Former CMS administrator Andy Slavitt starts venture capital firm

Former Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt is launching a new venture capital firm called Town Hall Ventures.

Starting the firm with fellow health business veterans Trevor Price and David Whelan, the group said they are looking to invest in healthcare technology and services companies that impact care delivery for vulnerable populations that don't always benefit from innovation.

In particular, the group said, they want to target care improvements for Medicare and Medicaid patients—a population that represents more than 120 million people and $1.2 trillion worth of health care spending, they said.

"There's a significant underinvestment on the part of innovation for the care of certain populations," Slavitt told FierceHealthcare. "We think we're at the beginning of a wave of great companies being built that really focus on serving these patients."

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Slavitt declined to discuss certain financial details such as how large a fund the firm intended to build. He said they plan to be an opportunity-driven fund that will back deals anywhere from the earliest stages of business development through late stage.

Already, the firm has four companies in its portfolio, including joining an $11 million fund raise for kidney-care company Somatus Inc. Somatus was started by a DaVita alum in Virginia and New York-based Cityblock Health Inc., created in partnership with Alphabet Inc.'s Sidewalk Labs to provide primary care, behavioral health and social needs in urban populations.

Town Hall also made investments in Menlo Park, California-based Welbe Health LLC, a provider of integrated services to frail seniors who qualify for CMS' PACE programs, and New York-based Aetion Inc., a company offering real-world analytics to drug companies and payors. Each investment has been between $1 million and $5 million.