ABL HEALTHCARE ONLINE
Healthcare Industry Trends * ABL Member News * March 20, 2018
WELCOME NEW MEMBER!


Sean Tan is Co-Founder and CEO of AiCare Corporation, which delivers a cloud-enabled, machine learning analytic and IoT-enabled, intelligent sensor technology for "intelligent senior living" and precision care. AiCare's innovation in artificial intelligence for senior care provides personalized security, safety, and prevention to empower the daily lives of senior citizens in nursing homes. The machine learning algorithms measure and predict the pattern of each individual's daily activity and behavior. Any deviation from each senior's routine - including location, mobility, social interactivity, and activities of daily living - are readily tracked in real-time. This capability enables precision tracking of any anomaly from the normal values, which will detect wandering, impacts, and abnormal behavior to trigger a health-watch alert. Prior to co-founding AiCare in 2016, Sean spent 20 years in senior product development and management roles with a number of telecommunications and technology firms in the Bay Area and Canada, including Brocade, Huawei, UTStarcom, and Nortel Networks. Referred to ABL by Jinghui Li, Ph.D., President of Auxora, Sean has joined the Silicon Valley Round Table.

MIMI GRANT'S BLOG

How Hospitals Make Money Without Heads in Beds

It's no secret that healthcare is moving out of the hospital and increasingly into outpatient settings and patients' homes. So what's a bricks-and-mortar operation to do? Increasingly savvy systems and hospitals (with coffers to tap) are betting on early-stage investments in digital technology. Between 2012 and mid-2017, according to CB Insights, 15 major hospitals and their investment vehicles were involved in 167 investment or M&A deals. Of those, 55 were in digital health companies. Here are nine of those deals... Read more...

 
ABL HEALTHCARE ROUND TABLES & EVENTS
ARTICLES
HEALTHCARE & GOVERNMENT
Trump's Opioid Plan to Get Tough on Drug Traffickers

Unveiling a long-awaited plan to combat the national scourge of opioid drug addiction, President Trump called Monday for stiffer penalties for drug traffickers, including the death penalty. The president called for broadening awareness about drug addiction while expanding access to proven treatment and recovery efforts, but the backbone of his plan is to toughen the punishment for those caught trafficking highly addictive drugs. Opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, killed 42,000+ people in the U.S. in 2016, more than any other year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [Mimi's note: I highly recommend Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic, by Sam Quinones, a compelling revelation about all the major culprits behind the opioid crisis.] (ABC News, 3/19/18)

Report: Single-Payer Healthcare Would Take Years to Develop in CAL

As progressive activists clamor for California to push ahead a sweeping single-payer health plan, a legislative report released last week cautioned that such an overhaul would take years. The report, which marks the end of months of Assembly hearings on paths to achieving universal healthcare, lays out a number of options lawmakers can pursue in the near term to improve how Californians get and pay for healthcare. The report estimated that a healthcare overhaul that would cover all Californians under one system with public financing - including those who are insured through their employer and Medi-Cal or Medicare - would probably be a multiyear process to determine what kind of benefit would be provided. It would include how the system would be paid for, how to overcome state constitutional hurdles, and how to obtain necessary permission from the federal government. The findings underscore the key tension in the debate over California's healthcare future and, specifically, Senate Bill 562, which aims to establish a statewide single-payer program. Claiming momentum and urgent need, proponents want the bill released from legislative purgatory this year. But Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), who is co-chair of the Assembly panel on universal healthcare, said the complexity of the current system meant legislators should proceed with caution. More immediate policy options include expanding Medi-Cal to cover people without legal immigration status, using state money to increase subsidies for those buying insurance on the Covered California exchange, and increasing Medi-Cal payments to doctors as a way to increase access to care. (latimes.com, 3/13/18)

Lifting Therapy Caps is a "Load Off Medicare Patients' Shoulders"

