ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * June 7, 2022

>>> Myra Santos is President and COO of CVHCare, a leading home healthcare agency in northern California since 2005. CVHCare provides a continuum of services and support at any stage of illness or recovery, such as skilled nursing after hospital discharge, physical therapy to restore mobility, and/or assistance with activities of daily living. Joint Commission-accredited, CMS-certified, and a Department of Public Health-licensed healthcare organization, CVHCare is devoted to building, maintaining, improving, and implementing healthcare programs geared toward keeping seniors in control of their health and independence. Its programs, when appropriate, are far less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as the care one gets in a hospital or SNF. Myra has been in her current position since late 2012, and her earlier roles at CVHCare include Chief Compliance Officer; Director of Nursing; Nursing Supervisor; Case Manager; and Home Health Visiting RN. Prior to joining CVHCare in 2007, Myra worked in nursing, including as an ICU Nurse and Critical Care Nurse, for hospitals that included Kaiser Permanente Medical Hospital in Hayward; St. Rose Hospital; St. Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta, GA; Emory Medical Center in Atlanta; Henry Medical Center in Georgia; and in the Philippines: San Pedro Hospital; Merck Sharpe & Dome, and NCCC Clinic. Referred to ABL by Mark Parinas of CVHCare and Curaesoft, Myra has joined the Bay Area Round Table.

  • 6/01 - Orange County ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: "REACHing to New Heights When CMS Changes the Rules" - Featured Member Presenter: Kim Phan, Founder and CEO of CareConnectMD

  • 6/08 - Bay Area (SF) ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: "Beyond Money: Building a Thriving Health Workforce" - Featured Member Presenter: Myra Santos, President & COO of CVHCare

  • 6/14 - Silicon Valley ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: "What's Ahead for Telehealth?" - Featured Member Presenter: Jack Higgins, MD, President and Chief Medical Officer of the Global Telehealth Network

  • 6/16 - Bay Area (OAK) ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: "Tools to Minimize Health Worker Burnout" - Featured Member Presenter: Arup Roy-Burman, MD, Co-Founder and CEO of Elemeno Health

  • 6/17 - Los Angeles ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: "Lessons Learned from Leading Multiple Businesses" - Featured Member Presenter: Nick Focil, CEO of FOMAT Medical Research & Chairman/Co-Founder of Febo

  • Explore Membership in ABL's Executive Round Tables >>>
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Change Healthcare Teams with Luma Health + Provides e-Book & Webinar

Luma Health, a digital health company, has announced a strategic partnership with Change Healthcare, in which the two companies will develop solutions to meet health systems' demand for streamlined and unified clinical, operational, and financial journeys.
MEANWHILE, Change Healthcare has published its 2022 Medicare Advantage e-Book, to help payers learn how to take advantage of the growth opportunities as Medicare Advantage enrollment increases.
AND, watch this on-demand webinar from Change Healthcare: Improve Health Equity with Streamlined Risk, Quality, and Value-Based Care Data. (Marcia Augsburger, JD, Bay Area)

Choice in Aging Discusses County Health Services, Master Plan for Aging & More

Recent episodes of Choice in Aging's "Dishing with Debbie" video series include:
>> Guest Anna M. Roth, Director of Contra Costa Health Services, a renowned leader in system redesign and innovation and a strong advocate for the inclusion of patients, families and the community as full partners in the delivery of health services.
>> Guest Amanda Lawrence, Project Director for the #MasterPlanforAging at the California Department of Aging, who previously served as strategist and program consultant on several projects at the California Department of Public Health, including the launch of the Department's Healthy Aging Initiative.
>> Guest Kiku Johnson, Executive Director & Trainer at Rainbow Community Center Of Contra Costa County, who has 30+ years of experience with youth development and responsive community program design, outreach, implementation, impact, evaluation, and advocacy through a social justice lens. (Debbie Toth, Bay Area)

Cigna Launches Provider Consult Service to Drive Better Outcomes for Cancer Patients

Cigna Corporation announced a new service to improve health outcomes for patients with complex cancers. The service, powered by Cigna's health services business Evernorth, connects patients and their community oncologists with cancer subspecialty experts at National Cancer Institute-designated centers. By connecting community oncologists with national subspecialty experts, patients benefit from the latest developments in the rapidly advancing fields of diagnostic innovations and evidence-based research, all while keeping the patient's care close to home and family. (Chris De Rosa, OC)

El Camino Health Earns 'A' in Spring 2022 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Program + Featured in HealthcareIT News

