ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * June 6, 2018

>>> Maggie Bryan is Administrator and CEO of Shriners Hospitals for Children - Northern California, a regional pediatric medical center providing highly specialized care and rehabilitation to children with congenital conditions and complex medical needs, regardless of the ability of the patient or family to pay. The Northern California Shriners Hospital treats children with orthopaedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, burns, cleft lip, scars from any cause, and other specialized plastic surgery needs. Under Maggie's direction, the hospital has grown into the largest and most complex of the 20 Shriners hospitals in the U.S. She has helped forge a relationship with the UC Davis Health System, which has become a model for the nation and resulted in significant research advances in pediatric burn care, muscular dystrophy, pediatric orthopedics, and stem cell research. Maggie joined Shriners in 1997, and earlier spent 12 years at UC San Francisco Medical Center, where she rose to Associate Director of hospitals and clinics, responsible for the UCSF Children's Hospital. Maggie has joined the Sacramento Round Table.

>>> Al Gilbert is President and CEO of Felton Institute, previously known as the Family Service Agency of San Francisco, which provides cutting-edge, evidence-based social services. For over 126 years, Felton Institute has been a leader in innovative mental health and social service programs, achieving national importance and statewide scope, and placing special emphasis on the needs of low-income families, children, the elderly, and people living with disabilities. Today, Felton offers 46 programs in 11 languages at multiple sites throughout the Bay Area. Al joined Felton as CFO in 2004, became COO in 2010, and President and CEO in 2015; he is also CEO of CIRCE, a performance management software company for social services agencies. Previously, he founded and served as Managing Partner for Entrepreneur, a business consultancy; Senior Accounting Officer for Bank of America; and Chief Fiscal Officer for a $55 million managed healthcare initiative funded by HHS, for which he developed an operational infrastructure to ensure fiscal integrity and contract compliance. Al has joined the Bay Area Round Table.

>>> Eric Neuner became the CEO of Health Coach Institute in 2017, where he's on a mission to promote aliveness and eradicate the world's health problems through lifestyle and diet changes. Since 2010, HCI has become the fastest-growing online learning platform that teaches individuals how to turn their passion for healthy living into a career as a Health Coach. Collectively, they've trained over 10,000 coaches in 30 countries for the past decade, using its comprehensive curriculum based on cutting-edge psychology, brain science, intuitive listening, habit change, and healthy lifestyle design, covering nutrition education, transformational coaching skills training, personal growth, and proven business and marketing systems. Eric is also a founding partner and Board Member of Trilogy Education Services, which creates and manages skills-based training programs, which are run by universities like UC Berkeley and Northwestern, that ensure that students graduate with both the technical skills and personal confidence needed to succeed in their careers. Eric has also joined the Bay Area Round Table.

>>> David Williams is Founder and CEO of Care3, which digitizes, sequences, and distributes care plans for families and professionals over its secure mobile messaging platform. Care3 solves the problem of organizing care tasks, sequencing them for real-time completion and mobilizing, so care can be delivered by anyone in a patient's care continuum, anywhere. An entrepreneur and innovator, Care3 is David's fourth digital health venture. Previously, he was Co-Founder and CEO of InvolveCare, a task crowdsourcing mobile platform focused on family caregivers, incubated within Aetna's Healthagen unit, as well as founding Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Business Development at PatientsLikeMe, the world's first consumer health data sharing platform. He was also Director of Community Development for Spotlight Health, a venture-backed omnimedia platform creating celebrity-led health awareness campaigns; worked in Neuroscience Global Strategy with Eli Lilly and Company; and did strategy, enterprise systems, and M&A consulting with Deloitte. David has joined the Los Angeles Round Table.