The federal budget agreement Congress approved last month removes annual caps on how much Medicare pays for physical, occupational, or speech therapy and streamlines the medical review process. It applies to people in traditional Medicare as well as those with private Medicare Advantage policies. As of Jan. 1, Medicare beneficiaries are eligible for therapy indefinitely as long as their doctor - or in some states, physician assistant, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse practitioner - confirms their need for therapy and they continue to meet other requirements. CMS last month notified healthcare providers about the change. Lifting the therapy caps is just one of the important changes Congress made for the 59 million people enrolled in Medicare. Here are two others:
     Shrinking the doughnut hole - The Affordable Care Act had called for the patient's doughnut hole share to be narrowed to 25% (from up to 35%) by 2020, but the budget deal moved up that adjustment to 2019. Much of the drug cost will be shouldered by pharmaceutical companies, and those payments will also count as money paid by patients, which will help them progress to the catastrophic level more quickly, said Caroline Pearson, senior VP at Avalere Health.
     Expanding Medicare Advantage Benefits - Under the budget law, benefits targeting those with chronic diseases do not have to be primarily health-related and need have only a "reasonable expectation" of improving health. Some examples that CMS has suggested include devices and services that assist people with disabilities, minimize the impact of health problems, or avoid ER visits. (californiahealthline.org, 3/15/18)

ACA Insurers Just Had Their Best Year Yet

Many of the remaining Affordable Care Act insurers made money on individual health plans for the first time last year, according to a POLITICO analysis of financial filings for 29 regional Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, often the dominant player in their markets. The biggest reason for the improvement: big premium spikes. The Blue plans increased premiums by more than 25% on average in 2017, meaning many insurers charged enough to cover their customers' medical costs for the first time since the ACA marketplaces launched in 2014 with robust coverage requirements. The POLITICO analysis found the Blue plans spent an average of 80% of premium revenues on medical costs last year. That's below the 85% threshold that's viewed as a rough benchmark for profitability, and it's a 12% improvement over 2016. The POLITICO analysis provides a snapshot of financial performance in the marketplaces in 2017, not a definitive portrait. Combined, the 29 Blue plans had 4.5 million individual market customers at the end of last year, accounting for about one-fifth of the total market for people who buy their own coverage. (politico.com, 3/17/18)

CMS Announces Medicare's Blue Button 2.0 & MyHealthEData

CMS Administrator Seema Verma recently announced the launch of Medicare's Blue Button 2.0 - a new and secure way for Medicare beneficiaries to access and share their personal health data in a universal digital format. For example, it will allow a patient to access and share their healthcare information, previous prescriptions, treatments, and procedures with a new doctor, which can lead to less duplication in testing and provide continuity of care. Medicare's Blue Button 2.0 is expected to foster increased competition among technology innovators to serve Medicare patients and their caregivers, finding better ways to use claims data to serve patients' health needs. More than 100 organizations have signed on to use Medicare's Blue Button 2.0 to develop applications that will provide innovative new tools to help these patients manage their health. Verma also recently announced a new Trump Administration initiative - MyHealthEData - which will work to make clear that patients deserve to not only electronically receive a copy of their entire health record, but also be able to share their data with whomever they want, making the patient the center of the healthcare system. Patients can use their information to actively seek out providers and services that meet their unique healthcare needs, have a better understanding of their overall health, prevent disease, and make more informed decisions about their care. (cms.gov/Newsroom, 3/6/18)

FDA Moves to Cut Nicotine in Cigarettes, Helping Smokers Quit

Under an "unprecedented" plan the FDA announced last week, cigarettes would contain less addictive nicotine, making them less attractive to smokers. Stripping cigarettes of most of their addictive power could lead 5 million adults to quit smoking within a year of the plan going into place and another 8 million to quit within five years, according to an analysis published in The New England Journal of Medicine. By 2100, the plan would prevent 33 million people who are now children or young adults from ever taking up tobacco, saving 8 million lives. The FDA is accepting public comments on the proposal. (californiahealthline.org, 3/15/18)

