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ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * September 1, 2020
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ABL-HEALTH MEMBER NEWS

In Memoriam

Linda Trowbridge, CEO of the Center for Elders’ Independence (CEI)
Long-time Member Linda Trowbridge, CEO of CEI, has passed away, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. She led CEI since 2013, bringing 30+ years of healthcare management experience and a longtime interest in the PACE model of integrated care. In her career, she was involved strategically and as an operational leader with large national and regional healthcare systems, including in delivery systems with acute care hospitals, physician groups, home care and hospice, long-term care, and managed care, serving with organizations that included Health Management Associates, Kaiser Permanente, St. Joseph, and Catholic Healthcare West. Linda was a Member of ABL-Health's OAK Round Table, and will be missed.



ABL: Where Healthcare CEOs Go for "Business Therapy"

                     Blog by Mimi Grant

Earlier today, as I previewed materials provided by Kim Darling, CEO of Competitive Healthcare and an expert on all things Telehealth related, I was struck by the astounding growth in behavioral health costs - even before COVID-19, and how they've mushroomed since. Unfortunately, marked increases in depression, up 30%, and anxiety, up 38%, have been noted among adults according to The National Center for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey. And, the numbers are even higher for college students. Little wonder that telehealth company MDLive reports that in 2020, virtual behavioral-health visits increased 50% from February to March, and 72% from March to April. No doubt, even in the C-suite.

For over 30 years, in recognition of the "loneliness at the top" many CEOs feel, one of ABL's key slogans has been "What's Keeping You Up Nights?" Well, particularly during this time of COVID, there's plenty to keep up the most stout-hearted of CEOs - particularly in healthcare. But that's what makes ABL so valuable... CLICK HERE TO READ REST OF BLOG.

 
EXPANDED ARTICLES
ABL-HEALTH MEMBER NEWS
Wipfli & Rework America Alliance Helps Workers Learn Digital Job Skills

As the workforce continues to cope with and adapt to COVID-19's impact, many Americans will find that, going forward, they'll require new digital skills. To meet this accelerated demand, Wipfli and fellow Rework America Alliance members are collaborating with companies, organizations, and public interest groups to help millions of workers gain these new capabilities. Alliance members are providing coaching and training, identifying high-demand jobs, helping to create more, and determining ways to connect workers with jobs. (Jeff Johnson, OAK, & Steve Rousso)

WARNING: Misuse of Fogging/Misting Devices in Healthcare Facilities by Some EVS Firms

Stacey Wong, who heads the Healthcare Division of award-winning environmental services firm Servicon Systems, wants to clear up some misinformation regarding various types of fogging or misting devices that have been flooding the marketplace during the COVID-19 crisis, and are being improperly used by some EVS companies in healthcare facilities. These devices are commonly used for pesticide, odor control, or other wide-area spraying applications, but recently a number of EVS companies have been offering disinfectant services with devices that do not have EPA registration or CDC guidance in their application. With few exceptions, fogging and misting devices are not to be used in applications of disinfectants - it is a violation of federal law, and the application changes the chemistry of the product that in effect changes its efficacy. More information. (Stacey Wong, LA)

SAVI's On-Demand Webinar Explores How Data is Helping Modernize Healthcare

SAVI Group's Sumit Mahendru is a speaker in the current on-demand webinar - How Data is Helping to Modernize Healthcare: Driving Revenue from Existing Data Assets, which examines how data is helping to shape a better future within the healthcare industry; how analytic apps are helping to transform businesses; and how a company can create new revenue streams from existing assets. (Sumit Mahendru, OC)

OneLegacy Wins "Outstanding Organizational CEO" Award from LA Business Journal

Tom Mone, CEO of OneLegacy, was named "Outstanding Organizational CEO" in the recent LA Business Journal Health Care Leadership Awards. He was also a panelist in the virtual program, where among the information he shared was: the transplant waiting list in Greater L.A. has declined in the last two years, largely because organ donations are up 30%; while the African American population in Greater L.A. is only 7% of the total, they receive 11% of the transplanted organs; so far, OneLegacy has been able to transplant every organ they've received during COVID; and there haven't been any COVID transmissions among OneLegacy's staff. Also, Tom wrote Answering the Call and Saving Lives Through Organ Donation for the LABJ, in which he shares that OneLegacy is currently on pace for a significant increase in organ donations over last year's record-setting numbers. (Tom Mone, LA)

