ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * May 9, 2019

>>> Sherif Khattab, MD, is Founder and CEO of Direct Health Delivery (DHD), which advocates a more direct interaction between a patient and their physician - in order to alleviate bottlenecks that undermine the patient-physician relationship and inflate the price of care. Sherif has been at the helm of DHD since 2014 and is also Founder and Medical Director of Ocean Surgery Center, a state-of-the-art, multispecialty outpatient surgery center credentialed by the State of California and CMS since 2006. DHD provides price transparency - an upfront disclosure of the predictable costs related to treatment and care. DHD's business solution involves forming a nationwide panel of providers who: 1) will care for the workforce of the self-insured, and 2) will do so transparently. Sherif is a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon with 30+ years of clinical experience and 20 years as the owner and medical director of a multi-specialty surgery center in LA. He co-founded an IPA with less than 100 physicians; together they achieved and maintained quadruple aim status for more than two decades. The same IPA was later acquired by Optum Rx, the second largest HMO in Southern California. Earlier, Sherif oversaw the Burn Unit at USC Medical Center (LA County), and was Chief of Plastic Surgery at both Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and Little Company of Mary Hospital. Sherif has joined the Los Angeles Round Table.

  • 5/14 - Silicon Valley Round Table
  • 5/17 - Los Angeles Round Table
  • 6/05 - Orange County Round Table
  • 6/12 - San Francisco Round Table
  • 6/14 - East Bay Round Table
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Choice in Aging Spotlighted by Bay Area TV News Anchor

In this short video, Dan Ashley, anchor of ABC7 San Francisco Bay Area News, visits the Choice in Aging facility in Pleasant Hill and talks with its CEO Debbie Toth about the services and programs that are provided for seniors, which cost just 20% of the expense of skilled nursing. (Debbie Toth)

Kaiser Launches Thrive Local to Address Social Determinants

Kaiser Permanente has teamed up with health IT company Unite Us to launch an initiative that will ultimately link its 12 million members with services that address social needs - like access to housing and food - which influence 80% of health outcomes. Dubbed Thrive Local, the program will kick off this summer and be available to all of Kaiser's members by 2022. This is just Kaiser's latest social determinants of health (SDOH) project, having already invested hundreds of millions in fighting homelessness across the US, for example, Forbes reports. (Walt Meyers)

King & Spalding Provides Key Takeaways from Health Law & Policy Forum

King & Spalding (K&S) recently held its Annual Health Law and Policy Forum and is now providing key takeaways from the event. Meanwhile, Chambers USA has again recognized K&S as one of the top law firms in the U.S. in its annual guide, including for Healthcare both nationally and within the state of California. Upcoming K&S events include: a webinar on May 16, FDA's Proposed Rule Would Make Major Changes in Requirements for U.S. Mammography Facilities; and a conference in San Francisco on June 20, 5th Annual West Coast Pharmaceutical & Medical Device University. (Marcia Augsburger & Travis Jackson)

Mazzetti Merges with BHEGroup, Expands Pacific Northwest Services

Mazetti Inc., a global MEP engineering and technology consulting firm, and BHEGroup, an Oregon-based multi-disciplinary consulting firm providing sustainable mechanical and civil engineering services, have merged. The combined firm has a staff of 208 and 12 locations, including a new office in Eugene, OR, and an expanded Portland, OR office, both with Mechanical and Civil Engineering staff. (Walt Vernon)

On Lok Celebrates with Gala in May

On the evening of May 17, On Lok will hold its Celebrates! Event in downtown San Francisco, which will benefit its wide-ranging programs for seniors, including healthcare, social activities, wellness and fitness, and nutrition and meal delivery. The gala will include live entertainment, drinks, food tasting stations from Bay Area chefs, and a live auction with wonderful experiences. (Grace Li)

Wipfli Wins 2019 SAP Concur Partner of the Year Award

Wipfli, LLP was recently named SAP Concur App Center Partner of the Year for ERP Integration. Wipfli received this honor due to its continuation of providing world-class engagement with the SAP Concur field, and delivering on this key product category in a flawless manner for its customers. In 2018, Wipfli had the most units of any ERP partner and set the standard with a 48% growth in revenue. (Jeff Johnson, Larry Blitz, Tony Taddey & Steve Rousso)