HEALTHCARE TRENDS
U.S. Spends Twice as Much as Other Wealthy Countries on Health

The United States spent twice as much on healthcare than ten other high-income countries in 2016, largely because of the high costs of prescription drugs, administrative overhead, and labor, according to a new study from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Commonwealth Fund. While Americans don't use more services than people in other high-income countries, the U.S.' overall health spending still topped that of the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany. *The U.S. spent nearly 18% of its GDP on healthcare in 2016. Spending in other countries ranged from 9.6% of Australia's GDP to 12.4% of Switzerland's. *Spending per capita for prescription drugs was $1,443 in the U.S., compared to a range of $466 to $939 in other countries. *General physicians in the U.S. can expect to make about $218,000, compared to a range of $86,600 to $154,000 in other countries. *Administrative costs on healthcare consume 8% of the U.S.'s GDP, compared to a range of 1% to 3% in other countries.
     High healthcare spending in the U.S. does not translate to better health outcomes, the report found. *Life expectancy in the U.S. is 78.8 years, compared to the average of 81.7 years among the countries studied. *Infant mortality was higher in the U.S. than the other countries, with 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in the U.S., and 3.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in all 11 countries. *The U.S. also has more uninsured citizens than any of the countries examined, with about 10% of Americans lacking insurance coverage. (thehill.com, 3/13/18)

Cigna to Buy Express Scripts in $52+ Billion Deal

Health insurance giant Cigna has agreed to buy Express Scripts, the nation's largest pharmacy benefit manager, in a $52 billion deal, the New York Times reported. According to Cigna, the deal has a total transaction value of $67 billion, which includes Cigna's assumption of $13 billion of Express Scripts' net debt. The companies said the acquisition would benefit consumers by allowing them to bring together patients' medical and pharmacy histories to improve treatments and lower costs. The completion of the deal would mark the end of Express Scripts as the last major independent PBM. The company is responsible for the prescription plans of 80+ million Americans. The two companies said they would continue to offer pharmacy services to other insurers and employers that do not use Cigna. (nytimes.com, 3/8/18)

Permanente #1 Among 50 Largest U.S. Medical Group Parents

Oakland, CA-based Permanente Medical Groups ranked No. 1 in the nation's 50 largest medical group parents, with over three times the number of unique physicians as the second ranked Veterans Health Administration, according to an annual report published by IQVIA. The report uses data from OneKey, a database from IQVIA that includes nine million U.S. healthcare professionals and 680,000 organizations. The report ranked these parent companies by total physician affiliations, unique physicians, and medical group count. Permanente had 19,179 total physician affiliations, 14,757 unique physicians, and 578 medical group count. (beckershospitalreview.com, 3/12/18)

Hospitals Fund Potential Game-Changers in Health Technology

Hospitals scrounging for dollars are reinventing themselves as venture capitalists and investing in healthcare technologies, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. Hospital networks have funded drug R&D for decades; some also have helped finance inventions by staff members. But backing outside health-tech startups is a relatively recent phenomenon. For example, Northwell Health, of New York, has so far invested $3 million into PurpleSun, a device that disinfects operating rooms and stretchers by zapping them with ultraviolet rays. Northwell Ventures, the organization's for-profit arm, dipped into its $50 million investment kitty to support the project. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center teamed up with Techstars, a private Colorado firm that ferrets out promising startups. In 2016, the two created an entity that offers fledgling firms the equivalent of $120,000 in cash and loans in exchange for stock. Cedars-Sinai hosts its startups for three-month stints in a former furniture store near the hospital. Doctors and nurses drop by the space and give inventors feedback on their projects. Between 500-600 applicants vie for 10 slots every nine months. In addition, Cedars-Sinai operates an $80 million innovations fund with another hospital, MemorialCare Health System in Orange County. Created in 2014 and named Summation Health Ventures, the fund can make sizable investments. (wsj.com, 3/7/18)

