ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * December 6, 2022

>>> Gene Barduson is the Founder, CEO and a Board Member of Addiction Research Institute (ARI), whose sole focus is funding research to cure the disease of addiction. ARI's vision is to dramatically improve the lives of all those afflicted with alcohol and drug addiction, and the lives of their families, by funding profound breakthroughs that cure addiction. ARI reports that there is no significant private funding to advance treatment and cures for alcohol and drug addiction. As a result, the disease is running rampant and with currently available treatment options, there is only a 2% chance of remission from this disease. In his career, Gene has served as CEO and board chairman for several healthcare companies. He is currently a Board Trustee for Scripps Health System. Previous roles included: Executive Chairman of PerfectServe; Trustee for Western University of Health Sciences; and Founder of La Jolla Wellness Studio. Earlier, he was CEO of Edge Health at Edge Communications; Director of Benchmark Revenue Management; CEO of Alteer Corporation; Executive Chair of Heartland Information Systems, and Chairman/CEO of Appexion. When Gene first joined ABL, in 2000, he was President and CEO of EDiX Corporation/IDX, a nationally distributed medical transcription firm, and earlier still, he was Senior VP at Siemens Medical Systems. Gene has joined the Orange County Round Table.

ABL's Innovations in Healthcare Awards
ABL's Innvoations In Healthcare Awards Logo

via ZOOM: 9 AM to Noon (Set up 8:45)

Membership-wide ZOOM Event
Featuring 2 Keynoters & 3 "Innovator in Healthcare" Awardees

For 25 years, ABL has celebrated Industry Innovators in the country's largest - and most expensive - industry. This year, we're proud to honor five health tech leaders who are bringing innovative products to market that will reduce the cost of providing quality care.

This Year's Keynoters:

Dennis Boyle, Partner, Founding Team Member and a Senior Leader in IDEO's Health Domain, has spent half of his 40+ year IDEO career working with clients from startups to Fortune 100 companies in medical and healthcare industries, developing innovative products, services and strategies. Over the years, he has been named on 50+ patents and helped shape IDEO's "Design Thinking" methodology. In his "Design for Healthy Behaviors" course, which he co-teaches at Stanford's d. school, his student-teams work directly with individual patient-volunteers to use the design thinking process to promote healthy behaviors and to manage long-term chronic illness.

Robin Farmanfarmaian - Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur, author, investor and professional speaker, has been involved with over 20 early-stage startups, from curing cancer to medical devices and digital health. Her books include The Patient as CEO: How Technology Empowers the Healthcare Consumer and How AI Can Democratize Healthcare: The Rise in Digital Care.

ABL's "Innovator in Healthcare" Awardees

Our three awardees will share inspiring stories about the PROBLEMS they identified, the SOLUTIONS they developed, their SUCCESS to date, the Big Picture OPPORTUNITY their invention/s can create, and invite you to PROVIDE THEM WITH INSIGHTS as they take their NEXT STEPS into a smarter, healthier future.

Dean Hovey, CEO of 8B Medical, has founded 12 design-engineering firms, the latest stemming from COVID's early days, when $50,000 ventilators were scarce. With a mission to build more affordable Smart ICU vents, the 8B Medical team built the first prototype within five months - for $1,000. 8B's suite of four Respiratory Assist Devices make breathing effortless and safe.

Eliott Jones, Co-Founder and CEO of Biospectal SA, provides biosensing technology that allows anyone to turn their smartphone into a cuffless, optical device capable of medical-grade blood pressure measurement - anytime, anywhere - without peripherals or accessories. They expect to improve the lives of over 1.3 billion hypertensives worldwide.

Ed Buckley is President and CEO of Select Data Inc., and visionary behind SmartCare(TM), which leverages AI to "read and convert" hundreds of pages of home health records into accurate two-page summaries in seconds, enabling clinicians and coders to quickly zero-in on the most relevant data to improve patient care - and bill appropriately for it.

RSVP Above for this Inspiring and Very Special Event!

