ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * December 1, 2020
    To ensure the safety of our Members, these upcoming invitation-only events will be held via ZOOM. See your Round Table invitation for participation instructions, and the ABL.org Members Only website for all the Healthcare Round Table invitation specifics. (If you haven't already received an invitation to a ZOOM Table you would like to attend, please email mimi@abl.org for details.)

  • 12/02 - ABL-Health Joint OC & LA Zoom Table: Using Co-branding to Leverage Your Brand (featuring Chris De Rosa, President, National Accounts, Cigna)
  • 12/09 - ABL's "23rd Innovations in Healthcare - COVID Edition": Featuring 5 "Innovator in Healthcare" Awardees (ABL Providers who quickly adapted to the "COVID world" with new approaches and technologies for patients, and Technologists whose B2B-focused COVID solutions enable labs to process results faster, and employers to reopen their offices more safely)
  • Explore Membership in ABL's Executive Round Tables >>>
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A little Holiday Cheer
with the punny side of 2020

                     Blog by Mimi Grant

As this never-to-be-forgotten year draws to a close, with 51 of California's 58 counties in the Purple Tier, most of us could use a little Holiday cheer. Besides, "recent studies have found that a good laugh can boost our dopamine levels and even shore up our immune systems," as Emily Kelleher writes on Fatherly.com, where she included several of the jokes below.

Fortunately, in addition to Emily's, the internet is full of humor, so here are some we hope will put a smile on your face, and some joy in your heart. And, please send us one or two of your favorites from the "pundemic," that we can share at next week's Innovations in Healthcare Awards Event!

  • I never thought the comment "I wouldn't touch them with a six-foot pole" would become a national policy, but here we are!

  • My husband purchased a world map and then gave me a dart and said, "Throw this and wherever it lands - that's where I'm taking you when this pandemic ends." Turns out, we're spending two weeks behind the fridge.

  • CLICK HERE to read the rest of the humor and to share your "punnies" & comments on Mimi's LinkedIn

    Click on Headlines to Read Articles
    AiCare Reports Encouraging Clinical Trial Results

    AiCare recently shared on LinkedIn that the "result from our discharged patient clinical trial is very encouraging with a specificity of 82%+ in predicting a patient's deteriorating condition after the discharge. With further fine-tuning to our AI/ML engine and algorithm, we're targeting to improve the accuracy of our early prediction warning with the next set of patients." AiCare provides intelligent home care to monitor the physical activities of the patients who are discharged from hospitals, suffer from chronic disease, or those who need special care. (Sean Tan, SV)

    Alegre Home Care Provides Community-Specific Information

    In Why We're Your Neighborhood Home Care Agency, Alegre Home Care shares that it has recently created landing pages for each of the eight Northern California communities it serves (Oakland, San Francisco, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, San Jose, San Mateo, Stockton, and Modesto), which provide information specific to each area along with services Alegre offers. (Charles Symes, OAK)

    Alinea Medical Imaging CEO Discusses Practice-Changing Software

    Monish Laxpati, MD, of Alinea Medical Imaging, a Rezolut partner, is featured in this short video where he talks about how implementing Ikonopedia software has made a difference for him, his mobile and in-office mammography and ultrasound practice, and patients. (Monish Laxpati, MD, OC)

    Alvaka Networks' Recent Marketing Event & Cybersecurity Podcast Available On-Demand

    Watch an on-demand replay of Alvaka Networks' recent virtual event - Effective Marketing & Selling in a Remote World - which features professionals discussing their experiences in the transition to remote working, and what tools and strategies they have found to be successful and unsuccessful. And, Alvaka participated in a recent podcast - Steps to Minimize Ransomware Risk. (Oli Thordarson, OC)

    Anthem Blue Cross Welcomes Providence SoCal & Supports LAUSD's Food-Relief Efforts

    Anthem Blue Cross announced Providence Southern California agreed to join Anthem's Vivity Health Plan as a joint-venture partner. The addition of Providence marks Vivity's first expansion since it launched in 2015, bolstering the plan's provider network offerings and collaboration in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Meanwhile, Anthem Blue Cross Foundation recently donated $100,000 to LA Students Most In Need, to support LAUSD's food-relief efforts, which provides 73+ million meals to students and families. (David Pryor, MD, LA)

