Summit on State Strategies and Tactics to Lower Rx Prices

Friday, August 17th
8:30am – 12:00pm

View or download the agenda for this summit.

Open only to state officials, this half-day summit provides a unique opportunity for state officials to examine what they can do to lower drug prices, the challenges these initiatives face, and strategies to overcome them. The agenda is designed for and by state officials to help state legislators and staff, governors’ staff, state employee health benefit administrators, Medicaid, attorneys general staff, and other state officials share their experiences. During the summit, officials will:

  • Provide an overview of what states are doing to address the rising cost of prescription drugs, and
  • Discuss the pharmaceutical industry’s response, and how to manage the lobbying and legal counter-efforts by pharma and other opponents.

This summit is made possible with support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation

This event is open only to state officials.


Richard N. Gottfried, Chair, New York State Assembly Committee on Health

Richard N. Gottfried has chaired the NY State Assembly Health Committee since 1987 and represents a district in Manhattan. He works to expand publicly funded health coverage; protect patient autonomy, especially in reproductive and end-of-life care; and support safety-net health care providers. He sponsors the “New York Health” bill to create a state single-payer universal health plan and sponsored NY’s medical marijuana law. He’s a lawyer (Columbia, JD ’73) but does not have a private practice. Member of NY Academy of Medicine, National Academy for State Health Policy, Reforming States Group, NYC Bar Association, and NY Civil Liberties Union.



Julie Kotchevar, Administrator of the Division of Public and Behavioral Health, State of Nevada

Julie Kotchevar has extensive experience working within the field of health and human services programs, particularly in the field of children and adults with disabilities. She has worked nationally and internationally for over 15 years to create efficient and agile systems that can skillfully respond to the changing needs of consumers while also ensuring that services are person centered, ethical, appropriate, and evidence-based. Within Nevada and nationally she has worked with state programs to identify and repair broken and inefficient systems. Internationally she worked to develop systems in several countries including primary and maternity care in central China, basic health and assessment services in rural parts of Indonesia, and early intervention systems for children and families in the Southern Sudan.

Dr. Kotchevar has served in the Nevada state system as an Executive Branch Auditor, the Clinical Program Manager of Nevada Early Intervention Services, and as the Deputy Administrator of Aging and Disability Services Division before joining the Director’s Office as the Deputy Director.

Dr. Kotchevar has recently completed her Doctorate in Health Policy Planning and Analysis, has a Master’s degree in Organizational Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education.

Terry Cothran, Director, University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy - Pharmacy Management Consultants

Terry Cothran is currently the Director at Pharmacy Management Consultants (a division of the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy) with 27 years of pharmacy experience and 24 years of that in management. He was previously the Operations Manager in other departments, such as Medication Therapy Management, Consulting Pharmacy, and Prior Authorization in a large Pharmacy Benefit Management environment. Prior to that, he was the Operations Manager in Specialty Pharmacy, the Regional Manager of Store Operations in a retail chain, and manager in the independent pharmacy environment. 


Virginia Lyons, Vermont Senator, Vermont State Senate
Vermont Senator Virginia “Ginny” Lyons serves as Vice Chair of the Health and Welfare Committee and on the Finance Committee. She Co-Chairs Vermont’s Commission on International Trade and State Sovereignty, Chairs the Joint Energy Committee, and serves on other Senate and community organizations. Ginny champions data informed policies that address public health, health care improvement, substance misuse, child and family resilience, consumer product safety, environmental and water quality, energy efficiency, and others. Ginny served as Town Select Board Chair for 15 years. As a College Biology Professor with a Doctorate form the University of Vermont, Senator Lyons developed and directed Pre-Medical and Allied Health programs.


Amir Bassiri, Senior Policy Advisor for Health, Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Amir Bassiri is a Senior Policy Advisor for Health in the Executive Chamber. He joined the Executive Chamber in 2015 through the Empire State Fellows Program working as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services on various policy areas, including pharmaceuticals, as well as other strategic health initiatives. Prior to joining the Executive Chamber, he served as the Director of Development at Urban Upbound, a not-for-profit organization committed to breaking cycles of poverty in New York City. He earned his B.A. in both Economics and Psychology from the University of California, Davis, before earning a Master’s in Social Work (M.S.W) from Columbia University. He is fluent in Farsi.


Trevor Douglass, Oregon Prescription Drug Program & Pharmacy Purchasing Director, Oregon Health Authority

In 1995, Trevor Douglass left his home in Victoria, BC to attend Chiropractic College in Portland, OR, at Western States Chiropractic College (WSCC) now University of Western States,

He has also completed a Bachelor of Science in human biology, post-graduate training in sports medicine, and most recently, obtained a masters degree in public health from OHSU, with a focus on primary health care and health disparities.

