California Association of Health Underwriters Responds to False Claims Made by Universal Single Payer Health Care Proponents

Posted: May 31, 2017 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Rick Coburn, president of the California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU) issued the following statement today regarding California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU)’s new research study on SB 562 (Lara/Atkins):

“The California State Senate estimates a universal single payer government-run health care system as outlined in SB 562 will cost $400 billion annually and will dismantle a system that provides coverage for 94 percent of Californians leading to rationing and barriers to access. Yet the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) continues to argue that The Healthy California legislation benefits all Californians. A universal single payer government-run health care system is not the desired approach nor supported by the vast majority of California residents. An April poll commissioned by CAHU found a supermajority of California voters (66 percent) opposes establishing a universal health care system when they know the actual cost.

The California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU) is concerned about the following:

  • Senate Bill 562 proponents assume federal funding will cover 70 percent of the annual $400 billion cost estimate. California has no authority over federal programs and cannot assume the federal government will grant the necessary waivers. (Source: https://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Programs-and-Initiatives/State-Innovation-Waivers/Section_1332_State_Innovation_Waivers-.html)
  • There is great disparity in tax burdens proposed by SB 562 proponents. California businesses will pay seven and a half times more ($106 billion) than those paying sales taxes ($14 billion) according to the CNA-purchased economic analysis. This will lead to far more Californians being unemployed, less tax revenue into state coffers, and more pressure on an already broken unemployment trust fund, that is also 100 percent supported by employer taxes. This proposal is one more cost pressure on California businesses and their ability to hire or expand.
  • By abolishing health care options delivered by private insurance companies, the single payer universal health care law would make nearly 18 percent of California’s workforce unemployed. The law would abolish all private health insurance in California, including Medicare, replacing it with a government-run monopoly on all health care services.
  • Nowhere in the bill’s language does it refer to lowering the cost of health care delivery. The existing public/private system already provides access to coverage and health care services for all. (Source: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). It is not possible for a health system to go from one where there is a doctor copay and a deductible plan to a plan with neither of them and with more covered benefits and not cost more.
  • SB 562’s Healthy California Director and Board is an unelected bureaucracy with limited accountability to the Legislature or public. There is no mechanism in place to remove an appointee. The appointees are political and selected by the Governor, the Senate leader and the Assembly Speaker. (See 100610 (a) & 100612 (a)). The nurses want a seat at the table and to be part of this “single point of political power.” (https://medium.com/@DavidGCrane/the-real-reason-behind-the-ca-single-payer-proposal-60adb14eb555)
  • Government-run health care systems struggle to provide timely care and the latest technology because health care funds must compete with other claims on government funds, such as education, welfare, water and transportation infrastructure. Citizens in countries with single-payer models often wait months to see a doctor or specialist or to receive much-needed medical treatment. These other country’s plans also permit private insurance and do not cover many benefits such as prescriptions, vision, dental, long-term care. (Source: The Senate Appropriations analysis 5/22/2017 notes at least 3 issues that will have to go to voters to overturn (Gann limit and Prop 98 and Prop 30 of 2012))

Single payer comes with an initial price tag of at least $400 billion per year, passed onto California businesses and citizens. This is not only a profound job killer – it places an immense new tax burden on hardworking individuals and families. With Covered California, the state can create a system that expands coverage to all Californians in a market-based approach. That is what California citizens want from their elected officials, not a government-run, government-dispensed health care system. We look forward to working with lawmakers on solutions that provide high quality, comprehensive and affordable health care for all Californians.”

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About California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU)

CAHU works closely with legislators and government agencies at both the state and federal level by educating our government leaders about the healthcare delivery system and the vital role of a professional agent as a consumer resource and advocate. We have been instrumental in protecting California consumers through a very dynamic grassroots network that includes organized events and lobbying, as well as in-district activities with our elected legislators. We also work diligently with Covered California to ensure the best possible outcomes for Californians, and their leadership frequently cites our input and impact. For more information go to www.cahu.org.

Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation Awards $180,000 Clinical Trial Innovation Prize

Posted: May 18, 2017 | Posted by Kassy Perry

ALCF logoTwo winners will be awarded a total of $180,000 for the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) Clinical Trial Innovation Prize, an international crowdsourcing challenge seeking innovative ways to increase cancer patient enrollment in clinical trials.