Nelson Hardiman Addresses Addiction Issues in Upcoming Conference & Recent Articles

Harry Nelson, Founding Partner of Nelson Hardiman, will participate in the California Addiction Conference, in October. Meanwhile, Harry was quoted in Bloomberg Law articles: Entire Opioid Supply Chain Faces First Test in New York Case and With Billions at Stake, States Plan Dividing Purdue Opioid Money. And, noted for his specialty in healthcare law and his focus on COVID-19, Harry has been selected by peers for inclusion in "The Best Lawyers in America 2021," for the tenth consecutive year. (Harry Nelson, JD, LA)

MedWand Featured in Article on Promise of Telehealth on Cruise & Freight Ships

Medwand is spotlighted in a recent article - Telehealth on Cruise Ships: A Safer Way to Handle Sick Passengers?, which cites a 2013 study that showed one in five seagoing ships is forced to diverge because of medical emergencies, at a cost of $180,000 per diversion; 25% of these diversions could be avoided if operators had telehealth systems in place. "If you have ten cruise ships, you can have one doctor examine patients on all ships equipped with MedWands, instead of having a doctor on each ship," says MedWand's CEO, who also said, "Freight ships don't have to go off course if a doctor can literally examine the patient from shore." Meanwhile, MedWand has produced a video in which it monitors and compares oxygen levels while exercising while wearing a medical mask vs a cloth mask. (Bob Rose, OC)

Mazzetti to Participate in COVID-19 Webinar & Celebrates MarinHealth's Ribbon Cutting

On September 1, Walt Vernon, Mazzetti CEO, will participate as a panelist in NOT Another COVID-19 Webinar, along with representatives from Stanford University Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, and more. The webinar will: address the latest known science and evidence regarding airborne transmission of COVID-19; quickly highlight a spectrum of responses in hospitals across the country; and then discuss how COVID has been a catalyst in the bigger risk mitigation and emergency preparedness conversation, as well as the code implications (or lack thereof). Meanwhile, Mazzetti recently celebrated a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony for MarinHealth Medical Center's new $535-million hospital wing, along with project partners Perkins Eastman, Morrow, McCarthy Building Companies, Peterson Mechanical, and Pan Pacific. (Walt Vernon, JD, SF)

LigoLab's TestDirectly Uses Electronic Workflow to Significantly Improve COVID-19 Testing

The implementation of TestDirectly, a scalable solution developed and designed by LigoLab Information System, has significantly improved COVID-19 testing in DuPage County, IL, and many other counties across the U.S. - thanks to intuitive patient self-registration and scheduling, shorter wait times, and much faster turnaround times for test results. For DuPage County, in particular, patient pre-registration with TestDirectly's electronic workflow has removed the issues they were having with handwritten order forms and with patient communication at the Wheaton, IL drive-through location, enabling the site to serve more people and get them their results quickly and easily. (Suren Avunjian, LA)

LifeLong Medical Care Receives Quality Improvement Award Grant from HHS

LifeLong Medical Care is among the safety-net clinics recently receiving grants from HHS, through the Health Resources and Services Administration. HHS has awarded $117+ million in quality improvement awards to 1,318 health centers. HRSA-funded health centers provide comprehensive care for uninsured and low-income patients. The awards are intended to improve access to primary care services and promote quality improvement projects. According to HHS's announcement, LifeLong received $55,000 for Patient Centered Medical Home Recognition and $10,750 for Advancing Health Information Technology for Quality. The quality improvement awards recognize both those health centers that demonstrated significant quality improvements over the past year and those that are the highest-performing overall. (Mike Stacey, MD, OAK)

KMD's Critical Care Unit Design Hailed by American Institute of Architects

KMD Architects' design for EvergreenHealth's new Critical Care Unit has been included in the American Institute of Architects' COVID-19 ArchMap, which helps identify solutions to growing bed-surge needs and supports the development of design best practices for alternative-care sites that support pandemic response. EvergreenHealth's CCU is designed to immediately respond to increased capacity needs for Airborne Infectious Isolation. (Rob Matthew, SF)