Over the last 8 years, Trevor has focused on all things Medicaid; tackling a broad array of policy & program areas that which included the Medicaid Pharmacy Program. Trevor’s deep understanding of the Medicaid arena and, in particular, the pharmacy arena coupled with his ability to develop meaningful collaborative relationships, positions OHA and the Northwest Prescription Drug Consortium well. He looks forward to forging strong, collaborative relationships across the Nation, the State, and with consortium partners.


Jim Jones, Partner, Ten2Eleven Business Solutions, LLC

Jim Jones is CFO and founding partner at Sacramento, CA based Ten2Eleven Business Solutions, LLC. Since starting the company in 2004, Jim and his team have helped numerous public and private sector clients solve unique technology challenges, with emphasis in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Jim’s involvement in system design and architecture has provided on the ground opportunities to learn and understand operational strategies in areas including product pricing and rebates, inventory administration, and contract management for Fortune 500 companies and government agencies alike.
Beyond custom solution development, Jim has significant experience in data analytics and reporting, having previously supervised teams of analysts responsible for financial and market analysis at LexisNexis and Waste Connections. Jim attended California State University, Sacramento.


David Seltz, Executive Director, Massachusetts Health Policy Commission
David Seltz is the first Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission. Prior to this role, Mr. Seltz was the chief health care advisor for then-Senate President Therese Murray and served as the Special Advisor on health care for former Governor Deval Patrick (MA). Through these positions, Mr. Seltz advised the passage of Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006 and Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012. Mr. Seltz is a 2003 graduate of Boston College and originally from Minnesota. He was a recipient of Modern HealthCare’s 2015 Up and Comer Award, which recognizes young executives that have made significant contributions in the areas of healthcare administration, management or policy.


Dr. Norman Thurston, Representative, Utah State Legislature
Director, Office of Health Care Statistics, Utah Department of Health

Norm ThurstonDr. Thurston has a Masters and Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University. Dr. Thurston has been a policy analyst and health economist for the Utah Department of Health in various roles for 15 years, including work on health systems reform. Currently, he is the Director of the Office of Health Care Statistics

Before joining the state, Dr. Thurston worked for eight years as an assistant professor of economics at Brigham Young University.

In 2014, Dr. Thurston was elected to the Utah House of Representatives.


Daniel Tsai, Assistant Secretary and Director of MassHealth

Daniel Tsai is the Assistant Secretary for MassHealth and Medicaid Director for the Commonwealth. Tsai was appointed in January 2015 by Governor Charlie Baker to oversee the state’s $15 billion Medicaid program, which covers one in four residents in the Commonwealth. In his role, Tsai is responsible for ensuring a robust and sustainable MassHealth program. That includes developing new policies, payment models, and operational processes that improve the way health care is delivered to 1.8 million low-and moderate-income individuals and individuals with disabilities. Before joining HHS, Tsai was a Partner and leader in McKinsey & Company’s Healthcare Systems and Services practice. He has significant experience on design and implementation of innovative, state-wide health care payment systems for Medicaid, Medicare and Commercial populations, and has worked closely with multiple state Medicaid programs, private payers, and health services companies. He received a Bachelor of Arts in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard University. Assistant Secretary Tsai and his wife live in Cambridge. He volunteers at a local community health center in Boston’s South End.


Joshua Wojcik, Assistant Comptroller, Connecticut Office of the State Comptroller

Joshua Wojcik an Assistant Comptroller at the Connecticut State Comptroller’s Office. The Office of the State Comptroller is responsible for the employee and retiree medical, dental, and pharmacy benefit programs for 230,000 employees, retirees, and family members throughout the state. Joshua is responsible for the development and coordination of new policy initiatives for the office, oversees the implementation of new programs related to health care and state employee benefit changes and participates in all procurement activities for health care related vendors. Joshua represents the Office of the State Comptroller as a member of several health care related boards and committees and plays a lead role in negotiating the passage of major legislation promoted by the office related to health care, pharmacy costs or other significant issues.


Jane Horvath, Consultant, Horvath Health Policy

Jane Horvath is an experienced health policy analyst and policymaker. She has a deep background in Medicaid, commercial insurance markets and regulation, Medicare, and prescription drug pricing and reimbursement. Jane is a consultant on a variety of health care financing issues, including pharmaceutical costs.
Jane most recently worked as a Senior Policy Fellow at NASHP leading their Center for State Drug Pricing. She continues to work with NASHP and states. Prior to NASHP, Jane most recently worked in the private sector as a consultant to the life sciences industry, foundations, and advocacy organizations. She has held research positions at Johns Hopkins University and MACPAC. Jane spent ten years at Merck working on coverage and reimbursement policies in federal programs. She has worked for the Medicaid Directors, the US Senate Finance Committee, and was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation (Health) at the US Department of Health and Human Services.