ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * July 6, 2023
  • 7/05 - Orange County + LA ZOOM Table - "How Tori Bowie's Tragic Death Shines a New Light on Maternal-Fetal Health" - Featuring Harry Nelson, JD, of Nelson Hardiman

  • 7/19 - AI Breakthroughs You Can Use! - Membership-wide IN PERSON Member EVENT, in Westwood (L.A.) - In this very special IN PERSON-ONLY EVENT, you will learn HOW TO apply the latest AI apps to speed your company's growth and catapult its efficiency. ABL Technology and Healthcare Members statewide are invited to share how they are already using AI tools and learn how other tools can help grow their businesses in a fraction of the time - and cost. PLUS hear from multiple presenters and panelists and enjoy brunch & lunch. No charge to ABL Members. Click Here for More Details & to RSVP!

  • 7/20 - Bay Area ZOOM Table - "Why the Sun Is Rising on Risant" - Featuring Marcos Vasconcelos of Kaiser Permanente

  • Explore Membership in ABL's Executive Round Tables >>>
Click on Headlines to Read Articles
Alegre Home Care (Charles Symes) Discusses the Needs of LGBTQ+ Seniors

Charles Symes, CEO of Alegre Home Care, is featured in an episode of the We Are One Marin podcast, discussing how his company is a safe place for everyone, including their LGBTQ+ clients and staff. PLUS, Alegre has published an article - Why Home Care Helps LGBTQ Seniors Live their Best Lives, which explores the importance of health advocacy, social connection, and personal autonomy for LGBQT seniors. (BA)

Biospectal (Eliott Jones) Validated in Global Health Study Results

Biospectal announced that global health study results have been published in Nature's NPJ Digital Medicine, covering the first independent research and validation study to use Biospectal's mobile blood pressure monitoring app, OptiBP, in low-resource urban and rural settings. Collected from hundreds of general population and pregnant population participants, the results reinforce OptiBP's enormous promise as an easy-to-use, accessible, connected, clinical-grade blood pressure monitoring platform with the potential to transform the global network of smartphones into a connected, clinical-grade blood pressure monitoring platform. (BA)

Choice In Aging (Debbie Toth) Interviews Leaders Serving Seniors

Recent episodes of Choice in Aging's "Dishing with Debbie" video series include:
>> Guest Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil, who represents 13 counties in California.
>> Guest Susannah Meyer, Executive Director of Empowered Aging.
>> Guest Brenda Knight, CEO of Brenda Knight Events.
>> Jonathan Cook, Executive Director of Solano Pride Center. (BA)

Cigna's Chris DeRosa Assumes Leadership of Medicare and Individual & Family Plan Businesses

The Cigna Group announced that Chris DeRosa, President, U.S. Government, has assumed leadership of Cigna Healthcare's Medicare Advantage, as well as Individual & Family Plan businesses. Chris has 30+ years of experience across Cigna, with deep expertise in customer reporting and analytics, service delivery, and regional market growth strategies. (OC)

Eitan Medical (Roger Massengale) Named to "Top 10 Drug Management Solution Providers of 2023"

Eitan Medical has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Drug Management Solution Providers of 2023 by Medhealth Outlook Magazine. AND, Eitan has successfully completed the sale and transition of its wearable injectors business to LTS, a leading pharmaceutical technology company. The divestment aligns with Eitan's focus to further enhance product offerings in its core infusion therapy portfolio. (OC)

El Camino Health (Cecile Currier) Launches Innovation Fund to Invest in New Healthcare Tech

El Camino Health (ECH) has launched a healthcare innovation fund, which will enable the health system to stay at the forefront of new healthcare technology and continue to adopt the latest and best practices to improve patient care. Called the Taft Innovation Fund, it will address emerging needs in five key categories: clinical care, medical technology, clinical research, compassionate care services, and other emerging areas. ALSO, ECH has again been named a five ribbon hospital, receiving top honors on Newsweek's 2023 list of America's Best Maternity Hospitals. (BA)

