ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * Ocotber 4, 2022

>>> Dave Bell is Chairman and CEO of GrandCare Health Services, LLC, which provides in-home pre- and post-op rehabilitation for patients located in most of Southern California's major markets. The company specializes in knee, hip, foot, spine, upper extremity, as well as neuro rehab. GrandCare helps hospitals, ASCs and orthopedic surgeons achieve excellent outcomes for a low cost by providing exceptional peri-surgical patient care and transparent, real-time data sharing. GrandCare has achieved high patient satisfaction (top Yelp and Google patient ratings) as well as excellent patient outcomes and VBP scores. The company's payers are primarily Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and private payers. Dave first became involved with GrandCare as an investor in 2011, and by 2016 he was named CEO. For 20+ years, he's been the CEO, President, and board member for private-equity-owned businesses. Earlier, he was CEO of MCC Controls, a control system integrator for the water industry in California, Nevada, and Arizona. Before that, he worked for TestAmerica Drilling Corp, ultimately as President. Earlier, he was President of EMLab, the national quality and service leader for indoor mold and bacteria testing. Dave has joined the Los Angeles Round Table.

  • 10/05 - Orange County IN-PERSON Table - Discussion Topic: "From Brains to Bladders: Accelerating Adoption of Medical Technology" - Featured Member Presenters: Yap Chew, President of Pangea Laboratory, and Mark Heinemeyer, CEO of PRODEO

  • 10/11 - Silicon Valley IN-PERSON Table - Discussion Topic: "Making Hybrid Work - as the New Normal" - Featured Member Presenter: Eliott Jones, CEO of Biospectal SA

  • 10/20 - Bay Area ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: "Keeping PACE with Grace" - Featured Member Presenter: Grace Li, CEO of On Lok

  • 10/21 - Los Angeles IN-PERSON Table - Discussion Topic: "California's Expanded Focus on Mental Health" - Featured Member Presenters: Harry Nelson, Managing Partner of Nelson Hardiman, and Cynthia Sampson, COO of Life Adjustment Team

  • Explore Membership in ABL's Executive Round Tables >>>
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Alegre Home Care Spotlighted in Podcast

Alegre Home Care was featured in a recent episode of the We Are One Marin podcast, in which CEO Charles Symes and his associate Carol Parks provide caregiving insights and talk about the advocacy work Alegre does as the only in-home care business that is LGBT-certified in all of Northern California. (Charles Symes, Bay Area)

Angle Health Teams with Benefix

Angle Health announced it has partnered with Benefix to offer instant level funded quoting with no apps needed. Brokers and agencies can sign up for access to Benefix free of charge to start quoting ACA and level funded plans in Angle's markets. (Andy Leeka, LA)

Biospectal Among TOP 100 Swiss Startups + Featured in New Book

Biospectal is among the winners of the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award 2022, organized by Venturelab.
ALSO, for Global Week for Action on NCDs, from NCD Alliance, Biospectal is honored to be included in Michael Ferro and Robin Farmanfarmaian's new book, How AI Can Democratize Healthcare: Shifting Care from the Clinic to the Point of the Patient. (Eliott Jones, SV)

Change Healthcare Addresses Tech Fixes to Ease Labor Shortage Issues

Change Healthcare's recent article - Technological Fixes To Ease The Labor Shortage Issues In Healthcare, originally published in Forbes, discusses the moral obligation to fight physician burnout, as well as confronting the challenge of modernization, and new data systems and interoperability.
ALSO, watch a recording of Change Healthcare's recent webinar - How to Make the Labor Shortage Work for You. (Marcia Augsburger, JD, Bay Area)