    Axene Health Partners Shares ACA Consumer Value State Rankings

    In 2nd Annual ACA Consumer Value State Rankings, an Axene Health Partners actuary has developed a ranking system for analyzing consumer value in ACA markets across all 50 states in order to discover meaningful differences that would highlight success stories that could be emulated. And, in An Actuary's Role in Healthcare Mergers & Acquisitions, Axene explains that an active M&A environment could lead to unidentified risks or opportunities if due diligence is limited to a traditional approach and ignores the complications associated with risk-bearing entities. Actuarial involvement is an effective way to optimize the value of a transaction and effectively mitigate liabilities post-close. (John Price, SF)

    Bayer Deepens Commitments to Self-Care & Digital Health

    Bayer has completed its investment in Care/of, giving it a majority ownership in the privately owned, personalized direct-to-consumer nutrition company, bolstering Bayer's digital capabilities in the key market of personalized supplements. And, Bayer recently launched its first Global Creative Council, bringing together senior leaders from a variety of companies, collaborating on Bayer's goal of making self-care available and accessible to billions of people globally. Meanwhile, Bayer announced it will support five new startup companies as part of its G4A Digital Health Partnerships Program, focused on integrated healthcare solutions in the fields of cardiometabolic and renal diseases, oncology, and women's health. (Rama Penta, SV)

    Behavioral Solutions Spotlighted on Nelson Hardiman's Podcast + NH Among Best Law Firms in America

    Listen to a recent episode of the Nelson Hardiman (NH) podcast - A View from Legal Street, Help Us Help You Get Paid, Episode 8: Documentation & Medical Necessity - featuring Christina Khouie, Founder of Behavioral Solutions, LLC, discussing what is medical necessity and the importance of documenting it. Meanwhile, NH's Harry Nelson was interviewed on Spectrum News 1 about the Supreme Court hearing on the California v. Texas ACA case. And, NH was awarded a Tier 1 ranking in Health Care Law and Administrative/Regulatory Law by the U.S. News & World Report "2021 Best Law Firms in America." (Christina Khouie, LA, & Harry Nelson, JD, LA)

    Biospectal's Breakthrough Blood Pressure Reader Featured in Forbes

    The recent Forbes article - This Startup Wants You to Change How You Measure Blood Pressure - spotlights Biospectal's introduction of its non-invasive cuffless blood pressure solution, Biospectal OptiBP. CEO Eliott Jones says their optical software utilizes the smartphone camera to "see" through the fingertip placed on the lens by optically recording the blood flowing through vessels beneath the skin. Biospectal uses rapid image sequences captured by the camera on the smartphone with their algorithm that generates the patient's "pulse wave" and analyzes this wave's shape to generate systolic and diastolic blood pressure values. (Eliott Jones, SV)

    ChromoLogic & Covisus Earn Industry Honors

    ChromoLogic recently got its groundbreaking research in rapid malaria screening, which is funded by the NIH, accepted as a late-breaking poster at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene annual conference. And, Covisus has been named a Finalist in the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences 2020 Maintenance Innovation Challenge, for its vTag - Tagless Item Level Traceability. A winner will be chosen on December 7. (Naresh Menon, LA)

    Cigna Tops Rankings for Corporate Sustainability Leadership & Citizenship

    The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices has ranked Cigna first in the Healthcare Providers and Services Industry for the second consecutive year. This also marks the fourth straight year that Cigna has been named to the indices, which includes the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index. And, Cigna is second among healthcare companies in the latest Forbes Just 100, published annually by Forbes and JUST Capital, reflecting the performance of America's largest publicly traded companies on the issues that matter most in defining just business behavior today. (Chris De Rosa, OC)

    El Camino First in State to be Recognized for Excellence with Transcatheter Valve Certification

    El Camino Health has been recognized with the Transcatheter Valve Certification from the American College of Cardiology, acknowledging its exceptional program, physician leadership, quality patient outcomes, and team-based care. El Camino is the first healthcare organization in California to receive this certification, which is an external review that identifies hospitals that are currently implementing best practices and clinical excellence in transcatheter valve procedures. (Cecile Currier, SV)

