The formation of the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHA) by the Continua Health Alliance, mHealth Summit and HIMSS solidifies what has been a close working relationship into what will “represent the consumer voice in personal connected health.” With the three organizations having worked together for some years particularly in relation to the mHealth Summit, the PCHA will now be the Summit’s formal presenter with Continua, HIMSS and the Foundation for the NIH as partners. Clint McClellan, Qualcomm’s Senior Director of Business Development and Continua’s board chair, is the acting chair and the PCHA will be located in Arlington, Virginia. According to Rich Scarfo, Vice President of the PCHA and the developer of the mHealth Summit,“The Personal Connected Health Alliance, in cooperation with the mHealth Summit and Continua, will continue driving the industry forward by generating a new knowledge base around the personal connected health space, providing a strong and united voice on policy, regulatory issues and government relations, and advancing education and awareness for the widespread adoption of personal connected health technologies.” Continua, after a few uncertain years while it shifted from a sole mission of interoperability standards and certification to combining that with advocating personal telehealth, now enjoys a membership of roughly 200 companies and has largely shed its ‘subsidiary of Intel’ reputation. The mHealth Summit has undergone its own shifts from a focus on governmental and NGO wireless health to a much wider scope (and major expansion) courtesy of HIMSS. Certainly PCHA’s activities will bear watching with this tripartite backing. Release on HIT Consultant (hat tip to publisher Fred Pennic), mHealthNews, YouTube video
One can only speculate on PCHA’s mission overlap with another DC advocacy group, the Alliance for Connected Care. The latter, a thinly veiled lobbying group [TTA 13 Feb], has been strangely quiet, with the news section of its glossy website not updated since early March. (Lobbying is best done quietly?)
[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]The Gimlet Eye observes from a houseboat anchored at a remote Pacific island, with coconuts and occasional internet to Editor Donna.
Telehealth and telemedicine have reached a US milestone of sorts: the formation of a Washington, DC-based ‘advocacy’ (a/k/a lobbying) group constituted as a business non-profit. The Alliance for Connected Care is headed by three former Senators (two of whom were ‘amigos’) from both sides of the aisle and backed by a board including the expected (giants Verizon, WellPoint, CVS Caremark, Walgreens)–and the surprising (much smaller remote consult provider Teladoc and HealthSpot, the developer of the HealthSpot Station kiosk–hmmm, must be a fair chunk of their marketing budgets there) flanked by six well known ‘associate members’ including Cardinal Health and Care Innovations (another hmmm). There’s also a hefty ‘advisory board‘ including the American Heart Association and the NAHC (home care). The leadership team members are all members of major Washington law/lobbying firms. Tom Daschle is recognized as one of the most influential former Senators in town via DLA Piper, though himself not a registered lobbyist (OpenSecrets.org). Trent Lott and John Breaux hung out their own shingle and were recently bought by mega-lobbyist Patton Boggs. To put a fine point on it, more high-powered one does not get. The Eye sees that the time is prime for the Big Influence and…
What the Eye sees is Big Financial Stakes: Private insurers are required to cover telehealth in 20 states, as does Medicaid in most. The VA is a major user. But the great big trough of Medicare is new territory; covering 16 percent of the population, the use of telemedicine and telehealth is limited to certain geographic areas. (MedCityNews) This marks the infamous tipping point: the clarion call to ‘build significant and high-level support for Connected Care among leaders in Congress and the Administration’, ‘enable more telehealth to support new models of care’ and ‘establish a non-binding, standardized definition of Connected Care through federal level multi stakeholder-input process’ (whew!) Big companies want in, insurers want reimbursement, and they want it from somewhere as well. Toto, we’re not in the Kansas of Small anymore with ‘connected health’–we are now in the Oz of Big Money and Power Players. Alliance release (Oddly the website looks preliminary despite the big announcement and backing.)
More on this strategy: It’s called ‘soft lobbying’ and it is the latest thing in the Influence Wars. The Alliance for Connected Care is a 501(c)6 non-profit, similar to a business league like the Chamber of Commerce, and this has become a popular tactic. It’s also a less regulated, less transparent way to shape coverage, public opinion and exert influence on legislators. See this well-timed examination from the Washington Post on the corn syrup versus table sugar wars. ‘Soft lobbying’ war between sugar, corn syrup shows new tactics in Washington influence