Choice in Aging Participates in CA for ALL Ages & Abilities - Day of Action

Choice in Aging (CiA) CEO Debbie Toth recently addressed participants at the "California For ALL Ages & Abilities - Day of Action" on the topic of "Implementing the Master Plan for Aging: Leadership & Partnership."
AND, click here to watch recent episodes of CiA's Dishing with Debbie, including "myth-busting" discussions with: Lisa Tucker, President of the Tucker Group, which provides strategic political and communications consulting services; Anna Chodos, MD, a geriatrician and Associate Professor at UCSF in the Division of Geriatrics; Lorna Van Ackeren, Community Liaison at Continuum Care Hospice and Palliative Care; and Jaime Jenett, Community Outreach Specialist for Contra Costa Health Services Health, Housing and Homeless Services Division. (Debbie Toth, Bay Area)

Cigna Launches Full Spectrum Products for Patients with Complex Conditions

Cigna recently unveiled Cigna Pathwell, a new suite of products that connect customers with quality care providers to help improve health outcomes and lower costs for customers, their families, and their employers. Cigna Pathwell harnesses the analytics, clinical expertise, treatment planning, and personalized digital solutions within Evernorth, Cigna's health services business, and integrates them with Cigna's medical benefits management and high-performing provider networks to create a comprehensive and personalized care experience for patients living with high-cost health conditions. (Chris DeRosa, OC)

Elemeno CEO Interviewed on Podcast & Company Partners with Emergency Nurses Association

Arup Roy-Burman MD, CEO of Elemeno Health, was interviewed on a recent episode of Otter Labs' Behind Company Lines podcast, in which he shares his career background, his inspiration for starting Elemeno, and where his company is today.
MEANWHILE, Elemeno is partnering with the Emergency Nurses Association to empower the "Emergency Nurses of the Future" - watch a 2:30-minute video about the initiative here. (Arup Roy-Burman, MD, Bay Area)

FOMAT Medical Research a Finalist for Site Patient Recruitment Innovation Award

FOMAT Medical Research has been named one of three Finalists for this year's Site Patient Recruitment Innovation Award, which recognizes sites that utilized innovative strategies to achieve enrollment success. The winner will be announced at the upcoming Global Site Solutions Summit hosted by the Society for Clinical Research Sites. (Nick Focil, LA)

GrandCare Health Wins Award at Homecare Homebase User Conference

GrandCare Health Services recently won the 2022 Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Excellence Award from Homecare Homebase (HCHB) for its re-hospitalization rates, which are among the best 1% of HCHB customers. HCHB's customers include most of the largest and highest-quality home health companies. (David Bell, Ph.D., LA)

Illumination Foundation Featured in Managed Healthcare Executive

Illumination Foundation (IF) is spotlighted in a recent Managed Healthcare Executive article - Medicaid Programs Start to Embrace Respite Care for Unhoused, which includes quotes from Co-CEO Pooja Bhalla, DNP, and describes IF's medical respite program.
ALSO, IF's recent article - Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Turned On Its Head - discusses why individuals experiencing homelessness are high utilizers of emergency rooms.
PLUS, IF announced it has been selected for a Starbucks Foundation Neighborhood Grant. (Pooja Bhalla, DNP, OC)

Kaiser Permanente Tops NCQA Health Plan Ratings

In the just-released 2022 National Committee for Quality Assurance's annual report, Kaiser Permanente (KP)'s commercial and Medicare plans were rated higher or tied for highest in every geographic region they serve. NCQA evaluated 1,000+ health plans, including Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial plans. Only 6 health plans in the country received the top 5-star rating, and 4 of the 6 were KP plans. No KP health plan was rated lower than 4 stars. (Marcos Vasconcelos, Bay Area)

LifeLong Medical Center Proposes New Health Center in East Oakland

LifeLong Medical Center is working toward opening a new health center in East Oakland, by merging two health centers into the new facility, which will offer a wellness center, dental care, and primary and behavioral healthcare.
MEANWHILE, the LifeLong William Jenkins Health Center (WJHC) in Richmond, CA, recently celebrated its dedication, which had been postponed due to COVID-19. WJHC's services include urgent care, behavioral health, prenatal, dental clinic, COVID testing and vaccinations, wellness center, and more. (Mike Stacey, MD, Bay Area)