“Using crowdsourcing, we tapped into a vast pool of people from varying backgrounds and expertise from all over the world,” said Bonnie J. Addario, a 13-year lung cancer survivor and ALCF founder. “The goal of the challenge is to produce breakthroughs that will double the patient accrual rate of clinical trials evaluating interventions in the diagnosis and treatment of all cancers. One of our winners is from New York, the other team is from Australia.”

The first and second prize winners were selected by a panel of judges with diverse sectors of the healthcare industry.

First Place: The panel awarded $100,000 to Samir Housri and Nadine Housri who developed theMednet, a social network for physicians, to share information about clinical trials to physicians in an engaging way.

“With 78 percent of patients saying their doctors are the most trusted source for information on clinical trials, but only 14 percent of doctors ever discussing trials with patients, improving physician awareness about trials on the Mednet.org could have the most impact on driving enrollment,” Housri said. “theMednet.org is a question and answer platform for doctors and a natural place to promote trials.”

Second Place: The other winners are Judith Trotman and Roslyn Ristuccia of Australia who developed the app ClinTrial Refer, which increases the cross-referral of patients between hospitals by enhancing doctors’ knowledge of current trials. The use of this app has increased trial recruitment by more than 50 percent. ClinTrial Refer enhances  communication among oncologists, trial units and potential patients.

“The ClinTrial Refer app allows networks of trial units to collaborate and contribute current listings about recruiting trials. The app is free to download and becomes the clinician’s best resource,” Trotman said. “The main barrier to improving recruitment is doctors knowing where and how to refer patients. Now they can look up current information within seconds, during a consultation visit. Patients can gather the knowledge they need for decisions on all available treatment options at www.clintrial.org.au.”

An estimated one in two men and one in three women in the United States will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, however only four percent of adult cancer patients enroll in clinical trials. Unfortunately, researchers will never complete more than 20 percent of these trials due to not enough patients enrolling into clinical trials, as many are unaware of the benefits a clinical trial may provide, or that a clinical trial might even be a treatment option.

“The unique aspect of this crowdsourcing challenge is that the ALCF mentored the applicants for six months while they were collecting data on whether their ideas did in fact change clinical trial patient accrual,” said Addario. “ALCF also provided applicants access to the resources they needed to test and implement their ideas.”

The first phase of the Clinical Trial Innovation Prize, or the Ideation phase, focused on innovators sharing creative and novel ideas on how to double the accrual rate of cancer clinical trials. More than 100 innovators and 14 teams participated in the challenge from all over the world, with submissions coming in from Israel, Nigeria, Germany, India, the United States and 13 other countries. The first and second prize winners were selected by a panel of judges with varying backgrounds in the healthcare industry.

Judges awarded these projects:

First Prize: Match Point: Matching Patients and Trials Via EHR,” submitted by Helynx, a start-up out of Caltech, UCLA and Harvard, and Dr. Jae Kim, a cardiothoracic surgeon at City of Hope. The trio created a unique system for automatically matching patients to the clinical trials for which they qualify using machine learning techniques to read patients’ Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to determine eligibility. The winning entry received $20,000.

Second Prize: Fast, Fun & Friendly: Build Trust Before Research,” submitted by Drs. Matt Gerber and Deanna Teoh of the Gynecologic Oncology Department at the University of Minneapolis, created an individualized Welcome App that details the arc of care a patient will receive as well a clear and succinct message about clinical research and its benefits. Gerber and Teoh’s idea won their team $5,000.

For more information about the Innovation Prize, please visit ALCF’s website.

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About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating Lung Cancer through research, early detection, education, and treatment. The Foundation’s goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors, and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was established on March 1, 2006 as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and has raised more than $30 million for lung cancer research and related programs. For more information about the ALCF please visit www.lungcancerfoundation.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

ABOUT HEROX
Founded in 2013, HeroX exists at the intersection of crowdsourcing, competition and collaboration. The HeroX crowdsourcing platform brings together global communities of problem solvers to deliver breakthrough solutions to social, economic, and strategic challenges.

Biocept, Addario Partner to Test Liquid Biopsy Tech in Lung Cancer

Posted: May 17, 2017 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Date: 5/10/17ALCMI(4)justlogoOUT
Outlet: GenomeWeb
Author: Staff Reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Biocept said today that it has partnered with the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI) to evaluate the use of the company’s Target Selector liquid biopsy platform in a clinical study of lung cancer patients.

