By: Jennifer Dexter, Director, Policy

Last week, we hosted our annual Washington Representatives Retreat virtually. While we missed seeing our colleagues in Annapolis, MD, for our annual Retreat, by all accounts, it was a success!

The Washington Representatives Retreat is an opportunity each year to convene public policy and government relations professionals from NHC member organizations to discuss major policy developments and emerging issues, get input on the NHC’s policy priorities, and network with colleagues. While in person networking was missed this year, we attempted to recreate the experience through networking session on Thursday evening to gather and share our experiences, successes, and challenges working in a virtual or hybrid environment.

Administration Keynote

Erin Richardson, Chief of Staff at CMS joined us to share CMS priorities and hear from patient organizations their thoughts on specific issues including how CMS can improve patient engagement, health equity concerns, and telehealth priorities.

Opportunities for Collaboration to Increase Access to Coverage

Stan Dorn, Director of the National Center for Coverage Innovation, discussed new collaborations around access to coverage that have developed over the last year and the priorities of the cross-sector groups he is working with.

Drug Pricing

Matt Kazan, Principal at Avalere, gave an overview of the status of drug pricing policy, particularly those provisions in the Build Back Better Act. This session was particularly timely as the House was in the middle of debate on the bill during the meeting.


Eric Gascho, the National Health Council’s (NHC’s) Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs, hosted a discussion with Remy Brim, Principal at the BGR Group and Clay Alspach, Principal at Leavitt Partners, on the newly released PDUFA VII commitment letter. The purpose of this session was to help attendees get information on what lies ahead when the commitment letter is considered by Congress. Both speakers had previously served ats Congressional staff during previous PDUFA processes.

Medicaid HCBS and People with Chronic Conditions

Rachel Patterson from the Epilepsy Foundation and Nicole Jorwic presented on the importance of advocacy to increase access to Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) for people with disabilities and chronic conditions. This included overviews of HCBS provisions of the Build Back Better Act.

Creating a Telehealth System that Works for Patients

The NHC’s Senior Director of Research & Programs Dr. Elisabeth Oehrlein, Hannah Lynch from the National Psoriasis Foundation, and Dr. Sarah Woolsey from the Utah Department of Health, presented a trio of perspectives on what is needed to make telehealth accessible and effective. The perspectives of patient groups, policy professionals, and providers are all critical to designing the future of telehealth.

Closing Keynote

Amy Walter, Editor and Publisher of the Cook Political Report, gave a far-reaching overview of how the political environment is shaping health care policy and vice versa as well as some preliminary thoughts on the 2022 midterm elections.