ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * August 6, 2020
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    myKaarma, where ABL-Tech Member Ujj Nath is CEO, is looking for a dynamic leader to be their new VP of Finance. This is a freshly created position, spurred by the growth of the company, which involves oversight into Finance, Accounting, and Legal, while working closely with the CEO and Executive Team to implement cost savings and process efficiency. myKaarma is a Toyota Production System (Lean) shop and uses lean principles to kaizen and improve continuously. Lean experience would be a huge bonus, but if the candidate shows promise, myKaarma holds regular lean classes for their employees and this person would be expected to embrace lean principles of operation.

    myKaarma is looking for an ambitious and systematic thinker, while it also values creativity and problem solving immensely. If you feel you know someone who is an "up and comer" or is already there, please refer the person to ujj.nath@mykaarma.com. The detailed job description can be found here.
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Anthem Blue Cross Provides New Tools to Assist with Remote Open Enrollment

Anthem Blue Cross has announced the launch of a comprehensive, member-focused open enrollment option for Voluntary products during a time of limited face-to-face meetings. Dedicated Voluntary virtual support tools are now available to help employers and brokers customize and coordinate enrollment in Voluntary products through new no-contact options as more employees are working remotely. (David Pryor, MD, LA)

April Health is New Company Name for Pharmacy Group

Russell Zukin, CEO, shares that his company has recently re-branded itself as April Health, which is now the parent company of Alphascript, a specialty pharmacy licensed to serve patients throughout the U.S., Hoover Pharmacy (previously called Medical Plaza Pharmacy), and Duet Pharmacy - both retail pharmacies serving patients in the Bay Area. (Rus Zukin, SV)

Bayer's CoLaborator & Cell Culture Tech Center Featured in Industry Journal

A recent San Francisco Business Times article - Taking biotech partnering to the next level to advance patient care - spotlights the Bayer CoLaborator, part of a global network of incubator labs for emerging life sciences companies, and part of Bayer's Open Innovation Center - North America West in San Francisco's Mission Bay. The larger of Bayer's two U.S.-based incubators, the CoLaborator at Mission has housed 18 companies, seven of which have entered into partnerships with Bayer. In fact, 90% percent have alliances with pharma, biotech, or academic partners. Also featured is Bayer's Cell Culture Technology Center, under construction in Berkeley, which will support late-stage clinical trials and launch emerging therapies with an emphasis in oncology, cardiology, and specialty care therapeutics. (Rama Penta, SV)

Biospectal Honored by Swiss Innovation Agency & Swiss Medtech

Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency, features Biospectal as a success story in fostering innovation through Swiss technology - in this video profile, which highlights the unique opportunity Biospectal is pursuing in partnership with the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology, to use software-only, cuffless blood pressure monitoring and management in smartphones to scale hypertension management globally. Also, Biospectal was recently honored to be one of only seven Swiss companies to make a presentation at the Swiss Medtech Jury Hearing in late July. (Eliott Jones, SV)

Center for Elders Independence Adapts Services to Cope with Pandemic

In this video, Linda Trowbridge, CEO of Center for Elders Independence (CEI), talks about how CEI continues to serve elders while responding as a healthcare and social services provider during the COVID-19 pandemic. CEI's services, including day center and clinic, continue to be provided based on patient need, while home care services are increasing and expanding into new ways to provide social services virtually. (Linda Trowbridge, OAK)

Choice in Aging is Holding Facebook Live Chats on Relevant Topics

Every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month, at 11:30 a.m., Choice in Aging hosts a Facebook Live series, titled "Dishing with Debbie," in which CEO Debbie Toth talks, sometimes with a guest, about relevant topics. Recent topics include: COVID-19 Aging and Racial Inequity Intersectionality; COVID Spikes & What Contra Costa County is Doing; and Your Advocacy - An Inside Look at What it Accomplishes in Our Capitol. (Debbie Toth, OAK)