    Elemeno Health Partners with Alameda County Care Connect to Help Homeless

    Elemeno Health has partnered with Alameda County Care Connect's Whole Person Care program to help community health workers assess the health and housing needs of their homeless clients and help connect those clients with area organizations that provide help. With Elemeno's cloud-based platform (available via mobile and desktop), community workers can instantly deliver information about housing, social, behavioral, and substance abuse services. Information is updated regularly and is accessible to all frontline team members. (Arup Roy-Burman, MD, OAK)

    Kaiser Permanente Develops Tools to Successfully Identify At-Risk Patients

    A sophisticated system that analyzes electronic data about hospital patients, identifies those at risk of deteriorating, and issues an alert to a centralized team of specially trained nurses, resulted in a lower mortality rate, Kaiser Permanente (KP) researchers found. The evaluation of the Advance Alert Monitor, used in 21 KP Northern California hospitals, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. And, another assessment tool developed by KP helps ensure COVID-19 patients get the right care, when they need it, by accurately predicting the probability that these patients will experience severe disease or even death, according to a study published in the November American Journal of Emergency Medicine. The tool, called the COVAS score because it looks at comorbidities, obesity, vital signs, age, and sex, has already been incorporated into the EHR system throughout KP in Southern California. (Marcos Vasconcelos, OAK)

    King & Spalding Earns Top Rankings in U.S. News "Best Law Firms" Guide

    U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers has ranked multiple King & Spalding practices across the U.S. in its 2021 "Best Law Firms" edition, including Tier 1 designations in 21 practice areas, including Health Care Law and FDA Law nationally, as well as 119 regional rankings, including Tier 1 in Los Angeles and Sacramento in Health Care Law. Meanwhile, on December 9, K&S will present a webinar - COVID-19's Impact on the Senior Care Industry: A Discussion on Crisis Management in the Face of Litigation and Enforcement Activity - at 10:30 a.m. Pacific. (Marcia Augsburger, JD, SF & Travis Jackson, JD)

    Mazzetti's Walt Vernon Co-Authors "2030: Next Steps to Healthcare Climate Leadership"

    Mazzetti CEO Walt Vernon; Institute for Healthcare Improvement Senior Fellow Don Berwick; and Kaiser Permanente VP, Assistant Treasurer Eric Berzon recently co-authored a paper - 2030: Next Steps to Healthcare Climate Leadership - the result of a grant from the National Academy of Medicine and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. NAM and Burroughs have partnered to provide opportunity grants to interdisciplinary teams across the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to explore promising ideas at the intersection of climate change and human health - recognizing that "climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century." (Walt Vernon, JD, SF)

    OneLegacy & Donate Life Announce Participation in 2021 Tournament of Roses TV Special

    The Donate Life community will participate in the Tournament of Roses 2021 TV special, "The Rose Parade's New Year Celebration," with a floral sculpture that honors donors and donation healthcare professionals. It will also be available to view at the Tournament House in Pasadena on New Year's Day. Tom Mone, CEO of OneLegacy, is chairman of the Donate Life Rose Parade float committee. Meanwhile, the OneLegacy Foundation has joined Ava's Heart in supporting "It's Just ONE" campaign, which is asking people to donate $1 per month to help provide housing, transportation, and other services that are required of patients both pre- and post-transplant. (Tom Mone, LA)

    PreludeDx Partners with America's Choice Provider Network

    Prelude Corporation (PreludeDx) has signed an agreement to become a provider in the America's Choice Provider Network (ACPN), whereby 30+ million ACPN members from across the U.S. will have access and coverage for PreludeDx's DCISionRT, the only DCIS Radio-Genomic test that offers personalized recurrence risk and radiation therapy treatment benefit for patients with ductal carcinoma in situ. PreludeDx CEO Dan Forche said: "DCISionRT combines the latest innovations in molecular biology with artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver the most advanced DCIS test available. For the first time, ACPN patients and their physicians will have personalized information to guide decisions about whether surgery alone or surgery with radiation therapy is appropriate." (Dan Forche, OC)

