ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * November 1, 2022
  • 11/02 - Orange County ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: "Finding the VALUE in Value Based Care" - Featured Member Presenter: Dave Bell, Ph.D., CEO of GrandCare Health Services

  • 11/08 - Silicon Valley ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: "Creating a 'Total Solution' by Expanding on Your Core Business" - Featured Member Presenter: Steve Grau, CEO of Royal Ambulance

  • 11/17 - Bay Area ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: "Lessons Learned Investing in the Future of Healthcare" - Featured Member Presenter: George Carpenter, President of CGI Biomed Investments

  • 11/18 - Los Angeles ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: "Finding the VALUE in Value Based Care" - Featured Member Presenter: Dave Bell, Ph.D., CEO of GrandCare Health Services


12/15, 9 a.m. - Noon
"25th Innovations in Healthcare" Awards -
ABL Membership-Wide ZOOM Event,
featuring Keynote Speakers:

Dennis Boyle, Partner, Founding Member and Leader of IDEO's Health and Wellness Practice, has spent his entire 42-year IDEO-career working with global clients in medical and consumer healthcare industries, developing innovative products and strategies for promoting healthful living and behavior change. Over the years, he's contributed to 50+ patents and helped shape IDEO's renown "Design Thinking" methodology, putting "patients first" in his designs. He also created the TechBox at IDEO, a collection of tools used for creative problem-solving, research, and better communication. In his "Design for Better Health" course, taught in Stanford's d.school, his student-teams work directly with individual patients to promote healthy behaviors and to avoid long-term chronic illness.

Robin Farmanfarmaian - Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur, author, investor and professional speaker, contributes to cutting-edge tech poised to impact 100 million people or more. Robin has been involved with over 20 early-stage biotech and healthcare startups, from curing cancer to medical devices and digital health. With over 180 speaking engagements in 15 countries, Robin educates audiences on the intersection of technology with healthcare, including artificial intelligence and the shift in healthcare delivery to the patient's home. She has written four books, including The Patient as CEO: How Technology Empowers the Healthcare Consumer (2015) and, this year, How AI Can Democratize Healthcare: The Rise in Digital Care (with Healthcare Tech Entrepreneur Michael Ferro).

This year's Innovators in Healthcare Presenting Awardees will be announced later this week!

Click on Headlines to Read Articles
Alegre Home Care Supports Diversity & Inclusion for Customers & Employees

In Diversity and Inclusion are the Cornerstones of In-Home Care Services, Alegre Home Care stresses the importance of these attributes in in-home care services and discusses ways to incorporate them, including through personalized care plans, as well as via accessibility, affordability, accountability, and more. (Charles Symes, Bay Area)

Angle Health Collaborates with Plansight

Angle Health has partnered with Plansight to offer instant level funded quoting on Plansight with no health apps needed. Angle Health will provide brokers and agencies who would like access to Plansight to quote ACA and level funded plans in Angle's markets free of charge. (Andy Leeka, LA)

Biospectal Partners with Amref Health Africa to Extend Global Access to Blood Pressure Management

Biospectal SA and Amref Health Africa, the largest health NGO in Africa, have announced the launch of a Mobile Remote Patient Monitoring hypertension management pilot program in Kibera (Nairobi), Kenya, the largest informal settlement in Africa.
AND, Biospectal is a finalist for the 2022 Europas as one of the Hottest HealthTech startups in Europe.
PLUS, Innovaud has published an interview with Biospectal's Executive Chairman about the Swiss startup ecosystem and our plans for the future. (Eliott Jones, SV)

Change Healthcare Examines Latest Congressional Healthcare Policy Issues & Rule Changes for Non-Physician Practitioners

A recent episode of Change Healthcare's podcast - Capitol Connection: Marching to the Midterms - focuses on the latest congressional healthcare policy issues to keep an eye on pre- and post-election.
AND, watch a recording of a recent Change Healthcare webinar - Operational Rule Changes for Non-Physician Practitioners, which covers the rules for non-physicians that are constantly evolving, including billing, coding, and ordering. (Marcia Augsburger, JD, Bay Area)

