Morgan Health's Cheryl Pegus: 'Every employer should ensure preventive care'
Morgan Health wants employers to lead the push for preventive and holistic care, with tech as an enabler, managing director Cheryl Pegus told Axios Tuesday at a meeting on the sidelines of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference.
Why it matters: Pegus says the cornerstones of Morgan Health's "whole health" vision are investments in behavioral health and women's health — two sectors commanding significant investor attention.
What she's saying: Pegus, previously Walmart's executive vice president for health and wellness, says she joined Morgan "not just for more investing, but to create pillars that improve health care."
- "'Whole health' is what we're interested in," Pegus said. "Fewer point solutions and a more holistic approach. Personalization matters."
- Morgan's existing contracts are tied to outcome improvements, like reductions in emergency room visits and addressing specific health equity gaps, she added.
- "Fee for service isn't working," Pegus said. "COVID proved that. We've got to incentivize value-based care," not only to improve patient outcomes, but also "to get clinicians excited about going back to work."
Yes, and: When it comes to Morgan Health's approach to the tech component of health tech, Pegus stressed that she views "tech as an enabler, not as a me too" — meaning she aims to make investments in tech when it helps enhance specific approaches.
Zoom in: Pegus said behavioral health is riddled with low-acuity point solutions, noting Morgan seeks to invest in companies aiming to address the higher-severity end of the spectrum using both robust telehealth and a team-based approach.
- And when it comes to women's health, Morgan is especially interested in providers focused on menopause, given that women in that phase of life are at significantly higher risk for other diseases including diabetes, she noted.
- Menopause is highly correlated with metabolic disease, decline in cardiovascular health and osteoporosis, Evernow CEO Alicia Jackson told Erin at HLTH last year.
Reality check: The U.S. health care system has been slow in its shift towards value-based care and its emphasis on long-term outcomes, with half of Americans getting their health insurance through their employer and many changing employers every few years.
- Still, Pegus sees employers as having a key role to play in the sector, noting that businesses can offer robust health insurance as a means of retaining talent.
- "If you're an employer, you're committed to improving health locally and nationally," Pegus said. "Every employer should be ensuring preventive care is done."
- "We as employers must come to the table with these asks," Pegus added.