Who Is Behind State of Reform?



State of Reform is a stakeholder-driven initiative that tries to bridge the gap between the worlds of health care and health policy.  We try to develop vehicles for the dissemination of information, case studies, best practices, strategic insight, and lessons learned.

One vehicle for that information spread is this news site.  Another is our annual conference.  Another is our market-specific newsletter out each month with content focused on the individual market.  Still others are our small-run print publications, like the book, “Dear Governor: About The State of Reform.

In short, State of Reform is about creating policy-agnostic opportunities for collaboration.  We don’t care about the particular policy outcome – each state is different, and solutions will vary across markets.

But we think that the more folks listen to one another – and sometimes talk – the better the healthcare market and policy outcomes will be.  So, we try to create online and offline forums for continued engagement and dialog.

You might have additional questions. Here are some we’ve heard.

  1. Who is behind this?

State of Reform is an initiative hosted by me and our team at Wilson Strategic. We’re a healthcare strategy and public affairs firm that’s worked on health care in 7 states and Washington DC.  We keep our client side and our State of Reform side separate, for obvious reasons, which is in part why you don’t see a lot of cross-promotion.

As Valerie Davidson, DHSS Commissioner in Alaska, told me years ago “State of Reform is about us. It’s not about you, DJ.”  She was right.  What State of Reform is, and where it will remain, is a community event, a market convening all of the system’s interests, convened by a group that doesn’t have particular interests in the outcome.

  1. Why are you doing this?

Hosting a conference without a perceived agenda, where networking is fostered, and where any credible voice can have the microphone, is actually hard to do.  Smarter folks have decided to do other things, and get out of this space.  But, that leaves a tremendous vacuum for information.  We’re trying to fill it – not because there is a big upside, but because – like voting, jury duty, and going the speed limit – we sort of view this as our civic duty.  It’s something we can do that some others may not, and which has a real benefit for the community at large.

So, we do it.

As you leave our office, you can see why: making a difference is central to our values and our organizational DNA.  We think we can bring a small value add to the system by serving as a catalyst for discussion.  So, because we can, we do.

Go make a difference

  1. Where does your funding come from?

That’s easy:  sponsorships and registration fees.  Unlike a foundation, we don’t have a steady stream of revenue that supports this.  So, we have to charge audience members a registration fee.  Unlike a pure for-profit event company that would be smart enough to draw from a national audience, we focus our efforts on a smaller pool.

Health care is local, so we think the health care policy conversations should be, too.

So, while national events might charge $700-$1500 for comparable events (to say nothing of travel expenses), we try to build events that allow for the broadest possible participation rate from all sectors of the industry.

In short, this initiative is about getting folks together to share their highest value content and considerations.

Or, as one of our Convening Panel members puts it, “It’s not the same group of people talking about the same sort of stuff.”

We agree.