Care3 CEO Discusses 5 Ways to Improve U.S. Healthcare

As part of an extensive series collecting insights from healthcare thought leaders and innovators, Authority Magazine and Thrive Global recently featured Care3 CEO David Williams and his insights on ways to improve the U.S. healthcare system. David discusses the importance of price transparency, physician collaboration, better interoperability between healthcare systems with government entities allocating funds, and consumer-centric programs. He also laments the uncertainties introduced in the market when current laws are threatened, noting that "Uncertainty kills investment, innovation, and meaningful progress." (David Williams)

Harry Nelson Spotlighted in Voice & Print Media

Harry Nelson, of Nelson Hardiman, has given several recent interviews, including on the Voice of America regarding the recent $270 million Purdue Pharma settlement and how it may affect the other countless pending opioid-related lawsuits against Big Pharma. And, he was featured on That Sober Guy Podcast, where he discussed the "roadmap out of the opioid crisis" that he describes in his latest book. Also, Harry was sought out by USA Today concerning the recent increase in hemp plant derivative skin creams, lotions, oils, tinctures, pills, food additives, and more. Harry remarks on the hype: "It's a free-for-all right now. People have to be careful. There are good products and there's also a lot of snake oil being sold." (Harry Nelson, JD)

Alvaka Networks Offering Software Security Patching Webinars

Alvaka Networks will host a live and interactive webinar - Software Security Patching: Why you are struggling with this essential task!, from 10-11 a.m. Pacific, on the following dates: May 16, 23 and 30; June 6, 13, 20, 27; and July 11 and 18. Unpatched vulnerabilities are a leading source of compromise, and yet many organizations struggle to stay current on their patching and leave themselves exposed to security breaches. This webinar will take a deep dive into this complex security dilemma, what the risks are, and how you can start to solve this problem. (Oli Thordarson)

Cigna & Express Scripts Debut Alexa Voice Skills for Healthcare

Cigna and Express Scripts have collaborated with Amazon Alexa to launch new voice skills that will enable eligible customers to use voice technology to manage pharmacy prescriptions, engage in health improvement programs, and track wellness incentives. For example, Cigna is piloting "Cigna Health Today," a unique voice skill aimed at increasing proactive health engagement with one of Cigna's national clients. Eligible employees can opt-in to track personalized wellness incentives, including redeemable gift dollars, which are used to reward healthy behaviors. They can also receive daily motivational health and well-being tips. Users can simply say, "Alexa, open Cigna Health Today" to use the program. (Chris De Rosa)

PreludeDx Debuts Video Describing Benefits of DCISionRT

In this recently launched short video, physicians explain why DCISionRT, from PreludeDx, is great news for patients diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) breast cancer. DCISionRT is the latest advance in precision medicine for DCIS patients and the only DCIS test capable of predicting an individual woman's benefit from radiation therapy. (Dan Forche)

SAVI Group Addresses EMR Management & Medical Billing Outsourcing

In EMR Management: Everything You Need to Know, SAVI Group examines the many challenges in managing healthcare records, and explains why and how you should be switching to EMR management. And, in The New Age of Medical Billing: Outsourcing, SAVI Group predicts that more and more practitioners will choose to skip handling the complex process of revenue cycle management, and instead focus more on their own expertise of helping people improve their health. This approach will lead to an improvement in patient service and care over the long-term, plus medical practices can look forward to an increase in patient volume and revenues thanks to the influx of billing expertise received from their outsourcing partners. (Sumit Mahendru)

County of Santa Clara Mobile Crisis Response Teams Now Available to General Public

The County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services Department has expanded its Mobile Crisis Response Teams services so that County residents can directly call to request a response. Mobile Crisis Response Teams screen and assess crisis situations over the phone and then intervene wherever the crisis is occurring. They work closely with law enforcement, crisis hotlines, the community, and family members. They respond to situations that involve individuals in crisis that exhibit mental health symptoms, may be suicidal or at-risk, and need an evaluation for psychiatric hospitalization. Teams are made of up licensed clinicians and therapists with training and expertise in crisis response. (Tyler Haskell)

El Camino Hospital Unveils NEW Moniker: El Camino Health

For 55+ years, El Camino Hospital in Mountain View and Los Gatos has provided high-quality healthcare to patients and families, shifting from being a place designed to treat disease to a comprehensive system that provides personalized healthcare in communities across Santa Clara County. And now, in the process, it has become El Camino Health. Through its affiliated partner Silicon Valley Medical Development, El Camino now provides care in 11 locations across the County, including urgent care powered by Carbon Health, and multi-specialty and primary care. And, recognizing the importance of healthy employees and assisting them during difficult times, ConcernEAP has been an affiliated partner for 30+ years and remains an important resource for the community's health. (Michelle McGowen & Cecile Currier)

Pathways to Hold Annual Golf Tournament in July

Pathways Home Health and Hospice will present its 7th annual Links to the Heart Golf Tournament on July 15, at the Stanford University Golf Course, which is consistently rated one of the finest in the world. The fundraising event, which supports Pathways' critical programs, will include golf, lunch, dinner, contests, awards, prizes, and more. (Barbara Burgess)

Satellite Healthcare's "Hands Clean" Video Wins Gold Award

A training and inspirational music video, called Hands Clean, which was produced for Satellite Healthcare, and which features Satellite team members dancing and singing, recently won a Gold Remi award at the 52nd Annual WorldFest Houston, a venerable international film festival. In the video, the Satellite Healthcare Dancers want you to know: "You should keep your hands clean. Studies show healthcare providers don't always properly wash their hands all of the time. Our goal? ZERO tolerance for infections. Because at Satellite, our number one priority is making lives better for our patients." (Rick Barnett)

VivaLNK Selected to Plug and Play's Silicon Valley Health Program

VivaLNK was recently selected to participate in Plug & Play's Silicon Valley Health Batch 8 Program, lasting 12 weeks - one of only 20 chosen from 850+ candidates. Plug and Play, a leading Global Innovation Platform, operates industry-specific, stage-agnostic platforms that help startups and growth-stage companies raise funding and pursue business development opportunities in collaboration with corporate partners, thus disrupting the healthcare industry by challenging clinical practices, improving data analytics, and enhancing the patient journey across the care continuum. (Jiang Li, Ph.D.)

Easy Breathe on: Adapting to CPAP Treatment

In 8 Ways to Better Adapt to CPAP Treatment for More Comfort and Improved Sleep, Easy Breathe addresses some of the adaptation issues that come with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment, providing tips and solutions for dealing with: mask fit and leaks, soreness, claustrophobia, facial hair interference, accommodating stomach and slide sleepers, dry mouth, and sinus infection. (Nick Weiss, West Los Angeles)

PCIHIPAA Teams with ITeeth on Compliance Program

ITeeth, a provider of IT support for dental offices, has chosen PCIHIPPA to protect its clients from the onslaught of HIPAA violations, which include ransomware attacks and data breaches impacting medical and dental practices throughout the U.S. PCIHIPAA's OfficeSafe Compliance Program provides a number of key features that allows busy and growing dental practices to easily protect the privacy and security of patient information as required under HIPAA and enforced by The Office for Civil Rights. (Jeff Broudy, West Los Angeles)

Sidebench CEO Addresses Developing a Custom Patient Portal

Sidebench CEO Kevin Yamazaki published Developing a custom patient portal? Ask these questions, in Becker's Health Review, where he emphasizes that a well-designed portal can be the centerpiece of unique patient experience and can serve as a key differentiator for healthcare organizations, simultaneously providing a multitude of benefits. Kevin discusses factors to consider, including ease of use, organization-wide buy-in, and costs and cost savings. (Kevin Yamazaki, West Los Angeles)

Tanner Research CEO to Present Nutrition Science Workshop

On the evening of May 22, John Tanner, Ph.D., CEO of Tanner Research, will present a Nutrition Science workshop, where he will share his story about how he suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest in 2009. Since then, he has studied intensely the causes of heart disease, and found that it can be completely avoided through a proper diet - and cancer, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and about 30 other diseases can be reduced, avoided, or reversed by this same diet. John will field questions and participants will continue nutrition discussions in small groups. The free workshop, to be held at Tanner Research in Monrovia, includes a meal and your choice of one of the top books on nutrition science. (John Tanner, Ph.D., Monrovia)

"Medicare For All" Gets Much-Awaited CBO Report

The Congressional Budget Office published a much-awaited paper about the possible design of a single-payer or "Medicare for all" system in the U.S. The budget office most often provides detailed estimates about the cost of legislation. But anyone looking for many numbers in this long report would be disappointed. Instead, the nonpartisan office noted the many ways that legislators could devise such a system, outlining the cost and policy effects of a wide range of difficult choices. It also noted that such a system would be so different from the country's current situation that any hard estimates would be difficult, even with all the specifics laid out. (Read Article: New York Times, 5/1/19)

Trump Administration Files Formal Request to Strike Down All of ACA, and Seeks to Redefine Formula for Calculating Poverty

The Trump administration formally declared its opposition to the entire Affordable Care Act on May 1, arguing in a federal appeals court filing that the signature Obama-era legislation was unconstitutional and should be struck down. Such a decision could end health insurance for some 21 million Americans and affect many millions more who benefit from the law's protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and required coverage for pregnancy, prescription drugs, and mental health. (Read Article: New York Times, 5/1/19)
AND, Seeks to Redefine Formula for Calculating Poverty by proposing regulatory changes that could result in cuts in federal aid to millions of low-income Americans. The proposal by the Office of Management and Budget would change how inflation is used to calculate the official definition of poverty used by the Census Bureau to estimate the size of the country's poor population. The measure is also often applied to determine eligibility for government benefits. (Read Article: New York Times, 5/7/19)

Tennessee to Test CMS' Willingness to Block-Grant Medicaid

Tennessee Republicans have decided to test the Trump administration's willingness to radically restructure Medicaid by turning it into a state block grant program. The GOP-dominated legislature recently passed a three-page bill ordering the governor to submit a Section 1115 waiver request to CMS within six months. The waiver would seek CMS' approval to transform TennCare, the state's $12 billion Medicaid program covering 1.3 million Tennesseans, from an open-ended entitlement program to one where the federal government makes fixed payments. (Read Article: Modern Healthcare, 5/7/19)

Santa Clara County OKs $325 Million in Bonds to Finance Hospital Purchases & Upgrades

Santa Clara County supervisors have approved spending $325 million in bonds to finance the county's recent purchase of O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy and DePaul Health Center in Morgan Hill and and to pay for upgrades to all three. The county acquired the three medical facilities in March for $235 million after the former owner, nonprofit Verity Health Systems, filed for bankruptcy in August. The county was the only bidder for the two hospitals and urgent care clinic. (Read Article: San Jose Mercury News, 5/7/19)

4 Counties Balk at Newsom's Plan to Cover Immigrants

California Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposal to provide health coverage to unauthorized immigrants ages 19 to 25 would siphon money that four counties (Placer, Sacramento, Santa Barbara and Stanislaus) currently use for public health efforts such as battling contagious diseases. (Read Article: California Healthline, 5/7/19)

Canada Single-Payer Approach vs. Insurer-Based Systems in Germany, Netherlands & Switzerland

A Fraser Institute study published in November examined 28 universal healthcare systems across 45 indicators of performance. After adjusting for differences in the proportion of seniors, Canada ranked among the top spenders - fourth-highest as a percentage of GDP and 10th-highest per capita. Yet it had less medical resources available for patients and painfully long wait times for specialists. Canada ranked 26th out of 28 for number of physicians, 22nd out of 27 for MRI units, and 25th out of 26 for hospital beds. As Harvard Business School professor Regina Herzlinger and the Fraser Institute's Bacchus Barua opined ". . .Overall, Canada performs worse than other universal-coverage countries, particularly Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany. Why? Unlike Canada's single-payer system, the Swiss, Dutch and German systems rely on private insurers, whether nonprofit or for-profit. Government helps the needy make premium payments." (Read Article: Wall Street Journal, 4/16/19)

"The Providers" PBS Documentary: Highly Recommended and Viewable Here

PBS brings us into the world of healthcare workers in rural, northern New Mexico, where the physician shortage and opioid epidemic collide. This full documentary, The Providers, viewable here, takes us on the journeys of three providers who care for those who would otherwise be left out of the healthcare system, illustrating the transformative power of these providers' relationships with their underserved patients. (Referred and recommended by Dave Haddick of PSYCHeANALYTICS)

Visits to NPs & PAs Spike 129%; Primary Care Office Visits Decline 18%

In an attempt to address the decline in primary-care doctors, Walgreens announced last month that it will start operating primary-care physician services at some of its stores - which will operate differently from traditional walk-in care facilities at pharmacies where people typically go when they have an immediate health problem. The offices will be 2,500 square feet, and have a separate entrance, plus connecting doors to Walgreens. Patients (and Walgreens customers) can go there for their annual check-up and get referrals for specialists, just like they would do at the family doctor. They will initially be available at five stores in Houston. The primary-care offices will be provided by Walgreens in partnership with VillageMD, a national provider of primary care. The doctors at these locations in Houston will work with nurses, social workers, and Walgreens pharmacists. Office visits to primary-care physicians declined 18% over a four-year period for adults under 65, according to the Health Care Cost Institute. Meanwhile, office visits to nurse practitioners and physician assistants spiked 129%. (Read Article: MarketWatch, 5/8/19)

Seven Ways Health Consumers are Tracking Their Sleep

The quality of your sleep can have far-reaching effects on your mental and physical health, so it's no surprise that digital health options for tracking and improving sleep are already extensive, and they're expanding all the time. In this article, MobiHealthNews provides an overview of the different kinds of consumer-facing sleep tracking technologies on the market, which demonstrate the range of approaches that are currently out there. HOWEVER, Jeffrey Durmer, MD/PhD, Co-Founder of FusionHealth, and one of the nation's top experts on sleep, recently shared with our San Francisco Round Table that few of these consumer-grade sleep trackers accurately report sleep quality. However, they do report the other two fundamentals of sleep: sleep duration and timing. (Read Article: MobiHealthNews, 4/26/19)

Facebook Announces New Steps to Bolster Privacy of Health Data

Millions of Facebook users have joined groups to talk about healthcare issues ranging from rare disease diagnoses to chemotherapy side effects. Now, Facebook is taking steps it hopes will encourage those conversations to continue while affording users more privacy. The company recently announced that it will create a new type of community called health support groups - once groups are designated as health support communities, Facebook users will be able to easily ask the administrators to post questions on their behalf. (Read Article: Stat, 4/30/19)

Global Medical App Downloads Exceeded 400 Million in 2018

Global downloads of medical apps exceeded 400 million in 2018, a 15% increase over the global totals recorded in 2016 and 2017, according to App Annie. Led by apps GoodRx, MyChart, and FollowMyHealth, the increase in downloads was observed in mature markets (US, UK and France) and emerging markets (Brazil, India and Indonesia) alike. Health and fitness apps in particular saw a noticeable boost in recorded consumer spending; worldwide spending in these apps tripled from 2016 to 2018. This growth was led by Chinese (iOS only) and US consumers, both of whom roughly quadrupled their spending. (Read Article: MobiHealthNews, 4/18/19)

Joint Telehealth, In-Person Behavioral Health Appointments Decreased Time to Care, Increased Utilization

A study conducted by pharmacy and outpatient telepsychiatry provider Genoa Healthcare found that rural, Medicaid-covered behavioral health patients received quicker and more frequent care when their in-person visits were supplemented with a telepsychiatry appointment. These results from a 242-patient investigation suggest that this hybrid approach to mental healthcare could increase access and utilization among this population. (Read Article: MobiHealthNews, 5/2/19)