    Satellite Healthcare Debuts Fun, Inspiring Videos on Mask-Wearing & Dialysis

    Satellite Healthcare has published a fun, short music video: Wear Your Mask! Let's Get Serious, as well as an "inspiring video reminder created for nephrology professionals everywhere," This Isn't About Dialysis. (Jim Glafkides, SV)

    Servicon Details How Engaged EVS Can Raise Hospital Throughput

    In How Engaged EVS Can Raise Hospital Throughput, Servicon's Stacey Wong, who recently earned Registered Environmental Services Executive Certification, shares that HCAHPS scores account for 25% of a hospital's total performance score, while hospital revenues rely on discharging patients as soon as health allows. Balancing these drivers requires efficient throughput; however, while it seems scrutiny is given to expediting processes such as admissions, discharges, and even outpatient vs. inpatient surgeries, too often the role of an engaged EVS team is overlooked. Yet, EVS is the first line of defense against healthcare acquired infections, which, studies show, can extend a patient's stay from 15.7 to 23+ days. (Stacey Wong, LA)

    SimpleTherapy Included in Vitality Gateway Flex

    Vitality Group, a global health and wellness company, has unveiled Vitality Gateway Flex, which offers relevant choices to meet specific needs. Vitality Gateway Flex integrates strategic partners - including SimpleTherapy, which offers head-to-toe exercise therapy programs - across the broader health environment to connect employees to the right resources at the right time to improve their health. Employers select a list of partners from a carefully vetted range of industry-leading providers, that will be most impactful in meeting their employees' diverse health needs. Employees then select the services they need based on personalized recommendations and can use employer-allocated and/or opt to pay using their own funds at a preferred rate. (Arpit Khemka, SV)

    VivaLNK Launches Turnkey Service to Capture Ambulatory Continuous Vital Signs for RPM

    VivaLNK has unveiled the newest addition to its medical wearable platform, the Vitals Data Service, designed for clinical trials and healthcare applications in remote or clinical settings. It includes VivaLNK's line of FDA-cleared ambulatory medical wearable sensors, a customizable remote patient monitoring app, and cloud and data concierge services for consolidated data access in customizable data formats. It's designed for continuous data capture in remote locations even in the event of intermittent network disconnections common in ambulatory situations. And, VivaLNK has extended its Ambulatory Medical Wearable Data Platform to include an ambulatory SpO2 oxygen saturation sensor, able to perform continuous data capture even during sleep. Meanwhile, VivaLNK and AMPs, a leader in the production of software tools for electrocardiogram, have partnered to advance remote patient monitoring for clinical trials. They most recently partnered for a 10-year, 3,000-subject UCSF clinical trial aiming to detect biomarkers of early atrial transformation on atrial fibrillation. (Jiang Li, Ph.D., SV)

    Wipfli Webinar to Address Attributes that Help Healthcare Leaders Succeed

    On December 15, Wipfli will present a Wipfli Healthcare Connections webinar, that will include presentations and Q&A - Leading during challenging times - Attributes to help healthcare leaders succeed. (Jeff Johnson, OAK, & Steve Rousso)

    The Joy Factory Launches New Healthcare Mobile Tablet Cart Line

    The Joy Factory has debuted AgileGo, a new line of mobile tablet carts in support of the healthcare industry, specifically designed for nurses, doctors, and clinicians to address increasing demands for telehealth, patient engagement, and patient interpretation. The rolling carts act as a solution for healthcare workers to provide transcription services, telepresence, entertainment, social connectivity, remote patient monitoring, and more. (Sampson Yang, ABL-Tech OC, & Miranda Su, ABL-Tech SGV)

    Scientist John Tanner Writes How We Blew "Surviving COVID"

    John Tanner, Ph.D., CEO of Tanner Research and NuSci, shares his blog post, 'Surviving COVID.' "We blew it. Collectively we could have acted to eliminate or at least control the infection rates and deaths due to COVID-19. In L.A. County, where I live, in June 2020, the number of new infections per day was 1,000. By July it had surged to over 3,000 per day. But it was a little hard to know what those numbers meant to each of us, so it prompted me to estimate the percentage of the people in the county that were actively infectious. You can read about that estimation process here... So, surging from 1,000 to 3,000 new cases per day corresponds to going from 1% of the population actively infectious to 3%. ... As of Nov. 21, 2020 the number of new cases per day has ..." [Continue reading at John's NuSci.org] (John Tanner, Ph.D., ABL-Tech SGV)