80% of Physicians Cyberattacked

The "2018 Impact of Cyber Insecurity on Healthcare Organizations" study examines the myriad of cybersecurity-related challenges and how organizations are, or are not, addressing them. Results show 62% of the 627 executives surveyed admitting to experiencing an attack in the past 12 months, and more than half losing patient data as a result. Healthcare organizations surveyed are equally concerned with external attacks (63%) as they are with employee negligence or malicious insiders (64%). When asked what the attackers are after, respondents highlighted these top five items: Patient medical records (77%); Patient billing information (56%); Log-in credentials (54%); Passwords and other authentication credentials to systems, servers or applications (49%); and Clinical trial and other research information (45%). (helpnetsecurity.com, 3/13/18)
    Meanwhile, Becker's Hospital Review reported the results of a recent physician survey conducted by the AMA and Accenture. Findings include:
* 80+% of physicians experienced some type of cyberattack, the most common being phishing (55%), followed by viruses or malware (48%), and unauthorized employee access (37%). 
* 64% said a cyberattack resulted in four hours or less of downtime, while 4% said an attack shut down their systems for more than two days.
* In response to a cyberattack, most physicians said they notified internal IT groups (65%), notified or educated employees (61%), or implemented new written policies and procedures (59%).
* 49% of physicians said they have an in-house security official, while others outsource security management (26%) or share security management with another practice in their area (23%).
* 37% said privacy and security training content is developed by the health IT vendor.
* Physicians said the most helpful training tools are tips for good cyber hygiene (50%), simplified legal language of HIPAA (47%), and an easily digestible summary of HIPAA (44%). (beckershospitalreview.com, 3/13/18)

And to Be on the Safe Side, How to Create a Strong Password

A recent article from WIPFLi offers tips on creating a strong "passphrase" for each separate account secured by a password. A passphrase is a sentence that you can easily remember. The longer your passphrase, the stronger it is. Making your passphrase strong can limit the success of humans and/or computers in guessing your passphrase.
     WIPFLi provides an example, starting with this phrase: Super best phrase of pass that only I can remember. *Add capitalization in odd places:  SupEr best pHrase of paSs that Only I caN remember. *Add numbers:  SupEr7best90 pH32rase of paSs th00at Only I c4aN rem9ember. *Add special characters:  SupE$r7best90 pH32&rase" of paSs: th00at O,nly I c4aN re;m9ember. *That looks too hard to remember, so simplify: SupE$r best90 paSs: (wipfli.com/insights, 1/2/18)

BCBS Institute Established to Reduce "Zip Code Effect" on Health

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has launched the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute, a new subsidiary created to address the social and environmental factors that greatly influence health and health outcomes. A first-of-its-kind organization in scope and scale, the BCBS Institute combines a social mission with business innovation and insight to target barriers to healthcare that can be solved with technology and strategic alliances. With a mission to improve healthcare access and outcomes, the Institute will address the "ZIP code effect," which shines a light on transportation, pharmacy, nutrition, and fitness deserts in specific neighborhoods. To this end, the Institute is partnering with Lyft, CVS Health, and Walgreens to provide services. (bcbs.com/press, 3/14/18)

MEMBER NEWS
Alvaka Networks Bolsters Cybersecurity Via Sessions & Blog

Upcoming Lunch & Learn sessions from Alvaka Networks include: Become a Lead Generation Super Hero with Google Adwords, on March 23, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Google's Irvine campus; and Meltdown & Spectre: Software Updates, New Firmware, & Lots of Problems, on March 27, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Alvaka's Irvine offices.  Meanwhile, in his post, Average Ransomware Attack Infects 16 Workstations, 5 Servers and 22 Users, Alvaka CEO Oli Thordarson reports that data from 2017 shows that 29% of companies with 1,000 to 5,000 employees are getting struck by ransomware. "If companies that size - who presumably have the resources to guard against this scourge - are getting hit, then avoidance does not bode well for smaller firms," Oli notes. (Oli Thordarson, Orange County)

AT&T Puts Connected Health Innovation on Display

At the recent HiMMS18 show in Las Vegas, AT&T showcased "some of the coolest, newest solutions" the company is bringing connectivity to in the healthcare space. This includes: the MXD-LTE, from Mytrex Inc., a cloud-based Personal Emergency Response System; the Astute CTR-01, a new LTE CAT M1 cellular health hub by Astute Medical; AED Sentinel, a technology-based remote AED monitoring system by Readiness Systems; and AlertGPS, a leading innovator in connected enterprise safety technology.  Also, AT&T and Aira are developing and testing a solution designed to help people who are blind or have low vision better manage their prescription medication.  And, Clairvoyant Networks chose AT&T to provide connectivity to its new line of caregiver solutions, and Dictum Health chose AT&T to provide mobile connectivity for its Virtual Exam Room product line. (Judi Manis)