  • 1/04 - Orange County
  • 1/10 - Silicon Valley
  • 1/19 - Bay Area
  • 1/20 - Los Angeles - Featuring Tom Mone's TOUR of OneLegacy's Impressive New Headquarters - The largest and most sophisticated transplant recovery facility in the nation:

  • Explore Membership in ABL's Executive Round Tables >>>
Click on Headlines to Read Articles
Angle Health Expanding into Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri & South Carolina

Angle Health recently announced it will be expanding into Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and South Carolina. Powered by its integrated, AI-enabled technology platform, Angle Health provides a digital-first navigation experience with fully-tailored comprehensive healthcare benefit plans for employers. Telemedicine, behavioral health, and other digital health solutions - normally sitting outside the traditional health insurance environment - are core offerings integrated into all Angle Health plans at minimal to no cost for members. (Andy Leeka, LA)

Change Healthcare Expands Functionality & Drives Industry Transition to Cloud-Based Imaging & Storage

Continuing to lead healthcare's transition from on-premise imaging systems to cloud-native, zero-footprint medical imaging solutions, Change Healthcare announced that existing customers have already moved more than 10% of their imaging data to the cloud, accounting for more than 6 petabytes of total data. Currently 45 hospitals are live with Stratus Imaging Archive, while 73 institutions have gone live with Stratus Imaging Analytics. (Marcia Augsburger, JD, Bay Area)

Choice in Aging Discusses Improving Long-Term Care & Nursing Homes

Recent episodes of Choice in Aging's "Dishing with Debbie" video series include:
>> Guest Dr. Sara Levin, Contra Costa Health Services Deputy Health Officer, who during the pandemic led the CCHS congregate care task force.
>> Guest Mariya Kalina, Executive Director of the California Collaborative for Long-Term Services and Supports, discussing a better long-term care system.
>> Guest Jonas Weitzman, a NYC-based nursing home worker and reformist, who has won Caregiver of the Year and was chosen for the 2022 Caring Across Generations fellowship. (Debbie Toth, Bay Area)

El Camino Health Hospitals Earn an 'A' in Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades

Both El Camino Health's Mountain View and Los Gatos campuses both earned an 'A' in the fall 2022 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade program, making it one of the only health systems in the South Bay to have two hospitals that received the top grade. Leapfrog's Hospital Safety Grade results are based on 30+ national performance measures from CMS, the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, and information from other supplemental data sources. The grades are updated each fall and spring. Nearly 3,000 general acute-care hospitals are assigned a grade of A, B, C, D or F based on their performance to prevent errors, injuries, accidents and infections. (Cecile Currier, SV)

Elemeno Health Teams with Sturdy Health to Launch App

Sturdy Memorial Hospital has partnered with Elemeno Health to launch a team empowerment app to support nurses. The new platform will offer customized, easy-to-access content specific to each hospital department's needs. Elemeno is the first unit-specific platform created to help front-line workers access support and resources for "optimal bedside care." Leaders at Sturdy Memorial, located in Attleboro, MA, said, "Nurses just entering the workforce have grown up with technology delivering in the moment, on every need; they expect and deserve the same support at the bedside, and with their careers." (Arup Roy-Burman, MD, Bay Area)

HumanGood Life Plan Communities Listed by US News for Best Nursing Homes

Ten HumanGood communities have been listed as "Best Nursing Homes of 2022-2023" by U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News evaluated 15,000+ nursing homes and rated them in a variety of quality measures, including: Staffing; Medical outcomes; Resident complaints; and Processes of care.
MEANWHILE, HumanGood is the new management organization for two Oakland affordable housing communities: Irene Cooper Terrace and J.L. Richard Terrace, owned by the Evergreen Baptist Church in Oakland.
AND, HumanGood recently celebrated the grand opening of Castle Argyle, a 96-unit affordable housing community located in an iconic building on Argyle Avenue in Los Angeles.
PLUS, the Senior Assistance Fund of the Eastbay has awarded HumanGood a $125,000 grant to support the Compassionate Connections program at six HumanGood affordable housing communities in Northern California's East Bay region. (Tara McGuinness, Bay Area)

Irvine Health Foundation Gives $1.5 Million to City of Hope Orange County

City of Hope Orange County has received a $1.5 million grant from the Irvine Health Foundation (IHF) to develop a one-stop information source for patients and physicians on cancer prevention, treatments, and clinical trials. The Community Cancer Resource program initiative will be among the nation's first initiatives to aggregate information from national experts and make available local resources for the sole purpose of saving cancer patients' lives. (Ed Kacic, OC)