LigoLab Reports on Shortage of Medical Lab Technologists

In What Caused the Current Shortage of Medical Laboratory Technologists and What Steps Need to Be Taken to Solve the Problem, LigoLab shares that the pandemic has brought into sharp focus the shortage of qualified laboratory professionals, which has major implications for the healthcare industry - because behind the scenes in support of nearly every stage of the healthcare continuum is a medical laboratory scientist. In the U.S., approximately 14 billion lab tests are performed annually in 260,000+ CLIA-certified labs.
AND, read other recent posts from LigoLab such as How Cole Diagnostics Streamlined Client Billing with LigoLab's LIS & RCM Platform and LigoLab Helps Lab Directors Get a Healthy Return on Their Laboratory Information System (LIS) Investment. (Suren Avunjian, LA)

Mazzetti Looks Ahead to Acceptance of Fuel Cells & Healthcare Microgrids

In 2023, NEC, and CMS, Mazzetti CEO Walt Vernon discusses codes and standards regarding the use of fuel cells and healthcare microgrids in lieu of diesel generators. While the NFPA and NEC are endorsing these opportunities, Walt says that some people are scared that CMS won't permit the use of these technologies since they enforce the 2012 NFPA codes - developed long before these technologies became feasible. "BUT, CMS has procedures for a Fire Safety Evaluation System to demonstrate equivalent safety to existing codes," Walt explains. "CMS also has processes for issuance of a waiver, including a blanket waiver. I am currently working with a number of entities to try to apply for blanket waivers." (Walt Vernon, JD, Bay Area)

MedWand Stars on "The Bleeding Edge of Digital Health" Podcast

MedWand is featured on The Bleeding Edge of Digital Health Podcast, in an episode entitled "MedWand: The Swiss Army of Telehealth." They discuss MedWand's role in the future of telemedicine, how the stark differences between clinical medicine and telehealth paved the way for MedWand's invention, and the challenges of bringing this revolutionary technology to life. (Bob Rose, OC)

Mission Hospice to Present Fall Gala on October 22

On October 22, the Mission Hospice Auxiliary will present Diamonds & Denim, its 2022 in-person Fall Gala, which will benefit Mission Hospice & Home Care, helping them serve people regardless of their medical coverage or ability to pay. The event will include dinner, music, auction items, a chance to fund-a-need, and more. (Dolores Miller, SV)

Nelson Hardiman Provides Info on California's "Massive Healthcare Expansion"

In Priority Legislation Update: California's Experiment - Massive Healthcare Expansion, Nelson Hardiman (NH) notes that in July, California Governor Newsom approved a $308 billion state budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Its size alone garnered national attention. By comparison, Texas, the second largest state by population, has a biannual budget of $248B. The considerable increase in California's spending follows news of a $97.5B revenue surplus collected for the previous tax year. Governor Newsom described the amount of discretionary revenue available as "simply without precedent." At the same time that California has unprecedented financial capacity, the legislature's freedom to allocate the surplus funds has been circumscribed by multiple voter initiatives.
AND, in A Priority Telehealth Update: Data Security, Privacy, and Physician-Patient Confidentiality Post-Dobbs, NH reports that so far [as of the article's publication] 11 states have adopted laws prohibiting abortion immediately after conception, and two others have bans effective after six weeks of pregnancy. These statutes have triggered multiple dilemmas related to medical privacy.
ALSO, read Tier 1 Healthcare Law Firm Nelson Hardiman Leads the Way in Telehealth Transformation. (Harry Nelson, JD, LA)

Parentis Explains Why Fall Prevention for Seniors is So Important & Announces Golfing Event

Parentis Health has launched its first episode of a Q&A Series: Fall Prevention in Seniors, answering "Why is Fall Prevention for Seniors so Important?" Watch the 1:08-minute video here.
AND, read Parentis's article: 12 Tips to Prevent Senior Falls.
MEANWHILE, on November 14, Parentis will hold its Swing Fore Literacy, at the Aliso Viejo Country Club, a golf event which will help Parentis expand its reading intervention program. (Tarek El Nabli, OC)

