Our Team

 
 
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JOel WHITE
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Joel White is Executive Director of Health IT Now, a broad based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers that supports incentives to deploy heath information technology to improve quality, outcomes, and patient safety and to lower costs. Mr. White spent twelve years on Capitol Hill as professional staff, during which he helped enact nine laws, including the Medicare Modernization Act, the Deficit Reduction Act, the Tax Reform and Health Care Act, the Trade Act, and the Children’s Health Act. Mr. White was instrumental in developing the Part D e-prescribing law in the Medicare Modernization Act and in developing legislation that passed the House to promote the adoption and use of health information technology. Mr. White was the Staff Director of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee with responsibility for advising Members of Congress and directing staff on all policy issues within the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee. The issues include Medicare, Health Savings Accounts, tax credits for health insurance, HIPAA, mental health parity, and health information technology.

 
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Allison Wils
Vice President of Strategy

Allison Wils, Esq., joined Health IT Now in 2018 as Vice President of Strategy.

Wils brings to the role a wealth of strategic development experience, having launched and served as the first Executive Director of The ERISA Industry Committee's (ERIC) State Mandate Action Program - a resource providing ERIC members with real-time, actionable information on current and emerging state and local laws and regulations. As ERIC’s Senior Director of Health Policy, Wils monitored legislative and regulatory activity across the country, conducted analyses and advised members on appropriate policy responses.

Most recently, Wils served as Health Policy Advisor for Cozen O'Connor Public Strategies where she advised clients on healthcare matters at the federal and state level and led advocacy efforts before decisionmakers in Congress and the administration.

Earlier in her career, Wils served as a Policy Specialist for the National Academy for State Health Policy and a Contracts & Grants Specialist for the Cover Oregon state-based exchange.

A graduate of Willamette University and Willamette University College of Law, Wils developed the law school's first certificate in law and government with an emphasis on health policy. Wils designed the course of study herself, becoming the first student to graduate with such a concentration. While there, Wils also gained key experience as a law clerk representing state regulatory boards before the Department of Justice and founded the school's Health and Law Policy Society

 

Catherine Pugh
SENIOR DIRECTOR, GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

Catherine is Senior Director of Government Affairs for Health IT Now. Before joining the coalition in September 2014, she spent three and a half years at the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN), where she managed policy initiatives and formulated legislative and advocacy strategies in federal issue areas including Medicare, telehealth, and federal appropriations. At PAN, Catherine also helped coordinate a national network of volunteer grassroots advocates working towards better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s by educating the public and government leaders on better policies for research and an improved quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s.

Catherine holds a BA in International Studies with a focus in US Foreign Policy from American University.

 

JIM BIALICK
MANAGING DIRECTOR

Jim Bialick is a known expert on healthcare policy and business development in frontier markets. He has testified before the Energy & Commerce Committee, twice, on the regulation of emerging health technologies, and played a leading role in the passage of thirty-one state laws. 

Before joining Health IT Now, Jim was the Vice President of Global Government Affairs for the Masimo Corporation where he led the company’s Washington, DC office where he was responsible for the company’s healthcare, tax, homeland security, transportation, and immigration portfolios. 

Previously, Jim was President of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, which is singularly focused on the elimination of preventable patient death in hospitals. Under his leadership he expanded the network of committed healthcare institutions from 60 to over 1,600 whose activities saved over 24,500 lives in 2015. 
 
Jim is also the co-founder and former Executive Director of the Newborn Foundation and the Newborn Coalition, two action-based non-profit organizations focused on education and advocacy to improve maternal and child health domestically and internationally. Through their efforts, the Newborn Foundation made screening for Critical Congenital Heart Defects the standard of care for the 4 million newborns born in the United States every year. Jim now serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Newborn Foundation.

 
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Jonathan Frank
COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR

Jonathan joined Health IT Now as Communications Director in 2017 after more than half a decade of service to Congressman Diane Black (R-TN), Chairman of the House Budget Committee and an active member of the GOP Doctors Caucus. His work with the Congressman included various stints as campaign manager, press secretary, and ultimately as communications director in a dual role with the House Budget Committee. During his time on Capitol Hill, Jonathan messaged key health policy issues including value-based insurance design (VBID), advance directives legislation, and Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement efforts.

His work on behalf of the Congressman has been published in Time, Fox News, The Hill, Washington Examiner, Health Insurance Underwriters Magazine, and others. A native of middle Tennessee, Jonathan holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Tennessee Tech University.

 
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Andy Mekelburg
STRATEGIC ADVISOR

Andy Mekelburg is the Strategic Advisor for the Health IT Now Coalition. Andy had a long career as the Vice President of Federal Government Relations, for Verizon Communications.  In this position, Andy worked with Congress and the Administration on non-telecommunications issues such as health care, labor, education, human resources and government procurement issues. In 2005, Andy worked with the Chairman of Verizon, who served on the Commission on Systemic Interoperability, a national commission appointed to accelerate the deployment of health information technology. Following the publishing of their Report, Ending the Document Game, Andy founded the Health IT Now Coalition. He was one of the founders and served as Chairman of the National Coalition on Benefits, a coalition of associations and employers formed to protect the employer-based health care system leading the effort to repeal the “Cadillac” Tax, as well as a Chairman and Board Member of the Corporate Health Care Coalition. In 1992, Andy was a Brookings Institution Congressional Fellow assigned to Rep. Amory Houghton (R-NY).  Andy received his undergraduate degree in Accounting from Georgetown University and a Master’s Degree in Telecommunications Policy from the George Washington University.

 
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James A. Turner
SENIOR POLICY COUNSEL

James A. Turner is an accomplished executive with a broad range of experience in the health care, communications, information technology, telecommunications, and non-profit sectors.  He is currently Senior Policy Counsel and Vice President with Health IT Now, where he leads the strategy and business development, campaign management, and member communications functions. Turner is an elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Washington D.C. representing a Single Member District of 2000 residents on a wide range of policies and programs affecting the neighborhoods. In 2016, Turner was appointed to a three-year term by Mayor Muriel Bowser to serve on the District of Columbia Health Information Exchange Advisory Board.

He served as Executive Advisor, on special assignment to the Verizon Government Relations and the Verizon Corporate Strategy organizations to identify the business opportunities related to federal and state Health Information Technology (HIT) legislative initiatives and future market trends.  He has represented Verizon at Congressional briefing sessions, Health Care Coalitions, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, before the Federal Communications Commission, providing input and monitoring evolving HIT policies and standards; and by serving on the Chronic Care Workgroup of the American Health Information Committee (AHIC).  Turner was a part of the committee that established the National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) organization; the successor group to AHIC.  Turner is a recognized community advocate working to improve health outcomes through patient and family engagement and the use of technology.

Turner holds a Masters of Jurisprudence degree in Health Law and Policy from Loyola University Chicago, Law School.  He also holds a Masters of General Administration degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Data Processing, Finance, and Banking from Morehead State University.