Kaiser Permanente's California Plans Earn 5 Stars

California's Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA) and Covered California gave Kaiser Permanente (KP)'s Northern and Southern California commercial health plans the highest possible rating of 5 stars for overall quality of medical care. According to OPA's 2022-23 Health Care Quality Report Card for commercial plans, KP's Northern and Southern California health plans are the only two in the state to receive a 5-star rating for overall quality of medical care. KP is the only health plan to obtain OPA's highest rating for overall quality of medical care for 15 consecutive years. Also, KP in NorCal and SoCal both received 5 stars for behavioral and mental health care, cardiac care, maternity care, preventive screenings, and diabetes care.
AND, Covered California has recognized KP as the only health plan in the state to receive a 5-star "Summary Quality Rating" for overall quality, and 5 stars for "Getting the Right Care," a measure that compares KP with the national standards for providing care and treatments proven to help patients. (Marcos Vasconcelos, Bay Area)

LigoLab Shares Survey Results, Webinar + Quoted in Industry Journals

LigoLab recently reached out to 7,000+ laboratory professionals to get their thoughts on the state of the industry, and specifically their responses to LIS and RCM-related questions - read the survey results.
AND, on December 15, at 10 a.m. Pacific, LigoLab will present a webinar: Combating Increasing Denials, Rising Labor Costs, & Eroding Margins - RCM Automation Solutions That Improve Clean Claim Pass-Through Rates, Workflow Efficiency, Margin Returns, & Overall Net Collections.
PLUS, CEO Suren Avunjian is quoted in several recent articles: 10 Clinical Laboratory Predictions for 2023, from CLP magazine; More Talent and Technology Offer Solutions for Medical Laboratory Staffing Shortages, from MedCityNews; and Lab information systems - where the needs are greatest, from CAP TODAY. (Suren Avunjian, LA)

MedWand Discusses Future of Digital Health

In anticipation of CES 2023 in January, MedWand recently shared an inside look on the future of digital health with CES host Brian Tong, including discussions on trust and health equity. Watch the 8-minute video here. (Bob Rose, OC)

National Health Care & Housing Advisors Addresses "Failing Forward" & Vital Role of Nutrition in Housing, Hunger & Health

Paul Leon, CEO of National Health Care & Housing Advisors (NHHA), recently participated in the American Academy of Nursing's annual policy conference, as one of four presenters who shared their experiences of "failing forward" as they built their courageous careers.
ALSO, NHHA has published an article - The Vital Role of Nutrition in Housing, Hunger, and Health Solutions, in which Paul discusses two major misconceptions around homelessness - that homeless individuals want to be homeless and who is homeless: the fastest rising population facing housing insecurity are senior women. (Paul Leon, OC)

Nelson Hardiman Ranked 2023 Tier 1 Healthcare Law Firm by U.S. News

U.S. News & World Report has awarded Nelson Hardiman LLP a Tier 1 ranking in Healthcare Law in its 2023 Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" report. The rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in the field, and review of additional information provided by law firms. While this announcement recognizes the entire firm, earlier this year, multiple Nelson Hardiman attorneys, including Harry Nelson, were also named individually to the 2023 Best Lawyers in America List. (Harry Nelson, JD, LA)

OneLegacy Celebrates 1 Million Organ Transplantations & 2023 Rose Parade Float

OneLegacy recently heralded the one-millionth organ transplantation successfully performed in the U.S. OneLegacy continues to prioritize educating the diverse communities they serve throughout Southern California, which has led to seven straight years of record-setting donation and transplantation in their service area.
MEANWHILE, the Los Angeles Business Journal recently spotlighted OneLegacy and its new transplant donor recovery center in Asuza. OneLegacy Azusa is the nation's largest such facility, a tour of which will be featured at our January ABL-Health LA Round Table.
ALSO, celebrating its 20th time participating in the iconic Rose Parade New Year's Day celebrations, OneLegacy has unveiled its 2023 Donate Life Rose Parade Float, themed "Lifting Each Other Up." (Tom Mone, LA)

Providence Digital Innovation Group Declares Digital Flywheels the New Health System Imperative