Axene Health Explores Amazon, Berkshire & JP Morgan Alliance

Members of Axene Health Partners (AHP) recently sat down to discuss how the health benefits and delivery alliance of Amazon, Berkshire, and J.P. Morgan might work and what innovations they could introduce. AHP identified and discussed five key areas: How would the alliance establish networks for such a geographically wide group? How could Amazon leverage their analytic prowess? Can the alliance use this opportunity for process/ efficiency improvements? Is there a chance this could lead to greater price transparency? Can the alliance control healthcare costs by addressing lifestyle/ wellness issues? and more. Read the discussion here. (John Price, Bay Area)

CEI Prepares for 10th Annual PACE Party

The Center for Elders' Independence will celebrate its 10th PACE Party on May 3, at the University Club in Berkeley. The evening promises a night of spectacular views, inspiring entertainment, and fundraising, which will help give at-risk seniors access to high-quality personalized medical care, healthy meals, socialization, training and access to technology, and resources for caregivers. (Lisa Trowbridge, Bay Area)

Ceresti Health Proclaimed an Innovator by Inc. Magazine

In the article, How This Tiny Health Startup Wants to Improve the Lives of 5.5 Million Dementia Patients, Inc. magazine spotlights Ceresti Health and its use of technology to relieve the stress associated with in-home care of dementia patients. Article excerpts include: "Ceresti aims to boost caregivers' confidence and skills through digital education, monitoring tools, and human support. The business focuses on dementia patients also living with chronic conditions. (More than a third of dementia patients have coronary artery disease or diabetes, for example.) That's where medical costs are highest. It is also where caregivers with no nursing experience face the gravest challenges, because they are managing the health of people who are unable to express their symptoms. Ceresti is the second act of Dirk Soenksen, whose first company, Aperio, created digital slides used by pathologists to view tissue samples. Soenksen, an engineer by training, raised $50+ million for Aperio and sold it for an undisclosed sum to Leica Biosystems in 2012. . . Ceresti's first pilot is with Landmark Health, a home-based medical care provider that will soon be operating in 10 states. The trial has gone so well that Landmark plans to roll Ceresti's product out to potentially thousands of patients." (Dirk Soenksen, Orange County)

Cigna Launches "Answers by Cigna" Skill for Alexa

Cigna is entering the voice control space with the launch of "Answers by Cigna" skill for Amazon Alexa. Cigna is the first global health service company to offer a skill aimed at personalizing and simplifying health benefits information. The new hands-free skill is designed to demystify language about healthcare by providing instant and easy-to-understand answers to 150+ commonly-asked healthcare questions. The Answers by Cigna skill for Alexa is available to everyone in the Amazon Alexa Skills Store or by saying, "Alexa, enable Answers by Cigna." To use it, users can simply ask their health-related questions, like "What's a formulary?" or "What's a premium?" and receive an easy-to-understand response. (Chris De Rosa, Orange County)

County of Santa Clara to Require Manufacturers to Fund Sharps Waste Collection

The County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors has passed legislation requiring sharps manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies who produce and distribute medicines that require home injection to develop and fund a free, comprehensive program to safely collect and dispose of consumer-generated sharps products. This would include nearly 100 disposal kiosks located in pharmacies, law enforcement facilities, community centers, senior centers, and other convenient locations. In addition, there will be hundreds more locations where residents can pick up a prepaid sharps container for free mail-back along with online mail-back services for homebound residents. Outreach and publicity in the native languages of Santa Clara County’s diverse population is a further requirement of the law.  Also, the County announced a new multidisciplinary transgender health clinic through Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, which will open in the Fall of 2018. (Tyler Haskell, Silicon Valley)