>>> Abbie Yant is Executive Director of San Francisco Health Service System (SFHSS), which negotiates and administers $800+ million annually in healthcare benefits to 120,000+ employees, retirees, and their dependents of the City and County of San Francisco, SF Unified School District, Community College of SF, and SF Superior Court. Abbie was named to her current role in early 2018, bringing over 30 years of experience. She previously worked for Dignity's Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco for 17 years in a variety of senior positions, including VP of Mission, Advocacy and Community Health Services, and Senior Director. Earlier, she worked for the SF Department of Public Health in roles that included Administrator of the Department's Emergency Medical Services Section and Quality Assurance Coordinator. She was Co-Founder of SF/Tenderloin Health Improvement Partnership; Co-Chair of the Hospital Council Behavioral Health Task Force; a member of the SF Long Term Care Council; and Founder and Co-Chair of the SF Transitional Care Program. Abbie has also joined the Bay Area Round Table.

The Disrupters Are Coming!
In Fact, They Are Already Here.
by Mimi Grant

A ton has been written of late about "The Disrupters" coming into healthcare from other industries. Notably, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, and Jamie Dimon are "going for something bigger than shaving a few percentage points off health-care costs" for their million-plus employees. The fact is, the combined purchasing power - and will - of Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon, and J.P. Morgan just might make a dent in their runaway healthcare spending. But frankly, healthcare's been benefiting from "disrupters" bringing their skill sets honed in other industries since one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, invented the first flexible catheter to help relieve his brother's bladder stones. And a ventriloquist, Paul Winchell, patented the first artificial heart (assumedly without the help of his puppet, Jerry Mahoney). [Photo Credit: Time.com] . . . READ MORE >>>

Californians No Longer Have the "Right to Die." Our Hospice Members Respond

In a recent Nelson Hardiman briefing - Right to Try? Right to Die? Federal and State Laws in Flux for Providers Who Treat Terminally Ill Patients - Harry Nelson and Salvatore Zimmitti note that the past week has brought two significant changes to the rights of California healthcare providers who treat terminally ill patients. On May 30, President Trump signed into law a new federal "right to try." Meanwhile, on May 24, a California judge invalidated California's End of Life Option Act (aka physician-assisted suicide and/or the "right to die" law). While Harry and Salvatore presented multiple facets of what these changes mean for California healthcare providers, we also asked our three Hospice Members, Barbara Burgess, Cindy Hatton, and Dwight Wilson, for their reactions to this recent judicial action.
     In summary, California's right-to-die law will apparently remain suspended for at least another month after a judge reaffirmed his ruling that the law was illegally considered and passed during a special California legislative session on healthcare. Since it became effective in June 2016, it's allowed doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to mentally competent adults with less than six months to live. But because of the ruling, doctors can no longer prescribe this medication to dying patients, and a patient who had already been provided with the medication would be committing suicide by taking it, with implications for insurance coverage. (Read Article: San Francisco Chronicle, 5/30/18)
     Research revealed that life insurance policies usually include a clause stating that "no death benefit will be paid if the insured commits suicide within two years of taking out a policy." Furthermore, whenever an insured person replaces an existing life insurance policy with a new one, the time clock for the suicide clause is set back to zero and starts over again. Reaching out to our hospice experts, Mimi asked: "If a hospice patient were now to go ahead and take meds "on hand," and later the heirs discovered there was no life insurance payout due to a nullified policy, might they sue the hospice company or whoever "supplied" the drugs? To which our hospice Members anonymously replied:
>     "This was a cruel and inhumane decision. It is too bad we put people through this process."
>     "Can you imagine being in this situation - having gone through the difficult process and finding out the process is now unlawful? I am putting a memo out with several points, including the fact that the death certificates will now state 'suicide,' which has ramifications re life insurance policies. Our patients and families may very well go ahead with taking meds they have; unfortunately, they need to know how that decision will affect their loved ones, both legally and financially."
>     "This has caused undo pain and confusion to patients and families that have decided to utilize this option at this time in their life."
>     "The family could have some liability of their own if an interested party wanted to make something out of it – example, not notifying authorities, etc., if they knew of the plan. A doctor writing prescriptions as of 5/25 is taking the biggest risk - that is flat out against the law. However, having written it prior should not be an issue. For a pharmacy filling the Rx after 5/25 - that's a risk, too."
>     "Our biggest challenge right now is coming up with a humane approach to those who have purchased the medications and gone through the process except carrying through the 'act.' We plan to come up with a process that recognizes the current state and provide support without abandoning the patient and their families."
>     "We are doing the same; we have a responsibility to our patients and families."
>     Regarding life insurance: "I would advise families to talk with the carrier - unless no one involved cares, which you hope would be the case. It just shouldn't be a surprise - something families would have expected us to know and have discussed with them." (Harry Nelson of Nelson Hardiman, Los Angeles; Barbara Burgess of Pathways Home Health & Hospice, Silicon Valley; Cindy Hatton of Hospice of the East Bay, and Dwight Wilson of Mission Hospice, both Bay Area)