El Camino Health's Mountain View campus earned an 'A' in the spring 2022 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade program, marking the fourth consecutive time the hospital has earned top marks for safety. Leapfrog measures publicly available safety data to grade more than 2,600 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year with A, B, C, D or F ratings based on their performance to prevent errors, injuries, accidents and infections. The Mountain View campus has earned an 'A' rating since fall 2020.
MEANWHILE, El Camino Hospital in Mountain View is spotlighted in a June 6 article in Healthcare IT News: "For El Camino Hospital, the pandemic was a springboard into broad virtual care; The organization now does everything from tele-stroke diagnoses to virtual urgent care to lactation assistance via telehealth." (Cecile Currier, SV)

Elemeno Health Closes $7 Million Equity Financing

Elemeno Health announced the closing of a Series A financing. The $7 million round was led by SJF Ventures and joined by new investor SustainVC and several existing investors. Designed by former nurses for nurses, Elemeno provides clinicians with a unique "playbook in your pocket" for enhancing patient care and executing day-to-day tasks efficiently. The microlearning solutions powered by Elemeno feature content that is accessible, digestible, and customized to each hospital department's preferences. (Arup Roy-Burman, MD, Bay Area)

FOMAT / Febo's Nick Focil Named to UCR's "40 Under 40" Honorees

Nick Focil, CEO of FOMAT Medical Research and Co-Founder and Chair of Febo, has been named to the University of California, Riverside's "40 Under 40 - Celebrating UCR's Young Alumni Making a Splash Across Industries and Around The World." As part of this honor, Nick is featured in an article in UC Riverside News: Jumpstart to Health - Healthcare CEO Nicholas Focil wants patients to have more knowledge of and agency over their health.
MEANWHILE, Nick shared on LinkedIn that Febo's Health Toolbox app recently hit 20,000 downloads. (Nick Focil, LA)

HHS Announces Funding Opportunities Via SAMHSA & Extends American Rescue Plan Spending Deadline

Recent news from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) includes:
>> Funding opportunity of nearly $15 million for a three-year federal grant to establish a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration program that will strengthen the delivery of behavioral health care to residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
>> HHS's first-ever behavioral health Recovery Innovation Challenge - to identify innovations developed by peer-run or community-based organizations, and entities that may partner with them, that advance recovery.
>> $2 million in funding to establish a national center of excellence on social media and mental wellness - to develop and disseminate information, guidance, and training on the impact that social media use has on children and youth.
>> States will have an additional year to use American Rescue Plan funds to strengthen the home care workforce and expand access to services. (Bonnie Preston, Bay Area)

Illumination Foundation Participates in Innovative New LifeArk Housing & Services; CEO Spotlighted in Podcast

Illumination Foundation (IF) recently participated in the opening of the first LifeArk location in El Monte, CA - the first fully certified and approved plastic housing in the world and a life-saving housing innovation serving those who have been displaced by homelessness, emergency, or climate disaster. IF will be the main service provider for this housing by providing intensive case management, counseling, and medical care.
MEANWHILE, Paul Leon, CEO of IF, was interviewed in a recent "How Can I Help?" podcast episode, AND Paul published an article - How can the United States reverse decades of health inequality? (Paul Leon, OC)

Kaiser Permanente Honored for Medication Safety & for Diversity

For the 12th year in a row, Kaiser Permanente (KP) has earned the Pharmacy Quality Alliance's Laura Cranston Excellence in Quality Award for high achievement in medication safety and appropriate use. The award goes to Medicare Advantage drug plans with at least a 4.5-star Part D summary rating and a 5-star rating on all 5 PQA medication measures used within the CMS Star Ratings Program.
AND, KP has been named to the DiversityInc Top 50 Hall of Fame for the fifth year in a row, recognizing its focus on diversity and inclusion in hiring, retaining, and promoting women, people of color, veterans, people with disabilities, and people in the LGBTQ community. (Marcos Vasconcelos, Bay Area)

LigoLab Reports on Billing & Coding Automation & Direct-to-Consumer Lab Testing

In How Billing and Coding Automation Increases Laboratory Revenue, LigoLab discusses costly lab billing denials, how they're triggered, and how to harness the power of rules and automation - the key to quality and scalability.
ALSO, LigoLab and CEO Suren Avunjian are spotlighted in a recent Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry article - Why You Should Embrace Direct-to-Consumer Lab Testing, which shares that one of the many advantages for patients in opting for direct-to-consumer lab testing is that it typically costs less in terms of time and money spent than when going through a health insurance company. Also, these types of tests enable patients to access their test results directly, enabling individuals to take a more active role in the management of their healthcare. (Suren Avunjian, LA)

