5 Questions with a Health Policy Specialist

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!


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Mara McDermott
Vice President, McDermott+Consulting
Focus Area: Policy, Lobbying and Advocacy Strategies
Years at McDermott+Consulting: 1

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

My favorite part about working at McDermott+Consulting is the entrepreneurial spirit of the firm. Since arriving at the firm a year ago we have tested and implemented so many new ideas to better serve our clients at an incredibly fast pace. We have established a weekly Check Up article series to provide health policy updates from Washington, DC, started our Policy Breakfast Series for clients and built a new advocacy coalition to influence policy in Washington, DC, just to name a few. The firm is constantly encouraging and embracing innovation to improve client service.

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

I help clients engage with Congress and the Administration on health care policy issues pertaining to provider payment. Right now, we see a lot of opportunity in the physician payment space, working with this Administration to define the next steps in the movement from volume to value. This includes opportunities around new delivery models, such as Direct Contracting and Primary Care First, recently announced Administrative initiatives.

The greatest challenge has been the pace of significant changes in the regulatory and policy space. The Administration and Congress have both been busy on a host of proposals that have the potential to significantly disrupt the health care industry. From surprise billing proposals on Capitol Hill to the Medicare Part D rebate rule, keeping up with those changes and engaging to influence their future has been a challenge we have eagerly embraced on behalf of our clients.


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