"3 Things Healthcare Organizations Can Do to Help Protect Them From Cyber Risk and Security Breaches," by Oli Thordarson, CEO of Alvaka Networks

With Sutter Health's recent 24-hour computer system failure, even though their service interruption wasn't caused by a cyberattack, it brought to mind how crippling these disruptions can be. So ABL's Mimi Grant asked Oli Thordarson, CEO of Alvaka Networks, to share with us, "What three things healthcare organizations can do to help protect them from cyber risk and security breaches?"
     As Oli writes: "It is important to start at the top with company executives. If a healthcare firm wants to be protected from cyber risk and breaches, then the responsibility lies with company executives to set the tone. If management is running around with the spoken or unspoken notion that 'Nobody is interested in us because (A) We are too small; (B) My IT team is taking care of that; (C) I don't want to think about it because it gives me a headache; (D) I don't have the budget (which is really, I don't really want to make security a priority); and/or (E) Security. . . huh? Wha. . .?', your team is extremely perceptive. If company executives harbor any one of these attitudes, I can assure you that you are in great peril. Some IT leaders can be very persistent, despite many healthcare executives expressing these attitudes, either directly or by their inaction. After a while, though, even the persistent will cave and assume the culture management creates that says, "we talk about security and privacy around here, but we don't really mean it." At that point, you have a defective and vulnerable culture regarding cyber liabilities. And if/when something does happen, as an executive, the ransomware note stops on your desktop. So, what do I recommend, as an IT and cyber security professional for more than 20 years in the healthcare, DoD and financial sectors? READ MORE >>>

Care3 Launches New Product Features for PACE

Care3 has announced new product enhancements to its platform that give PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) providers greater influence over the care delivered outside of the center by including participant family members directly in care planning and communications. Care3's new mobile app features: > Improved in-app tutorials that teach caregivers how to use Action Messages to communicate care task completion in one tap; > Action confirmations to improve adherence to care instructions; > Real-time Notifications when Actions are not "done" on time, allowing for earlier interventions to avoid hospitalizations; > Structured Problems and Objectives for increased Action Plan clarity and accountability for Interdisciplinary Team and family members; and > support for Spanish and Chinese languages. (David Williams, Los Angeles)

Choice in Aging Receives Grant to Build "Ageless Playground"

The Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation recently awarded Choice in Aging a $25,000 capital grant to build the first "Ageless Playground" in Contra Costa County, at their center in Pleasant Hill. The groundbreaking concept will benefit Choice in Aging, for seniors, and Choice in Learning Montessori, for children, and allow both groups to exercise, play, and stay fit alongside each other on state-of-the-art equipment. CEO Debbie Toth said: "We would like this playground to serve as a model for how we design outdoor spaces, and to shift how we think and plan our communities to be all-age inclusive." (Debbie Toth, Bay Area)

ChromoLogic's Covisus Debuts Handheld vTag Scanner

Covisus, a ChromoLogic Company, recently launched its new vTag Handheld Scanner, ideal for use by companies in biomedical, aerospace, and consumer industries. A traditional "tag" is any label attached, printed, or fixed to an item that allows it to be tracked. A vTag is a "virtual tag," which functions like a tag but without any modification to the part. Like a human fingerprint or iris scan, a vTag uses intrinsic surface features of an item to uniquely identify it from all other items of its kind. (Naresh Menon, Los Angeles)