    CMS Expands Flexibilities Under Hospital Without Walls Initiative

    Last week, CMS announced additional flexibilities that expand its Hospital Without Walls initiative, which provides broad regulatory flexibility that allows hospitals to safe hospital care for eligible patients in their homes, updated staffing flexibility for ambulatory surgical centers, and expanded Medicare telehealth coverage. These actions allow healthcare services to be provided outside a hospital setting while maintaining the capacity to continue critical non-COVID-19 care. (https://kslawemail.com/128/7348/pages/art2.asp?sid=e56181f5-1528-4672-be07-fdf4e93b8e62)

    Medicare Part B "Most Favored Nation" Drug Pricing Reform Regs Announced

    On November 20, President Trump announced a series of major drug pricing regulations. This King & Spalding Alert summarizes the Most Favored Nation Model for Medicare Part B Payment to be implemented by the CMS Innovation Center. (King & Spalding Client Alert, 11/23/20)

    7 Trump Healthcare Measures that Biden Will Likely Overturn

    President-elect Joe Biden is expected undo many of the Trump administration's sweeping changes that affected the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, abortion, and transgender rights, in many cases reversing the efforts of the Obama administration. Most of the measures were done through Executive Orders and Regulation since it was tough to get any bills through Congress, particularly after the Democrats took control of the House after the 2018 midterm elections. In summary, here are seven Trump healthcare measures the incoming Biden administration is expected to reverse: work requirements; short-term health plans; ACA funding cuts; Title X abortion referral restriction; Mexico City Policy; Planned Parenthood funding; and LGBTQ regulations. (https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/15/politics/biden-overturn-trump-health-care-policies/index.html)

    Biden Adding 3 New Members to COVID-19 Task Force

    President-elect Joe Biden announced Saturday he is adding three new members to his transition team's coronavirus task force as the incoming administration focuses on preparation to tackle the pandemic. The transition said that Jane Hopkins, RN, Jill Jim, PhD, and David Michaels, PhD, are joining the 16-member team, which is co-chaired by David Kessler, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and Marcella Nunez-Smith. (https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/527832-https-covidtrackingcom-data)

    Moderna to File for Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 Vaccine

    Moderna filed for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate with the FDA Nov. 30. The vaccine was 94.1% effective against COVID-19 in a phase 3 clinical trial and 100% effective against severe cases of COVID-19. The trial included 30,000 participants; 196 contracted COVID-19, 30 of whom had severe cases. The vaccine's efficacy was consistent across age, race, and ethnicity and gender demographics, Moderna said. The drugmaker said the FDA's advisory committee on vaccines will likely meet Dec. 17 to assess the vaccine's safety and efficacy data. The company expects to have 20 million doses of its vaccine available this year and 500 million to 1 billion doses ready in 2021. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/pharmacy/moderna-to-file-for-emergency-use-authorization-for-covid-19-vaccine.html)
    MEANWHILE, FAA Confirms First "Mass Air Shipment" of Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine as U.S. Preps for Distribution Charter flights bringing Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to the U.S. from Belgium began on Friday, the start of what the FAA calls the first "mass air shipment" of a coronavirus vaccine. There are no authorized coronavirus vaccines in the U.S. yet, but preparations for distribution are ramping up. Under FDA rules, vaccine cannot be shipped to actual administration sites until it was been either licensed or authorized by FDA. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is anticipated to be authorized by the FDA by mid-December. While it can't be delivered to doctors, vaccine can be pre-positioned at distribution sites to allow for quicker delivery once it is authorized, which is what began on Friday. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/11/29/pfizer-covid-vaccine-faa-belgium-air-shipment/6445339002/)

    SO, Who Can Be First in Line for the COVID Vaccine?
    The HHS Secretary Says Governors Will Determine Who Gets COVID Vaccine Priority