King & Spalding Explains How to Launch a Femtech/Telehealth Start-Up

Marcia Augsburger, a Partner in King & Spalding, co-wrote a recent article in Bloomberg Law - How to Launch a Femtech/Telehealth Start Up. Femtech applies to a category of software, diagnostics, and other products and services that use technology to focus on women's health. Women drive the vast majority of healthcare decisions in the U.S., and are increasingly demanding products that give them agency over their own biological functions. The growth in Femtech also corresponds with growth in at-home testing, investment in digital health products, an enormous demand for telehealth solutions, and increasing pressure on private and government insurers to pay for it. The article provides a checklist of legal issues to help Femtech and telehealth companies plan, prior to launch. (Marcia Augsburger, JD, SF; Travis Jackson, JD)

Kaiser Permanente Participating in Multiple COVID-19 Vaccine & Treatment Studies

Research scientists from Kaiser Permanente (KP) Division of Research in Northern California, Center for Health Research in the Northwest, and Department of Research & Evaluation in Southern California are participating in phase 3 trials of a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, while scientists at KP HRI in Seattle are enrolling participants in phase 3 trials of the NIAID/Moderna co-developed vaccine. Further, 17 KP hospitals were among the world's largest enrollers of patients into remdesivir trials that took place in 152 medical facilities worldwide. And several KP regions are participating in a Mayo Clinic-led study in which blood plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19 is used to treat some patients with severe COVID-19 or those at high risk for progression to it. Researchers are also studying how the pandemic may affect care trends for conditions other than COVID-19. (Marcos Vasconcelos, OAK)

Inglewood Imaging Center Undergoes $1.7 Million Modernization of Center

Inglewood Imaging Center has finalized terms with Siemens Medical, Hologic, and Agiliti on a multi-modality equipment facility upgrade, which already includes new DEXA, Ultrasound and X-ray units, with new MRI and 3D Tomosynthesis Mammo units on their way. CEO Brad Schmidt exclaims, "The new x-ray, for example, is delivering accurate images at up to 62% less radiation than the older generation systems, while our new ultrasound will add echocardiography, OB and general imaging in a remarkably compact package." (Brad Schmidt, LA)

HumanGood Receives Grant from Barton Health Foundation

The Barton Health Foundation has awarded HumanGood a $10,000 grant to support the creation of a Compassionate Connections program at HumanGood's Kelly Ridge and Tahoe Senior Plaza affordable housing communities in South Lake Tahoe, California. The program will provide residents with access to tablet computers in order to reduce social isolation and restart life-enrichment activities. And the technology will allow residents to participate in monthly health and wellness seminars, and give them the opportunity to utilize telehealth services. (Tara McGuinness, OAK)

Felton Institute Ramps Up Efforts to Serve Clients During Pandemic's Challenges

In Felton Institute's Senior Division: Dealing with the Pandemic Through Technology, Felton Institute describes how it works closely with service providers to connect seniors and school children to low-cost broadband, and how the pandemic has transformed this important effort into an essential requirement. Being connected today is critical for accessing healthcare, seeking employment, and overcoming social isolation - all areas that Felton's services are deeply committed to. "Within our mental health programs ... it is safest now to provide services virtually through telehealth. "We have doubled our efforts to make sure every client is equipped with the specific technology that works best for them." Meanwhile, Felton's San Francisco Suicide Prevention report is quoted in a recent San Francisco Chronicle article, What if 'nothing ever goes back to normal'? Depression, anxiety mount in Bay Area. (Al Gilbert, OAK)

Excell Home Care CEO Spotlighted on "My Wakeup Call" Podcast

On a recent My Wakeup Call podcast episode, Dr. Mark Goulston interviews Jennifer Ty, CEO of Excell Home Care, whose "wakeup call" was being trained as an engineer, but realizing a passion for risk taking to solve problems people were ignoring, as well as caring about people and the central importance of empathy. (Jennifer Ty, OC)