Cigna Tackles Opioid Epidemic & Named a Best Corporate Citizen

Cigna has launched a new online campaign featuring easy-to-use tools to inform Americans about the safe use of opioids for pain management. It advances the concept of a "pain plan," which is intended to help people partner with their healthcare providers to better understand available treatments, including behavioral, pharmaceutical, and medical options, provide guidance for the safe and appropriate use of opioids, and set goals for pain relief. This campaign comes on the heels of Cigna's recent announcement that in partnership with more than 1.1 million prescribing clinicians, the company has achieved a 25% reduction in opioid use among its customers, reaching this key metric one year ahead of its goal. Meanwhile, Cigna is the only global health service company to appear on Corporate Responsibility Magazine's "100 Best Corporate Citizens" List, which ranks the environmental, social, and governance performance of the 1,000 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. (Chris De Rosa, Orange County)

Covered California Launches Campaign Focused on College Grads

Covered California is reminding the 400,000+ college graduates and their families to not forget about the importance of health insurance during this busy time of year. If graduates are losing their coverage after graduation, they could qualify for special enrollment through CoveredCA, as part of a qualifying life event. For example, students who had their healthcare needs provided by their school and are losing that coverage upon graduation, or who will lose coverage through their parents' plan when they turn 26, are eligible to sign up through CoveredCA for a new plan. CoveredCA is also collaborating with colleges and universities to promote the value of health insurance, sending 70+ campus health centers educational materials to help inform students about their healthcare options. (Kathy Keeshen, Sacramento)

ElderConsult to Present at Elder Justice Summit

Elizabeth Landsverk MD, of ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine, will share her expertise at the upcoming Elder Justice Summit in Sonoma, on June 15, from 9 a.m. to noon. Her presentation will be aimed primarily at elder care professionals. Attendees will be treated to a full agenda of local and statewide leaders in elder justice and elder abuse prevention. Topics will include Elder Abuse Investigation and Prosecution, Housing Issues, Capacity, Dementia, Collecting/Hoarding Behaviors, LGBT, and more. (Elizabeth Landsverk MD, Bay Area)

Gorman Health Group Provides Takeaways from Client Forum

The Gorman Health Group 2018 Client Forum recently concluded, where a wide array of material was covered - from the political landscape for government programs, to compliance, Star Ratings, clinical and pharmacy challenges, provider relations, and health plan operations. Read some takeaways from the event. Also, GHG has provided a rundown of the biggest recent developments in Medicaid expansion efforts. (Dave Sayen, Bay Area)

Kaiser Permanente Opens Next-Gen Facilities

Kaiser Permanente (KP) recently opened two new state-of-the-art medical office buildings - in southwest Santa Rosa and near the San Jose International Airport. Some of the exam rooms have wide-screen video monitors, which allow direct telemedicine consultations with medical specialists in other locations. Both structures meet the highest standards of environmental and sustainable building, including anticipated LEED Gold certification. Also, KP has just opened new medical offices in downtown Sacramento, offering services that include primary care, pediatric, women's health, oncology, and prescriptions. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal recently published Kaiser Permanente Cultivates the Digital Doctor-Patient Relationship, which discusses what is driving digital healthcare demand and where KP is headed. (Walt Meyers, Bay Area)

King & Spalding Wins Chambers USA's 2018 Healthcare Award

Chambers USA named King & Spalding (K&S) the winner of its 2018 Healthcare Award at its recent awards event in New York City. Winners are selected based on Chambers' research and reflect the firms' pre-eminence in key practice areas, as well as notable achievements over the past 12 months, including outstanding work, impressive strategic growth, and excellence in client service. K&S's healthcare industry practice comprises 260+ professionals who serve the entire spectrum of healthcare providers, practitioners, investors, manufacturers, suppliers, vendors, educators, researchers, and inventors. The team partners with clients in developing and executing complex transactions, litigation strategies, government reimbursement solutions, regulatory compliance initiatives, managed care contracting strategies, and efficiency/cost reduction measures.
    Meanwhile, K&S will host a webinar on June 19 - What You Need to Know About CMS’s Proposals for the 2019 Inpatient and Long Term Care Prospective Payment System and hold its West Coast Pharmaceutical & Medical Device University conference on June 21 in San Francisco. K&S also published a Client Alert - Trump Administration Releases 'Blueprint' to Address Drug Prices and its latest Health Headlines newsletter. (Marcia Augsburger, Sacramento, & Travis Jackson, Los Angeles)