Choice in Aging to Participate in "Master Plan for Aging: Count Me In, Contra Costa!" Event

Choice in Aging (CiA) urges you to register now for Master Plan for Aging: Count Me In, Contra Costa! to be held on November 17, an event at which CEO Debbie Toth (among many others) will be making presentations.
AND, click here to watch recent episodes of CiA's Dishing with Debbie, in which recent guests include Mary Knox, Contra Costa County Deputy DA, discussing elder abuse and scams; Susan Chritton, an executive career coach, counselor, author and Applied Positive Psychology Practitioner; Keith Umemoto, a VP of the California Alliance for Retired Americans and Co-Chair of its Legislative Committee; and Laura McLively, a Registered Dietician, author, and correspondent for The Bay Area News Group. (Debbie Toth, Bay Area)

Cigna Champions Vitality as a Next-Generation Health Measure

Cigna Corporation has unveiled new insights from the Evernorth Vitality Index, the largest study on the state of vitality, health and productivity in America. Findings show that vitality can be a key driver of personal, business and community growth, yet less than 20% of Americans are living with high vitality and Generation Z adults (aged 18-24) have the lowest levels of any age group. The full report is available here. (Chris DeRosa, OC)

El Camino Health Earns Top Honors in the 2022 Digital Health Most Wired Survey

El Camino Health (ECH) has earned Level 9 honors in the 2022 Digital Health Most Wired Survey from The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The survey identifies and recognizes healthcare organizations that exemplify best practices through their use of information technology. CHIME surveyed 38,000+ organizations, and those certified as Level 9 and 10 are considered health IT leaders who have shown the most innovative use of technology and leveraged IT to improve patient safety and outcomes.
MEANWHILE, ECH announced that it's investing $3.3 million in grants through its Community Benefit Program to provide foundational support for local health initiatives in fiscal year 2023. (Cecile Currier, SV)

Elemeno Health Spotlighted in Docuseries from Emergency Nurses Association

The new docuseries, Emergency Nurses of the Future, from the Emergency Nurses Association, features Elemeno Health leaders discussing the importance of improving the mental health of emergency nurses as individuals, teams or a networked community, and how it leads to better care for patients. Elemeno also talks about their app invention and the impact on supporting emergency nurses worldwide by giving them access to important resources that help reduce medical errors and improve patient outcomes. (Arup Roy-Burman, MD, Bay Area)

FOMAT Medical Research CEO Interviewed on LATAM Medtech Leaders Podcast

Nick Focil, CEO of FOMAT Medical Research, participated in a recent episode of the LATAM Medtech Leaders podcast, which is a conversation with medtech leaders who have succeeded or plan to succeed in Latin America. Nick shares his and his company's background, clinical research trends in Latin America, FOMAT's current involvement in the region, the importance of cultural understanding, challenges they've faced, recommendations for others considering the region, and more. (Nick Focil, LA)

GrandCare Health Services Earns Updated 5-Star Quality of Patient Care Rating

GrandCare Health Services has again received 5-star ratings from Medicare for its agencies covering Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino, and Ventura counties. The quality of patient care rating is published by CMS quarterly, with 5 being the highest possible score. With ratings reflecting performance on 7 key measures, only a select few agencies earn this distinction. (Dave Bell, Ph.D., LA)

Hospice East Bay Presents its 2022 Tree of Lights Ceremonies

Hospice East Bay will celebrate its 36th annual Tree of Lights November 6 through December 11. These ceremonies provide a way for families and friends to honor their loved ones and find solace in the symbolism of light as the names of their loved ones are read. The funds raised make it possible for us to provide services to patients regardless of their ability to pay. (Cindy Hatton, Bay Area)

HumanGood Makes News in Affordable Housing, Including Announcing 100th Community for Seniors

HumanGood's partnership with Pine Park Health is expanding to affordable housing, in addition to life plan communities. Pine Park is a primary care facility that provides weekly medical services for enrolled residents. The partnership originally began in 2021 with two HumanGood life plan communities in Northern California.
ALSO, HumanGood has become the new management organization for Sojourner Truth Manor in North Oakland, an affordable housing community which is fully subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This adds to HumanGood's Northern California presence as the fifth managed community in Oakland.
AND, HumanGood, in partnership with Inglis Housing Corporation, recently hosted the grand opening of Makemie Court, an affordable, accessible senior housing community in Yeadon, PA, designed with Smart Home technology to promote greater independence for older adults and people with disabilities. Makemie Court is HumanGood's 100th affordable housing community for seniors.
PLUS, HumanGood recently spoke with Senior Housing News about selecting technology and how it's deployed. (Tara McGuinness, Bay Area)

Illumination Foundation's Co-CEO Nominated for Award + Featured on Podcast & at Tech & Analytics Event

Illumination Foundation (IF)'s Co-CEO, Pooja Bhalla, DNP, has been nominated for an Orange County Business Journal Women in Business Award.
ALSO, read Pooja's recent article - Meet Dale, a beneficiary of the State's New CalAIM Program. Dale has been an IF client since February 2022 and has given his permission to share his story. Dale and Pooja also participated in a recent Tradeoffs podcast episode - California Bets Big on Housing in Medicaid.
PLUS, on the afternoon of November 9, Pooja will be a presenter at a session of the Open Minds Technology & Analytics Institute event in Las Vegas, entitled Preparing For CalAIM - Building The Tech Infrastructure Needed For Success In An Integrated, Hybrid, & Value-Based CalAIM Service Delivery System. (Pooja Bhalla, OC)

6 Kaiser Permanente MA Plans Achieve CMS' 5 Stars + KP Wins Award from Fast Company & Adds Emotional Support Coaching Benefits

Kaiser Permanente (KP) Medicare health plans in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, and the mid-Atlantic states received 5 out of 5 stars, the highest rating possible, in the CMS annual Medicare Star Quality Ratings for 2023.
AND, KP's user-focused app redesign has earned it the 2022 Design Company of the Year award from Fast Company - the first time this honor has gone to a healthcare organization.
MEANWHILE, KP has added emotional support coaching from Ginger, an on-demand mental healthcare solutions provider, to its growing mental health and addiction care ecosystem. All eligible adult members can now use their smartphone to connect with Ginger's highly trained emotional support coaches 24/7 - at no cost and with no referral or appointment needed. (Marcos Vasconcelos, Bay Area)

MEDA Angels FUND 1 Launches

MEDA Angels has announced the launch of its first fund, MEDA Angels FUND 1, which comes on the heels of 14 investments made over a 3.5-year period (since 2019) that has yielded a superior performance to date. MEDA says this is a great opportunity for investors to benefit from a diverse portfolio of MedTech and Life Science startup companies, all vetted by providers, payors, other relevant healthcare experts. To learn more, please contact Greg Buchert, General Partner. (Greg Buchert, MD, OC)

OneLegacy Moves to New Corporate Headquarters and Transplant Recovery Center - Largest in U.S.

OneLegacy has recently moved into new Corporate Headquarters and Transplant Recovery Center in Azusa. To continue saving and improving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in Southern California, OneLegacy is proud to open the country's largest transplant recovery center, which will also serve as a donor recovery facility and lab. This center is three times the size of the company's previous facility in Redlands, and includes seven ICU beds, seven operating rooms, full-service labs, and a helipad for rapid transportation of surgical teams and donated organs. The center will also help OneLegacy continue developing groundbreaking innovations that increase available organs for the thousands of people in need of a lifesaving transplant across the country. View a video tour of OneLegacy's new facilities. (Tom Mone, LA)

Parentis to Present Golf Event & Celebration of Life Ceremony

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.
AND, on November 4, Parentis will present its Annual Celebration of Life ceremony to honor and remember patients they had the privilege of caring for in their last leg of their life journey. (Tarek El Nabli, OC)