Covered California Opens New Paths to Coverage for Those Who Lose Job/Income During Pandemic/Recession

In an effort to help Californians who have been impacted by the 500+ wildfires burning across the state, and to build on the help provided to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing recession, Covered California announced the establishment of new paths to coverage program that will run through the end of 2020. Consumers who are victims of the wildfires, or who lose their jobs - even if they do not receive healthcare coverage through their employer - and those who suffer a loss of income, could be eligible to sign up for coverage. Covered California initially responded to the COVID-19 emergency by opening the health insurance exchange from March 20 to Aug. 31 to any eligible uninsured individuals who needed coverage. With that special-enrollment period expired, new qualifying life events will continue to help consumers sign up for healthcare coverage during this turbulent time. (Kathy Keeshen, JD, SF)

Competitive Health Ranks on the Inc. 5000 for Third Consecutive Year

Inc. magazine has named Competitive Health, Inc. to its latest Inc. 5000 list of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. In their third consecutive year on the list, Competitive Health ranks #2,292, posting a 187.73% three-year revenue growth rate. CEO Kim Darling declared, "As the great Phil Jackson stated, 'The key to a 3-peat is change. You can't repeat the formula. Your opponent has already figured it out. You have to keep growing. Continue into the unknown.'" (Kim Darling, OC)

Choice in Aging Speaks with Director of California Department of Aging

The most-recent episode of "Dishing with Debbie" - Updates on the Master Plan for Aging - is available to watch here, featuring special guest Kim McCoy-Wade, Director of the California Department of Aging. (Debbie Toth, OAK)

Bayer & Informed Data Systems Team to Develop DigiHealth Products

Bayer and Informed Data Systems Inc. (One Drop), a US-based digital health company, have entered into an agreement to jointly develop digital health products for multiple therapeutic areas. In 2019, Bayer invested $20 million in a Series B financing in One Drop and entered into a licensing agreement for Bayer to independently develop and commercialize digital health products based on the One Drop platform. Moving forward, the partners will shift their collaboration to jointly evolve One Drop's platform to allow for a faster and modular development of solutions to manage conditions in, for example, oncology, cardiovascular diseases, and women's health. (Rama Penta, SV)

Axene Health Partners Discusses Return to Work in a COVID World

In A Return-to-Work Framework In a COVID World, Axene Health Partners notes that risk management requires making some educated risk-mitigating calculations to best adapt under a 'new normal' in case COVID is not eradicated via vaccine. Under such a scenario, [it will be necessary to take] strict precautions to return to work, minimizing the damage inflicted by COVID. If an adequately effective vaccine is not available by early-2021, we will need to implement a measured and tactful return to a functioning economy. (John Price, SF)

Alvaka Networks Describes Cyber-Defense Strategies to Protect Your Backups from Ransomware

In Ransomware Attacks Can Target Your System Backups, Alvaka Networks reports that ransomware can now prevent your ability to recover from backups: "It does not matter whether the backups are in the cloud, on tape, or on spinning media; the hackers have gotten quite adept at targeting and destroying backups wherever they reside." Alvaka then shares options to stay safe, including "Air Gap" backups. Alvaka goes deeper into this cyber-defense strategy in Air Gapped Backups: What is it and how does DRworx solution fit the criteria? and Important Questions and Answers about DRworx. (Oli Thordarson, OC)

ABL-TECH MEMBERS' HEALTHCARE NEWS
Welcome New Member! Alina Trigubenko, Founder and CEO of awarenow

Alina is Founder and CEO of awarenow, which provides an all-in-one business management platform for clients in business and independent coaching - health and wellness centers, medical clinics, yoga and meditation studios, schools, consultants - so that they can create and run scalable digital offerings. Features include booking and staff resources management, scheduling, office automation, analytics, billing systems integration, built-in teleconference and Zoom integrations, live chat, texting, emailing, online programs, courses and webinars, blogging platform, and more. Alina is also the LA branch co-founder of Consciousness Hacking, a worldwide community of mindful people who are creating meaningful connections among pioneers in neuroscience, brain research, meditation, IT entrepreneurs, creators, and founders. Her background includes being Co-Founder of Transformational Food, in Moscow; producer and member of the board of directors of War & Peace Media Group; independent producer and writer in LA and Moscow on programs distributed to channels globally; Producer of AirPano.com; and a producer, news editor, and correspondent at TV Center, in Moscow. Alina has joined the ABL-Tech WLA Round Table.