Covered California Announces Record-Low Rate Change for 2nd Consecutive Year

Covered California has announced a record-low insurance premium rate change for the second consecutive year. The preliminary average rate change for California's individual market is 0.6% for the upcoming 2021 plan year, which is the lowest mark since the launch of the Affordable Care Act and follows a rate change of only 0.8% in 2020. Also, CoveredCA has extended the current special-enrollment deadline until the end of August, for consumers to sign up for healthcare coverage. Overall, 298,600 people have signed up for coverage since Jan. 31 (when CoveredCA ended its open-enrollment period) through July 25, which is nearly twice as many as seen during the same time period last year. (Kathy Keeshen, JD, SF)

Elemeno Health Presents Innovations to the U.S. Air Force

Elemeno Health was selected from 1,600+ submissions as an official Base of the Future - Challenge Showcase Selection at the recent AFWERX innovation program from the U.S. Air Force. This year's event, held online, brought together industry, individuals, academia, investors, military, and government team members to present innovative solutions for Air Force areas of interest and facilitate an environment of connection and collaboration. (Arup Roy-Burman, MD, OAK)

HumanGood Receives $50,000 Grant for Healthy Living Program

HumanGood has received a $50,000 grant from the Ben B. Cheney Foundation to support its Healthy Living Program at Harbor View Manor, an affordable housing community for low-income seniors in Tacoma, WA. Payable over two years beginning in 2021, grant funds will help support the cost of a licensed therapist/case manager from Comprehensive Life Resources, as well as provide staff training to strengthen crisis intervention skills in support of residents who experience an event that produces emotional, mental, physical, or behavioral stress. (Tara McGuinness, OAK)

Kaiser Permanente Praised for Hospital Performance & Inclusion + Commits to Addressing Systemic Racism

Kaiser Permanente hospitals are among the best in the nation for delivering high-quality care, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2020-21 Best Hospitals rankings. 32 KP hospitals are "high performing" for one or more measures, including treatment for congestive heart failure and COPD, and knee/hip replacement surgeries. High performers are based on evaluation of 4,500+ medical centers and designate the top 10% of hospitals nationwide.

Also, KP has announced a series of actions - including $60 million in joint investments and $40 million in grant funding - to address systemic racism and lack of economic opportunities that have persisted for far too long and prevented communities of color from achieving total health. And, KP has earned a top-ranking score of 100% on the Disability Equality Index and named a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion for the fourth consecutive year. (Marcos Vasconcelos, OAK)

King & Spalding's Marcia Augsburger Discusses HHA Telehealth Post Pandemic

Marcia Augsburger, Partner at King & Spalding, is quoted in a recent Report on Medicare Compliance article - With Telehealth on OIG Work Plan, Beware Pitfalls; CMS Proposes HHA Telehealth Past PHE. Excerpts include: Although CMS "did more in two weeks to increase reimbursement for telehealth than it did in 29 years" because of the pandemic, this proposal for a permanent change may result in a big reimbursement cut to home health agencies, Marcia Augsburger said. "Redoing the plan of care to incorporate telehealth visits may give physicians some additional reimbursement - $50-$112 per month depending on various factors - and if those physicians add telehealth visits to the plan of care, the home health agency that must perform those services will not receive additional reimbursement for them because these agencies are paid a fixed sum per patient based on the number of in-person visits," she said.

Marcia hopes CMS is bolder in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule regulation, although in the past CMS has said its hands are somewhat tied by the statutory originating site requirement, which only Congress can remove for good. (Marcia Augsburger, JD, SF; Travis Jackson, JD)

KMD's Project is First in L.A. to Deploy Tracing Tech on an Active Jobsite

Global Construction Review's recent article - Skanska deploys worker-proximity tracing system at Los Angeles hospital project - describes how Skanska USA is using an electronic tagging system to keep workers 6 feet apart at the $188 million Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center building project, a KMD Architects project. The system also logs the amount of time people were closer than 6 feet apart, meaning it can be a retroactive contact-tracing system should a worker test positive for Covid-19. The hospital project team is the first in LA to deploy this technology on an active jobsite, and "as a result, rather than closing down an entire project or quarantining a large portion of workers due to a single positive Covid-19 case, the Proximity Tracker identifies a small subsect of the 150-person onsite team to potentially be affected." (Rob Matthew, SF)