The Target Selector technology is designed to analyze both circulating tumor cell (CTC) and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) biomarkers from a blood sample. Under the terms of the deal, ALCMI and collaborating institutions will send samples from up to 400 lung cancer patients to Biocept, which will use the platform to detect and assess key biomarkers with the goal of demonstrating the concordance of liquid biopsy to solid tissue biopsies at de novo presentation.

This concordance will validate the use of a liquid biopsy sample when biopsy tissue is depleted or difficult to obtain for biomarker stratification, Biocept said. The trial also aims to validate the utility of monitoring key biomarkers in lung cancer patients with a liquid biopsy, enumerating CTC counts, and quantifying ctDNA mutations in order to illustrate drug response, predict treatment failure prior to progression observed with radiographic imaging, and identify resistance mutations.

The company said that the trial will distinguish between advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with squamous cell and non-squamous cell carcinoma, and will evaluate the clinical utility of liquid biopsy in additional patients with early-stage NSCLC and small cell lung cancer.

Patients will have four to six blood samples drawn over a 12-month period, yielding between 1,600 and 2,400 liquid biopsy data points. Data from the study are expected to be centralized in a large-scale database that will include uniform and complete patient demographic, pathology, and clinical information.

“We have targeted several highly important objectives for this trial that could have a profound impact on the treatment of patients with lung cancer,” Florida International University’s Luis Raez, a principal investigator for the study, said in a statement. “A better understanding of the role of serial blood-based molecular markers in making treatment decisions for lung cancer patients is critical, and may also lead to the development of novel targeted therapies.”

The deal with ALCMI is the latest in a series of collaborations Biocept has formed for the Target Selector platform, ncluding partnerships with Columbia University Medical Center, the University of Minnesota, and Catalyst Pharmaceuticals.

Read more from GenomeWeb here

Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation Receives Highest Rating from Charity Navigator

Posted: May 12, 2017 | Posted by Kassy Perry

ALCF logoFor the third year in a row, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation’s (ALCF) strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned the organization the highest rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.

“Our mission to make the world’s deadliest cancer a chronically-managed disease by the year 2023 requires constant fundraising and support for patient education programs, clinical research and physician education and training. It is crucial that our donors have confidence that we are using those funds appropriately,” said Bonnie J. Addario, a 13-year lung cancer survivor and ALCF founder. “Our 4-star Charity Navigator rating demonstrates to our supporters our good governance and financial accountability.”

Charity Navigator only awards the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. Charity Navigator applies data-driven analysis to the charitable sector. Last year, Charity Navigator influenced an estimated $10 billion in charitable gifts.

“The ALCF’s exceptional 4-star rating sets it apart from its peers and demonstrates its trustworthiness to the public,” according to Charity Navigator President and CEO Michael Thatcher,. “Only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the distinction of our 4-star rating. This adds ALCF to a preeminent group of charities working to overcome our world’s most pressing challenges. Based on its 4-star rating, people can trust that their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity when they decide to support the ALCF.”

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer, taking the lives of more people than the next three most frequent cancers combined (colon, breast and prostate). An estimated 160,000 Americans will die this year from lung cancer. Eighty percent of those recently diagnosed with lung cancer never smoked, or quit decades ago. The inaccurate stigma that lung cancer is a “smokers” disease has led to disproportionately low funding for research and trials, as compared to other cancers.

Organization ratings and other information about charitable giving are available free of charge at www.charitynavigator.org. More-detailed information about ALCF’s rating is available to Charity Navigator site visitors who become registered users, another free service.

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About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating Lung Cancer through research, education, early detection, genetic testing, drug discovery and patient-focused outcomes. The Foundation works with a diverse group of physicians, patients, organizations, industry partners, individuals, survivors, and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change. ALCF was established on March 1, 2006 as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and has raised more than $30 million for lung cancer research. To learn more, please visit www.lungcancerfoundation.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

About Charity Navigator
Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.org, is the largest charity evaluator in America and its website attracts more visitors than all other charity rating groups combined. The organization helps guide intelligent giving by evaluating the Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency of more than 8,000 charities. Charity Navigator accepts no advertising or donations from the organizations it evaluates, ensuring unbiased evaluations, nor does it charge the public for this trusted data. As a result, Charity Navigator, a 501 (c) (3) public charity itself, depends on support from individuals, corporations and foundations that believe it provides a much-needed service to America’s charitable givers. Charity Navigator, can be reached directly by telephone at (201) 818-1288, or by mail at 139 Harristown Road, Suite 101, Glen Rock, N.J., 07452.