Mazzetti Plays Role in New UW Behavioral Health Teaching Facility

Construction is under way for the University of Washington Behavioral Health Teaching Facility, for which Mazzetti is providing mechanical and plumbing design. In addition to facilitating integrated care to patients requiring long-term behavioral health recovery, this site will serve as the training site for the next generation of behavioral healthcare providers in Washington state.
MEANWHILE, Mazzetti CEO Walt Vernon published an article - Guns or Butter, in which he shares, among other things, that at a recent healthcare conference he listened to Michael Dowling, CEO of Northwell Health. Michael was reflecting on his work at Northwell and the creation of his Center for Gun Violence Prevention; Northwell notes that gun violence in the U.S. is a public health crisis. (Walt Vernon, JD, Bay Area) [EDITOR'S NOTE: According to USA Today, there have been at least 245 mass shootings so far this year.]

MedWand Playing Role in "Living Longer Festival" at The Smithsonian Futures Exhibition

At The Smithsonian Futures Exhibition in Washington DC on June 25, MedWand will be taking part in the Living Longer Festival: Health + Wellness 2050. The full day of activities will include "The Doctor is In (Space)!" in which attendees will visit a healthcare provider in the year 2050 with a futuristic distanced healthcare visit. In partnership with MedWand, this one-day-only installation shows you how you and your medical professionals could monitor your key health data from anywhere, anytime, allowing for distanced diagnoses and immediate care. MedWand is also supporting an audience-guided panel experience - We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Panel, where attendees will be invited to decide the panelists' discussion content in real-time while learning about the latest innovations of our futures. (Bob Rose, OC)

Nelson Hardiman Presents Updates on Telemedicine & Abortion Access; Physician Insurance Premiums; New Rights for Substance-Use Patients & Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act Essentials

A recent Nelson Hardiman Legal Update - No Woman is an Island: Telemedicine and Abortion Access after the Demise of Roe v. Wade - co-authored by Harry Nelson, shares several practical questions that the healthcare industry must address: (1) What is the status of private insurance plans that currently cover some abortion procedures once these procedures become banned by state law? (2) Can employer-funded plans substitute out-of-state abortion coverage once lawful, in-state, options become unavailable? (3) In states that prohibit medication abortions via telemedicine, are there legal risks for providers who disseminate information related to obtaining an abortion out of state?
ALSO, Harry co-authored Priority Update: Recalculating Insurance Premiums for Physicians in California, as well as Senate Bill 349: New Rights for Substance Use Patients, Tough Measures Against Deceptive Marketing, Trolls, and Patient Brokering.
AND, on August 16, Harry will be the presenter at a webinar - Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act Essentials - What Providers Need to Know. (Harry Nelson, JD, LA)

On Lok's Unique Services & Future Spotlighted in Feature Article

On Lok CEO Grace Li spoke with Eden Housing for their current newsletter, to share a deeper look at what makes the organization unique and its plans for the future. Through its relationship with Eden Housing, On Lok co-locates housing and provides services to help seniors age in place in their own homes for as long as possible. In the article - As CEO of On Lok, Grace Li Champions Vital Services for Local Seniors, Grace shares what makes On Lok unique, how it has evolved over the years, its new partnership with Chef Martin Yan, and more. (Grace Li, Bay Area)

PSYCHeANALYTICS CEO Interviewed at ViVE Health

Dave Haddick, CEO of PSYCHeANALYTICS, is interviewed in this 7-minute video from ViVE Health 2022.
MEANWHILE, Dave is an advisor to the Interprofessional Primary Care Institute and recommends its June 10 Zoom event, Healthcare Worker Wellness Summit: From Demoralization to Remoralization in OUR Work. (Dave Haddick, Bay Area)

Royal Ambulance Vies for Inspiring Workplaces Award; CEO to Present at EMS Leadership Conference

Royal Ambulance is a Finalist in the 2022 North America Inspiring Workplaces Awards; winners will be announced on June 22 in New York.
AND, on July 25, at the Pinnacle EMS Leadership Conference in Marco Island, FL, Royal Ambulance CEO Steve Grau will co-present an intensive how-to workshop - Attrition or Attraction: Competing for Caregivers in a Post Pandemic World. Participants will learn what pay, benefits and perks are most meaningful; core elements of a retention management plan; and more. (Steve Grau, SV)

Satellite Healthcare Affiliate National Nephrology Alliance Teams with Nephrology Associates Medical Group