LigoLab Publishes Survey Results on Lab Report & Distribution Plans

LigoLab recently surveyed laboratory decision-makers from across the country, asking them to rate their current lab report and distribution plans. Complete survey results are available here. Excerpts include: 48.1% are "Satisfied but room for improvement" with their current plan; and 77.8% consider "Personalization and saved preferences" the most valuable of lab report features. LigoLab also asked how much does your lab annually spend on report customization, and the results ranged from $15k to nothing for those labs that have highly configurable systems that allow users to create and manage all the components themselves. (Suren Avunjian, LA)

Mazzetti's Sextant Foundation to Hold Workshop on "Reimagining Racial Justice in Healthcare"

On August 10-11, Mazzetti-founded Sextant Foundation will hold an online workshop - Reimagining Racial Justice in Healthcare - that will explore how we might ensure that healthcare design and practice is attentive to the race-related challenges faced by clinicians, community health professionals, and their communities in order to promote racial justice in healthcare outcomes. The workshops provide a platform for participants to convene in small groups, practice human-centered design and reimagine healthcare facilities, as well as a community to move those ideas forward. (Walt Vernon, JD, SF)

Nelson Hardiman Addresses Status of COVID-19 Vaccines, Patients, & More

Harry Nelson, Partner in Nelson Hardiman (NH), was recently interviewed on KTLA5 news about the process and status of fast-tracking FDA-approved vaccines for COVID-19. Meanwhile, NH published these recent Client Alerts:
> Realistic Planning Timeline for Return to Normality: When will vaccines and drugs get here?;
> FDA and OCR Issue Guidance to Help Providers Harness the Potential of Recovered COVID-19 Patients; and
> FDA Extends Enforcement Discretion Policy for Certain Regenerative Medicine Products. (Harry Nelson, JD, LA)

OneLegacy on Pace for Record-Setting Year in Organ Donations - Despite COVID

OneLegacy recently announced that it is on pace for a 15% increase in organ donations over last year's record-setting numbers, despite the upheaval that COVID-19 continues to cause to the nation's healthcare system. In 2019, OneLegacy recovered a record number of 557 organ donors that resulted in the transplant of 1,619 organs. Overall, OneLegacy's track record and growth in lifesaving organ donation has resulted in its deceased donor transplant rate currently being higher than any country in the world outside the U.S. These numbers are achieved despite OneLegacy serving a young and healthy community (greater Southern California region) whose donor potential, as measured by community death rates, is only 75% of the U.S. average. (Tom Mone, LA)

Pulse Healthcare Marketing Client Brings Science-Based Fracture Prevention Program to U.S.

Pulse Healthcare Marketing client Bone Index Ltd., a healthcare diagnostics company with hand-held osteoporosis diagnostics technology, recently announced that it will launch the world's first science-based, personalized fracture prevention program, Bindex Total Bone Health in the U.S. The key objective of the program is to prevent the most significant risk factor of osteoporotic bone fracture - the first fracture. (Robin Raff, SF)

Santa Cruz Surgery Center Teams with Lab to Provide COVID Tests to Staff

Santa Cruz Surgery Center has partnered with ARCpointLabs to readily offer COVID-19 testing to the Center's non-symptomatic employees and physicians to ensure they remain healthy to care for the community. The Surgery Center's doors have remained open throughout this pandemic. (Lisa Cooper, SV)