Elemeno Health (Arup Roy-Burman, MD) Spotlighted in Health Leaders Media

Health Leaders Media has published an article - New Nursing Technology Replicates "the Best Preceptor You Ever Had," which spotlights Singing River Health System's successful implementation of Elemeno Health's workforce empowerment app. (BA)

GrandCare Health Services (David Bell, Ph.D.) Earns Quality Award

For the second consecutive year, GrandCare Health has been honored with the Quality and Key Performance Indicator Award from Homecare Homebase. GrandCare is recognized for its exceptional hospitalization rates, placing it among the top 1% of all Homecare Homebase customers. (LA)

Greg Buchert, MD to Participate in "Post-Mortem" Panel on Pear Therapeutics

On July 12, Greg Buchert, of MEDA Angels and GSB Health Management Solutions, will participate in a special Post-Mortem Panel Discussion of Pear Therapeutics & the Outlook for Digital Therapeutics. An early pioneer in digital therapeutics, Pear filed for bankruptcy in April 2023, after having three apps FDA-approved, raising $400 million in venture capital, and going public via a $1.6 billion SPAC deal. The session will explore what lessons investors and entrepreneurs can glean from Pear's demise. ALSO, on August 23, Greg will serve as one of the judges for University Lab Partners "Pitch. Launch. Grow. Competition," in Irvine. (OC)

The Innovation Institute (Mike McKinnon) Shares Lessons Learned in First 10 Years

In its article, 5 Pivotal Moments - and 5 Lessons Learned - from Innovation Lab's First 10 Years, The Innovation Institute reports that the journey from concept to commercialization is never simple or straightforward. Innovation, by its very nature, requires space and time to experiment, make mistakes, backtrack and try again. The article shares a few of the things they discovered in the process. (OC)

Kaiser Permanente (Marcos Vasconcelos) Honored for Commitment to People with Disabilities + Partners to Address Climate Change

The Achievable Foundation recently honored Kaiser Permanente (KP) for its accomplishments in improving the health and well-being of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Foundation chose KP this year to receive its Community Impact Award. MEANWHILE, KP announced a partnership with BSR, a global nonprofit, to help launch a new business collaborative designed to bring together leaders to develop and implement a joint climate change action plan with health equity at its center. (BA)

Life Adjustment Team (Cynthia Sampson) Explains Case Management vs. Care Coordination

In Navigating the Mental Health Care System in Los Angeles: Case Management vs. Care Coordination, Life Adjustment Team (LAT) discusses two important approaches to mental health care that sometimes get confused - case management and care coordination, what they are, and how they differ. Other recent articles from LAT include: Psychosocial Treatments: A Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health and How Does Psychosocial Rehabilitation Differ from Other Treatment Approaches for Mental Health. (LA)

LigoLab (Suren Avunjian) Examines Healthcare Disruptors & Transition Strategies
Nelson Hardiman (Harry Nelson, JD) Continues Webinar Series on Healthcare Privacy

Nelson Hardiman (NH) has made its recent webinar available to watch on-demand - A New Sheriff in Town: The Groundbreaking Emergence of the FTC in Privacy Enforcement.
AND, register here for upcoming webinars from NH: California Calling: How States are Closing the Federal Gap in Consumer Healthcare Privacy, on July 18; and The Future of Healthcare Privacy: Projecting What's Ahead and Planning Next Steps, on August 15.
PLUS, read NH's recent article, The "P" is not for Privacy: Unpacking Common Misconceptions about HIPAA. (LA)

On Lok (Grace Li) Details Collaboration to Help LGBTQ+ Seniors Age at Home

Grace Li, CEO of On Lok, published an article in the San Francisco Bay Times - Helping LGBTQ+ Seniors Age in Their Community, in which she details her company's collaboration with Openhouse in order to create Openhouse + On Lok Community Day Services, the first licensed day program in the nation co-designed with and for the LGBTQ+ community. (BA)

