary Care, Centrexion, and Audacious Inquiry. He holds a BA from Oberlin College, and an MPP from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. 
Register Today and $AVE on Early-Bird Rates!
If you haven't yet reserved your space at this two-day conference, why not today?
By registering today through Eventbrite, you'll lock in reduced-price rates. This year's Summit is both a live, in-person event, but you can also participate virtually as well. Click to check out more details about the event! To learn about event sponsorship opportunities, click here.
Supreme Court Ruling Helps Health Plans Communicate with Consumers
A recent Supreme Court ruling gives health care providers a little more freedom to send automated text messages to patients.

Earlier this month, the High Court sided with Facebook Facebook, Inc. vs Duguid  in a case involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, ruling that the company didn’t have to adhere to TCPA guidelines because it doesn’t use a messaging system that randomly or sequentially stores or generates a telephone number. In doing so, the court essentially redefined an automatic telephone dialing system, or autodialer. As a result, as long as the dialing equipment does not use a random or sequential number generator, a digital health company will not be required to obtain ‘prior express written consent’ from their patients before sending them a text, provided other aspects of the TCPA are complied with.

Health care providers are still able to utilize the health care messages exception to the TCPA, which allows health care providers to place artificial/prerecorded voice calls to cellphones, without the patient’s prior express consent, in order to convey important informational “health care messages.” Examples include appointment confirmations, prescription notifications, and exam reminders. Under the “health care messages” exemption, there are restrictions (e.g., patient-users cannot be “charged” for the call or text message; no more than three messages initiated per week; content of messages must be strictly limited to allowed purposes and cannot include marketing, advertising, billing, etc.). 

PHA, through its Executive Director Thomas L. Johnson, will be joining a discussion this month to talk more about this important ruling for health plans.
PHA Endorses Legislation
Recently, PHA endorsed a series of bills aimed at promoting priorities of the Population Health Alliance in the social determinants of health space:

1) The SDOH Accelerator Act (H.R. 2503)
The bill would create a federal grant program to empower states and local governments to tackle persistent economic and social conditions — like limited access to health care providers, stable housing, reliable transportation and healthy foods — that often hinders health outcomes. PHA joined hundreds of medical and social-services organizations including Aligning for Health, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, eHealth Initiative, Uber Health, Aunt Bertha, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association to advocate for the passage of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2021, as outlined in a letter sent this week by the Aligning for Health association to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

2) The Leveraging Integrated Networks in Communities (LINC) to Address Social Determinants (S. 509)  A bipartisan bill that simplifies interfaces with community organizations providing SDOH and health care; allows for bi-directional information and capacity management, and provides some consumer assistance. Many health care organizations, including Aligning for Health, have also endorsed the bill.

3) The "Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2021" (S.104/H.R 379)
This bill requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish a program to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequities by, for example, coordinating activities across the CDC. As part of the program, the CDC must award grants to eligible organizations to build capacity to address social determinants of health. The CDC shall provide for an independent evaluation of certain grants and report findings to Congress. 
SAMSHA Telehealth Treatment Guide for Mental Illness, Substance Use Released
SAMSHA Guide: Telehealth for Treatment of Serious Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders

The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has fulfilled its charged related to the 21st Century Cares Act, and has disseminated information on evidence-based practices and service delivery models to prevent substance abuse misuse and help people with substance use disorders, serious mental illness, and serious emotional disturbances get the treatment and support that they need. This Evidence-Based Resource Guide Series Overview and Report can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.
U.S. Chamber to Collaborate with PHA
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has invited the Population Health Alliance to serve on its Equality of Opportunity Initiative. The Chamber will be looking for best practices in four key areas: (1) maternal and child health; (2) vaccine hesitancy; (3) clinical trials; and (4) access to primary care. PHA has also been invited to serve on this committee. 
Article of Interest: JAMA Network Open
"Evaluation of Health Equity in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plans in the United States"

SARS-CoV-2 and the resulting COVID-19 pandemic has affected more than 106 million people worldwide with more than 2.31 million deaths as of February 2021. Upon the emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine by the US Food and Drug Administration, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine developed an overarching framework to assist US policy makers in planning for equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccines. Minority populations have approximately 5 times greater risk of adverse COVID-19 consequences related to social determinants of health that may exacerbate patient comorbidities. Equitable distribution would eliminate vaccination disparities while mitigating the disproportionate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in underserved populations, which are disadvantaged because of limited access to health care, low socioeconomic status, or race. This study aims to determine how every state planned to ensure equitable vaccine distribution.

PHA Executive Director's Remarks
As we enter the second half of 2021, I can’t help but think about where this country was a year ago. No vaccines, states and cities shut down, protests surrounding George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, a heated election… thankfyully, things seem much calmer now. Jurisdictions are opening back up, and over half the nation is fully vaccinated.
PHA is beginning to transition its way back from the pandemic as well, though scars and challenges remain. We're having a hybrid Annual Summit on October 26-27 in Washington, DC an in-person event though because everyone is not vaccinated and a new Delta variant strain is on the rise, we opted for keeping a virtual component for people not ready yet to travel.

And other changes in today's reality: Medicaid enrollment is now over 80 million. Companies are not only grappling with the need for office space, but also, especially in the hospitality industry, battling to recruit employees. The world including this country suffered trauma in a manner we have never before confronted, and we are still struggling with it. Challenges remain, and our guard as leaders in health care must not let down. Here’s to a productive and healthy second half of 2021.
PHA Executive Director
PHA Welcomes Two New Members
PHA is pleased to announce two new members have been welcomed to the Alliance.

Acenda is an integrated health care organization providing over 100 life-enhancing programs and services to individuals, families, and communities across 10 counties in New Jersey. They are dedicated to world-class prevention, treatment, and wellness services. Dr. Anthony DiFabio is the President and CEO, and Melissa Fox is the COO.
Cenevia comes to us from Henrico, Virginia. They eliminate operational burdens so that healthcare delivery champions can focus on providing high-quality and cost-effective health outcomes. Cenevia focuses in the areas of quality improvement, health information technology, software training services, credentialing, and health plan quality partnerships. Rene Cabral Daniels serves as the CEO. 
Please join us in welcoming both companies to the Alliance. 
Check It Out - We've Spruced Up Our Look!
You might have noticed that our organization's materials are looking a little different these days. To help energize our efforts and freshen things up, we've tweaked our logo colors to a more vibrant and bolder look. Watch for more updates as we move forward and expand our new branding efforts.
The 2021 PHA Innovation Summit is Sponsored By: