ABL HEALTHCARE ONLINE
ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * November 5, 2019
UPCOMING ABL HEALTHCARE
ROUND TABLES & EVENTS
  • 11/06 - Orange County Round Table
  • 11/12 - Silicon Valley Round Table
  • 11/13 - San Francisco Round Table
  • 11/14 - East Bay/Oakland Round Table
  • 11/15 - Los Angeles Round Table
  • Explore Membership in ABL's Executive Round Tables >>>

  • HOLD THE DATES!
  • December 4 - 21st Innovations in Healthcare Event, Costa Mesa, 10 am-2 pm (Combined Orange County-Los Angeles session), where keynoter Greg Buchert, MD, President and CEO of Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan,, will be presented with the "Leadership in Innovation" Award, in recognition of his 20 years of leadership of managed Medi-Cal health plans throughout California, sharing the growth trajectory of Medi-Cal coverage - which now insures one-third of Californians. Additionally, four "Innovator in Healthcare" Award recipients will present how their companies' technologies and approaches are reducing the cost and increasing the accessibility of quality healthcare; including: Lora Ivanova, CEO of myLab Box, which offers the first at-home, easy and affordable STD testing service - with certified results ready in days, without any co-pays or follow-up exam costs; Eric Neuner, CEO of Health Coach Institute, has transformed the lives of over 30,000 certified health coaches - and those of their clients, promoting habit change and healthy lifestyle design; Arup Roy-Burman, MD, CEO of Elemeno Health, offers a customized, app-based micro-learning solution that provides frontline staff with tools and resources to improve outcomes with the delivery of best practices; and Mike Epstein, Managing Director of The Tay Group's careKA$H program, offers an innovative way for employers to help employees cover their deductible expenses - saving costs for both.

  • December 11 - 22nd Innovations in Healthcare Event, San Francisco, 10 am-2 pm (Combined San Francisco-East Bay-Silicon Valley Session), where keynoter Artie Southam, MD, EVP, Health Plan Operations at Kaiser Permanente, will be presented with the "Leadership in Innovation" Award, in recognition for his 18 years heading marketing, sales, service and administrative activities for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, nationally - serving 12.3 million members with $64 billion a year in health services. Additionally, four "Innovator in Healthcare" Award recipients will present how their companies' technologies and approaches are reducing the cost and increasing the accessibility of quality healthcare; including: Bob Rose, President of MedWand Solutions, whose handheld device includes a digital stethoscope and a range of sensors that captures and transmits clinical data in real-time during televisits; Robbins Schrader, CEO of SafeRide Health, has enabled plans and providers to solve the patient "no-show" problem through their NEMT platform that's already enabled the safe transport of nearly 2 million patients; Mike Epstein, Managing Director of The Tay Group's careKA$H program, offers an innovative way for employers to help employees cover their deductible expenses - saving costs for both; and Mike Milwand is both CEO of Hospice of Santa Cruz County and Co-Founder of the California Hospice Network, which was created as a "Stronger Together" model committed to sustaining local nonprofit, community-based hospice care in California.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!

>>> Debi Stebbins is Executive Director of the City of Alameda Health Care District, whose mission is to oversee the maintenance and operation of the District-owned Alameda Hospital (which is now affiliated with and managed by Alameda Health System - AHS), and other District-owned healthcare facilities; collect, disburse, review and educate the community on the use of parcel taxes collected under the authority of the District, to be used for the operation of and long-term capital investments in Alameda Hospital; to be a leader for the health and well-being of the residents of and visitors to the District; and to do any and all other acts and things necessary to carry out the provisions of the Bylaws and the Local Health Care District Law. Previously, Debi was CEO of Alameda Hospital, which she led through a major financial turnaround, expansion/addition of several new programs, and ultimately, the affiliation with AHS. Earlier, she was Chief Executive of the Masonic Homes of California; Senior VP and COO of Catholic Healthcare West's Bay Area Region; President and CEO of Seton Medical Center; and held various executive roles at Alta Bates Hospital and Alta Bates Corporation. A returning ABL Member, Debi has joined the East Bay/Oakland Round Table.

>>> Jim Glafkides is VP of Managed Care Services at Satellite Healthcare, a leading not-for-profit provider of kidney dialysis and related services since 1974. Jim has executive oversight for the Managed Care Services team which includes Payer Contracting, Credentialing, and Integrated Care. Through its affiliated services - Satellite WellBound (for in-home kidney treatment solutions), Satellite Dialysis and Satellite Research, the company provides unparalleled early patient wellness education, personalized clinical services, and a complete range of dialysis therapy choices. In addition, Satellite has a well-recognized, enduring commitment to philanthropy and community service, from funding millions of dollars in research grants to sponsoring kidney programs nationwide. Satellite serves 7,500+ patients in 80 locations with 2000+ employees. Previously, Jim was Senior Contracts Manager at Kaiser Permanente, where he managed a portfolio of hospital, skilled nursing, mental health, home health, and dialysis contracts with a value of $250+ million. Jim has joined the Silicon Valley Round Table.

Click on Headlines Below to Read Articles

HEALTHCARE MEMBER NEWS
 
EXPANDED ARTICLES
HEALTHCARE MEMBER NEWS
BAY AREA ROUND TABLES
Covered California for Small Biz Announces Expanded Choices & 4.1% Rate Change

Covered California for Small Business (CCSB) has unveiled the health plan choices and rates for small-business employers and their employees for the 2020 plan year. The statewide weighted average rate change will be 4.1%, which represents the lowest annual increase in the program's six-year history and is significantly lower than national projected increases for larger employers. CCSB has experienced double-digit growth in membership for five consecutive years, with more than 55,000 members to date. (Kathy Keeshen, JD)

Elemeno Health Partners with Saint Barnabas to Provide Superior Patient Care

Elemeno Health has partnered with Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ, to implement a web-based micro-learning solution to provide frontline staff with tools and resources to assist in the delivery of best practices. With Elemeno, complicated practices are simplified into interactive guidelines, smart checklists and concise how-to videos, accessible on any device, 24/7. Social elements included in the software are designed to engage and motivate team members, while measuring both quantitative and qualitative feedback. (Arup Roy-Burman, MD)

Felton Institute Celebrates 130-Year Anniversary

Celebrating its 130-year anniversary, Felton Institute is the oldest nonsectarian, nonprofit charitable social-services provider in the City and County of San Francisco, with more than 50 social work programs. Felton CEO Al Gilbert discussed Felton's legacy on a recent episode of KBLX Cares Podcast. (Al Gilbert)

Health Coach Institute Anticipates "HCI Live" Event

On November 7-9, Health Coach Institute will present HCI Live: The Must-Attend Event for Coaches & Health Practitioners, in Dallas, TX. Speakers will include Eric Neuner, CEO of HCI, and topics will cover the hottest trends in the health coaching industry; emerging, lucrative coaching opportunities; and what HCI is doing to support and advocate for coaches. (Eric Neuner)

Kaiser Permanente Awarded Top Rankings

Covered California has rated Kaiser Permanente (KP) with its only 5-star ranking, for overall quality in its health plans offered by CoveredCA during the 2019 open enrollment period. And, KP Medicare health plans in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, the Mid-Atlantic states, and Washington received 5 out of 5 stars in CMS's 2020 Star Quality Ratings. Plus, KP has been recognized as among the "Best Insurance Companies for Medicare Advantage" in all geographic areas it serves, according to U.S. News & World Report's annual study. (Walt Meyers)

King & Spalding Webinar Will Examine Stark, Anti-Kickback & CMP Proposed Rule Changes

On November 7 and Nov. 20, King & Spalding (K&S) will present a two-part webinar - Recalculating: Are the Major Stark, Anti-Kickback and CMP Proposed Rule Changes Taking Us in a New Direction? CMS and OIG recently proposed the most significant changes to the Stark Law rules, the Anti-Kickback Statute safe harbors and the Beneficiary Inducements CMP regulations that the agencies have offered in recent years. The proposed rules address value-based arrangements, introduce major changes to other key Stark Law concepts and definitions, address the donation of cybersecurity technology and services, and create flexibility to provide patient incentives in value-based arrangements and with respect to telehealth. Read K&S's Client Alert highlighting the key proposals.

Meanwhile, K&S earned top practice and lawyer rankings in Benchmark Litigation's recently published guides to the top litigation firms in the U.S. and Europe. And, K&S places among the top three "Powerhouse" firms for complex commercial litigation in BTI Consulting Group's annual Litigation Outlook 2020 report. BTI also named K&S an "Awesome Opponent" for being among the 10 most feared law firms in litigation, according to its surveys of corporate counsel. (Marcia Augsburger, JD & Travis Jackson, JD)

KMD Architects Shares Design Evolution Story Regarding Behavioral Health Services

Since 1963, KMD Architects has developed a design philosophy responsive to changes in the delivery of care for behavioral health services - and has recently published online the firm's design evolution story. (Rob Matthew)

Mazzetti Provides Access to "Lighting Design for Behavioral Health" Webinar

Mazzetti has made its recent webinar - Lighting Design for Behavioral Health Environment, presented with The Center for Health Design - available to watch on-demand at the above link. (Walt Vernon)

PSYCHeANALYTICS Welcomes Industry Luminary to Advisors

Dave Haddick, CEO of PSYCHeANALYTICS, has announced that Alan Lorenz, MD, has joined his company's Board of Advisors. Dave says that Dr. Lorenz, with his depth of experience in behavioral healthcare, has decided to work with PSYCHeANALYTICS "to see that every patient receives Whole Person Care. He proves that nothing happens quickly in healthcare: he co-founded the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association in 1993, "To Make Integrated Care the Standard of Care for All. Still working on it!" (Dave Haddick)

LOS ANGELES ROUND TABLE
Anthem Blue Cross Connects Members to Community-Based Resources

Anthem Blue Cross will give consumers in many of its 2020 Medicare Advantage plans access to the Medicare Community Resource Support (MCRS) program, which will identify community-based resources for members and help them better understand and utilize their health plan benefits. MCRS outreach specialists a deep understanding of the role social determinants play in overall wellness, and up-to-date knowledge on the resources available to members in the area. They also have access to a member's claims history with Anthem to ensure that recommended services align with each member's individual needs. Meanwhile, Octave, which provides in-person and virtual therapy services, recently was designated an in-network ABC provider. (David Pryor, MD)

Blue Shield of CA Launches Real-Time Claims Payments Pilot Program

Blue Shield of California, in collaboration with OODA Health and Dignity Health, has launched a pilot program in the Sacramento area aimed at creating a better, faster - and more real-time - medical claims payment system. During the 12-month pilot, members and physicians will use a new, fully digital payment system that eliminates paperwork for members and reduces the time-consuming collections process for physicians. Blue Shield aims to achieve real-time claims for all members statewide by 2023. (Greg Buchert, MD)

Inglewood Imaging Center Publishes Cash Rate Sheet

Brad Schmidt, CEO of Inglewood Imaging Center (IIC), recently shared IIC's "remarkable" cash rate sheet. "Since IIC is a vital servant to Southern California's healthcare community, our goal with the cash rates was to deliver radiology care to patients and physicians that is comprehensive, transparent, priced for accessibility, and rooted in quality criteria established by major health plans," Brad said. "IIC has a goal to make our cash rates comprehensive, with no extra facility fees, parking fees, radiology reading fees, CD publishing fees, report printing fees, etc." (Brad Schmidt)

Karen by Care3 Spotlighted in New Book on Innovation

A new book, The Art of Healthcare Innovation: Interviews and Industry Insights from 35 Game-Changing Pioneers, was recently released on Amazon, and an entire chapter is devoted to Karen by Care3 and its groundbreaking innovations, and features company CEO David Williams. (David Williams)

LigoLab Provides Case Study & Background Story

In a recent blog post, LigoLab provides a case study of a successful deployment of its comprehensive Laboratory Information System and Revenue Cycle Management platform, with Reditus Laboratories and PAL Health Technologies II: Take back control of your practice with the LigoLab sub-licensing arrangement. And, The Genesis of LigoLab details the company's background - what started as a shared vision between two enterprising friends and has become the definitive choice for modern laboratories nationwide. (Suren Avunjian)

Harry Nelson: Honoree + Publishes Key Takeaways on Legal Changes in Behavioral Health

On November 14, Friends of CLARE|Matrix will honor writer, attorney, and advocate Harry Nelson, of Nelson Hardiman (NH), with the Spirit Award at its 22nd Annual Tribute Dinner. CLARE|Matrix is a leading nonprofit dedicated to recovery from substance abuse. Meanwhile, NH has published Legal Changes in California Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment Industries: Key Takeaway. (Harry Nelson, JD)

OneLegacy CEO Decries, Disputes Recent LA Times Article

Tom Mone, CEO of OneLegacy, said in a recent press release: A highly-inaccurate and tragically sensationalized article in a recent edition of the Los Angeles Times is likely to lead to deaths and suffering while causing severe damage to the donation and transplantation community. "The erroneous portrayal of the intent and process of donation and transplantation threatens to add to the 20 people who die each day in the U.S. while waiting for an organ transplant by creating unsubstantiated mistrust in the system that has been carefully developed over many years," said Tom. "Sadly, readers have already fallen prey to these misrepresentations and have chosen to remove their donor registrations, meaning harm has already been done to those needing life-saving and healing transplants." Read the entire press release here. (Tom Mone)

ORANGE COUNTY ROUND TABLE
AgilisIT CEO Interviews Healthcare CEOs in Podcast Series

Joyce Tang, CEO of AgilisIT, continues her podcast series - Beating Goliath: The Blood, Sweat and Tears of Healthcare Startups, in which she interviews company founders and executives to find out how they are "punching above their weight and winning," plus provides insider tips from angel investors and venture capitalists. Joyce recently spoke with Reachify CEO Zeel Jadia; Family Proud CEO Jaden Risner; WellBrain CEO Sumeet Maniar; and Elemeno Health founder Dr. Arup Roy-Burman. (Joyce Tang)

Alvaka & WorkDone to Present "AI & Its Impact on the Workforce"

On December 4, Alvaka Networks will present an Executive Luncheon event - Artificial Intelligence & Its Impact on the Workforce, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring Joe Rogers, CEO of WorkDone.AI, who will discuss how his company's AI-enabled Work Heuristics platform deploys from a process operations center, performing monitoring, automation, and orchestration to provide "hands-free" digital automation. (Oli Thordarson & Joe Rogers, ABL Tech Member)

Cigna's Engagement Programs Improve Health and Lower Costs by 10%

Cigna's health engagement incentive programs improve health outcomes and lower total medical costs an average of 10%, based on the results of a three-year study of 210,000+ customers enrolled in 28 employer-sponsored plans. And for customers living with two or more chronic conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, the total medical cost savings were an average of 13%. The analysis compared employers who offered Cigna health engagement with MotivateMe incentives versus health engagement programs without incentives. All whole-person health engagement programs leveraged the Life Connected approach and included biometric screening and health coaching. (Chris De Rosa)

SAVI Group Explains Why Coordination of Benefits is Crucial

In Why Coordination of Benefits is Crucial, SAVI Group emphasizes that determining which insurance plan has the primary responsibility of payment when an individual is covered by multiple plans is vital. Medical practice need to check each patient's coverage to find out who is responsible for each part of the bill when it's issued. Health insurance providers have well-defined coordination of benefits provisions in their policies and collaborate to find ways for each insurer to pay its fair share. Coordination of benefits involving both insurers makes it easier to avoid duplication of the benefits while still providing the coverage the insured is entitled to. (Sumit Mahendru)

SILICON VALLEY ROUND TABLE
Bayer Teams with 11 Digital Health Startups & Focuses on Artificial Intelligence

Bayer has signed collaboration agreements with 11 digital health startups, which it will support in an aim for longer-term collaborations to drive forward the development of specific digital solutions to improve patients' health in the fields of cardiovascular diseases, oncology, ophthalmology, pulmonology, radiology, and digital therapeutics. Also, Bayer recently launched LifeHub UK to accelerate and optimize disease detection and data-driven drug discovery by developing artificial-intelligence-enabled imaging solutions. The new hub is the seventh pillar of Bayer's global network of LifeHubs [including one in California] designed to accelerate the co-exploration and development of pioneering solutions to solve global challenges in health and nutrition. (Dirk Schapeler)

El Camino Utilizing Radiation Tiles to Fight Reoccurring Brain Tumors

The Mountain View Voice published an article recently about how El Camino Hospital physicians are taking a new approach to stubborn brain tumors that keep coming back, debuting a surgical treatment that plants a radioactive device directly into the patient's brain. The treatment, called GammaTile Therapy, involves removing a malignant tumor and implants radioactive material in its place to finish off any residual cancer cells that, if left alone, could bring the tumor right back. The small implant is just 2 centimeters in size, and is outfitted with a low-energy isotope that decays in about a month. (Cecile Currier)

Elevate Addiction Services Awarded for Excellence in Treatment

Elevate Addiction Services recently won second place in Conquer Addiction, Inc.'s 2019 "Excellence in Treatment" Awards ceremony, which were given to four addiction treatment centers with very high post-treatment abstinence success rates. Elevate believes the key to its success is how they've incorporated Fitness, Mindfulness, Spirituality, Conscious Recovery, Mindfulness-Based Recovery Groups, Nutrition, Rock to Recovery, and its copyrighted Educational Curriculum. (Dan Manson)

Royal Ambulance CEO Receives Inaugural Excellence Award

Steve Grau, CEO of Royal Ambulance, recently received the first-ever Harvey Hall Award of Excellence at the California Ambulance Association annual convention. "Mr. Hall's resolute and focused approach to leading our industry to rise above challenges and unite in purpose has inspired me to be involved and committed for the last decade," Steve said. "Knowing how he brought excellence to everything that he's done in politics, philanthropy and the ambulance industry, sets an incredibly high bar for me, which I aspire to reach one day." Steve shared this video about Harvey Hall's life and work. (Steve Grau)

TECH MEMBERS' HEALTHCARE NEWS
John Tanner, Thankful for 10 Years Post-Cardiac Arrest, Shares the Life-Saving Changes He's Made

John Tanner, CEO of Tanner Research, recently commemorated the 10th anniversary of his cardiac arrest with a thank you letter that details the events of that day and the changes he has made since, giving credit to all those who have helped save his life (read the letter here). John shares that while his "day job" is running Tanner Research, he now also runs a non-profit organization called NuSci, the Nutrition Science Foundation, through which he has delivered 100+ workshops focused on disease prevention and reversal through nutrition; operates a food prep company, Little Green Forks, which has so far served 50,000+ super healthy meals; and recently launched Tanner Care Health and Wellness Center to provide yearlong programs of education and coaching to help people overcome their obstacles to lifestyle change and health. (John Tanner, Ph.D., Monrovia Technology)

HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY NEWS & TRENDS
GOVERNMENT & HEALTHCARE
Warren Announces $20 Trillion Medicare For All Proposal

With her proposal, Elizabeth Warren becomes the first of the Democratic candidates to fully describe how a Medicare for All plan would be paid for. Her chief rival on the party's left, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has campaigned in favor of a government-run medical plan for years, has outlined various options for financing, but has not committed to one. Warren argues in her plan that America could do away with private insurance - entirely eliminating premiums, deductibles and co-payments - and move everyone into a single-payer system without sacrificing care and without hiking taxes on the middle class. (Read Article: Los Angeles Times, 11/1/19)

Why Medicare For All Could Both Raise Taxes & Lower Costs

The New York Times has published charts which compare two leading sets of healthcare proposals advocated by Democrats running for president. The first, a "public option" plan, is similar to proposals from Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and other candidates. It would allow most Americans to buy insurance from the government and make other changes that would enable fewer people to go without coverage, but it would preserve much of the existing health insurance system. The second, a "Medicare for all" plan introduced by Bernie Sanders and endorsed by Elizabeth Warren, would replace most Americans' current health insurance with a generous government-run plan that covers more benefits. (Read Article: New York Times, 10/31/19)

Telehealth Laws, Especially for Behavioral Health, Are Increasing Access

A new survey has found that both state and federal lawmakers increasingly support coverage for mental health services provided via remote technology, with all 50 states and the District of Columbia now providing some level of coverage for telehealth services for their Medicaid members. Adoption, especially in rural markets, is becoming more widespread. (Read Article: Healthcare Finance, 10/31/19)

New ObamaCare Enrollment Period Faces Trump Headwinds

As the Affordable Care Act's open enrollment period begins - running November 1 through December 15 for the 38 states that use healthcare.gov - many people can expect to find lower premiums and more plan options. But experts and advocates are projecting the number of enrollees for 2020 will decrease for a fourth consecutive year, in large part because of actions taken by the Trump administration. Enrollment has slipped in recent years, from a high of 12.7 million in 2016 to 11.4 million in 2019. (Read Article: The Hill, 10/31/19)

Trump Picks MD Anderson Cancer Specialist to Run FDA

President Trump on Friday picked a cancer specialist and hospital executive to lead the FDA. If confirmed, Dr. Stephen Hahn of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston would inherit a raft of high-profile public health issues, including leading the government's response to the problem of underage vaping and the prescription opioid epidemic. The Senate will vote on whether to confirm the 59-year-old to the post. (Read Article: New York Times, 11/1/19) MEANWHILE, A Trio of U.S. Senators Continue to Question FDA's PreCert Efforts: U.S. senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) have penned another letter to the FDA expressing concern over the agency's PreCert program. The basic goal of the PreCert program, which sets it apart from previous FDA regulatory ventures, is that it will focus not on particular products but on firms and developers. In their letter, the senators acknowledge the opportunities for digital health, but also question the proposed regulation's ability to ensure safety of the products. The 10-page letter asks 18 pointed questions about the program and asks for a response by November 20, 2019. (Read Article: MobiHealthNews, 10/30/19)

DIGITAL HEALTH
Facebook Will Now Remind You to Get Flu Shots & Medical Checkups

Facebook is rolling out a tool to remind its users in the U.S., based on demographic factors such as age and gender, to get a screening or health test. The tool, called Preventive Health, is searchable via the mobile app. Users can find out which checkups, such as mammograms or cholesterol tests, are recommended for them. Facebook will also proactively nudge its users to get flu shots at the time of year when they're most likely to work, as well as find nearby locations such as grocery stores and pharmacies where they're available. The Preventive Health tool is an opportunity to make a large-scale health impact on the social network's 2 billion-plus active monthly users. Facebook is working with several partners in the public health world on the initiative, including the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. (Read Article: CNBC, 10/28/19)

Google Acquires Wearable Giant Fitbit

Google has officially purchased Fitbit for roughly $2.1 billion in cash. Fitbit stressed that its devices would remain platform agnostic across the Android and iOS ecosystems. Still, a blog post from Google discussing the acquisition made it clear that we can also expect to see some Google wearables in the future. With over 100 million devices sold, Fitbit has a lot of wellness and behavioral data. What happens to those data in terms of implementation and privacy has been a big question amidst recent discussions of the rumors, which Google addressed in the blog post: "When you use our products, you're trusting Google with your information. We understand this is a big responsibility and we work hard to protect your information, put you in control and give you transparency about your data. Similar to our other products, with wearables, we will be transparent about the data we collect and why. We will never sell personal information to anyone. Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads. And we will give Fitbit users the choice to review, move or delete their data." The acquisition is set to go through in 2020, assuming regulatory and stockholder approvals. (Read Article: MobiHealthNews, 11/1/19)

Amazon Buys Healthcare Startup to Power Primary Care Program

Amazon has acquired Health Navigator, a medical technology startup, to help power Amazon Care, a primary care program launched in September at the company's Seattle headquarters. Health Navigator provides technology and services to digital health companies, and will be wrapped into Amazon Care, which offers employees virtual visits, in-home follow ups if additional care is needed, and prescription deliveries. (Read Article: Becker's Hospital Review, 10/24/19)

OTHER HEALTH NEWS
Impact of California's Power Outages

At LifeLong Medical Care, where Mike Stacey, MD, is Chief Medical Officer, when some of their Oakland clinics lost power, staff moved vaccines and medications to a nearby hospital, and a clinician kept each office open in the dark. "Service would be limited, and there's no light . . . [but] our patients rely on us to be open when we are needed," Kate Lewis, LifeLong's director of operations, told Direct Relief. MEANWHILE, the PG&E outages that have affected some 1.8 million Californians in the past few weeks, amid nerve-wracking warnings of wind and fire, have only affirmed the company's message – that all of its customers should "have an emergency plan to be prepared for any extended outages due to extreme weather or natural disasters." For those with home medical needs, the quest for a durable fix takes on real urgency. (Read Article: California Healthline, 11/1/19)

Employers Pay Staffers' Expenses to Travel to Select Hospitals & Docs, In Bid to Control Costs

Employers are increasingly going the distance to control health spending, paying to send workers across the country to get medical care and bypassing local providers. One of the latest is Amazon.com Inc., which will pay travel costs for workers diagnosed with cancer who choose to see doctors at City of Hope, a Los Angeles-area health system. More than 380,000 of the Seattle-based company's employees and families across the U.S. are eligible for the travel benefit. Travel programs are winning over employers despite added costs for airfare, hotels and gasoline. Proponents say companies can get competitive prices and employees get better care - such as avoiding unnecessary treatment - by shopping around the country instead of always relying on local providers. (Read Article: Wall Street Journal, 10/15/19)

The Drones Are Coming - to Deliver Your Prescriptions

UPS has announced plans to work with CVS Health to develop a prescription drug delivery service using UPS drones. UPS Flight Forward and its partner Matternet recently became the first drone delivery service to receive full certification from the FAA to operate a drone airline. Rival FedEx is already testing B to C drone deliveries with Wing, Google's drone subsidiary, and Walgreens. Amazon's Prime Air is also testing commercial drone delivery as major shippers ramp up their capabilities to address the rapidly growing e-commerce market. UPS also said it's expanding its medical drone delivery program to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Since March, UPS has been using drones to deliver samples, instruments and supplies on the campus of WakeMed Medical Center in Raleigh-Durham, NC. (Read Article: CNBC, 10/21/19)

Bose is Latest Tech Co to Expand into Healthcare

About a year and a half ago, Bose created a health division with an ambitious goal: to use its sound chops to help people with aural medical issues. The National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders estimates that 28.8 million U.S. adults are in need of a hearing aid, which is already a $7.7 billion business in the U.S. The advent of over-the-counter hearing aids could grow the business opportunity even further. Bose Health will target these millions of people, as well as the one in four Americans who periodically can't sleep; sleep aids generate $70B in sales. Bose's hearing aid has not yet launched commercially, but has already garnered important federal approval. (Read Article: Fast Company, 10/18/19)

Health Systems Need to Embrace AI, Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud & Sensor Tech: EY

The healthcare sector must become more proficient in deploying automation and enablement technologies as the industry faces an increasingly demanding user base and moves toward a value-based care strategy, according to analyst firm EY's latest health report. (Read Article: HealthcareIT News, 10/23/19)

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