World Health Organization Releases Guidelines for Digital Health Adoption

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released 10 guidelines for how countries can use digital health tools to improve patient care. The recommendations advise on everything from how to employ digital tools for birth notifications, to implementing health worker decision support tools, and using telemedicine to digital health education services. The guidelines were designed to help decision makers in government health departments, the public health sector, and other stakeholders better understand how digital tools could address their population's health needs. The new resource addresses issues of patient privacy, appropriate implementation, and adoption hurdles. (Read Article: MobiHealthNews, 4/17/19)

Oscar Health Teams with Cardiogram to Give Members Health Detection Tech

Cardiogram, maker of a smartwatch app that uses a deep neural network technology to detect various heart conditions, has cut a deal with Oscar Health, in which Oscar members will be able to enter their insurance information, download the Cardiogram app, and then access Cardiogram Care within the app without a copay or deductible. "You will be monitored for signs of diabetes and atrial fibrillation, and if it turns out you are at a high risk for one of these conditions, you will be offered a confirmatory blood test or an ECG," Brandon Ballinger, cofounder of Cardiogram, said. "And if that confirms you have that condition, then you will be referred to an in-network physician that guides Oscar members to treatment and better health." (Read Article: MobiHealthNews, 4/24/19)

Big Money Still Pouring Into Digital Health

Health coaching app developer Noom has raised $58 million led by Sequoia Capital, Samsung Ventures, and a number of Silicon Valley luminaries. Noom is best known for its direct-to-consumer weight loss app, but it also develops enterprise products, including an app focused on diabetes and hypertension. Noom aims to set itself apart by focusing on long-term lifestyle and behavior changes, in addition to calorie, nutrition and exercise tracking. Users get access to 1:1 coaching and fitness programs personalized by an algorithm based on how they answer a questionnaire. (Read Article: TechCrunch, 5/6/19)
MEANWHILE, Mint Founder Aaron Patzer raised $5.2 million from investors to launch Vital - to bring Mint's consumer-focused mindset that helps users organize their finances, to emergency rooms and hospitals to help them organize patient flow. (Read Article: TechCrunch, 4/24/19)

Machine Learning Already Accelerating Drug Development

Machine-learning algorithms are drastically speeding up the development process for new pharmaceuticals. The World Economic Forum included this use of AI last year in its annual list of the top 10 emerging technologies that are set to be potentially disruptive over the next three to five years while providing significant benefits to economies and societies. (Read Article: Wall Street Journal, 4/30/19)

The Giants at the Heart of the Opioid Crisis

The daunting financial muscle that has driven the spread of prescription opioids in the U.S. comes from the distributors - Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen, which are all among the 15 largest American companies by revenue. Together, they distribute more than 90% of the nation's drug and medical supplies. New civil suits from the attorneys general in New York, Vermont, and Washington State accuse distributors of brazenly devising systems to evade regulators. They allege that the companies warned many pharmacies at risk of being reported to the DEA, helped others to increase and circumvent limits on how many opioids they were allowed to buy, and often gave advance notice on the rare occasions they performed audits. (Read Article: New York Times, 4/22/19)

How the Consumerization of Healthcare is Changing the Industry

As digital health puts power in the hands of patients, the nature of their role is shifting toward that of a healthcare consumer. What does this mean for patients? And how should industry stakeholders evolve to accommodate them? MobiHealthNews recently looked at this trend from a variety of angles, including how hospitals, pharma organizations and payers can treat patients as customers, and how these healthcare consumers are cutting out traditional intermediaries through new D2C health and wellness businesses. (Read Article: April 2019)

Meeting the Challenges of Value-Based Care in Age of Consumerism

In a short video, Constellation Research VP David Chou discusses the long journey to value-based care and looks at tech mega-trends through a healthcare lens to operationalize them. (Watch Video: MobiHealthNews, 4/3/19)

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