National Nephrology Alliance, an affiliate of Satellite Healthcare, has announced its strategic alliance with Nephrology Associates Medical Group, a prominent provider of nephrology care with the largest nephrology clinical practice serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. This collaboration clinically and financially aligns the two organizations to advance individualized, patient-centered kidney care and keep patients with chronic kidney disease as healthy as possible. (Jeff Goffman, SV, & Bernadette Vincent, Bay Area)

Savi Group Shares Ways to Boost Healthcare Profitability + Medical Practice Challenges

In Ways to Boost Healthcare Revenues & Profitability, Savi Group discusses working with revenue cycle management experts to help shed light on areas of improvement within the organization. Data analytics in particular can be quite helpful in this regard and help identify changes and trends in healthcare metrics important to the practice. Also, ensuring that patients are enjoying their experience with your medical practice by offering them easy ways to communicate, make payments, and receive care as needed.
AND, in Common Challenges Medical Practices Face Today, Savi explores administrative concerns, low patient engagement, employee turnover and burnout, and more. (Sumit Mahendru, OC)

Wipfli Provides Healthcare-Focused Webinars & Events + Wins Awards

Watch the replay of a recent webinar from Wipfli - Leveraging Cloud Based Accounting for Healthcare.
AND, on July 19, Wipfli will present a webinar - Recruiting and retaining with unique employee benefits.
PLUS, July 11-15, Wipfli will hold its Stronger to Serve 2022 Wipfli National Training Conference, in Las Vegas, particularly useful for nonprofit and FQHC leaders.
MEANWHILE, Wipfli recently won five Hermes Creative Awards (4 platinums and a gold), administered by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. (Jeff Johnson, John Dao & Steve Rousso, Bay Area)

Eckert & Ziegler Cooperates with Czech Research Center

Eckert & Ziegler AG (EZ) has entered into a long-term cooperation agreement with the Nuclear Physics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences to produce the alpha emitter Actinium-225, which is used as an active ingredient in cancer treatment. The agreement envisions EZ to provide the research center with several million euros for investments in equipment and hot cells, as well as radium-226 as a starting material for experiments and irradiations. In return, the EZ group gets exclusive access to the capacities of a pilot unit being built within the next two years close to Prague and joint rights to the process steps developed for a large-scale Ac-225 commercial production. (Frank Yeager, ABL-Tech SGV)

Nurses Lobby for 'RaDonda's Law'

Nurses have started lobbying for legislation to end the criminalization of medical errors, dubbed "RaDonda's Law," in the wake of former nurse RaDonda Vaught's sentencing for a fatal medication error she made in 2017. Tiva Vinsant, RN, an ICU nurse in Tennessee, created the Nurses March for RaDonda group on Facebook after Ms. Vaught, 38, was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and abuse of an impaired adult for a fatal medication error in December 2017. She overrode an electronic medical cabinet at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and inadvertently administered vecuronium, a powerful paralyzer, instead of the sedative versed. Ms. Vaught was sentenced to three years of supervised probation May 13, and the Facebook group's name has since been changed to Nurses March for RaDonda's Law. As of June 3, the group had more than 13,000 members. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/nursing/nurses-lobby-for-radonda-s-law.html)

California's $18B Inflation Relief Package Includes Payouts for Hospital, Nursing Home Staffs

California Governor Newsom has proposed an $18.1 billion inflation relief package that includes $1,500 direct payments to hospital and nursing home employees across the state. It also includes $304 million to make health coverage more affordable by extending health insurance premium assistance under Covered California for families of four earning up to $166,500 annually, for upward of 700,000 Californians. The spending package is meant to help Californians with rising inflation and must be approved as part of the state budget by the California legislature. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/california-s-18b-inflation-relief-package-includes-payouts-for-hospital-nursing-home-staffs.html)

CMS Issues Final Rule for Medicare Advantage and Part D Plans

On April 29, 2022, CMS issued its final rule for Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D plans with updates including reduced out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs and improved consumer protections. A summary of other key highlights includes: uninterrupted access to care during disasters and emergencies; updated network adequacy standards; additional MA and Part D application standards; reinstatement of medical loss ratio reporting; changes to quality rating system; simplified enrollee materials; assessments of social determinants of health; and updated maximum out-of-pocket limits. A CMS fact sheet on the final rule can be found here. (https://kslawemail.com/128/9137/pages/article1.asp?sid=844984ad-5aaf-4f97-9165-c373b0cf2e59)