KMD-Designed Patient Care Tower Breaks Ground in Hollywood

CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center has broken ground on a new patient care tower, designed by KMD Architects, to further meet the community's needs while assuring that Hollywood's first medical facility meets all current state seismic requirements. The new 174,954-square-foot acute care services replacement hospital building will replace the existing building at an estimated cost of $291 million. The construction represents the final portion of a three-phase, $350 million campus upgrade. (Rob Mathews, Bay Area)

MYnd Analytics Spotlighted as "Next Big Company" in Money Street

A recent article from The Money Street - The Next Big Company That's Addressing Mental Health Illness and Disorders Head-on - extols MYnd Analytics, presenting a detailed overview of the company's market, proprietary cloud-based platform - PEER Online, their pilot program with Horizon Healthcare Services, acquisition of Arcadian Telepsychiatry Services, and more. "As we conducted our market research on MYnd Analytics, it became clear to us that the mental illness and disorder market is large with compelling growth drivers," the article states. "The market is seeking solutions like what MYnd Analytics has developed that can provide targeted, customized results that are cost-effective." (George Carpenter, Orange County)

Nelson Hardiman's Harry Nelson Interviewed on KTLA5

Harry Nelson, of Nelson Hardiman, was interviewed by KTLA5 Morning News, where he discussed the recent news surrounding the City of Los Angeles joining the lawsuit against big pharma for the false advertisement of opioid benefits. Meanwhile, Nelson Hardiman was instrumental in a recent $60 million pharmacy acquisition, which, among other things, required the preparation and submission of more than 100 state licensing, Medicaid, Medicare, DEA and NCPDP applications. (Harry Nelson, Los Angeles)

Oscar Health Expands Oscar for Business to Los Angeles

Oscar Health has recently introduced its small business health insurance product, Oscar for Business, to Southern California, coming as Oscar's member-focused healthcare experience has attracted nearly 250,000 members in 2018, including 45,000+ individual members in L.A. In 2017, Oscar's L.A. individual members were among Oscar's most engaged, with 84% completing their online profile, more than 50% using Oscar's mobile app, and 33% taking advantage of Oscar's Doctor-on-Call and step-tracking rewards features. Among the many benefits, all plans include access to free, 24/7 telemedicine, a personalized concierge service, and access to a network of top physicians and hospitals, anchored by UCLA Health, Providence Health, St. Joseph Hoag, and others. (John Puente, Sacramento)

Pathways Health to Present Annual Golf Tournament in July

Pathways Health will hold its 6th annual Links to the Heart Golf Tournament, on July 16, at the newly renovated Stanford University Golf Course. Located in the foothills above the university campus, this course is consistently rated one of the finest in the world. The event supports Pathways and will include contests, prizes, lunch, dinner, awards, and more. (Barbara Burgess, Silicon Valley)

Satellite Healthcare Leads Dialysis Providers in CMS Ratings

Satellite Healthcare boosted its already high percentage of 4- and 5-star dialysis centers, as reported recently by CMS's Five-Star Quality Rating System. The most recent results show that: > 70% of Satellite Healthcare centers included in the program received a rating by CMS of 4 and 5 stars. > 30% of centers increased their star ratings from last year. > 42% earned 4 stars, beating the national average of 27%. > 90% have 3, 4 and 5 stars. > For the third consecutive year, there are no 1-star Satellite Healthcare centers. (Rick Barnett, Silicon Valley)