Intellect on: How Pharma Co's are Meeting Current Operational Challenges

In 4 Top Trends for Pharmaceutical Companies & Manufacturers During COVID-19, Intellect reports that, to meet current challenges and to stay ahead, pharma companies are focused on enabling business agility, operational resilience, risk mitigation, and utilizing a remote and distributed workforce. And Intellect shares a recent McKinsey article that contends that these new trends are likely to continue after a COVID-19 recovery. (Romeo Elias, ABL-Tech WLA)

HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY NEWS & TRENDS
COVID NEWS - You May Have Missed
California Governor Announces New COVID-19 Reopening Rules for Businesses, Schools

Recognizing that the coronavirus will be in California for the foreseeable future, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday unveiled a new color-coded reopening system for counties based on coronavirus prevalence and testing rates. Under the new ranking system, which took effect Monday, counties fall into four color-coded categories depending on the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and the percentage of tests that come back positive. The Newsom administration will also consider how well a county is targeting disease fighting resources for its highest risk residents. The color categories - purple, red, orange and yellow - will determine how much of a county's economy can be open. Tiers will be updated every Tuesday. Counties must stay in each tier for at least three weeks before they can move to a less restrictive tier. They will only be eligible to move to a less restrictive tier if their numbers show improvement for at least two weeks. If they fall short of the metrics for their tier for two weeks, they will move to a more restrictive tier. (Read Article: Sacramento Bee, 8/28/20)

California's Case Curve Shrinks Again: 7-Day Case Average Hits New Low

With its data snafu in the rearview mirror, California's case load has now fallen below the recent false low set three weeks ago when hundreds of thousands of tests went unreported, according to an August 25 San Jose Mercury News article. The seven-day average Monday [Aug. 24] fell below 6,000 cases per day for the first time since the start of July and hit its lowest level since July 5, according to data compiled by this news organization. With another 106 deaths reported around the state Monday [Aug. 24], that seven-day average remained about 130 per day, about where it has been since the beginning of August. The case curve initially began a steep decline in the last week of July, prompting public optimism from officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom. But it was later discovered the decline had been partially due to a backlog of some 300,000 tests. MEANWHILE, California has reported about 102,000 test results per day over the past week [as of 8/26], according to the COVID Tracking Project, also its fewest since the beginning of July. The positivity rate (averaged over seven days) also continues to decline, from a peak around 8% in late July to 5.6% Monday [Aug. 24], the lowest rate since June 25. Hospitalizations also continue to plummet even faster than new cases, driven by a steady decline in Southern California. (Read Article: San Jose Mercury News, 8/26/20)

Health Officials Say 30,000 Enrolled in COVID-19 Vaccine Trials So Far; Two Candidates in Phase 3 Trials, with More on the Way

More than 30,000 volunteers have been enrolled in two major COVID-19 vaccine trials in the U.S., officials said recently. "We feel we're absolutely on track, if not a little bit ahead" of the goal of developing a safe, effective vaccine and producing tens of millions of doses by the end of the year, Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at HHS, said during a call with reporters. Moderna and Pfizer aim to enroll a total of 60,000 volunteers for their phase 3 trials. Mango said enrollment is about halfway complete, but did not say how many people are in each trial. AstraZeneca, in partnership with the UK's University of Oxford, has also begun phase 3 trials on its COVID-19 vaccine, with study sites in the U.S. Still, "there are no guarantees in science," Mango noted. It's always possible that the vaccines being tested will not be effective. (Read Article: NBC News, 8/28/20)

Abbott's $5, 15-Minute, Easy-to-Use COVID Antigen Test Gets FDA Emergency Use Authorization

