Legislator Newsletter – March 2020

Medical Alley Day at the Capitol

Last week, health technology and care leaders traveled to St. Paul for Medical Alley Day at the Capitol to share with legislators and their staffs how they advance Minnesota as a global leader of health innovation and care.

We appreciate the legislators that stopped by to engage with our members at the Medical Alley Showcase in the Capitol Vault. The showcase featured Be the Match, Boston Scientific, Ecolab, Grandpad, Medtronic, Pops Diabetes, Smith’s Medical, Starkey, and Tactile Medical.

The day also included individual legislator meetings and a luncheon with Speaker Hortman, Majority Leader Winkler, and Senate Majority Leader Gazelka. Our members appreciated the opportunity to share their story.

Healthcare Transformation

This year, we have worked diligently to give our members and legislators more opportunities to meet and discuss the issues facing both the healthcare and policy communities. The Medical Alley membership brings both a wealth and diversity of knowledge surrounding these issues, making the Association an ideal conduit for these discussions. Here are some of the ways we’re facilitating connections between policymakers and our members:

Cookies and Conversation

In early January, we cohosted the first of a series of talks that bring representatives from across the healthcare spectrum together with legislative leaders to discuss healthcare issues from a holistic standpoint. This first event covered the value of clinical trials for cancer patients in Minnesota, and was led by a panel that represented the wide range of stakeholders involved in clinical trial access and effectiveness:  

  • Senator Michelle Benson, Chair Senate Health & Human Services Finance and Policy Committee
  • Monica Theis, Breast Cancer Survivor, ACS-CAN 
  • Nancy Torrison, Executive Director, A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation 
  • Dr. Michaela Tsai, Martha Bacon Stimpson Chair of Breast Oncology and Medical Director of Oncology Research, Virginia Piper Cancer Institute 
  • Ping Yeh, Cofounder and CEO, StemoniX

Senator Benson and Representative Hunter Cantrell were our special guests for this panel; we look forward to partnering with members from our community to host similar events throughout the year to advance critical causes like this one. 

Value-Based Healthcare Roundtable

In February, U.S. Representatives Angie Craig (MN-2) and Dean Phillips (MN-5) joined a group of leaders from the Medical Alley community for a roundtable discussion on the progress toward value-based care in the state.

The discussion was lively as topics ranged from how payers and providers can communicate with one another better, so patients aren’t getting mixed signals to innovative ways to encourage patients to adopt better habits between visits to the doctor, such as food pharmacies. Throughout the discussion, patients were the focus, with questions like “How can we engage patients better?” and “How can we really affect the cost of care for patients while maintaining a culture of innovation?” producing highly engaged conversation.

One of the points of agreement was the uniqueness of the Medical Alley community in its willingness to collaboratively push forward patient-centric solutions. Even as participants agreed that Minnesotans received world-class care thanks to the state’s vibrant health innovation and care community, they were eager to discuss ways Medical Alley can transform healthcare to better serve patients, while lowering the cost of care.

Medical Alley Healthcare Ecosystem Hearing: Powering the Evolution of Healthcare

Last week at the Capitol, we had the unique opportunity to participate in the Senate HHS Finance and Policy Committee’s hearing titled “The Medical Alley Healthcare Ecosystem Hearing: Powering the Evolution of Healthcare.” 

Bobby Patrick, Vice President of Strategic Growth and Policy at Medical Alley, described Medical Alley to the committee: “There is no place in the world like Medical Alley. It is the birthplace of implantable medical technology, collaborative care delivery, and innovative health plan models. Patients come from around the world to be treated here and are treated around the world with products researched, designed, developed, and manufactured here.” 

The committee heard some from some of the organizations that are driving this patient-centered innovation. Four early stage Medical Alley companies testified in this hearing: Miromatrix, NightWare, Nuvaira, and StemoniX. Each of them talked about their product, what it does, the cost and complexity of bringing it to market, and shared their personal story of getting involved with the company. We appreciate the committee’s thoughtful questions for our testifiers.

We are grateful for the opportunity to highlight the health technology and care industry in a legislative committee.

Angel Tax Credit Program (ATCP) Alumni Feature: Chanl Health

The Angel Tax Credit Program is vital to keeping Minnesota a destination for entrepreneurs across technology sectors. Last legislative session, the ATCP was reinstated with $10 million in funding for each of Tax Years 2019 and 2021 (with no funding for 2020). The demand for the program was immediately evident, as available credits for 2019 were exhausted in just over five months. Without any funding for the ATCP in 2020, however, innovative entrepreneurs throughout the state will be without a valuable tool for growing and expanding their businesses.

Last month we highlighted Geneticure, a personalized medicine company which uses an individual’s genetics to help guide their specific treatment. Today, we are excited to share our next AITC alum: Chanl Health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. After someone experiences a cardiac event like a heart attack, they’re discharged from the hospital with orders to participate in a 3-month cardiac rehab program, to cut their chances of having a second event in half. Although 7 million patients qualify for cardiac rehab each year, and the benefits are well-proven, 80% of patients do not attend a single rehab session.

Chanl Health is a med-tech startup looking to address this gap by providing a virtual cardiac rehab program.  With their program, patients can get the same benefits as with onsite cardiac rehab, including personal guidance from their care team, but participate from home on a schedule that works for them.  Patients save money on out-of-pockets costs like copays, transportation, and taking time off work. Chanl partners with health systems to help them improve their post-acute outcomes at a fraction of the cost.

Chanl Health participated in the AITC program in 2017.  “Angel investment is such a crucial part of the startup ecosystem, and in Minnesota it has been historically difficult to raise early funds, especially in health-tech.  Having a mechanism like AITC available has opened the door to many new conversations with wealthy individuals who are typically very financially conservative.  It has provided enough upfront incentive for them to take on a bit of risk with their investment.”

Programs like AITC helped Chanl Health advance their life saving, accessible approach to healthcare, giving Minnesotans access to convenient and affordable cardiac rehabilitation.

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