PreludeDx: ID's DCIS Patients with Unexpectedly High Residual Risk after Surgery and Radiation

PreludeDx CEO Dan Forche shares the latest publication of DCISionRT in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology.Biology.Physics. This study demonstrates new utility and evidence to provide DCIS patients and their physicians unique and valuable information beyond clinical and pathologic features to determine treatment decisions based on a woman's personal tumor biology.
AND, PreludeDx has announced compelling results in 926 women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, identifying patients with low risk of recurrence independent of traditional clinicopathologic risk factors. The DCISionRT test demonstrated that radiation did not significantly reduce the in-breast recurrence rate in the low-risk group. However, the elevated/residual-risk group benefited significantly from radiation therapy, with a 17.7% absolute 10-year IBR rate reduction. (Dan Forche, OC)

Satellite Healthcare & Partners Open First Dialysis Center in Hawaii Focused on Higher-Risk Patients

Satellite Healthcare and three other nonprofit partners have announced the upcoming opening of Hawai'i Kidney Care at Kuakini. The center will provide dialysis to patients who live with end-stage renal disease in addition to other health conditions that contribute to their vulnerable health status. A first-of-its-kind facility within Hawai'i, the center is a partnership between Satellite, The Queen's Health System, Kuakini Support Services Inc., and Hawai'i Medical Service Association subsidiary, Integrated Services Inc.
MEANWHILE, Satellite/WellBound's San Francisco and Watsonville centers were awarded the 2022 Norm Coplon Quality Cup for home and in-center, respectively. This award is given annually to centers for their outstanding commitment to providing quality care. (Jeff Goffman, SV, & Bernadette Vincent, Bay Area)

Select Data CEO Interviewed on the Next Phase of Home Healthcare AI

In a recent Voices article - Select Data CEO Ed Buckley on the Next Phase of Home Health Care AI - Home Health Care News sits down with Ed to learn how the Select Data team is redefining the capabilities of artificial intelligence solutions to empower care teams to overcome today's greatest home health challenges.
AND, Healthcare At Home: The Rowan Technology Report has published a Select Data product review: New AI Tool Turns Good Coders into Great Coders; Eliminates ADRs. (Ed Buckley, OC)

Wipfli to Present Webinars on Healthcare Cybersecurity; Preparing for OASIS-E; & Strategic Planning

Upcoming healthcare-related webinars from Wipfli include:
>> Healthcare Connections: Healthcare Cybersecurity Compliance, on October 18.
>> On November 8, Preparing for OASIS-E: What you need to know now.
>> Strategic Planning - Creating a durable plan to thrive in a challenging healthcare environment, on Nov. 15.
AND, watch a recording of a recent Wipfli webinar: Build a more cyber resilient healthcare organization. (Jeff Johnson, Steve Rousso & John Dao, Bay Area)

GIDEON Utilized for Study on Climate Change's Effects on Diseases

An article recently published in Nature - Climate change is making hundreds of diseases much worse - details a study which found that climate change has exacerbated more than 200 infectious diseases and dozens of non-transmissible conditions, such as poisonous-snake bites. Researchers examined 77,000+ research papers, reports and books, including the Global Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Network (GIDEON).
ALSO, watch a recent GIDEON webinar on-demand: A Tale as Old as Time: the Start of the Anti-Vax Movement & Vaccine Hesitancy. (Uri Blackman, ABL-Tech SGV)

Lower Premiums Announced for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans in 2023; & Medicare Part B Premiums to Decrease for First Time in Over a Decade