Royal Ambulance (Steve Grau) Among Most Inspiring Workplaces in North America + Onward Completes Accelerator Program

Royal Ambulance has been named the #34th most Inspiring Workplace in North America, recognized for its continued approach to employee development and growth, particularly through its Career Bridge Program. AND, Onward (Royal's "door-through-door rideshare alternative") recently graduated from the Spring 2023 AgeTech Collaborative Accelerator program. PLUS, Onward CEO Kim Petty recently won the North Bay Business Journal Influential Women award. (BA)

Wipfli (Jeff Johnson, Steve Rousso & John Dao) Deemed a Best Firm for Technology

Wipfli has been named one of Accounting Today's 2023 Best Firms for Technology, an annual list which highlights firms with the most cutting-edge practices across the country. AND, download Wipfli's ebook, How to calculate ROI on your tech investment. MEANWHILE, Wipfli has made its recent webinar available to watch on-demand: Capital planning strategies for rural health, which is co-hosted by John Dao. (BA)

Zymo Research (Yap Ching Chew, Ph.D.) Collaborates with Burst Diagnostics & Opentrons Labworks

Zymo Research has teamed with Burst Diagnostics, a pioneer in the rapid diagnostics industry, to launch a first-in-class diagnostic platform. The platform is based on a novel microfluidic cartridge capable of miniaturizing and integrating all the classic steps typically performed in the clinical laboratory setting in a simple, robust, and power-free hand-held device. AND, Zymo is collaborating with Opentrons Labworks, a leader in lab automation and robotics, to transform microbiome and metagenome analysis by fully automating comprehensive, end-to-end workflows from sample collection through library preparation on the Opentrons Flex. (OC)

Eckert & Ziegler (Frank Yeager) Gets Clearance for Therapeutic + Hosts Radionuclide Theranostics Forum

PentixaPharm GmbH, a developer of innovative radiopharmaceuticals fully owned by Eckert & Ziegler (EZ), has received approval from the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices to start PTT101, its open-label dose escalation study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, biodistribution and efficacy of PentixaTher. The Yttrium-90 labelled CXCR4-compound PentixaTher will be tested as a radiotherapeutic against recurrent or refractory primary or isolated secondary central nervous system lymphoma. ALSO, EZ recently hosted the first Radionuclide Theranostics Forum in Boston, MA, connecting potential and existing partners and key industry players in vigorous discussions on the central topics of the rapidly developing radiotheranostics market. (LA)

Healthcare Workers' Optimism Is Returning: 3 Findings

Healthcare workers experienced high levels of burnout, stress and trauma during the pandemic, but new data suggests their optimism about the industry is returning, according to a June 26 survey from Morning Consult. The survey includes insights from 1,006 U.S. healthcare workers polled between May 5 and May 18. Three survey findings: 1) 58% of respondents said they are optimistic about healthcare's future, while 37% had a pessimistic outlook. 2) 61% of respondents said they've mostly been able to cope with work stressors over the past six months. 3) Respondents were evenly split on whether they felt defeated or energized by their work (42% each). (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/workforce/healthcare-workers-optimism-is-returning-3-findings.html)

Free Job Training and Incentives Now Available for California Caregivers

To continue to build California's healthcare workforce, the California Department of Aging (CDA) recently launched the CalGrows workforce training and development program. CalGrows is open for registration with hundreds of courses available to caregivers working with older adults and adults with disabilities, helping support Californians on a path to a career in healthcare and ensuring the state retains highly-qualified healthcare workers. Courses cover a range of topics, including Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia, Cultural Diversity, Food Safety, Infection Control, Provider, and Consumer communication and more, with courses available in multiple languages. https://www.gov.ca.gov/2023/06/05/free-job-training-and-incentives-now-available-for-california-caregivers/)