Satellite Healthcare Named to "Best Companies for Women to Advance" List

Satellite Healthcare has been named to the Parity.org Best Companies for Women to Advance List 2020, which recognizes organizations that have implemented a mix of exemplary benefits, policies, and programs that ensure women have significant opportunities to advance their careers. Companies on the list were rated in areas of recruitment, benefits, executive preparation, measurement, and representation. Satellite shares that, currently, 75% of executives reporting to its CEO are women; 63% of its VPs are women; and 33% of its Board of Directors are women. (Jim Glafkides, SV)

Savi Group Explores How COVID-19 is "Fueling a Healthcare Revolution"

In How COVID-19 is Fueling a Healthcare Revolution, Savi Group discusses how, during the pandemic, telemedicine is advancing by "leaps and bounds," and senior care is shifting from nursing homes to in-home care - plus home-based care programs also hold great potential to help people of all ages who are recovering from an illness or rehabilitating. Further, the pandemic "shows us the weaknesses of depending on employer-based healthcare options when a national health crisis rocks the country. Millions of people are sadly unemployed and losing access to medical care at a time when it is more important than ever. This situation is forcing people to look at alternatives to employer-based care and raising the voices of those calling for universal health insurance." (Sumit Mahendru, OC)

Select Data to Compete in Upcoming HIMSS NursePitch Contest

Select Data is a Finalist in the HIMSS NursePitch online competition on August 11. One of six Finalists, Select Data will showcase their new "model drive" NLP tool, called SmartCare. In collaboration with the American Nurses Association, HIMSS' NursePitch is a Pre-Seed and Series A nursing competition, geared for those who want to showcase their nurse-led innovation in front of a live, virtual audience. Finalists will exhibit their products to a team of highly respected judges who represent health innovation, business, provider, and venture capital companies. (Ed Buckley, LA & Ted Schulte, OC)

Servicon Emphasizes Importance of Cleaning Industry in New York Times Article

In the recent New York Times article - The old job of custodians was tidying up. The new one is protecting against a killer through disinfection. - the CEO of Servicon shares her thoughts about the overlooked value-add concept of cleaning services in America. Currently, the cleaning industry is under pressure to protect the nation from COVID-19, but heretofore many companies have approached such services as a labor cost to be contracted out to the lowest bid, sometimes resulting in inferior services. It's now vital that cleaning industry leaders speak out to help elevate the industry and protect lives. (Stacey Wong, LA)

VivaLNK Highlighted for Pioneering Work in "Electronic Skin" Products

The recent WearTechDesign Editor's Blog - A growth sector - for those with skin in the game - spotlights VivaLNK as an example of a company that's developing electronic skin products. The article says: "An early use of wearable sensors was in China during the SARS pandemic at the turn of the 21st century. Today companies like California-based VivaLNK and Massachussets-based MC10 are providing wearable sensors to help combat Covid-19. VivaLNK's wearable sensors are used for temperature, pulse, respiratory, ECG and accelerometer readers. The lightweight (7.5g) and reuseable/ rechargeable sensors are water-resistant and FDA/CE marked. The US company says it has supplied its wearable sensors to China, the Americas, Europe and the RoW." (Jiang Li, Ph.D., SV)

Wipfli Provides Healthcare Q&A Sessions on FQHCs, Hospitals & Senior Living Centers

Wipfli LLP has made on-demand replays of several of its recent 30-minute "Healthcare Connections Q&A" sessions available, including How can hospitals and FQHC's develop models and affiliation strategies, which was co-led by Steve Rousso, who discussed how to begin the process of FQHCs and hospitals working together; and strategies to successfully emerge from the COVID-19 environment.

Also available is Senior Living Centers - Trends under COVID-19 and Strategies for Success, which discussed impacts on census and the future outlook; operational and financial planning; and strategies to successfully emerge from the COVID-19 environment. Meanwhile, for the tenth time, Wipfli has been named to Accounting Today's 2020 VAR 100 list. (Jeff Johnson, OAK; Steve Rousso)

Tech Members Speak Out About COVID

You might expect ABL's Healthcare Members to have strong opinions about the mortality and morbidity rates of COVID-19 - and they do! What's really impressed me is how knowledgeable (and concerned) ABL's Technology CEOs are about the virus. Here are the voices of three of them - John Tanner, Jason Ciment, and Dave Berkus - who are well worth listening to. CLICK HERE TO READ REST OF MIMI'S BLOG...