CAHU Survey Finds Most Californians Oppose Single Payer

Posted: May 11, 2017 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Date: 5/10/17
Outlet: California Broker
Author: Victoria Alexander

A telephone survey commissioned by the California Association of Health Underwriters found that three out of four Californians were opposed to single payer health care once they were informed about the associated costs. The survey was conducted by J. Wallin Opinion Research on April 22 through April 26, 2017.

The survey found:

  • Eighty-one percent of Californians are satisfied with the timeliness, cost, quality, availability and accessibility of their current health care coverage with 42 percent of respondents saying they are “very satisfied.”
  • A supermajority (66 percent) opposes legislation establishing universal single payer universal health care with 44 percent strongly opposing the legislative proposal.

When learning about the facts about universal single payer health care, different age groups, demographics and ethnic backgrounds all share opposition to a government run system. “The single payer universal health care law would force Californians to hand over at least $179 billion in new state taxes to pay for a health care system run by the State of California. That translates to costing each California taxpayer $9,100 per year,” said CAHU President Richard Coburn. “This new policy would eliminate employer paid health coverage and shifts health costs to employees.”

Read more from California Broker here

Perry Communications Group Hires Familiar Faces

Posted: Apr 5, 2017 | Posted by Kassy Perry

(SACRAMENTO)—Perry Communications Group (PCG), a California-based strategic communications firm specializing in integrated public affairs campaigns and media relations, has hired Senior Account Executives Katelyn Downey and Kaitlin Perry.

katelyn newsletterKatelyn Downey focuses on advocacy efforts, partnership building and online and social media strategies for multiple clients. Her background in digital marketing will improve all facets of PCG’s work.

“Katelyn’s combination of creativity and expertise is tough to find and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome her back to the team,” said PCG’s President and CEO Kassy Perry. “Her wealth of experience in digital marketing and strategy plays an integral role in advancing client objectives.”

Prior to her current position at PCG, Downey worked in digital marketing roles focusing on customer acquisition and online marketing strategies for software companies servicing healthcare industries. Katelyn created, implemented and managed digital strategies across multiple platforms including website, email and advertising. Downey is a certified Google Adwords professional and previously worked for PCG as an account coordinator from 2010 to 2012.KP Newsletter

Kaitlin Perry focuses on grassroots advocacy, political data and emerging policy issues at PCG. Perry handles day-to-day client communication and advocacy relations, as well as event promotion and coordination.

“It is exciting to bring my daughter Kaitlin to our team,” said Kassy Perry. “Her experience working on political and legislative campaigns this past year for another leading public affairs firm, and past internships working in grassroots advocacy and mobilization for PCG and media relations for a corporation in Texas make her far more experienced than her age would suggest.”

Previously, Perry coordinated media relations efforts for a statewide ballot initiative during the 2016 election and played an integral role in the management and success of several high profile public affairs and legislative advocacy campaigns.

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About Perry Communications Group

Perry Communications Group is an independent, full-service strategic communications firm specializing in public relations and public affairs. We work at the center of issues that matter and give new perspective to the issues and events making headlines today, as well as those that will in the future. We shape ideas, opinions, decisions and social change. The bottom line for us is always the same – we are invested in the cause we promote and our clients’ work.

Perry Communications Group Hires Award-Winning Journalist

Posted: Feb 28, 2017 | Posted by Kassy Perry

(SACRAMENTO)—Perry Communications Group (PCG), a California-based strategic communications firm specializing in integrated public affairs campaigns and media relations, is pleased to announce the hiring of Marna Davis as account manager.

“We are pleased tMarna Headshoto have Marna and her decades of experience in radio and television news join the team,” said PCG’s President and CEO Kassy Perry. “If it’s happened in the past 20 years, Marna has probably reported on it. The combination of her relationships with former colleagues across the nation and exceptional storytelling talents grabs the attention of newsrooms.”

As an account manager, Davis provides media relations expertise and creative direction to multiple client accounts.

Marna’s news career began in Santa Barbara County, where she landed the lead story on “SportsCenter” her first day in the newsroom. She has also worked at stations in Reno, Sacramento, San Diego and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Davis covered the Capitol during the Davis and Schwarzenegger administrations. She has experience broadcasting from high profile trials, earthquakes, fires, kidnappings, presidential visits, elections, police shootings, the Dallas Cowboys, Superbowls and NBA championships. Davis received a national Edward R. Murrow award for her reporting on methamphetamine use and she and her colleagues won a regional Emmy for reporting on the Southwest Blackout of 2011 that left nearly seven million people without power.

In addition to her award-winning broadcast news background, Marna has extensive sports marketing and public relations experience. She served as director of marketing and public relations for a prominent sports agent early in her career and more recently as a sport agency’s director of media strategy and communications. She secured some of the biggest names in sports endorsement deals, provided media coaching and kept high profile athletes out of the news by creating and implementing successful crisis communication plans.

While receiving her degree in journalism from the University of Southern California, Davis interned in the public relations department for the Los Angeles Lakers.

You can follow Marna on Twitter as @marnadavis760

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About Perry Communications Group

Perry Communications Group is an independent, full-service strategic communications firm specializing in public relations and public affairs. We work at the center of issues that matter and give new perspective to the issues and events making headlines today, as well as those that will in the future. We shape ideas, opinions, decisions and social change. The bottom line for us is always the same – we are invested in the cause we promote and our clients’ work.

Nehemiah Corp. Shuts Down Most Operations

Posted: Feb 22, 2017 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Date: 2/21/16
Outlet: Comstocks Magazine
Author: Allen Young

Nehemiah Corp., a social enterprise nonprofit that has spent two decades developing programs that help low-income people afford homes, is winding down most its operations, the company has announced.

The organization, based in Sacramento, will continue its prominent Emerging Leaders mentorship program, but will shutter its real estate and community lending businesses, including a flagship program that purchases distressed single-family homes, and fixes and resells the properties to low-to-moderate income buyers.

As the stock of foreclosed residential properties diminishes amid an improving national economy, Nehemiah has faced decreasing profits and decided in January to shut down its real estate business, said Chairman Scott Syphax.

“Given the decrease in foreclosures, it’s time to scale back that operation because the profit margins aren’t there,” Syphax said.

Syphax, who joined Nehemiah in 2001, stepped down this month as the organization’s CEO. He is continuing on as its chairman. Darrell Teat, the organization’s president (and Comstock’s editorial board member), assumed the title of acting CEO, but he plans to step down and depart the company after the real estate business closes this fall. The nonprofit has cut 15 of its 32 positions.

Syphax and Teat said in a joint interview that Nehemiah would continue to seek real estate and economic development ventures that fulfill the nonprofit’s mission of expanding homeownership and neighborhood improvement.

But the organization is closing a national community lending operation that invests in certain commercial building projects in low-income neighborhoods. In 2002, for example, Nehemiah invested nearly $1 million into Sacramento’s 40 Acres Project, an Oak Park development that now includes the Guild Theater and Underground Books.

Syphax emphasized that Nehemiah has survived several major overhauls since the nonprofit launched in 1997 and will remain poised for expansion as opportunities arise.

“We will do fine,” he said. “We have expanded and contracted based on the cyclical nature of business. In social enterprise, you scale up and scale back as opportunities open and recede.”

The nonprofit underwent a full makeover in 2008, for example, following a federal prohibition of its signature down-payment assistance program. At the time, federal officials argued that the program, which allowed first-time homebuyers to bypass residential down-payments by allowing sellers to “gift” that payment to Nehemiah, led to foreclosures, an assertion that Syphax and his team fiercely disputed.

The law left the organization scrambling to find new business. In 2011, Nehemiah switched its flagship operation to the current distressed asset program that relies on a steady stream of foreclosures. That program operated in 26 states last year.

Nehemiah is the former developer of Township Nine, a 65-acre multiuse project in the River District. In February 2016, First Capital Real Estate purchased a 92 percent interest in the project. Nehemiah retained a small stake in Township Nine and is assessing its options for that holding, said Teat.

Nominations are currently open for the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders program, a prominent Sacramento leadership development course for young people of underrepresented backgrounds.

Teat said he planned to explore other professional opportunities following the closing of Nehemiah’s real estate programs this fall. He declined to elaborate on his personal plans.

The remaining business of Nehemiah “doesn’t need a top-management structure,” Teat said. “It allows me to look into the endeavors that I have always been interested in.”

Editor’s note: The piece has been updated to reflect that the sale of Township Nine occurred in February 2016.

Perry Communications Group Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Posted: Jan 30, 2017 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Perry Communications, a California-based strategic communications firm specializing in integrated public affairs campaigns and media relations, today announced the completion of its 20th year in business with an expansion of its proprietary innovative digital media and advocacy practice.

For the past 20 years, the woman-owned and operated agency has been at the forefront of complex public policy issues, providing strategic counsel and creating award-winning campaigns for a variety of industries, communities and non-profits.

“We are grateful that for two decades our clients have placed their trust in us to help them successfully advance their missions and achieve their communications and policy goals,” said Kassy Perry, founder of the award winning firm. “We are our clients’ fiercest advocates. We listen, understand and empathize with their issues to make them our own. This tends to come easily for a team full of women,” added Perry with a laugh.

Perry opened her firm in 1996 after working as a radio and television journalist in Sacramento and Seattle, WA, and as a strategic communications advisor to two governors and an assemblymember. Similar to Perry’s background, her all-female, highly-respected PCG team includes former reporters, government advisors, campaign staff, trade association executives, event planners and advocates. That expertise guides their success on behalf of the firm’s clients in the areas of issue and campaign management, crisis communications, media relations, digital media, fundraisers, social media, coalition development and mobilization, and grassroots advocacy.

One of PCG’s first nationally-recognized campaigns was created for then ”Today” host Katie Couric after her husband died of colon cancer. At Perry’s suggestion, with the goal of destigmatizing the unpleasant procedure, Couric televised her own colonoscopy on the morning program. The public responded as Perry predicted with an emphatic, “If Katie can do it, I can do it.” Colonoscopy rates jumped more than 20 percent in the days and months that followed. In a USA Today article, the University of Michigan Medicine School dubbed the phenomenon “The Couric Effect.”

“Our business is all about change,” says Perry. “It’s about facts and figures, statistics and statutes, but at the end of the day, in order to affect change for our clients, our work requires strong relationships, dogged determination and creativity. We recognize that our success depends on the integrity of our collaborations and our commitment to people.”

PCG’s client victories are a direct result of Perry’s focus on being an advocate for those who can’t be their own. This led to the creation of dozens of programs to increase the health and welfare of women and the elderly, to close insurance coverage gaps, increase access to care for low-income families as well as designing campaigns to educate patients about their rights within the healthcare system. Many of her campaigns have become models for other states, including California Medical Association Foundation’s antibiotic resistance education program AWARxE; the Senior Medication and Awareness Training Program’s SMARxT Card; the California Diabetes Association’s “DIABETES: It’s that serious” campaign; “Fed Up at The Pump” for the California Independent Oil Marketers Association; My Patient Rights for the California Chronic Care Coalition; the “Help is Here Express” campaign for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento mayor and former Senate President pro tempore, credits Perry for the passage of Proposition 63, which allocated more funding to counties to better tackle mental health issues. “Without Kassy Perry’s vision, we would never have laid the foundation for the passage of Prop. 63,” said Steinberg. “She has been a driving force behind changing the way we communicate the needs of those with mental illness.”

“At the end of the day, I have done a couple of things well,” said Perry. “I have raised two successful daughters, I’ve created programs that positively impact people’s lives and I’ve created a company that provides exceptional benefits and salaries for women, allowing them the flexibility to start families and raise their children while engaging in meaningful work on behalf of our clients. I think that’s a pretty darn good legacy.”

On the horizon, Perry will soon unveil an expansion of their targeted public affairs advocacy practice that will provide unrivaled results for her clients around the country.

Perry Communications Group Celebrates 20th Anniversary: Founder reflects on lessons learned, success, vision for future

Posted: Sep 2, 2016 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Sacramento, Calif. – One of Sacramento’s top public affairs firms for the past 20 years, Perry Communications Group, founded in 1996 by Kathryn Edgington “Kassy” Perry, defied the odds of new business startups, used a major economic recession to restructure for future success, and is on track to a record breaking year and an expansion in 2017.

“We are grateful that for two decades our clients have placed their trust in us to help them successfully advance their missions and achieve their communications and policy goals,” said PCG Chief Executive Officer and Founder Kassy Perry.