Providence Digital Innovation Group (DIG) has published Digital Flywheels: The New Health System Imperative, which takes a deep dive into the flywheel concept, exploring the barriers that prevent health systems from building a flywheel; what we can learn from flywheel innovators; and the value a flywheel in healthcare could deliver.
AND, a Providence DIG member wrote In Health Care, We Need Data Orchestration, Not Necessarily Unification, published by Forbes. (Marcee Chmait, LA)

Satellite Healthcare Opens New Centers in Mountain View and East San Jose

Take a virtual tour of Satellite Healthcare's new Kidney Care Connection location in Mountain View - with a revolutionary care model, focused on delivering exceptional patient care at the start of dialysis.
AND, virtually tour Satellite's new East San Jose center, featuring the latest technology, new equipment, and natural light. (Jeff Goffman, SV, & Bernadette Vincent, Bay Area)

Select Data Provides a Spotlight on OASIS-E

Select Data is providing a three-part on-demand webinar - Spotlight on OASIS-E, examining new regulations which will become effective January 1, 2023. Changes from OASIS-D to OASIS-E will include increased standardization across all PAC settings, the IMPACT Act, and more. (Ed Buckley, OC)

Wipfli Discusses Preparing for Healthcare Changes in 2023, OASIS-E, Data Security & More

Healthcare-related resources from Wipfli include:
>> Healthcare Connections on-demand webcast, which discusses the important of healthcare data security and compliance.
>> Preparing for OASIS-E: What you need to know now, an on-demand webcast.
>> An article, How hospitals and healthcare systems can prepare for more change in 2023.
MEANWHILE, Wipfli has been awarded two platinum and three gold MarCom Awards for external and internal communication achievements from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. AND, Wipfli announced partnerships with two nationally recognized organizations dedicated to improving opportunities for underrepresented job candidates: Hiring Our Heroes, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and Braven, to help high-potential college students develop transferrable skills that lead to a career path in business. (Jeff Johnson, Steve Rousso & John Dao, Bay Area)

1p.org Featured in Los Angeles Times

The recent Los Angeles Times article - No-interest micro loans: Philanthropist's new tool in preventing homelessness - spotlights 1p.org's creation of a fund to make interest-free loans to people facing imminent eviction.
ALSO, read recent blog posts from companies where Adam Miller is a Co-Founder and Executive Chairman: Remote recruiting: 8 challenges - and solutions! from Clovers; plus 6 Ways to Modernize Your Corporate Giving Program this Holiday Season and 68% of Nonprofits Say This About Donations vs Volunteers - "Show us the money!" - both from Groundswell. (Adam Miller, JD, ABL-Tech WLA)

Eckert & Ziegler: PENTIXAFOR in Phase 2 Trial + Signs Agreement with Alpha-9

The University Hospital Aalborg (Denmark) has imaged the first patient with Eckert and Ziegler (EZ)'s Gallium (68Ga) boclatixafortide (PENTIXAFOR) in an international phase 2 trial. Code named PTF202, the clinical examination tries to measure the predictive potential of the CXCR4 receptor targeting radiotracer for the treatment of central nervous system lymphoma. If successful, PENTIXAFOR could change the way that chemotherapy will be prescribed in the future.
AND, EZ and Alpha-9 Theranostics have signed an agreement for the preferred supply of GMP grade Actinium-225. The reservation gives Alpha-9 priority access to EZ's high-purity, non-carrier-added Actinium-225, a radionuclide used for the next generation of therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals. (Frank Yeager, ABL-Tech SGV)

Project Insight Names Thomas Leffler as President

Project Insight, an award-winning project and portfolio management software company, has announced its partnership with Thomas Leffler as President of Metafuse, Inc. DBA Project Insight (PI). PI software centralizes work, tasks, projects, and collaboration all into one easy-to-use online platform. PI has provided project portfolio management to 10,000+ companies since 2001. Thomas is an accomplished SaaS leader with achievements in corporate and entrepreneurial roles, spanning a variety of industries from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, he was President of RE (Rivers Edge) Pharmacy, where he was Co-Founder of Next eHealth and launched a disruptive and successful telemedicine technology platform. Earlier he was Co-Founder and CEO of iMatrix Software. (Thomas Leffler, ABL-Tech OC)

Marshall Toplansky on: If Gov. Newsom Runs for President, What Does That Mean for California Businesses?