CoveredCA Analysis Projects 3-Year Cumulative Premium Increases Up to 90%

An analysis sponsored by Covered California finds that every state in the nation is at risk for higher than normal premium increases due to continued policy changes and uncertainty at the federal level. In the absence of any federal action to address the current environment, the report estimates that premium increases across the nation could range from 12% to 32% in 2019 and have a cumulative premium-increase total between 35% and 94% by 2021. The report is a national economic analysis of potential premium increases, state-by-state impacts, and estimates of positive effects of federal policies. It also identifies steps that can be taken to reduce the risks of these significant premium increases. Among the solutions is an analysis of the positive impact that a federal reinsurance program could have in 2019 if implemented soon. (Kathy Keeshen, Sacramento)

ElderConsult to Present Dementia Conference & Resource Fair

On April 13 and 14, ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine will present Living In the Moment Dementia Conference 2018, in Campbell, CA, featuring two half-days of experts in their fields discussing many issues common to dementia. Elizabeth Landsverk MD will make the keynote presentation both days. The event is appropriate for both elder care professionals and families with loved ones living with dementia. Along with the conference will be a Resource Fair, with trusted companies and agencies providing information and services to attendees, including Alegre Home Care, Mission Hospice & Home Care, and Pathways Home Health. (from ElderConsult: Elizabeth Landsverk MD; from Alegre: Charles Symes; from Mission: Dwight Wilson - all Bay Area; from Pathways: Barbara Burgess, Silicon Valley)

Good Samaritan Hospital Receives $21 Million Gift

Good Samaritan Hospital received a $21 million gift from Charles T. Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. Mr. Munger has served as chairman of the board of trustees at Good Samaritan Hospital for the past 31 years. The gift will support the emergency department expansion project and address seismic improvements to the hospital facilities. The ED project will include the expansion of the waiting area and increase the number of patient beds from 12 to 24 beds. (Andy Leeka, Los Angeles)

Gorman Health Group Provides 2018 MA Market Trends

Gorman Health Group (GHG) has published a white paper - 2018 MA Market Trends - providing insights into national and state-level Medicare Advantage enrollment trends as of February 2018. At a 34% nationwide penetration, just over one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries are currently enrolled in MA plans - on track to hit 50% by 2025.  Meanwhile, the Gorman Health Group 2018 Forum will take place April 25-26, in Las Vegas, providing an intensive cross-functional examination of the state of government healthcare programs to support health plans, providers, and their business partners. (Dave Sayen, Bay Area)

IIC Featured on CBS News for Its Population Health Efforts

CBS 2 News and Susan G. Komen Los Angeles recently chose Inglewood Imaging Center (IIC) as a strategic cancer access filming location to help spread awareness on population health and breast cancer. The video, which aired several times on CBS 2, explains that while the general population has a 90% survival rate for breast cancer, it drops to 75% for African American women, due in part to black women often ignoring the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. The video features IIC CEO Brad Schmidt, who opened the advanced imaging center in Inglewood, a predominately African-American part of Los Angeles that had been underserved. IIC is now one of the places where Komen sends women that are either uninsured or underinsured, one of many partnerships that ensures that every woman can get a mammogram. The video was part of the coverage of the recent Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure" in L.A., which drew 6,000+ participants and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. (Brad Schmidt, Los Angeles)

Kaiser Permanente's Medicare Website Deemed "Top Benchmark"

For the sixth consecutive year, Kaiser Permanente (KP)'s Medicare health plan website is rated one of the top Medicare websites in the nation for providing consumers with an easy, positive, and high-value experience, according to an independent research firm. HealthMetrix evaluated 160 Medicare Advantage websites for Medicare WebWatch national certification in 2018, and KP's is one of nine given "top benchmark" status, the highest rating. To achieve this, 50 website features were analyzed, including plan-specific content, external content resources, member connectivity, design and navigation, and transparency and privacy disclosure. (Walt Meyers, Bay Area)