PreludeDx Announces Positive Study Results

Prelude Corporation (PreludeDx) and GenesisCare, a leading provider of integrated cancer care globally, have announced interim results from the AUS-PREDICT registry. Data presented at the Australasian International Breast Congress demonstrates a significant (45%) change in radiation therapy treatment recommendations when using the DCISionRT test from PreludeDx, optimizing management to prevent over- and under-treatment of Australian women with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS).
AND, PreludeDx announced study results demonstrating that DCISionRT provides patients with DCIS superior risk and RT benefit prediction compared to common clinicopathologic features. The data was presented in an oral presentation at the recent 64th Annual American Society for Radiation Oncology Meeting.
MEANWHILE, USA Today recently highlighted a DCISionRT study in its article, For patients with earliest stage of breast cancer, how much treatment is enough? (Dan Forche, OC)

Satellite Healthcare Debuts Innovative Care Model for People Newly Diagnosed with Kidney Disease Requiring Dialysis

Satellite Healthcare has announced the opening of Kidney Care Connection (KCC), a new care model created specifically for individuals who have recently learned they have kidney disease requiring dialysis. Through its inaugural center, located in Mountain View, CA, KCC is a first stop for patients, providing them with an innovative and individualized overall experience, focused on their specific needs and concerns, as they begin the process of dialysis and decide which modality is best for them and their families. The center supports patients as they adjust to the significant life changes when starting dialysis. (Jeff Goffman, SV, & Bernadette Vincent, Bay Area)

Select Data Offers "Spotlight On: Timely Initiation of Care"

The Spotlight Series from Select Data provides fast, on-demand education on topics that are immediately actionable by home health teams. Check out its recent short video: Spotlight On: Timely Initiation of Care. (Ed Buckley, OC)

Wipfli Offers Healthcare-Focused Webinars & Article + Acquires Oliver Group

Upcoming healthcare-related webinars from Wipfli include:
>> 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, read Wipfli's recent article, What hospital leaders need to know about volume decrease adjustments.
MEANWHILE, Wipfli announced that the team from Oliver Group is joining the firm, bringing with it 30 years of experience in leadership development, team coaching and people insights. Together, the combined firms will have one of the largest Predictive Index practices in the U.S. (Jeff Johnson, Steve Rousso & John Dao, Bay Area)

1P.org Spotlighted for Efforts Regarding Homelessness & Gun Laws

1P.org, co-founded by Adam Miller and "committed to tackling some of the most intractable challenges facing our one planet through extensive research, innovation and funding," was featured in two recent articles. STEP Fund seeks to prevent homelessness in LA with microloans, published by Spectrum News, provides an overview of the Short-Term Eviction Prevention Fund, which is patterned after micro-finance programs that have helped low-income individuals and businesses in developing countries. The idea is that offering people on the verge of homelessness one-time cash assistance can decrease their likelihood of ending up on the street, at which point the situation becomes far more expensive and intractable. 1P.org is behind the $1.9 million fund.
AND, Will Gun Owners Fight for Stronger Gun Laws?, published in The Washington Post Magazine, spotlights another 1P.org-founded organization, 97Percent, which promotes pragmatic gun-policy reforms - with a twist: Their principal goal is to engage gun owners in the conversation. In polls and focus groups, they say they have found that gun owners are more amenable to reforms than most Americans believe. To make real progress on the issue, they argue, gun owners must be at the table. (Adam Miller, JD, ABL-Tech WLA)

Eckert & Ziegler to Build Production Line for NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes' Facility

Eckert & Ziegler Isotope Technologies Dresden and NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes have announced an agreement for the purchase of hot cells and related equipment for NorthStar's dedicated non-carrier-added actinium-225 production facility. NorthStar is a global innovator in the development, production and commercialization of radiopharmaceuticals used for therapeutic applications and medical imaging. (Frank Yeager, ABL-Tech SGV)

GIDEON Informatics Unveils Lesson Plan Package

GIDEON Informatics has made a recording of its webinar available - GIDEON in the Classroom, which unveils the company's lesson plan package.
AND, recent articles from GIDEON include A Brief History of Infectious Diseases and What is the Epidemiological Triad? (Uri Blackman, ABL-Tech WLA)

