Former ONC head Karen DeSalvo joins LRVHealth as executive adviser
A former HHS official under the Obama administration has joined the Boston-based venture platform LRVHealth as an executive adviser.
Dr. Karen DeSalvo, who led the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology between 2014 and 2016, joins four other LRV executive advisers who provide the early-stage venture platform with strategic and tactical insight as it seeks to invest in disruptive digital health, device and diagnostic companies.
DeSalvo, currently a professor of medicine and population health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, also served as HHS' assistant secretary for health, a position she held until 2017. She was not available for comment, but said in a statement there's no question technical innovation will play an increasingly important role in addressing all determinants of health.
"We need to transform the way healthcare is delivered and paid for, and there's no better way to do that than working with innovators who are disrupting the system from within," she said. "I joined LRVHealth as an executive adviser because its insider network provides a unique platform to find and nurture solutions to some of healthcare's biggest challenges."
Keith Figlioli, a general partner at LRVHealth, said he knows DeSalvo from when he served on the ONC's Health IT Standards Committee between 2013 and 2016. He said he sought her for the role because he wanted someone with the right level of community outreach experience.
"She was kind of a perfect fit to complement the other advisers that we have," he said.
LRV's other executive advisers include Dr. Glenn Steele, former chairman at xG Health Solutions and former CEO of Geisinger, and R. Andrew Eckert, CEO of devicemaker Acelity. The firm also has 18 industry advisers, including Dr. Peter Bonis, chief medical officer with Wolters Kluwer Health, and Michael Weintraub, former CEO of Optum Analytics.
Executive advisers typically commit to staying on board for the duration of an investment fund cycle, Figlioli said. LRV is currently in its fourth fund, which it launched last year. Figlioli told Modern Healthcare last year the firm planned to raise $100 million toward the fund by fall 2018, but he declined to say whether it met that goal. Instead, he said LRV has signed on 12 health system and payer partners toward its goal of 15. Partners, such as Grand Blanc, Mich.-based McLaren Health Care, invest in the fund and also deploy new technologies or services in their own practices.
"We almost become an extension of their innovation activities, if you will," Figlioli said.
Figlioli declined to say whether the executive adviser role is a paid position.
DeSalvo has served on Humana's board of directors since 2017 and joined Welltower's board last month. She previously served as vice dean for community affairs and health policy at Tulane School of Medicine and as health commissioner for the city of New Orleans, where she led efforts to address violence and other issues and helped re-establish a community public hospital. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and serves on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
Lots of people are trying to disrupt healthcare coming from the outside, but Figlioli said with his firm's investments, he's trying to disrupt from the inside.
"We want to help and be the change agents with them and to try to figure out how to do this from the inside out," he said.
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