King & Spalding Announces Webinars & Receives Accolades

Upcoming webinars from King & Spalding (K&S) include: U.S. Supreme Court / Administrative Law Update: The New Administration's Policy Goals, its Judicial Appointments, and Opportunities for Advocacy, on March 29, at 10 a.m., and Making the Most of Worksheet S-10: How Hospitals Can Fully Capture Their Uncompensated Care, on April 10, at 10 a.m.  Meanwhile, The Daily Journal has named a K&S matter among the top verdicts in California: In the matter, Herford v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., the plaintiff alleged she developed mesothelioma as a result of using Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder which she claimed were contaminated with asbestos. On Nov. 16, 2017, K&S obtained a complete jury defense verdict in the case, which was the first of its kind to be tried, and is considered a bellwether for similar cases across the country. The jury found that J&J and its talc supplier had not acted negligently and their products contained no manufacturing, design, or warning defects. Earlier this year, the Courtroom View Network named the Herford verdict the No. 1 Most Impressive Defense Verdict of 2017.  Also, the latest issue of K&S Health Headlines includes "Monitoring Company to Pay $550,000 to Settle False Claims Act Allegations." (Marcia Augsburger, Sacramento, & Travis Jackson, Los Angeles)

Nelson Hardiman Successfully Challenges State's Claim Against Hospital

Nelson Hardiman (NH) successfully defended a hospital in a million-dollar dispute with the State of California over an incentive it had earned for being an early adopter of electronic health records. After a routine audit, the State alleged that NH's client had counted patients wrongly and should only have received $3.27 million of the $4.21 million it had been paid. The discrepancy turned on complex definitions about what constituted a patient day. Specifically, the State alleged that psychiatric bed days were not eligible to be counted in the total bed days for EHR purposes. NH argued that the billing and cost report reporting of the psychiatric bed days for the client were countable under the State's program. The administrative law judge agreed with NH's position and cut the refund request down to approximately $192,000. (Harry Nelson, Los Angeles)

On Lok to Present Benefit Gala & Active Mind/ Healthy Brain Series

On the evening of May 18, On Lok will present Celebrates!, an event benefiting the organization's wide-ranging programs for seniors, including healthcare, social activities, wellness and fitness, and nutrition and meal delivery. In addition to conversation, live entertainment, drinks, and food tastings, the evening will feature Liam Mayclem, the Emmy Award-winning host of "Eye on the Bay" and "Eat Drink SF."  Also, On Lok is collaborating with the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and the Global Brain Health Institute on a free lecture series discussing aging, active minds, healthy brains, and maintaining your physical and cognitive health. Sessions are every Thursday throughout the month of May, from 5-6 p.m. (Grace Li, Bay Area)

PsycheAnalytics Accepted Into StartUp Health

Dave Haddick, CEO of PsycheAnalytics, shares that his company has been accepted into StartUp Health, which will give it a significant boost in resources and expertise. StartUp Health is investing in 10 Health Moonshots, with the long-term goal of improving the health and wellbeing of everyone in the world. StartUp Health has the world's largest digital health portfolio (200+ companies worldwide). Dave also shares an article from the California Health Report , which says that over $2.5 billion from the Mental Health Services Act of 2004 (MHSA) that has been distributed to California counties remains unspent. Millions in interest has also accumulated in the county accounts with no way to spend the interest. Mental health services under MHSA include the following spending categories: community support, prevention, innovation, workforce training, and capital facilities; PsycheAnalytics' products qualify for MHSA funding under prevention, innovation, and training. This funding is in addition to Medicaid payments to treat patients with behavioral health needs, which is also far underspent. PsycheAnalytics' first customer is Solano County, one of the first three counties to receive a fiscal audit of its MHSA spending. PsycheAnalytics is pleased with the timing of the report, as they are seeking equity funding and this amount of unspent money "will look like low-hanging fruit to an investor," Dave says. (Dave Haddick, Bay Area)