Known for their depth of experience in health care and advocacy, PCG’s award-winning public affairs and public relations work doesn’t stop there. Perry and her team of full-time professionals and subcontractors apply the same strategic thinking and fresh creativity to consumer, education, environment, business, housing, legal, and non-profit issues.

“Kassy’s creativity and out-of-the-box approach to managing issues is what prompted PhRMA to seek PCG’s help 20 years ago,” said Jill Kronisch, Deputy Vice President, Alliance Development and Public Affairs for PhRMA. “Kassy’s expertise and experience in the life sciences and biopharmaceutical industries, and her creativity and ability to communicate with a variety of stakeholders is a significant reason for the firm’s continued success on our issues, and is what has kept us coming back.”

PCG’s highly respected employees are former reporters, government advisors, campaign staff, event planners, and advocates, and that expertise guides their success on behalf of the firm’s clients in the areas of issue and campaign management, crisis communications, media relations, social media, grassroots advocacy, and coalition development and mobilization.

Perry opened her firm in 1996 after working in television and radio news, and as a strategic communications advisor to two California Governors and a California State Assembly Member. In her final years in public service, as Deputy Communications Director for Governor Pete Wilson, Kassy oversaw communications for the administration’s health and welfare portfolio, including public health, Medi-Cal, welfare reform, the Ward Valley Low Level Radioactive Waste Site, immigration reform, and Prop 65, as well as a host of other high profile and complex subject areas.

In 1985, while in her first year of public service as the Communications Director for the California Department of Health Services, Perry drew on her background in science at the University of California, Davis, as a summer laboratory technician at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, and experience with three biotech company startups to help negotiate the state’s first research grant for an AIDS vaccine with the late Dr. Jonas Salk of the Salk Institute.

She helped create more than a dozen state programs including Access for Infants and Mothers (AIM) and Check Up, a health prevention program for low-income children that became Healthy Families. She also worked with policy experts throughout the Wilson Administration to help create and communicate a variety of programs to close insurance coverage gaps in an incremental and sustainable strategy.

In the 20 years since the firm’s inception, Kassy has continued to ensure that individuals have access to health insurance coverage and that the coverage provides adequate access to providers and treatments. Those programs include; the California Partnership for Access to Treatment (CPAT); California Chronic Care Coalition’s MyPatientRights.org; ACCESS for Mental Healthcare; Get Hip to HepC; a variety of campaigns to increase awareness of and destigmatize lung cancer for the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation; AWARxE, a campaign to increase awareness of antibiotic resistance for the California Medical Foundation; Citizens for the Right to Know and Access to Care and Treatment Alliance (ACT) to educate consumers about the need to advocate for the care they need; and the first SMARxt Card for the Senior Medication Awareness and Training Program, a partnership between the California Congress of Seniors and the California Pharmacists Association, to reduce prescribing errors for seniors with multiple physicians and providers.

One of PCG’s first nationally-recognized campaigns was created for then Today Show host Katie Couric through PCG client the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Couric’s husband died of colon cancer and the television host was passionate about increasing survival rates. Perry suggested to Couric that a bold campaign was needed, one that would encourage the public to undergo colonoscopies and reduce the stigma of the procedure because if “Katie can do it, I can do it.”

“Katie Couric was passionate about making a difference and we knew we needed to get people talking about a place on their bodies they didn’t even want to think about,” says Perry. “When I suggested that she undergo a colonoscopy and produce a segment for the Today Show about her experience, her producers and the NBC lawyers didn’t think much of the idea,” said Perry with a smile. “However, Katie loved it. She fully embraced the concept and ran with it.”

When Couric underwent a colonoscopy live on national TV in March 2000, colonoscopy rates nationwide jumped more than 20 percent in the days and months that followed. The live colonoscopy was part of a weeklong series promoting colon cancer awareness. In a USA Today news article, the University of Michigan School of Medicine dubbed the phenomenon the “Katie Couric Effect.”

Through PCG’s wide-ranging work the team has built trusting relationships with policy makers, advocates, reporters, and business leaders to help educate constituencies on the most critical issues of our time. Those include Fed Up at The Pump, a campaign by the California Independent Oil Marketers Association (CIOMA) to increase awareness of a fuel tax; the launch of a marine mammal preserve at Año Nuevo State Park; and the successful Save Our State Parks Campaign to prevent a toll road from being constructed through a state park and the destruction of California’s remarkable state park system on behalf of the California State Parks Foundation.