CMS Backs Off Severe Cuts, Finalizes 0.7% Increase To 2023 Provider Payments

CMS released its FY 2023 home health final payment rule on October 31, 2022. It comes with an estimated increase to 2023 home health payments of 0.7%, or $125 million, compared to 2022 aggregate payments. Although it sets up certain financial challenges moving forward, the final rule is better news for providers than what was previously expected. The agency had initially floated a 4.2% aggregate decrease in 2023, which would have marked one of the steepest home health Medicare cuts in years. Nonetheless, CMS is still phasing in other cuts and permanent adjustments related to the rebalancing of the Patient-Driven Groupings Model. At least for now, immediate PDGM clawbacks appear to be delayed. (https://homehealthcarenews.com/2022/10/cms-backs-off-severe-cuts-finalizes-0-7-increase-to-2023-provider-payments/)

Fewer MA Plans Attained 5, 4.5, 4, Or Even 3.5 Stars in 2023, Compared to 2022
Administration Announces Millions of $$$ in New Funds for States to Tackle Mental Health Crisis

HHS, through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, announced a new funding opportunity for states to develop and transform Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) to address the country's mental health crisis. In addition to the nearly $300 million awarded in September for new and existing CCBHCs, $15 million in additional funding is now being announced for CCBHC planning. (https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/10/18/biden-harris-administration-announces-millions-dollars-new-funds-states-tackle-mental-health-crisis.html)

MEANWHILE, U.S. Surgeon General Releases New Framework for Mental Health & Well-Being in the Workplace

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has released a new Surgeon General's Framework for Mental Health & Well-Being in the Workplace, outlining the foundational role that workplaces should play in promoting the health and well-being of workers and our communities. With 160+ million people participating in the U.S. workforce and with the average full-time worker in the U.S. spending about half of their waking life at work, workplaces play a significant role in shaping our mental and physical well-being. (https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/10/20/us-surgeon-general-releases-new-framework-mental-health-well-being-workplace.html)

CMS Rule Seeks to Curb Delays in Medicare Coverage, Expands Special Enrollment Periods

The Biden administration issued a final rule that seeks to make it easier for beneficiaries to enroll in Medicare and curb delays in getting coverage. The final rule, released CMS, would expand the number of special enrollment periods to let beneficiaries change their coverage outside of initial enrollment. It would also ensure Medicare coverage starts the month after initial enrollment to reduce any unnecessary delays. (https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/payers/cms-rule-seeks-curb-delays-medicare-coverage-expands-special-enrollment-periods)

HHS Invests $13 Million to Grow and Strengthen the Nursing Workforce

HHS, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, recently awarded $13 million to bolster nursing education and training to grow the nursing workforce and improve access to nursing education. These awards are part of a series of Biden-Harris Administration investments across HHS and the Department of Labor to support pathways into good-quality nursing jobs. (https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/10/21/hhs-invests-13-million-grow-and-strengthen-nursing-workforce.html)

How a Diabetes Drug Became the Talk of Hollywood, Tech and the Hamptons

Ozempic, made by Novo Nordisk A/S, is one of several brand-name drugs on the market containing an antidiabetic ingredient called semaglutide. Semaglutide stimulates insulin production and also targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite, according to the FDA. The federal agency has approved semaglutide for weight loss under the brand name Wegovy, which Novo Nordisk sells at a higher price than its cousin Ozempic. Ozempic isn't meant to be taken as a get-thin-quick treatment. Doctors use medical discretion to prescribe it to people who are obese or overweight - an off-label use given the drug's similarity to Wegovy. However, in some cases, patients who meet neither of those criteria are still getting their hands on Ozempic. "This is the Hollywood drug," said Patti Stanger, star and executive producer of the reality show "The Millionaire Matchmaker" in an interview. "It's nationwide, I have friends in Miami, I have friends in New York who are doing it." People have long sought a way to lose weight by taking a drug, and pharmaceutical companies have long aimed to capitalize on that demand. Yet drug researchers have struggled for years to find medicines that accomplish that goal. Ozempic and Wegovy belong to a new class of drugs, called GLP-1s, that some studies indicate may significantly reduce weight when combined with other lifestyle changes - at least in certain people. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/ozempic-weight-loss-diabetes-drug-11665520937?mod=trending_now_news_5)