Select Data Reports on Overhaul of Meaningful Use Program

Select Data has published a report - CMS Issues Proposed Rule to Revamp Meaningful Use in 2019 - which states that the rule proposes to change the name to the "Promoting Interoperability" program and institute changes that CMS says would decrease cost and provider time burden. The rule proposes to include requirements for providers to use the 2015 Edition certified EHR technology in 2019 to qualify for incentive payments. Significantly, the 2015 Edition of Health IT Certification Criteria requires certified EHRs to demonstrate the ability to provide a patient-facing app access to the Common Clinical Data Set via the use of an API. (Ed Buckley, Orange County, & Ted Schulte, Los Angeles)

Shriners Hospitals for Children Recognized as Brand of the Year

Shriners Hospitals for Children has been named 2018 Health Nonprofit Brand of the Year, based on the Harris Poll EquiTrend Equity Score, and ranked Highest in Trust in its category. The annual survey of brand equity compares the brand health of thousands of brands from hundreds of categories, based on consumer responses. In addition to being a leader in pediatric specialty care, Shriners Hospitals conducts innovative research and provides excellent educational opportunities for medical professionals, thereby helping to shape and guide the future of patient care. (Maggie Bryan, Sacramento)

The Health Trust & Food is Medicine Coalition Launch Medi-Cal Pilot

The Health Trust is taking part in California's Food is Medicine Coalition, which recently launched a program to deliver free, custom-prescribed meals to individuals insured by Medicaid and suffering from congestive heart failure, a condition that requires strict dietary adherence. While The Health Trust, Project Angel Food, Ceres Community Project, Project Open Hand, Mama's Kitchen, and Food for Thought have been delivering meals to sick people for years, their services in this pilot project will be reimbursed through Medicaid. (Todd Hansen, Silicon Valley)

Therachat Debuts Mobile App for Therapists

Therachat has grown to become the platform for therapists to engage their clients in between sessions - having recently launched a mobile app for therapists, exporting data capabilities, and the ability for therapists to assign activities to their clients in literally minutes. Therapists can also view insights on each client profile while their clients can complete activities in a secure and private mobile application. (Kouris Kalligas, Bay Area)

Many with Common Type of Breast Cancer Can Skip Chemo

Findings from the largest breast cancer treatment trial ever conducted show that most patients with the most common type of early-stage breast cancer, who have an intermediate risk of a cancer recurrence - a group that numbers 65,000 women a year in the U.S., can avoid chemotherapy and its often-debilitating side effects. The same decade-long study had previously confirmed that patients at low risk, as determined by a genomic test of their tumors, can skip chemotherapy. The two groups, taken together, account for about 70% of women diagnosed with the most common type of breast cancer. That means 85,000+ women a year can safely forgo chemotherapy. (Read Article: Washington Post, 6/3/18)

Proposed PBM Mergers  = Massive Part D Consolidation/div>

If proposed mergers between CVS-Aetna and Cigna-Express Scripts are approved, just four companies would cover 71% of Part D beneficiaries, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. AMA President David O. Barbe tells FierceHealthcare the deals require "close scrutiny." (Read Article: Fierce Healthcare, 5/21/18)

Calif Sees Growth Among PAs, Still Faces Primary Care Shortage

The number of physician assistants in California jumped by 22% between 2012 and 2017, but research shows the state remains on track to experience a shortfall in primary-care providers in 2025. (Read Article: Sacramento Bee, 5/25/19)

Operating Room of the Future: Smarter, Less Risky

The operating room is getting smarter, more effective, and a lot less risky for patients. Hospitals are investing in new devices, designs, and digital technologies that promise a new era of innovation for surgery. The moves are part of a growing shift away from traditional open procedures that involve big incisions, lots of blood loss, and long hospitalizations. They point toward a future where more patients can choose minimally invasive outpatient surgeries, with faster recoveries, fewer complications, and less pain and scarring. (Read Article: Wall Street Journal, 5/28/19)