    On TV Monday, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said, if approved, vaccines could be available in the U.S. before Christmas, and that it would be governors who decide which segments of the population would be first in line to receive them. Azar said that, after Pfizer applied for its EUA, the FDA announced an advisory committee meeting for December 10. "If everything is on track, everything proves out what it appears to be, we could be looking at approval within days after that," he said. "Moderna is basically one week behind that. And General Perna [the COO of Operation Warp Speed] said that we'll ship within 24 hours of FDA authorization." (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-19-vaccine-priority-distribution-governors-determine/)
    MEANWHILE, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Will Vote on COVID-19 Vaccine Priority A panel of U.S. advisers will meet Tuesday to vote on how scarce, initial supplies of a COVID-19 vaccine will be given out once one has been approved. Experts have proposed giving the vaccine to health workers first. High priority also may be given to workers in essential industries, people with certain medical conditions and people age 65 and older. Tuesday's meeting is for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The panel of experts recommends who to vaccinate and when - advice that the government almost always follows. (https://apnews.com/article/us-news-immunizations-coronavirus-pandemic-8362102972fa486259b27b3f188c0a73)
    AND, If There Aren't Enough Vaccines for All Healthcare Workers in California, Which Providers Will Get It First? When California receives its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines in early December, experts agree healthcare workers will be the first to get it. But while the state's medical workforce includes 2.4 million people, officials say the first vaccine shipment is expected to contain just 1 or 2 million doses - forcing the state to "sub-prioritize." So who moves to the front of the line: a 65-year-old ER nurse or a 30-year-old SNF aide? The state is applying these principles to deciding which healthcare workers should be prioritized over others: chance of getting it, chance of a bad outcome, societal impact of getting it - and adding three additional criteria to the consideration: the type of healthcare facility, the location of the facility, and the characteristics of the people who work there. (https://www.kqed.org/news/11848963/if-there-arent-enough-vaccines-for-all-health-care-workers-in-california-which-doctors-nurses-or-aides-will-get-it-first)

    Many Adults Say They'll Wait to Get COVID Vaccines, Poll Finds

    According to the National Poll on Healthy Aging from the University of Michigan, 58% of adults between the ages of 50 and 80 years old said they were somewhat or very likely to get the vaccine if it became available at no cost to them. At least 20% of respondents said they'd want to get the vaccine right away while another 20% were unsure about getting it at all, and 14% did not want to get it. Meanwhile 46% of the respondents said they'd rather wait for others to get vaccinated first before doing it themselves. In making the decision, older adults rated the following as very important: how well it works (80%), their own research (56%), and if it was recommended by their doctor (52%), public health officials (42%), or family and friends (13%). Cost was rated as very important by 30% of older adults. (https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/hospitals-health-systems/updated-coronavirus-tracker-blue-cross-nc-waives-ma-copays-for-primary) AND, the Boston Globe reports that "There's a Big Obstacle Looming for Coronavirus Vaccines - A Strong Antivaccine Movement," what doctors call a growing ecosystem of health misinformation that has only ramped up amid the pandemic.

    Should Isolation Periods Be Shorter for People with Covid-19?

    COVID patients tend to be at their most infectious for about seven days - two days before they first show symptoms and five days after - according to a new analysis. The CDC has recommended that infected people isolate themselves for at least 10 days, but is now considering shortening that period. (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/29/health/should-covid-19-isolation-periods-be-shorter.html)

    Immunity to COVID-19 May Last Years, New Data Hints

    How long might immunity to the coronavirus last? Years, maybe even decades, according to a new study from the La Jolla Institute of Immunology. Eight months after infection, most people who have recovered still have enough immune cells to fend off the virus and prevent illness, the new data show. A slow rate of decline in the short term suggests, happily, that these cells may persist in the body for a very, very long time to come. The findings are consistent with encouraging evidence emerging from other labs. A study published recently also found that people who have recovered from Covid-19 have powerful and protective killer immune cells even when antibodies are not detectable. These studies "are all by and large painting the same picture, which is that once you get past those first few critical weeks, the rest of the response looks pretty conventional," said Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona. (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/health/coronavirus-immunity.html)
    HOWEVER, A CDC Study Found Antibody Levels Declined After 2 Months COVID-19 antibody levels declined within two months in 156 front-line healthcare workers involved in a CDC study published Nov. 27. Overall, 194 participants had detectable antibodies at the beginning of the study. Among the 156 employees who repeated testing, 93.6% saw antibody levels decline within 60 days. 28% of healthcare workers saw antibody levels drop to below the threshold for positivity. The CDC added that the study didn't assess whether the antibody declines resulted in a loss of protective immunity. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/public-health/antibody-levels-decline-after-2-months-cdc-finds.html)