HHS Withdraws Trump Administration's SUNSET Rule

HHS recently withdrew the SUNSET rule, which, in general, would have caused HHS regulations to expire unless reviewed or assessed every 10 years. The Biden administration twice postponed the effective date for the SUNSET rule before ultimately withdrawing the rule in its entirety. The rule was scheduled to become effective September 22, 2022. HHS estimated that, if implemented, the SUNSET rule would have cost $69.9 million and would have significantly altered HHS's operations. In withdrawing the SUNSET rule, HHS stated that most commentors had opposed the rule and several stakeholders had filed a suit challenging it. (https://kslawemail.com/128/9209/pages/article2.asp?sid=b0cef3a0-eca9-4a48-8a18-84ac26686b00)

CMS Posts Independence at Home Program Year 7 Results - Reduction of $6,585 in Care Costs Per Beneficiary

The Independence at Home (IAH) Demonstration was established by CMS to test if delivering comprehensive primary care services at home would improve the care provided to Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions. On May 23, 2022, CMS published the IAH Demonstration Performance Year 7 Results. The results found that the IAH Demonstration has resulted in a reduction of $6,585 in care costs per IAH eligible beneficiary. The IAH Demonstration Year 7 Results Fact Sheet can be found here. (https://www.kslaw.com/news-and-insights/health-headlines-may-31-2022)

Omicron Breakthrough Infection Can Provide Better Immune Response Than Booster, Studies Show

With Omicron subvariants causing COVID cases to jump nationwide, two new studies offer a small consolation for vaccinated individuals who suffer breakthrough infections. The infection leaves you with protections that may be more effective than those offered by a second booster. One study was conducted by German biotechnology company BioNTech SE and the second by the University of Washington in collaboration with San Francisco-headquartered Vir Biotechnology. Both studies investigated the immune responses of various groups based on their vaccination and infection status. (https://fortune.com/2022/05/16/omicron-infection-covid-protects-better-than-booster/)

Covid-19 Remains a Public Health Emergency in US, Administration Says

TThe Biden administration is continuing the Covid-19 public health emergency declaration beyond July 15, two administration officials told CNN, as coronavirus cases are rising again across the US. The administration has repeatedly said it would give states 60 days' notice if it were ending the declaration, which would have been May 16. But the deadline passed without notification. The declaration is now expected to be renewed for up to another 90 days. The declaration allows many Americans to obtain free Covid-19 testing, therapeutic treatment and vaccines. (https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/17/politics/covid-19-public-health-emergency/index.html)
Recently, the American Hospital Association and numerous other national healthcare organizations called on HHS to maintain the COVID-19 public health emergency. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/16-national-healthcare-organizations-urge-hhs-to-continue-public-health-emergency.html)
This recent KFF.org article provides details on What Happens When COVID-19 Emergency Declarations End? Implications for Coverage, Costs, and Access.

Alameda County Requiring Masks in Indoor Settings Again

Alameda County became the first in the Bay Area and perhaps the state to reimpose a requirement for people to wear face masks in most indoor settings as rising COVID-19 cases from new omicron variants push hospitalizations to levels that alarmed local health officials. (https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2022/06/02/covid-19-alameda-county-to-require-masks-in-indoor-settings-again-starting-friday/)

FDA Authorizes COVID Booster for Younger Kids

A third dose of Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for kids ages 5 to 11 years, the FDA recently announced. The third dose may be administered to children at least 5 years after the initial primary series under the terms of the emergency use authorization, the agency said. (https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19vaccine/98760)

A Cancer Trial's Unexpected Result: Remission in Every Patient

It was a small trial, just 18 rectal cancer patients, every one of whom took the same drug. But the results were astonishing. The cancer vanished in every single patient, undetectable by physical exam, endoscopy, PET scans or M.R.I. scans. Dr. Luis A. Diaz Jr. of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, an author of a paper published Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine describing the results, which were sponsored by the drug company GlaxoSmithKline, said he knew of no other study in which a treatment completely obliterated a cancer in every patient. "I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer," Dr. Diaz said. (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/05/health/rectal-cancer-checkpoint-inhibitor.html)

California Wants to Slash Insulin Prices by Becoming a Drugmaker. Can it Succeed?

California is diving into the prescription drug business, attempting to achieve what no other state has done: produce its own brand of generic insulin and sell it at below-market prices to people with diabetes. Governor Newsom is asking state lawmakers to pump $100 million into an ambitious initiative to launch California's generic drug label, CalRx, and begin producing insulin in the next few years, said Alex Stack, a Newsom spokesperson. The state is also working to identify other generic drugs it could bring to market, targeting those that are expensive or in short supply. (https://californiahealthline.org/news/article/california-wants-to-slash-insulin-prices-by-becoming-a-drugmaker-can-it-succeed/)

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