Select Data Provides HIPAA Compliance Checklist

Select Data is offering a downloadable HIPAA Compliance Checklist, to help you self-assess the status of your home care and/or hospice organization's compliance.  Also, Select Data is providing access to a live recording from February's Select Connects With Clinicians session, entitled Understanding the HH CAHPS Survey and How it Impacts Your Home Health Agency. (Ed Buckley, Orange County, & Ted Schulte, Los Angeles)

SOS Earns NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Status

Four Share Our Selves (SOS) clinics were recently recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and awarded NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition, Level 3. The SOS Community Health Center, SOS and PEACE Health Clinic, SOS-El Sol Wellness Center, and the SOS Children & Family Health Center achieved this accolade by using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long‐term, participative relationships.  Meanwhile, SOS and Susan G. Komen Orange County are teaming to provide free health education and exercise classes, in a nine-week program taking place on Friday mornings, starting March 30. Topics covered will include mammograms, breast health, breast cancer, nutrition, stress management, menopause and hormone therapy. (Karen McGlinn, Orange County)

The Health Trust Announces Getting to Zero Mini-Grant Opportunity

Getting to Zero Santa Clara County (GTZ), a program co-run by The Health Trust, is seeking to fund a second round of projects to specifically support the reduction of stigma - one of four priorities that are supported under the GTZ mini-grant strategy. In 2016, the GTZ initiative was launched and made possible with funding provided by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. The initiative aims to have "zero new HIV infections, zero deaths from HIV, and zero stigma related to HIV." GTZ awards one-time mini-grants over the course of the project to promote community agencies' ability to recognize and respond to the greatest needs impacting individuals at-risk of, or living with, HIV. Applications are due on March 30, 2018, by 5 p.m. (Todd Hansen, Silicon Valley)

TECH MEMBERS' HEALTHCARE NEWS
Catasys Expands OnTrak-HA

Catasys, Inc. has expanded its OnTrak-HA program with a leading regional health insurer in Illinois to include anxiety and depression for eligible commercial and Medicare members. Since 2016, OnTrak-HA has covered eligible commercial and Medicare members with substance-use disorders (SUDs) and eligible individual and public marketplace plan members with anxiety, depression, and SUDs. Catasys uses artificial intelligence and big data predictive analytics to identify health plan members suffering from untreated behavioral health disorders, whose overall health can be significantly improved, and high medical costs substantially reduced through their program. (Rick Anderson, West Los Angeles Technology)

Easy Breathe Shares Study: CPAP Makes You More Attractive

Easy Breathe reports that a study has revealed that consistent CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) treatment for sleep apnea can make you appear more physically attractive: After two months of nightly CPAP treatment, patients looked noticeably more youthful, well rested, and attractive. In addition, 68% of volunteers said that patients also looked more alert. The study, conducted at Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Michigan, revealed that consistent CPAP treatment not only subjectively enhanced beauty, but researchers also found "objective changes in facial surface volume and color." Through high-tech digital photogrammetry, researchers found decreases in forehead surface volume, which means basically that patients showed a reduction in wrinkles, and cheek and under-eye redness were shown to have been reduced. (Nick Weiss, West Los Angeles Technology)

Sidebench Partners with WITH Foundation

Sidebench has announced a new collaboration with WITH Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting comprehensive healthcare for adults with developmental disabilities. Jointly, they will host a pilot workshop on March 22, bringing designers and developers together with people with developmental disabilities to facilitate opportunities to hear their needs and perspectives, and ultimately, to build new technologies for forward-thinking accessible design. (Kevin Yamazaki, West Los Angeles Technology)

SleepSmart Pillow Launched on Indiegogo

SleepSmart Pillow, built by Pressure Profile Systems, Inc., recently launched on Indiegogo. Designed for side sleepers, the pillow uses innovative adjustable technology, including 'Sophie,' an intelligent sleep coach who monitors your sleep quality and helps you track your lifestyle behaviors in the SleepSmart app. Sophie analyzes your REM cycle through the pillow, as well as data you manually provide about your lifestyle choices to help you become the master of your own sleep. Of note, the pillow only transfers data (transmits energy) after you wake up or when you sync the data with your phone. (Jae Son, Ph.D., Downtown Los Angeles Technology)

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