    FDA Authorizes First At-Home Coronavirus Test

    The FDA recently gave an emergency green light to the first rapid coronavirus test that can run from start to finish at home. With a relatively simple nasal swab, the test can return results in about half an hour, and is projected by the company to cost $50 or less. The test, developed by the Emeryville-based company Lucira Health, requires a prescription from a healthcare provider. Clinicians can also run the test on their patients, potentially delivering answers during a single visit to a care center or pharmacy, instead of routing a sample through a lab. Lab tests that look for the coronavirus's genetic material using a technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are still considered the gold standard for detecting the virus. But the new at-home test relies on similar principles by using a method called a loop mediated amplification reaction (LAMP). (https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/11/18/world/covid-19-coronavirus#the-fda-authorizes-the-first-at-home-coronavirus-test)
    MEANWHILE, A UCSF Study, Using the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID Test, Reports Results in Minutes A small study by San Francisco found that a new, rapid antigen test performed almost as well as PCR tests, at detecting positives among people who had high levels of the virus and were thus likely infectious. And the results come back to users much quicker, which could improve the coronavirus testing landscape. (https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/S-F-study-could-bring-U-S-closer-to-fast-15745741.php)

    New York Reopens Elementary Schools; Baltimore Schools Suffer Cyberattack

    New York City will reopen elementary schools, a sign that city officials believe schools are not a major source of new COVID-19 cases. MEANWHILE, a cyberattack forced Baltimore public schools to cancel remote classes for its 115,000 students last week. Classes will remain closed Monday and Tuesday. (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/30/nyregion/elementary-schools-reopening-covid-nyc.html)

    Have a Nice Flight Without COVID-19

    If you have to fly, here are some tips to keep you from bringing COVID-19 home with you: https://onemedical.com/fly/

    Alameda Health CEO Resigns

    Trustees for Oakland, Calif.-based Alameda Health System accepted a resignation letter from system CEO Delvecchio Finley at a board meeting Nov. 24, but did not indicate whether the resignation was expected or requested. The resignation came about a month after the Alameda County board of supervisors fired five members of the board of trustees who oversee the health system. Mr. Finley resigned after serving in this role for more than five years. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-executive-moves/alameda-health-ceo-resigns.html)

    32 Hospitals Have Filed for Bankruptcy This Year

    At least 32 hospitals across the U.S. have filed for bankruptcy this year, and the financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may force more hospitals to enter bankruptcy in coming months. Lower patient volumes, canceled elective procedures, and higher expenses have created a cash crunch for hospitals, many of which were already operating on thin margins. U.S. hospitals are estimated to lose more than $323 billion this year, according to a report from the American Hospital Association. Most of the hospitals that have filed for bankruptcy this year are operating as normal throughout the bankruptcy process. At least two however have shut down. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/32-hospitals-have-filed-for-bankruptcy-this-year.html)

    M Health Fairview Closes 137-yo St. Paul Hospital, to Become Homeless Shelter

    Minneapolis-based M Health Fairview has officially closed the 137-year-old Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, MN. The hospital will be converted into a homeless shelter in December. The long-term care hospital was converted into a COVID-19 facility for M Heath Fairview in March. But the health system moved the last patient Nov. 5 from its 90-bed COVID unit to St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul and shut the facility Nov. 13, according to a spokesperson. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/m-health-fairview-closes-137-year-old-st-paul-hospital-to-become-homeless-shelter.html)

    Genentech Wins Approval for Massive Headquarters Expansion in South SF

    The South San Francisco city council recently approved Genentech's massive expansion plan to nearly double its headquarters campus by adding up to 4.3 million square feet over 15 years. The long-term plan, one of the Bay Area's largest real estate projects, is a sign that the biotech industry remains a growth area for a regional economy battered by the coronavirus. (https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Genentech-wins-approval-for-massive-headquarters-15752559.php)

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