Number of Opioid Prescriptions Falls for Fifth Year in a Row

The number of opioid prescriptions issued nationwide has dropped by 22% between 2013 and 2017, which a doctors group touted as progress in fighting the epidemic of opioid addiction. The report from the American Medical Association finds there were 55 million fewer prescriptions over that time period and the number of prescriptions has dropped for five years in a row. (Read Article: The Hill, 5/31/18) Meanwhile, the FDA has approved the first nonopioid treatment to help adults manage opioid withdrawal symptoms as the agency looks to continue to encourage the development of therapies to help patients suffering from addiction. The treatment, which isn't designed to be a treatment for opioid addiction, is expected to be commercially available in the U.S. in August. (Read Article: Wall Street Journal, 5/16/18)

Major Hospitals Find Hypnotherapy Can Help Digestive Conditions

Hypnotherapy - when patients enter a trance-like state using relaxation and visual images - is often associated with alternative medicine. But increasingly medical centers are using it to treat digestive conditions like acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis. (Read Article: Wall Street Journal, 5/7/18)

Single-Payer Healthcare in California: Here's What It Would Take

In California's governors' race, all the leading Democratic contenders in the June 5 primary have pledged support for a single-payer system run by the state. The front-runner, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, has made it the centerpiece of his campaign. (Read Article: New York Times, 5/25/18)

California Assembly Passes Bill Expanding Medicaid to Immigrants

California's General Assembly has passed a bill to become the first state to extend Medicaid coverage to immigrants, regardless of their status. The bill, AB 2965, passed the Democratic-controlled Assembly 33-21 on Wednesday. It would eliminate legal residency requirements in California's Medicaid program (Medi-Cal), and the state has already nixed the requirement for individuals younger than 19. Offering full-cost coverage would cost the state $3 billion for the 2018-19 year, according to California's Legislative Analyst's Office. The state Senate will consider the bill next, and its Democrat leaders are expected to pass the proposal. (Read Article: Modern Healthcare, 5/30/18)

Senator Plans Bill Mandating Price Transparency in Healthcare

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) recently said that he hopes to soon introduce legislation mandating price transparency in health care to enable patients to compare prices before getting procedures. Cassidy said the legislation would mean that "if somebody gets an X-ray order for their child's belly, they will know the cost of that before they go in to get it done and they can price shop." (Read Article: The Hill, 5/29/18)

Pilot Program in L.A. County Lets Veterans Use Private Urgent Care

Congress has passed a bill to streamline the VA's community care programs, including Veterans Choice, which lets veterans use private medical care if the VA is too far away or wait times are too long. The VA Mission Act is awaiting President Trump's signature. A new pilot program that could provide a glimpse into how private clinics may supplement VA care officially rolled out in California's Antelope Valley last week. (Read Article: 89.3 KPCC, 6/1/18)

New Stroke Technology to Identify Worst Cases Gets FDA OK

The FDA has given marketing clearance for a device that can potentially revamp stroke care by allowing paramedics in the field to diagnose severe strokes requiring specialized treatment. The Lucid Robotic System is aimed at one of the central dilemmas of modern neurology: How to quickly identify patients with the most severe strokes who could benefit from being taken immediately to hospitals that can perform a complex clot-removal procedure, potentially helping to avoid major disability. The Lucid system combines two technologies: a transcranial ultrasound, which shows whether a blood clot is blocking blood flow to the brain, and a robotic part, which uses artificial intelligence to assess patients by instantaneously comparing them to thousands of earlier images of patients with severe strokes. (Read Article: Wall Street Journal, 5/30/18)

Supreme Court Ruling May Ease Wage Lawsuits Against Healthcare Employers

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing employers to require workers to sign individual arbitration agreements could sharply reduce class-action lawsuits against healthcare companies claiming violations of federal and state rules on wages, hours, and sexual and racial discrimination. In a 5-4 decision on three consolidated cases, the high court held that companies can include clauses in employment contracts that require employees to resolve disputes through individual arbitration, barring them from banding together to seek relief for common issues. The decision could affect about 25 million employees. (Read Article: Modern Healthcare, 5/29/18)

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