Eckert & Ziegler Increases Stake in Myelo Therapeutics

Eckert & Ziegler Strahlen- und Medizintechnik AG has increased its stake in Myelo Therapeutics GmbH, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies for cancer supportive care and medical countermeasures. Taking over shares from the local venture capital fund VC Fonds Technologie Berlin, Eckert & Ziegler now directly holds about 15% of the company's shares. Myelo, which recently completed a financing round that will cover operational expenditures until 2023, was also recently awarded a development contract valued up to $6 million by the US National Institutes of Health to advance its lead candidate myelo001 as a medical countermeasure for the treatment of H-ARS. (Frank Yeager, ABL-Tech SGV)

The Joy Factory Offers Healthcare-Grade Antimicrobial Case for iPads

The Joy Factory has unveiled aXtion Pro MPA, a healthcare-grade antimicrobial case for iPad 10.2" 7th Generation, ideal for any healthcare setting as it's designed to help prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. The case is also military-grade shockproof certified and waterproof - it's fully enclosed and can be submerged for quick and easy sanitization. (Sampson Yang, ABL-Tech OC, and Miranda Su, ABL-Tech SGV)

Decline in California's COVID Cases May Be a Technical Glitch

A steep decline in California's coronavirus infection rate announced this week by Gov. Gavin Newson may not be accurate, according to the state's top public health official who said Tuesday that the state's data system used to process COVID-19 test results is marred with technical issues. The problems have caused delays in analyzing test results and cast doubt on Newsom's announcement Monday of a 21.2% decline in the seven-day average rate for positive infections compared with the average from the week before. (Read Article: Los Angeles Times, 8/4/20)

Fauci Optimistic COVID-19 Vaccine Will Be Widely Available

Once a coronavirus vaccine is approved as safe and effective, Americans should have widespread access within a reasonable time, Dr. Anthony Fauci assured lawmakers recently. Appearing before a House panel investigating the nation's response to the pandemic, Fauci expressed "cautious" optimism that a vaccine would be available, particularly by next year. "I believe, ultimately, over a period of time in 2021, that Americans will be able to get it," Fauci said, referring to the vaccine. There will be a priority list for who gets early vaccinations. "I don't think we will have everybody getting it immediately," Fauci explained. But "ultimately, within a reasonable time, the plans allow for any American who needs the vaccine to get it," he added. (Read Article: Modern Healthcare, 7/31/20)

Debate Begins Over Who's First in Line for COVID-19 Vaccine

Who gets to be first in line for a COVID-19 vaccine? U.S. health authorities hope by late next month to have some draft guidance on how to ration initial doses, but it's a vexing decision. Traditionally, first in line for a scarce vaccine are health workers and the people most vulnerable to the targeted infection. But Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, tossed new ideas into the mix: Consider geography and give priority to people where an outbreak is hitting hardest. (Read Article: Modern Healthcare, 8/2/20)

Pennsylvania Uses "Weighted Lottery" to Distribute Remdesivir in Favor of Low-Income Patients; South Carolina Doc Says They Will Use a Similar System If Faced with Shortages

The antiviral drug remdisivir has been effective in treating COVID-19, reducing risk of death for severely ill patients by 62%. It is also scarce, leaving a number of states in fear of running out as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country. As a solution to this problem, Pennsylvania is encouraging healthcare providers to use a "weighted lottery" system to decide which patients are treated with remdisivir. Instead of medical need being the deciding factor of who receives this drug, this lottery is weighted in favor of those who sit lower on the socioeconomic spectrum. (Read Article: DailyMail.com, 7/31/20)

