Weekly Now: A Push for More Equitable Telehealth

The American Telemedicine Association launches an equity initiative. Also: The longtime CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to step aside.

With many more people using remote medical services as a result of the pandemic, the association that represents the telehealth field wants to make sure that it’s serving the public equitably.

At its ATA EDGE Policy Conference last week, the American Telemedicine Association announced the creation of the Telehealth Equity Coalition, which will analyze data on the use of telehealth services around the country. ATA will team with the telehealth provider Hims & Hers and the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved.

In a news release, ATA CEO Ann Mond Johnson said the pandemic, while creating challenges, also offers opportunities to tap into the long-term potential of telehealth.

“It is imperative that we take this unprecedented opportunity exposed by the public health emergency to permanently break down the barriers of health equities for vulnerable and rural populations and ensure no one, anywhere, is left behind,” she said, adding that the association’s policy principles call for expanding access to underserved and at-risk populations.

The coalition also brings together nine other partners, including the Health Innovation Alliance, National Digital Inclusion Alliance, National MS Society, and TechNet.

Other recent headlines:

Longtime U.S. Chamber CEO stepping down. Tom Donohue, who has been a steady presence at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for nearly a quarter century, will retire this year. U.S. Chamber President Suzanne Clark will take his place, The Wall Street Journal reported. A three-year succession plan, including a CEO search, was announced in 2019, but with the board having chosen a successor, Donohue will leave ahead of schedule, according to the Journal.

Bitcoin Association builds a MOOC. The Switzerland-based trade group that promotes the blockchain currency Bitcoin SV has announced a new partnership with Saxion University of Applied Sciences, located in the Netherlands, on a massive open online course (MOOC) titled “What is Bitcoin and Why Does it Matter?” The course, the first of four the association and university will team up on, will teach students about the technical ins and outs of the blockchain. The original Bitcoin was released in 2009; Bitcoin SV is an outgrowth of the currency that emerged in 2018.

Build Trust Through Government Relations

Associations have faced challenges in member recruitment and retention during the pandemic, but your association’s government relations framework can help restore member confidence, says JP Moery, president of The Moery Company.

“The fact of the matter is, people don’t buy because there’s too much risk involved. They don’t want to make a mistake,” he says. “Show them that over the last 10 months, you have done everything to remove risk.”

Highlight the work of your GR team “to make sure that you can revive and reopen your industries to keep them open and make them essential.” That, he says, helps to build participation and increase trust.

Learn more in his podcast.


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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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