Growing Group of Physicians Hitting the Road as Temporary Doctors-for-Hire

Doctors once turned to part-time work mostly as a transition into retirement. Overloaded and burned out, many in their working prime are now building entire careers as temporary physicians-for-hire. About 50,000 doctors, or 7% of the U.S. physician workforce not including foreign medical-school graduates, now practice medicine via temporary assignments, according to medical-staffing company CHG Healthcare. That is a nearly 90% increase from 2015. Like traveling nurses, many of these doctors are tapping into booming demand for their services, especially at labor-starved community hospitals around the U.S. Primary-care doctors are the most sought after, according to CHG Healthcare data. So are specialists such as cardiologists, pulmonologists, surgeons and oncologists. Doctors and staffing agencies say working temporary hospital gigs typically can pay 30% to 50% more than what a full-time hospital staff doctor would earn - and sometimes more, depending on the specialty and location. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-rise-of-the-part-time-doctor-7025ec1d?mod=hp_featst_pos3)

SEIU Strikes Again - This Time to Cap LA Hospital Executives' Pay

Los Angeles voters will decide on a measure that would cap pay of hospital executives. That's after the Los Angeles City Council voted June 21 to put the initiative on the ballot next spring, according to The Los Angeles Times. The city's next regularly scheduled primary nominating election is in March 2024. The measure, backed by Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, would cap hospital executive pay at the compensation of the U.S. president, or $450,000 per year. The president's compensation includes $400,000 annually with an expense allowance of $50,000.
The California Hospital Association filed suit challenging the measure, arguing the U.S. president earns more when factoring in travel expenses, discretionary funds and residence in the White House. The CHA argued the alleged mismatched numbers constitute "calculated untruths" that misled voters who were asked to sign the petition. In April, a Los Angeles judge denied the hospital association's challenge.
The measure would apply to executives, managers and administrators of privately owned hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Los Angeles. Its cap includes salary, paid time off, bonuses, incentive payments and lump-sum cash payments. It would not apply to medical staff who primarily provide patient care, the Times said. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/compensation-issues/measure-to-cap-los-angeles-hospital-executive-pay-will-head-to-voters.html)

States Ranked by Health Outcomes, Healthy Behaviors; California #10

Hawaii and Massachusetts were the top two ranked states in the composite measure capturing health outcomes and healthy behaviors in Commonwealth Fund's "2023 Scorecard of State Health System Performance." The report was published June 22 and is generally based on data from 2021, evaluating all 50 states across 58 performance indicators. An article in Becker's Hospital Review provides a list of how states ranked on health outcomes and healthy behaviors, based on 10 indicators, including measures of premature death, health status, health risk behaviors and factors (such as smoking and obesity), and tooth loss. California is ranked #10. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/rankings-and-ratings/states-ranked-by-health-outcomes-healthy-behaviors-commonwealth-fund.html)

Uber Health to Launch Grocery, OTC Medication Delivery

Uber Health, the delivery platform's healthcare arm, will soon add delivery of food and over-the-counter medications to its HIPAA-enabled platform, to be delivered by Uber Eats, the tech company recently announced. "The first-of-its-kind platform will simplify and enhance the entire patient journey - from getting to a primary care appointment to accessing critical prescriptions and groceries," San Francisco-based Uber said. The latest move expands on Uber Health's announcement in March that it would begin same-day delivery of prescription medications. Under the latest offering, Uber Health will deliver groceries as prescribed under "food-as-medicine" programs. (https://www.winsightgrocerybusiness.com/technology/uber-health-launch-grocery-otc-medication-delivery)

Fungi Resistant to Standard Drugs Now Threaten Millions of Vulnerable Americans

Once a freak occurrence, fungi resistant to standard drugs threaten millions of Americans - especially in the southwest. As the climate changes, Histoplasma and other fungi have expanded their geographic range and become more adept at infecting people. Like bacteria that mutate to better resist antibiotics, fungi are evolving to withstand available treatments. Drug-resistant bacteria and fungi kill 35,000+ people in the U.S. every year, according to the CDC. Antibiotics can exacerbate some fungal infections because they eradicate bacteria that compete with fungi. The fungus is potentially deadly only if it invades the bloodstream or internal organs, but its presence on the skin increases the chances of that happening. Medical experts say one reason for the surge is that more people have compromised immune systems, including cancer patients and those taking medicines after organ transplants. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/deadly-fungal-infection-candida-auris-yeast-ab73b9d0?mod=hp_trending_now_article_pos4)