A recent episode of the "Feudal Future Podcast," hosted by Marshall Toplansky and Joel Kotkin - entitled A Newsom Nation: Is Gavin Next? - discusses if Governor Gavin Newsom is angling for a presidential run, what does that mean for California businesses, and more. Dan Walters, author and Sacramento journalist, and Lori Cox Han, Chapman professor of Presidential Studies, share their predictions with the hosts. (Marshall Toplansky, ABL-Tech OC)

Oregon Will Be First State of Make Affordable Healthcare a Constitutional Right

November 8th, Oregonians voted to make the state the first in the nation to enshrine the right to affordable healthcare in its constitution. Ballot Measure 111 narrowly passed, with nearly 50.7% of voters in favor and 49.3% of voters opposed. The measure's long-term impact on Oregon healthcare is unclear because it doesn't prescribe how the state should ensure that everyone has affordable healthcare. Measure 111 amends the Oregon constitution by adding: "It is the obligation of the state to ensure that every resident of Oregon has access to cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable healthcare as a fundamental right." (https://oregoncapitalchronicle.com/2022/11/15/oregon-will-be-the-first-state-to-make-affordable-health-care-a-constitutional-right/)

82% Voters Want Federal Government to Extend Telehealth Flexibilities

82% of voters with employer-provided coverage think it is important for the federal government to extend the telehealth flexibilities that individuals received during the COVID-19 pandemic. This majority of voters is tripartisan: 95% Democrats, 77% independents, and 70% Republicans. (https://www.ahip.org/documents/Coverage-At-Work_telehealth-memo_final.pdf)

AHA Urges DEA to Release Regulation for Prescribing Controlled Substances Via Telehealth

The American Hospital Association has urged the Drug Enforcement Administration to release its proposed rules outlining a special registration process for prescribing medically necessary controlled substances via telehealth after the COVID-19 public health emergency; and to provide an interim plan to support continuity of care if the PHE expires before the rules are finalized; plus grant a permanent exception for separate registrations for practitioners in states that have medical licensing reciprocity requirements. "[T]here is growing concern that the pending expiration of the COVID-19 PHE and its associated waivers, combined with the lack of a special registration regulation, will leave providers in a position where they will need to cut services and leave patients without access to necessary treatment," AHA wrote. "With the expiration of the COVID-19 PHE currently scheduled for next year, this situation could come to pass as early as mid-January." (https://www.aha.org/news/headline/2022-12-01-aha-urges-dea-release-regulation-prescribing-controlled-substances-telehealth-after-covid-19-public)

HHS Issues Bulletin on Requirements Under HIPAA for Online Tracking Technologies

The HHS Office for Civil Rights has issued a bulletin to highlight the obligations of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 on covered entities and business associates under the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules when using online tracking technologies. These technologies, like Google Analytics or Meta Pixel, collect and analyze information about how internet users are interacting with a regulated entity's website or mobile application. Some regulated entities regularly share electronic protected health information (ePHI) with online tracking technology vendors and some may be doing so in a manner that violates the HIPAA Rules. The bulletin addresses potential impermissible disclosures of ePHI by HIPAA regulated entities to online technology tracking vendors and explains what tracking technologies are, how they are used, and what steps regulated entities must take to protect ePHI when using tracking technologies to comply with the HIPAA Rules. (https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/12/01/hhs-office-for-civil-rights-issues-bulletin-on-requirements-under-hipaa-for-online-tracking-technologies.html)

Senators Intro Bill to Lower Prescription Costs for Seniors with Chronic Illnesses

Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) recently introduced a bill that would allow people enrolled in the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) to choose their prescription drug plan under Medicare Part D and save more in monthly medication costs. PACE enrollees are currently required to get their Medicare Part D-covered medications through the program. Joining another Medicare prescription drug plan means being unenrolled from PACE benefits. Carper and Cassidy's bill, the PACE Part D Choice Act, would allow PACE beneficiaries to enroll in stand-alone prescription drug plans not operated through the program. This would also make beneficiaries eligible for prescription drug plans subject to the $2,000 annual cap that was instituted by the Inflation Reduction Act earlier this year. The legislation, if passed, would require that PACE inform beneficiaries of their options for prescription drug plans outside of the program and help facilitate enrollment. (https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/3738190-senators-introduce-bill-to-lower-prescription-costs-for-seniors-with-chronic-illnesses/)