In 1994, before Perry started her company, she began working with a group of patient advocates who had formed Citizens for the Right to Know to ensure that managed healthcare in California was patient-centered. The partnership with Liz Helms, then of the TMJ Society and now founder of the California Chronic Care Coalition was formed. Helms and Perry have become close friends and colleagues. At one point Helms worked for Perry as an advocate for the firm, and now Perry works for Helms providing pro bono public affairs consulting services. This year, Liz Helms published her first book, one that was more than a decade in the writing, entitled “Healthcare Unhinged: The Making of a Healthcare Advocate”. In her book, Helms describes the history that brought the two together and starting on page 61, details the ways that Perry helped her achieve her goals.

“Sometimes life simply demands that you be bigger than you see yourself and stronger than you think you are. Liz shows you how to step into the shoes you were born to wear,” says Perry on the HealthcareUnhinged.com website about her friend Liz Helms.

“Kassy met me as an angry, brand new patient advocate and coached me into becoming a change maker who has testified before Congress, been the focus of a front page New York Times story, the founder of two non-profit organizations and a tireless advocate for people with chronic disease to ensure that patients are at the center of every healthcare discussion,” said Helms.

Much of PCG’s award winning work has been conducted on behalf of the Mental Health Association of California and NAMI California to reduce stigma of mental illness and increase funding. “When we started that work in 1996, we were told by several lobbyists that they had never talked to a Republican about mental health funding, that they only lobbied Democrats,” said Perry. “We helped change that dynamic and brought together ALL of the stakeholders in the mental health community, including law enforcement, mental health providers, physicians, consumers, hospitals and community stakeholders,” said Perry. “To make significant change, you have to do something significant.”

“Without Kassy Perry’s vision for a collaborative and strong coalition of mental health stakeholders to increase funding and create new programs in a significant way, we would never have laid the foundation for the passage of proposition 63,” said Darrell Steinberg, former Senate President Pro Tem, incoming Mayor of Sacramento and author of the major reforms of the mental health system and Prop 63. “She has been a driving force behind changing the way we communicated the needs of those with mental illness.”

“Our business is all about change,” says Perry. “It’s about facts and figures, statistics and statutes, but at the end of the day, in order to affect change for our clients and the people of California, our work requires strong relationships. We recognize that our success depends on the integrity of our collaborations and commitments to people.

“We love what we do and we care about our clients and partners and treat them as members of the family.”

For the past 20 years PCG has been courted for acquisition by virtually every national public relations firm and has former employees in leadership positions throughout the community.

As the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Perry has led the company through a variety of business challenges and changes. Early in the business, when the booming 90s demanded that CEO’s build a business to sell it for profit, Perry started down that path with a large office in Sacramento and an office in Washington D.C. with more than 25 employees. “I was managing people and their problems, rather than client solutions,” said Perry.

With the recession on the horizon and recovering slowly from a serious horseback riding injury that required major surgery, Perry consolidated employees in Sacramento, and made other changes to ensure the viability of the company. Those efforts were successful and the firm was able to continue through the recession without negatively impacting the core of the employee base and business functions.

While a merger or acquisition was not something Perry saw in the company’s future, the business discussions and restructuring over the past 20 years have solidified her vision of the future of the firm. With one daughter now in the public affairs arena working for Miller Public Affairs, a friendly competitor, and Julia Spiess Lewis, the firm’s Senior Vice President, 15 year employee and now Perry’s right-hand, the founder sees a bright future that includes expanding the ownership of the firm to a limited number of partners and the imminent signing of a new 10 year lease in Downtown Sacramento, closer to clients and the Capitol with room to grow.

“At the end of the day, I have done a couple of things well,” said Perry. “I have raised two successful daughters who are in their 20s, living on their own with careers they love. I have worked with clients to create programs that positively impact people’s lives, and I’ve created a company that provides exceptional benefits and salaries to young (mostly) women allowing them the flexibility to start families and raise their children while engaging in meaningful work on behalf of our clients. I think that’s a pretty darn good legacy.”

For a list and biographies of PCG’s team please go to: http://perrycom.com/about

For a list of PCG case studies, go to: http://perrycom.com/results/client-case-studies