The Biden-Harris Administration has announced that people with Medicare will see lower premiums for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in 2023. Additionally, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, people with Medicare prescription drug coverage will have improved and more affordable benefits, including a $35 cost-sharing limit on a month's supply of each covered insulin product, as well as adult vaccines that are recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at no additional cost. (https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/09/29/biden-harris-administration-announces-lower-premiums-for-medicare-advantage-and-prescription-drug-plans-in-2023.html)
AND, Medicare Part B Premiums to Decrease for First Time in Over a Decade: The Administration also announced that Medicare Part B premiums will decrease in 2023, marking the first time this cost has been lowered in more than a decade. CMS announced that Medicare Part B premiums would be lowered by three percent, or $5.20, going from $170.10 a month to $164.90. The program's annual deductible will also fall by $7, from $233 to $226. (https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/3662965-medicare-part-b-premiums-to-decrease-for-the-first-time-in-over-a-decade/)

HHS Expands & Strengthens Community & Public Health Workforce with New American Rescue Plan Funding

HHS, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, recently awarded $266+ million in American Rescue Plan funding to grow the community and public health workforce. HRSA is awarding $225.5M to 83 grantees as part of the Community Health Worker Training Program, which is a new multiyear program that will support training and apprenticeship to support an estimated 13,000 new community health workers. HRSA is also awarding $40.7M to 29 grantees through the Public Health Scholarship Program, which will incentivize individuals to pursue training and careers in public health. (https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/09/30/new-american-rescue-plan-funding-hhs-expands-and-strengthens-community-and-public-health-workforce.html)

Governor Newsom Signs Contentious Nursing Home Licensing Bill

A controversial bill [Assembly Bill 150] aimed at fixing aspects of California's broken nursing home licensing system was recently signed by California Gov. Newsom, who faced dueling pressure from advocates who typically are aligned. The bill will close a loophole that allows nursing home operators to run a facility without first receiving a license, something advocates refer to as "squatting." It also will require the Department of Public Health to look at an applicant's track record over several years before granting a license. (https://calmatters.org/health/2022/09/nursing-home-licensing-bill/)

Task Force Recommends Anxiety Screening for All Adults Under 65

In what amounts to a public acknowledgement that anxiety disorders have run rampant during the pandemic, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending for the first time that all American adults under the age of 65 be screened for the condition. The task force stopped short of recommending screening for seniors aged 65+, but that's because symptoms of anxiety and symptoms of aging can often overlap, so it was less clear whether treatment for anxiety was needed at those ages. (https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2022-09-20/task-force-recommends-anxiety-screening-for-all-adults-under-65)

$300+ Million in Mental Health Funding Announced

The Biden administration has announced $300+ million in new mental health funding, via awards and grants, with much of the money coming from the bipartisan anti-gun violence law passed this summer by Congress. The Department of Education and HHS, through HRSA, is rolling out the roughly $314 million for health professionals in schools and in emergency departments. HHS is also awarding nearly $27 million for a pediatric mental health access program for emergency department providers. (https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/biden-admin-announces-300m-mental-health-funding-part/story?id=90870513)

U.S. Healthcare Workers More Emotionally Exhausted Amid Pandemic, Study Says

Emotional exhaustion among U.S. healthcare workers worsened over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and threatens to compromise patient care, according to a Sept. 21 analysis from JAMA Network Open. Key findings from the report include: Estimated rates of emotional exhaustion rose from 31.8% to 40.4%, a proportional increase of 26.9% during the study period. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/workforce/us-healthcare-workers-more-emotionally-exhausted-amid-pandemic-study-says.html)

ACA Health-Plan Premiums Set to Rise

Premiums for many Affordable Care Act health-insurance plans are set to rise sharply next year, a sign of how rising labor costs and other expenses are starting to ripple through the healthcare economy. Consumers, who generally can begin signing up for plans on Nov. 1, probably won't feel much impact because of enhanced federal subsidies, but small employers are likely to face the brunt of higher rates because they don't get similar government help, according to health-insurance specialists. Insurers on the ACA marketplaces are proposing median monthly premium increases of 10%, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation review of proposals made by 72 insurers in 13 states. Some insurers are seeking rate increases as high as 20%. State regulators don't always approve the full increases sought by insurers. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/affordable-care-act-health-plan-premiums-set-to-rise-11662671934?mod=hp_lead_pos7)

