Exploring Critical Business and Legal Issues across the Healthcare and Life Sciences Industries
Exploring Critical Business and Legal Issues across the Healthcare and Life Sciences Industries

Five Questions with a Health Policy Specialist: Rachel Stauffer of McDermott+Consulting

By on August 13, 2019
Posted In Uncategorized

Rachel Stauffer
Director, McDermott+Consulting
Focus Area: Health Policy Advocacy and Lobbying
Years at McDermott+Consulting: 1.5

What is your favorite part about your health policy work at McDermott+Consulting? 

We have a deep bench of experts on a wide variety of health policy issues. This allows our team to be involved in so many different aspects of health policy – and that is my favorite part. There is no “normal” or “typical” day here. We work on different types of projects (advocacy, stakeholder engagement, strategic planning, for example) for different clients, including hospital systems, diagnostics, rural health, physician groups and others, in any given day. It keeps me on my toes and gives me an opportunity to learn new things every day.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today? 

The biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients today is the same: the unsettled health policy landscape. The politics around health policy are not as clear cut as they used to be, even just a few years ago. This puts clients in a unique position to shape and influence policy in ways that were not necessarily available a few years ago. On the other hand, there is little ability to predict what happens next. , It can be challenging to navigate and understand where to focus and how to deliver your message when the politics become murky but, that is what we are here for!

What kind of client work gets you most excited when it comes across your desk?

Some clients do not have a government relations position or a presence in Washington, DC – they rely on us to be that for them. We work together with our clients to make sure we are focused on their needs and following important health policy issues for them – engaging and educating the Administration, Congress and other stakeholders when we need to. We also develop and execute strategic plans with them to help make a policy change. If you step back and think about it, playing this role for a client has the potential to influence so many other aspects of their internal policy and business, as well as broader health policies. It is a very important piece of the client’s puzzle. While that can be daunting at times, it is also exciting.

What is the proudest moment of your career to date?

Prior to joining McDermott+, I worked on the Hill in a few different roles. I had the luck to land a job as the Health Policy Director for Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO). This was a unique role in that it was focused exclusively on health policy and was in her personal office (which is uncommon on the House side). Shortly after I started, Rep. DeGette joined with then-Chairman on the Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton (R-MI) to embark on a large legislative project around accelerating treatment and cures for patients. Over the course of two years, we traveled the country for roundtables, heard from hundreds of stakeholders, and worked with the Administration to pass the 21st Century Cures Act. It was truly a bipartisan effort and it later became law. I was on the House floor for the vote with my boss and, ultimately, was also able to go to the bill signing at the White House.

What is your favorite decoration in your office?

This is a tough one. I will call it a tie: homemade cards from my little kids and runners finisher medals for several races. My kids are both under five and are so amazing, but also challenging. It is not easy being a working mom but these cards remind me of how important the role of parent is – and how lucky I am to be able to play it. And, the medals remind me that I still have a role outside of “mom” that is just as important. I can set goals and accomplish them.




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