California COVID Cases, Hospitalizations Rising at Same Rate as Prior Surges

California is seeing a sustained rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, with numbers climbing at the same alarming rate that the state experienced ahead of previous COVID-19 surges. Nearly a year to the day after the first case of the omicron variant in the U.S. was identified in a San Francisco resident, the daily number of newly reported cases in the state has climbed to 5,466, up 157% from a month earlier. More worryingly, new hospital admissions of patients with confirmed COVID are at 3,793, up 133% over the same period, according to health department data. (https://www.sfchronicle.com/health/article/Here-we-go-again-COVID-cases-and-17625055.php)
MEANWHILE, In California, Seniors Are Hit Hard as COVID Surges Across State: There has been a troubling spike in coronavirus-positive hospital admissions among seniors in the State, with Americans aged 65+ making up 92% of all deaths from the virus, according to data from the CDC. The jump in seniors in need of hospital care has been particularly dramatic. Rising hospitalization rates are a reason health officials are urging people, especially seniors, to get the updated COVID-19 booster shot and, if they test positive and are eligible, to access therapeutic drugs that likely will reduce the severity of any illness. Only 35% of California's vaccinated seniors age 65+ have received the updated booster since it became available in September. (https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-12-05/senior-california-covid-19-hospitalization-rates-spike)

Why Do Vaccinated People Represent Most COVID-19 Deaths Right Now?

The share of COVID-19 deaths among those who are vaccinated has risen. In fall 2021, about 3 in 10 adults dying of COVID-19 were vaccinated or boosted. But by January 2022, about 4 in 10 deaths were vaccinated or boosted. By April 2022, CDC data show that about 6 in 10 adults dying of COVID-19 were vaccinated or boosted, and that's remained true through at least August 2022 (the most recent month of data). There are several factors at play here, including a rising share of the population that is vaccinated, waning immune protection, and low uptake of boosters, and changes in immunity among the unvaccinated. New variants combined with a reduction in masking and other non-pharmaceutical interventions may also lead to more transmission, which can in turn lead to more deaths. Vaccinated people now make up the majority of the population - 79% of adults have completed at least the primary series. (https://www.kff.org/policy-watch/why-do-vaccinated-people-represent-most-covid-19-deaths-right-now/)

Why China's "Zero COVID" Policy is Likely to Fail

As the world watches the rare spectacle of protesters challenging China's authoritarian leadership over its increasingly perplexing "zero Covid" policy, people who study the disease see threats ahead for China and beyond. The zero Covid policy, which has kept cases and deaths in China to negligible numbers throughout the pandemic, seems doomed to fail in the face of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, they believe. But the Chinese leadership does not appear to be mapping a path to a safe exit ramp, leaving experts worried the country could see a tsunami of cases that would swamp its healthcare system if the national containment effort collapses. For example, Hong Kong similarly adopted a zero Covid policy, employing draconian quarantine, tracing, and testing policies to try to stop transmission of the virus. For more than two years, that system protected the city from the disease. But in the spring, Omicron breached Hong Kong, dramatically spiking the number of infections there. (https://www.statnews.com/2022/11/30/zero-covid-policy-china-no-exit-strategy/)

2023: Several Macro-Level Trends Expected to Impact Employer Health & Well-being Initiatives

Every year, Business Group on Health creates "trends to watch" for the coming year. Each trend relates specifically to employer health and well-being strategy, yet often is impacted by broader factors such as the global economy, workforce trends, innovation, and the policy/regulatory environment. Factors currently affecting employers include labor shortages, the increased cost of healthcare, post-pandemic healthcare needs, global inflation, supply chain challenges, and regulatory compliance. They have all played a part in the development of Trends to Watch in 2023. (https://www.businessgrouphealth.org/resources/trends-to-watch-in-2023)

Amazon Announces New Virtual Healthcare Service to Treat Variety of Conditions

Amazon is expanding its healthcare offerings following its deal to buy One Medical, this time by opening a new virtual care option to help with common conditions like allergies, acne and hair loss. Amazon Clinic will allow patients in 32 states to message clinicians through a secure portal to seek personalized treatments and prescriptions for common conditions. Patients can seek birth control options and care for urinary tract infections, dandruff, migraines and more. The service does not yet accept insurance, but customers can use insurance to help pay for medications prescribed by a licensed clinician through the platform. (https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/15/amazon-clinic-to-provide-virtual-healthcare-for-allergies-acne-and-more.html)

Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs Adds 82 Drugs to Portfolio

Mark Cuban's online pharmacy now offers nearly 1,000 generics after adding 82 drugs to its repertoire, the company said Nov. 21. The latest additions to Cost Plus Drugs include deferasirox, a generic for iron reducer Jadenu. Jadenu typically costs $2,332.80, but the generic tablet costs $15 at Cost Plus Drugs - making for the company's second biggest price reduction. Budesonide, a steroid used to treat Crohn's disease and asthma, usually costs $159.83, but is $18.47 at the online pharmacy. To date, Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs Co. has more than 1 million customers, has partnered with a payer and a pharmacy benefit manager, and plans to enter the brand-name drug business in 2023. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/pharmacy/mark-cuban-cost-plus-drugs-adds-82-drugs-to-portfolio.html)

CVS Tries Out Remote System to Help Fill Prescriptions

CVS Health Corp. is testing a system that allows pharmacists to process prescriptions in part remotely, a move it said could improve store working conditions and the experience for customers as the company grapples with a shortage of pharmacists. CVS has equipped roughly 8,000 of its 9,000+ U.S. drugstores with technology that allows pharmacists to review and enter prescription information remotely while still meeting patient-privacy requirements. About 400 of CVS's 30,000 pharmacists are currently helping prepare prescriptions either at central locations, from their homes or in stores other than where medications will be dispensed, the company said. The largest U.S. pharmacy chain by revenue said its initiative, which began this past summer in Arizona, will lighten the workload for store pharmacists and free them up to provide customers with a wider range of services, such as vaccinations and health screenings. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/cvs-tries-out-remote-system-to-help-fill-prescriptions-11670108339?mod=hp_lead_pos5)

Elon Musk Says Brain Implant Startup Neuralink Should Be Ready for Human Testing in 6 Months

Elon Musk's startup Neuralink Corp. should be ready to test its technology on humans in six months, the entrepreneur said last week during a live-streamed update about progress the company has made with its brain-implant technology. Neuralink has submitted most of its paperwork to the FDA, which oversees medical devices, including neural implants, Mr. Musk said. In 2019, he said the company planned to seek the FDA's approval for human testing and predicted it could begin as soon as 2020. "We are now confident that the Neuralink device is ready for humans, so timing is a function of working through the FDA approval process," Elon tweeted during the event. The company wants to be able to help restore vision and enable people with severe disabilities to move and communicate by decoding brain activity. Eventually, Neuralink wants to open clinics where patients could get a device implanted into their brains by their surgical robots, which the company also showcased at the event. The robot surgeon will thread Neuralink's tiny proprietary electrodes, or brain-signal recording wires, into the brain. Elon showed a video of "telepathic typing" monkey, which has a Neuralink brain implant. The animal wasn't typing into a keyboard, but was able to move a cursor to images of letters. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musks-neuralink-set-to-show-and-tell-latest-brain-computer-advances-at-event-11669785946?mod=article_inline)

Black & Hispanic Adults Have Greater Prevalence of Hypertension: Study

In a recent study, adult Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic Blacks in the U.S. had an overall greater prevalence of hypertension, obesity, and diabetes mellitus compared with white and Asian adults. The study also showed that few adults reported an ideal diet, highlighting the need for primary care providers to talk to patients about nutrition, Stephanie M. Lopez-Neyman, a PhD candidate in the department of nutrition sciences at Texas Woman's University, told Healio. (https://www.healio.com/news/primary-care/20221122/racial-disparities-present-in-cardiovascular-cardiometabolic-disease-risk-factors)

WHO Renames Monkeypox as 'MPOX'