Big Health Insurers to Expand Medicare Advantage to Hundreds of New Counties for 2023

Health insurance companies that are big players in Medicare Advantage, including Humana, Cigna, CVS Health's Aetna unit, Elevance Health and UnitedHealth Group, are launching popular plans in several new states and hundreds of new counties for 2023. All of this market growth is a sharp contrast from a few years ago when Medicare Advantage was unavailable in large swaths of the country. But the program is one of the few areas of healthcare and U.S. policy in general that has bipartisan support in Congress. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2022/10/01/big-health-insurers-will-expand-medicare-advantage-to-hundreds-of-new-counties-for-2023/?sh=4b22b15870b7)

California Monkeypox Cases Plunge 95%, But Outbreak Isn't Over Yet. Meanwhile, Early Analysis Suggests MPX Vaccine is Reducing Risk of Infection in U.S.

The number of people testing positive for monkeypox has plunged in California, with the seven-day average of new cases down about 95% since the peak of the outbreak in early August. Though health experts caution that the virus threat hasn't disappeared, progress in fending it off so far constitutes a major public health success. (https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Monkeypox-cases-California-17474165.php)
MEANWHILE, Early Analysis Suggests MPX Vaccine is Reducing Risk of Infection in U.S.: A very preliminary analysis of data from 32 states appears to suggest that the monkeypox vaccine being used in the U.S. is reducing the risk of infection among vaccinated people, Rochelle Walensky, CDC director said recently. The analysis showed that people who were eligible to be vaccinated against monkeypox because of their personal level of risk but who had not received the vaccine were 14 times more likely to contract monkeypox than those who were vaccinated, when the analysis looked at data from two weeks after receipt of a single dose. (https://www.statnews.com/2022/09/28/early-analysis-suggests-monkeypox-vaccine-is-reducing-risk-of-infection-in-u-s/)

Updated COVID-19 Vaccines Providing Protection Against Omicron Variant Available at No Cost

HHS, through CMS, announced that people with Medicare, Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program coverage, private insurance coverage, or no health coverage can get COVID-19 vaccines, including the updated Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, at no cost, for as long as the federal government continues purchasing and distributing these COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA has authorized the updated vaccines that target the original COVID-19 viral strain and two Omicron variants (BA.4/BA.5) that are currently the most prevalent in the U.S. (https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/news-alert/updated-covid-19-vaccines-providing-protection-against-omicron-variant-available-no-cost)

New Cancer Drug Beats Chemotherapy in Study

Amgen Inc.'s lung-cancer pill Lumakras beat out a common chemotherapy in a late-stage study, helping patients survive without their tumors getting worse, though it failed to prove that it reduced overall deaths, the company said. Lumakras is the first approved drug in an emerging class of treatments that target a genetic mutation called KRAS that is among the most common found in cancers. Researchers struggled for years to design drugs capable of attacking the mutation, which earned a reputation as "undruggable." The FDA conditionally approved Lumakras last year based on encouraging early-stage study data but required Amgen to conduct a confirmatory study, which the company reported recently. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-cancer-drug-beats-chemotherapy-in-study-11662996694?mod=hp_lead_pos11)

Like Viruses, Health Fads - Such as Peloton, Zumba & Pilates - Spread Rapidly & Then Fade

A growing body of research in recent years has suggested that many health behaviors - from obesity to exercise and weight loss, from smoking to quitting smoking - are fundamentally contagious phenomena. The findings, which haven't gone uncontested, suggest exposure to norms and ideas through your social network could be a powerful predictor of your health, your weight and even the stock prices of companies linked to those things. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/both-sickness-and-health-it-turns-out-are-contagious-11662715801?mod=wsjhp_columnists_pos1)

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