The Price of First Gene Therapy for Muscular Dystrophy: $3.2 Million

Young children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy can now get the first gene therapy for the crippling muscle condition. The one-time treatment will cost $3.2 million. The drug, known as Elevidys and made by Sarepta Therapeutics, becomes the first treatment that seeks to treat the disease by repairing the genetic defect at its root. The FDA recently approved the therapy, following a fast-track review. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/first-gene-therapy-for-muscular-dystrophy-approved-34860988?mod=hp_listb_pos3)

How Hospitals Are Trying to Improve the Patient Experience

After a disastrous couple of years, hospitals are trying to win back patients' trust with better service. During Covid-19, patient-experience ratings plunged amid staffing shortages, overcrowding and lockdown rules that barred families from the bedside. Now hospitals are adopting new strategies to help address complaints and service failures that can add up to a bad experience even when treatment is successful. In addition to government-mandated post-discharge satisfaction questionnaires and other patient-experience surveys, hospitals are using new technology to identify issues in real time and fix them before patients go home unhappy. And they are drawing on expertise from the hospitality industry and other consumer companies for lessons on how to transform dissatisfied customers into loyal ones who will recommend the hospital to others. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/url-hospital-patients-better-experience-800414d8?mod=hp_jr_pos2)

Some Hospitals That Spent Big on Nurses During Pandemic Are Now Short on Cash

Kaweah Health paid more than $200 an hour for nurses during the worst of the pandemic's upheaval. Pay rates have eased, but the Visalia, Calif., health system's financial struggles persist. High labor costs and financial losses have put Kaweah afoul of lenders, who demanded $18 million of its dwindling reserves as a guarantee for bondholders. To preserve cash, Kaweah closed a diabetes clinic and a nursing home that lost money. It hasn't been enough to recover. Kaweah plans to ask the state for a loan. Distressed hospitals are reporting they don't have enough cash to satisfy lenders, which can technically count as default, putting hospitals at risk of credit downgrades and higher interest rates. Some lenders are also demanding that hospitals hire consultants to help turn around their operations or set aside cash for repayment. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/some-hospitals-that-spent-big-on-nurses-during-pandemic-are-now-short-on-cash-d20f0435?mod=hp_lista_pos2)

New Pathway for Reimbursing Breakthrough Devices: CMS Proposal

Medical device makers may soon have an easier path to securing health insurance reimbursement for their products, following the recent notice of a long-awaited rule by CMS. The program, called Transitional Coverage for Emerging Technologies, would apply to medical products deemed "breakthrough devices" by the FDA. Device makers complain that the process of acquiring Medicare coverage is opaque and complex, creating a "valley of death" between FDA approval and securing coverage from health insurers. The TCET rule is an attempt to make that process clearer. (https://www.statnews.com/2023/06/22/cms-proposes-new-pathway-for-reimbursing-breakthrough-devices/)

CMS Proposes Pay Bump for Dialysis Providers

CMS recently issued a proposed rule updating payment rates and policies related to renal dialysis services furnished to Medicare beneficiaries on or after January 1, 2024. The proposed rule, among other things, would increase Medicare payments to hospital-based dialysis centers and freestanding centers by 2.6% and 1.6%, respectively. As a result, CMS estimates expenditures under the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Prospective Payment System will increase by $130 million in CY 2024 compared to CY 2023. Other notable updates include an estimated 1.6% increase to beneficiary co-payments in CY 2024 and changes to the ESRD Quality Incentive Program for Payment Year 2026. (https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/calendar-year-2024-end-stage-renal-disease-esrd-prospective-payment-system-pps-proposed-rule-cms)

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