The FDA has issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Abbott's BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card rapid test for detection of COVID-19 infection. Abbott will sell this test for $5. It's highly portable (about the size of a credit card), and provides results in 15 minutes. BinaxNOW uses proven Abbott lateral flow technology, making it a reliable and familiar format for frequent mass testing through their healthcare provider. With no equipment required, the device will be an important tool to manage risk by quickly identifying infectious people so they don't spread the disease to others. HOWEVER, the Federal Government plans to purchase nearly all the tests Abbott will manufacture this year - 150 million tests, as part of a $750 million deal, a White House official confirmed. (Read Article: The Hill, 8/27/20)

MEANWHILE, Abbott will also launch a complementary mobile app for iPhone and Android devices named NAVICA. This first-of-its-kind app, available at no charge, will allow people who test negative to display a temporary digital health pass that is renewed each time a person is tested through their healthcare provider together with the date of the test result. Organizations will be able to view and verify the information on a mobile device to facilitate entry into facilities along with hand-washing, social distancing, enhanced cleaning, and mask-wearing (Read Abbott Release, 8/26/20)

Trump Announces Plasma Treatment Authorized for COVID-19

President Trump recently announced emergency authorization to treat COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma - a move he called "a breakthrough," one of his top health officials called "promising," and other health experts said needs more study before it's celebrated. The authorization makes it easier for some patients to obtain the treatment but is not the same as full FDA approval. The blood plasma, taken from patients who have recovered from the coronavirus and rich in antibodies, may provide benefits to those battling the disease. (Read Article: Modern Healthcare, 8/23/20)

FDA's Authority to Regulate Lab Tests Is Curtailed

The Trump administration is curtailing the FDA's ability to regulate laboratory tests - including those for the new coronavirus - that have been developed by hundreds of hospitals during the current pandemic. In a statement, the Department of HHS, of which the FDA is a part, said it is taking the action as part of a Trump administration review of "duplicative actions and unnecessary policies" standing in the way of patient care. (Read Article: Wall Street Journal, 8/21/20)

CMS Announces New Nursing Home Testing, Reporting, Training Requirements in Light of COVID Pandemic

CMS recently announced two new changes pertaining to nursing homes during the COVID-19 public health emergency. First, CMS published an interim final rule with comment period, which requires nursing home facilities to test all residents and staff for COVID-19 and report patient-specific results to HHS. Second, CMS implemented a national nursing home training program for frontline nursing home staff and nursing home management. (Read Article: King & Spalding Health Headlines, 8/31/20)

OTHER HEALTHCARE NEWS
California's SB 977 Could Stifle Healthcare M&A, Regulatory Experts Say

A proposed California bill, SB 977, would require the attorney general to sign off on any healthcare provider transaction exceeding $1 million would likely stifle mergers and acquisitions, regulatory experts said. The legislation would give California Attorney General Xavier Becerra – who would have 60 days to review a deal involving providers, private-equity firms and/or hedge funds – an "unprecedented expansion of authority," since the $1 million threshold would encompass most healthcare transactions. (Read Article: Modern Healthcare, 8/20/20)

California Poised to Become Leader on Mental Health Coverage

Californians could see the most dramatic expansion of mental health and addiction coverage under state law in decades, if Gov. Gavin Newsom signs a bill that was recently approved by the State legislature. The bill - SB 855 by Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco - would significantly expand what treatments are considered medically necessary for health insurance coverage. Current state law requires health plans to cover medically necessary treatment of just nine serious mental illnesses; the new law would expand that coverage to include a much broader array of mental health issues, notably substance use disorder and addiction, among others. (Read Article: CalMatters, 8/27/20, updated 8/31/20)

Amazon Rolls Out 'Halo' Wellness Tracker That It Says Can Also Sense Moods

Amazon.com Inc. has rolled out Amazon Halo, a health and wellness tracker that the company said also tracks its users' emotions, in its latest foray into wearable products. The wristband and app track body-fat percentage, heart rate and its users' activity and sleep, among other features. The e-commerce giant said the Halo app could monitor its users' social and emotional well-being under the "Tone" feature by analyzing voice, offering insights into their "energy and positivity." Users would also be able to consult the app for workouts and healthy habits. (Read Article: Wall Street Journal, 8/27/20)

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