COVID-19 Vaccine Generates Immune Response, Well Tolerated

An investigational vaccine designed to protect against COVID-19 was generally well tolerated and prompted neutralizing activity in healthy adults, according to interim results published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. The ongoing phase 1 trial is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health. The experimental vaccine is being co-developed by researchers at NIAID and Moderna Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Manufactured by Moderna, mRNA-1273 is designed to induce neutralizing activity to block the virus from binding to and entering human cells. (Read Article: kaiserpermanente.org, 7/14/20)

Meanwhile, COVID Vaccine Trials Must Weigh Effects on Both Men, Women, Researchers Say

When the National Institutes of Health and Moderna released initial promising results of a vaccine for COVID-19, biochemist Nicole Woitowich was disappointed when she read the study. The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in mid-July, had a glaring oversight, she said. While both men and women participated in the trial, the data related to adverse drug effects were not analyzed by sex. This means the clinical community right now has no way of knowing if men or women responded differently to various vaccine dosages. (Read Article: Modern Healthcare, 8/1/20)

NIH's RADx Program Awards Support to Mammoth Bioscience & Helix for COVID-19 Tests

Startup Mammoth Biosciences has received NIH backing to scale up its CRISPR-based SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test to help address the testing shortages across the U.S. Mammoth's approach could potentially offer a significant solution to current testing bottlenecks, because it's a very different kind of test when compared to existing methods based on PCR technology. Mammoth has also enlisted the help of pharma giant GSK to develop and produce a new COVID-19 testing solution, which will be a handheld, disposable test that can offer results in as little as 20 minutes, on site. (Read Article: TechCrunch, 7/31/20)

AND, NIH has awarded startup Helix $33 million to support its efforts to scale its COVID-19 test, with the aim of achieving a rate of 100,000 tests per day by this fall, and then extending the throughput capacity even further after that. Helix's test got FDA Emergency Use Approval in July, and has since been available nationally across the U.S., promising "next day" results. (Read Article: TechCrunch, 7/31/20)

Some COVID Patients Require Lengthy, Very Costly ICU Stays

In The $1.9 Million Covid Patient, The Wall Street Journal reports that many of the most severe Covid-19 patients often are hospitalized for weeks rather than the few days typically spent by an intensive-care patient. "Critical care is one of the most costly services a hospital provides," said Shannon Carson, chief of the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "It's a huge problem at the family level but a pretty substantial cost element for the health-care system also." (Read Article: Wall Street Journal, 8/4/20)

JetBlue Deploys UV Cleaning Robot From LA Startup in COVID-19 Fight

In a 90-day pilot program, JetBlue has become the first airline to deploy ultraviolet cleaning robots in the fight against COVID-19. JetBlue said it has begun using Honeywell's UV Cabin System to disinfect cabins in "less than 10 minutes" using UV light. The system was developed and licensed from Los Angeles-based Dimer LLC, maker of the GermFalcon germicidal lighting systems. (Read Article: socaltech.com, 7/29/20)

Administration Proposes to Expand Telehealth Benefits Permanently for Medicare Beneficiaries

CMS is proposing changes to expand telehealth permanently, consistent with the Executive Order on Improving Rural and Telehealth Access that President Trump recently signed. The Executive Order and proposed rule advance efforts to improve access and convenience of care for Medicare beneficiaries. Additionally, the proposed rule implements a multi-year effort to reduce clinician burden and to ensure appropriate reimbursement for time spent with patients. (Read: CMS Release, 8/4/20)

CMS Proposes Policies to Provide Seniors with More Choices & Lower Costs for Surgeries

CMS is proposing several policies that would give Medicare beneficiaries more choices in where they seek care and lower their out-of-pocket costs for surgeries. The proposed rule takes steps that would allow hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to operate with better flexibility and patients to have what they need to make informed decisions on where they receive care. (Read: CMS Release, 8/4/20)

CMS Updates Medicare Payment Policies for Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities

CMS is finalizing a Medicare payment rule that better aligns payments for inpatient rehabilitation facilities. The final rule updates Medicare payment policies and rates for facilities under the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System for FY 2021. It also includes making permanent the regulatory change to eliminate the requirement for physicians to conduct a post admission visit since much of the information is included in the pre-admission visit. (Read: CMS Release, 8/4/20)

5 Traits of Companies Succeeding During COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic pummeled the finances of companies across every industry. There were, however, some healthcare companies that remained financially strong despite the crisis, and they share a handful of attributes. Not surprisingly, insurers and providers varied greatly in the traits that helped them stay afloat. For providers, federal aid ranked as the best boost to bottom and top lines. But there are other attributes that helped buoy finances, including, in summary: value-based contracts; ability to tighten up belts; scalability; location; and insurers who diversify. (Read: Modern Healthcare, 8/4/20)

Humana Partners with Heal, Invests $100 Million in Doc-On-Demand Service

Heal, which offers in-home and telemedical consultations, and health insurance provider Humana have announced a new partnership that will see Humana pushing Heal's in-home and virtual care delivery services to the patients it covers and committing $100 million to spur the Los Angeles-based startup's growth. (Read Article: TechCrunch, 7/29/20)

Teladoc and Livongo Merge into $37 Billion Remote-Health Company

Teladoc, a provider of virtual doctor visits, announced on Wednesday that it's acquiring digital health company Livongo, in a cash and stock deal that values Livongo at $18.5 billion. According to Piper Sandler, the combination gives the companies a joint enterprise value of about $37 billion. Telehealth has been one of the massive growth stories of the Covid-19 era, as patients - particularly in older age groups - avoid clinics and hospitals where they risk exposure to the coronavirus. Teladoc is among the leaders in the space and said last week that visits in the second quarter surged 203% from a year earlier. (Read Article: CNBC.com, 8/5/20)

Also recently announced, Teladoc posted $241 million in revenue for this year's second quarter, up 85% from $130.3 million posted in the same period last year. The telemedicine giant beat its own revenue guidance for the quarter, as telemedicine use soared amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Read Article: Modern Healthcare, 7/30/20)

Clover Health Expands Coverage to 8 States and Triples Its Footprint

Clover Health, a Medicare Advantage health insurance provider, said it will triple its geographic coverage through an expansion to eight states. The company is adding Mississippi to its roster of states covered and will expand its footprint in a number of states it already operates within - adding 74 new counties in Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. (Read Article: TechCrunch, 7/20/20)

Healthcare Companies Sema4 and Ro Achieve $1+ Billion Valuations

Sema4, the digital healthcare company now worth just over $1 billion, takes its name from the system of sending messages via code using flags. And like its namesake, Sema4 is trying to send messages of its own to the broader healthcare system based on the signals it uncovers and flags in massive data sets of population health that can reveal insights and best practices. (Read Article: TechCrunch, 7/29/20)

Meanwhile, in the same week, Ro, an online healthcare startup, raised $200 million in a new funding round, bringing its total raised to $376 million. The new round valued Ro at $1.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. (Read Article: Wall Street Journal, 7/28/20)

CVS Adds Another Big Health Product to Its Point Solutions Management Program

CVS Caremark launched its point solutions management program with a sleep service from Big Health nearly a year ago, and now it's adding another of the digital mental healthcare startup's products to its suite of managed point solutions. The Daylight product, designed to help people alleviate worry and anxiety, will join an expanding list of digital therapeutics that CVS Caremark offers to manage for employer-directed healthcare plans. (Read Article: TechCrunch, 7/29/20)

New Telemedicine Service Rolls Out At-Home Hormone Test to Predict Menopause

The Cusp, a newly launched startup offering telemedicine services for women in perimenopause and menopause, is launching an at-home hormone test service that slashes the cost of in-office visits and lab tests. Women in California can order the test at a cost of $159 for a telemedical consultation and test, versus roughly $500 for having the same test and lab work administered in a clinic, according to the company. (Read Article: TechCrunch, 7/15/20)

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