Monkeypox disease now has a new name: mpox. The World Health Organization recently announced the long-awaited change, saying the disease's original name plays into "racist and stigmatizing language." But it will take time to replace a term that has been used for decades. The first human monkeypox case was recorded in 1970. The virus was initially detected years earlier, in captive monkeys. "Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while 'monkeypox' is phased out," WHO said. (https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/11/28/1139403803/who-renames-monkeypox-as-mpox-citing-racist-stigma)
MEANWHILE, U.K. Analysis Shows One Dose of MPOX Vaccine Yields Strong Protection: Researchers at the U.K. Health Security Agency estimated that one dose of the mpox vaccine was 78% effective at protecting against infection 14 or more days after vaccination. The findings bolster the case that the vaccination drive has helped combat this year's global outbreak of mpox. (https://www.statnews.com/2022/11/22/u-k-analysis-shows-one-dose-of-monkeypox-vaccine-yields-strong-protection/)

VillageMD Acquires Summit Health-CityMD, Creating One of the Largest Independent Provider Groups in the U.S.

VillageMD has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Summit Health-CityMD, a leading provider of primary, specialty and urgent care. The transaction is valued at approximately $8.9 billion with investments from Walgreens Boots Alliance and an affiliate of Evernorth, a subsidiary of Cigna Corporation. Together, VillageMD and Summit Health-CityMD will create a multi-payor platform to deliver quality, affordable care for all patients. Together, they will have 680+ provider locations in 26 markets. (https://newsroom.cigna.com/VillageMD-Acquires-Summit-Health-CityMD)

Why Doesn't the U.S. Have At-Home Flu Tests?

Flu season is underway. RSV is putting record numbers of children in hospitals. And health professionals are gearing up for another Covid winter. With so many potential viruses in play, it would be helpful if Americans had a way to distinguish between different ailments at home. And when it comes to the flu in particular, at-home testing could help telehealth doctors decide when it makes sense to prescribe treatments like Tamiflu, which need to be started within two days of onset of symptoms. Yet no at-home flu tests are available for purchase in the U.S. That's not for lack of technology - the rapid antigen flu tests at the doctor's office are "virtually identical" to the Covid tests already in people's homes, according to Zoë McLaren, associate professor of public policy at the University of Maryland Baltimore County who studies health policies for infectious disease epidemics. Rather, the issue comes down to historical hangups - and the need to find digital fixes to address them. (https://www.statnews.com/2022/11/22/why-doesnt-the-u-s-have-at-home-flu-tests/)

The "Great Remote Work Mismatch"

Many Americans got used to the flexibility that remote work granted them during the pandemic, but fewer employers are willing to grant it to them, The Washington Post reported Nov. 27. Work-from-home employees are increasingly being called into the office. And remote work listings are decreasing, though the number of people seeking them out is rising - which makes them more and more elusive. Remote work listings peaked in March, with 21% of LinkedIn's job postings offering the option. In October, 15% of listings on LinkedIn offered remote work. Despite this, 50% of job applications submitted on LinkedIn are for remote positions, according to data from the site.
"It's the 'great remote work mismatch,'" Rand Ghayad, head of economics and global labor markets at LinkedIn, told the Post. "In the past, labor mismatches have been about skills. Now we're seeing a different kind of mismatch, where workers are looking for jobs that offer certain attributes - like the ability to work remotely - that employers aren't willing to offer."
There are nearly two job openings for each applicant for on-site positions, but there are two applicants for each remote position on LinkedIn, making the supply-and-demand gap for on-site workers four times as high as it is for remote work, Mr. Ghayad said. There is a "tug of war" between what employees want, on more than one front - wage increases, signing bonuses, work-from-home privileges - and what employers want to give, which signals a shifting labor market, according to the Post. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/workforce/the-great-remote-work-mismatch.html)

A Work-From-Home Culture Takes Root in California

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, working from home for some portion of the week has become the new normal for a large segment of Californians. A recent survey found that about 20% California adults lived in households in which at least one person had telecommuted or worked from home five or more days the prior week. About 33% of California adults lived in households in which someone had worked from home at least one day the previous week. Even as pandemic lockdowns fade into memory, Covid-19 has transformed California's workplace culture in ways researchers say will reverberate well beyond 2022. The data shows high-income employees with college degrees are more likely to have access to this hybrid work model, while lower-income employees stay the course with on-site responsibilities and daily commutes. At a basic level, that means low-wage workers will continue to shoulder greater risks of infection and serious illness as new covid variants sweep through job sites, alongside seasonal waves of flu and other respiratory viruses. (https://californiahealthline.org/multimedia/a-work-from-home-culture-takes-root-in-california/)

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