Cancer-Detecting Blood Tests Gain Ground as New Market Opens Up

Blood tests designed to detect cancer at early stages are reaching tens of thousands of people, as developers vie for a piece of what they expect to be a lucrative new market in healthcare. Illumina Inc.'s Grail unit said more than 38,000 people have used its $949 blood test since it went on sale in the U.S. in June 2021, with many of them paying out of pocket because their insurance doesn't cover it. The tests have helped clinicians diagnose some 100 patients with a range of cancers, most of which don't have a recommended screening test, according to company data. Grail and rivals including Exact Sciences, Freenome Holdings and Guardant Health have started studies of similar tests that aim to enroll tens of thousands of people. The companies said they hope to generate sufficient evidence of their accuracy and utility to secure approval from the FDA.

The tests, also known as liquid biopsies, could augment the few established screening tools, such as mammograms for breast cancer and colonoscopies for colorectal cancer. And they could become sentinels for other tumor types that lack validated screens. SVB Securities analyst Puneet Souda estimates that they could eventually generate $50 billion in annual sales. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/blood-tests-behind-illuminas-7-1-billion-antitrust-battle-gain-ground-11665143042?mod=hp_lead_pos12 )

Walgreens Will Stop Judging Its Pharmacy Staffers by How Fast They Work

Walgreens will no longer evaluate its pharmacy staffers based on speed and other metrics amid complaints from pharmacists across the industry that pressure to meet targets like the number of filled prescriptions is leading to dangerous mistakes and staff burnout. Walgreens, the country's second-largest pharmacy chain, announced that it is eliminating "task-based metrics" from performance evaluations to allow its pharmacy staffers to "place even greater focus on patient care." They will now be evaluated "solely on the behaviors that best support patient care and enhance the patient experience," Walgreens said in a news release. (https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-care/walgreens-will-stop-judging-pharmacy-staff-fast-work-rcna54297)

80,000 California Patients Fear Prop 29 Fallout on 650 Dialysis Clinics

Similar to existing federal regulations, Proposition 29 would require dialysis clinics to report infections to the state and tell patients when doctors have a financial stake in a clinic. Prop 29's biggest flashpoint is the requirement to have a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant present at every clinic while patients are being treated. Requiring a clinician on-site would increase each facility's costs by "several hundred thousand dollars annually on average," according to an analysis by the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst's Office. To deal with the additional costs, the analysis concluded, clinics have three options: negotiate higher rates with insurers, lose profits, or close facilities.

SEIU-UHW West, which is sponsoring Proposition 29, said reforms are necessary to keep patients safe during the physically arduous dialysis process. The union - which has tried but failed to organize dialysis workers - argues that the treatment is dangerous and that patients need access to highly trained medical professionals to deal with emergencies instead of relying on 911. (https://californiahealthline.org/news/article/california-patients-fears-third-dialysis-ballot-measure/ )

HHS Extends COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Again

On October 13, the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration was extended for 90 additional days. This emergency declaration grants the Biden administration emergency powers to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including allowing for swift approval of treatments for the disease. This declaration was first launched January 27, 2020 and has been renewed in 90-day increments since that time - for 11 times.. (https://aspr.hhs.gov/legal/PHE/Pages/covid19-13Oct2022.aspx)

CMS Issues Revised Staff Vaccination Guidance

On October 26, CMS issued revised guidance on COVID-19 vaccination requirements for staff working for Medicare-certified and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers. While the revised guidance was issued in separate provider-specific attachments, the guidance generally allows for more flexible staff vaccination requirements and enforcement due to relatively low COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths nationwide. (https://kslawemail.com/128/9632/pages/article-1.asp?sid=aaa44a0d-b227-455b-8bdc-67a2cb9b89a6)

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