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May 10, 2018

Andy Slavitt's newest project: Health technology to solve 'real human problems'

Daily Briefing

    Former acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt will co-lead a new venture capital firm called Town Hall Ventures that will focus on backing companies that deliver care to low-income, vulnerable populations.

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    Details on the firm

    Trevor Price, founder of executive search and investment firm Oxeon Holdings, and David Whelan, a managing general partner at Oxeon Ventures and former general partner and CFO of Accretive, will co-lead Town Hall Ventures with Slavitt.

    The firm plans to back companies that will seek to improve care for individuals enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, which totals more than 120 million people, the leaders said. They noted that such individuals also account for more than $1.2 trillion in health care spending.

    Town Hall Ventures currently is invested in four companies:

    • Aetion—a health IT and analytics firm that works with biopharma companies and payers to facilitate value-based care;
    • CityBlock Health—a primary care and behavioral health provider spinoff of Alphabet that serves the elderly and disabled;
    • Somatus—a kidney-care provider focused on improving treatment for patients with chronic kidney diseases; and
    • Welbe Health—a company that serves seniors who qualify for Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) programs.

    Town Hall Ventures looks 'to drive generational change'

    Slavitt said there is "a significant underinvestment on the part of innovation for the care of certain populations." He added, "Mission-driven entrepreneurs [are] out there aiming to address these challenges, but investors tend not to see them," instead favoring "bright shiny objects like wearable devices" over tools that target "real human problems."

    Price said the firm is "looking to drive generational change" through the companies it supports. He said the company "would love to hear from entrepreneurs who want to play a role in … building long-term, value-creating, sustainable businesses that also fulfill [Town Hall Ventures'] mission."

    Ultimately, Slavitt said the companies the firm backs not only will help patients, but also hospitals. "If you have two different people with the same disease, it costs a lot more to take care of someone if they have housing insecurity, food insecurities, if they don't have access to transportation to pick up their medications," Slavitt said. "And as a result, if they show up in [ED] after they haven't taken their medication, you have to manage back a situation that's much more challenging." Slavitt added, "If you can help a hospital take care of a patient in the community, everyone saves money and everyone wins" (Reed, FierceHealthcare, 5/8; Farr, CNBC, 3/4; Baum, MedCity News, 5/8; Modern Healthcare, 5/8).

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