ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * November 2, 2023
  • 11/01 - Orange County ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: "Five Ways to Expand from Your Core Business" - Featuring Nicholas Focil, CEO of FOMAT Medical Research

  • 11/16 - Bay Area ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: "What Do Employees Want Now?" - Featuring Cecile Currier, CEO of Concern Health + VP of Corporate & Community Health Services at El Camino Health

  • 11/17 - Los Angeles ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: "Ways You've Expanded from Your Core Business" - Featuring Nicholas Focil, CEO of FOMAT Medical Research

  • 11/14 - Membership-wide IN-PERSON AI EVENT (in Orange County): Supercharging Your Company's AI Game
    - to Surf Instead of Sink in Today's AI Growth Wave - with AI and other related tools. You can listen, discuss, and meet with a great panel of speakers - and others who'll be with us for this special event; also featuring lunch and a Round Table. 9:30 am to 3 pm. OC location to be provided to those Members who RSVP Yes. So RSVP today!
AI Wave Event Speakers

ALI PAYANI, founder of Payani Group, on using AI for growth marketing;
GREG LEBSACK, on Using AI for Exponential Business Growth;
THOMAS LEFFLER, President of Project Insight, on sharing his "AI-in-Healthtech" Project Management perspective;
SATNAM GAMBHIR, CEO of Envision Financial Systems, on AI for Initial Issues Management;
MARISA BRUTOCO, Sheppard Mullin Partner (formerly in-house counsel at Google, Amazon and Apple) and Member of SM's Technology Transactions Team, on how AI is transforming Content, Technology, and Related Legal Issues;
and ABL's BOB KELLEY making the Positioning Presentation and Panel Moderator.

Click on Headlines to Read Articles
Addiction Treatment Institute (Gene Barduson) Offers New Podcast Episode: Is There a Cure?

Addiction Research Institute has published a new podcast episode - Dr. Danielle M. Dick: Is there a cure? - which explores the ever-evolving landscape of addiction research, the promising avenues for finding a cure, and the challenges that lie ahead. (OC)

Alegre Home Care (Charles Symes) Earns Green Business Certification

Alegre Home Care announced that it's now a certified Green Business. Since 2002, the County of Marin has partnered with over 300 local businesses to help reduce their environmental impacts. Certified Green Businesses follow guidelines for energy and water conservation, pollution prevention, waste management, toxics reduction, employee commutes, and education. (BA)

AlzWell (Nick Focil) Wins Innovation Award

AlzWell has won the Society for Clinical Research Sites Global Summit Site Tank Award, sponsored by Pfizer, which recognizes innovative technology concepts that enhance clinical research operations. AlzWell is a powerful mobile application designed to provide exceptional support for caregivers of people with Alzheimer's. For the Site Tank competition, AlzWell showcased its AI technology that works with Large Language Models to collect patient data and match them with clinical trials. (LA)

Catalight (Susan Armiger) Provides 5 Key Takeaways from Recent Webinar + Launches Career Advancement Services for Neurodiverse Candidates

Catalight has published five key takeaways from its recent webinar, "Flexible Modalities of Care: One Size Doesn't Fit All - episode 1." The webinar shared insights on modalities of care for autism spectrum disorder and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, plus why flexible, family-friendly options are critical, and how the treatment landscape has evolved in recent years.
MEANWHILE, Catalight recently launched a Career Advancement Services program to serve neurodiverse candidates seeking employment. It offers participants a fully integrated set of services to support them along their career journey. The person-centered service focuses on the participant's strengths and interests, providing a skilled career coach to guide them through the search process. (BA)

Choice in Aging (Debbie Toth) Takes Part in Solano County's "Master Plan for Aging" Event + Spotlighted in Feature Article

Choice in Aging (CiA) recently participated in an overview of California's Master Plan For Aging, in Solano County's first such event, along with Susan DeMarois, Director of the California Department of Aging. They were joined by elected officials and representatives from the California Senate, city councils, the Board of Supervisors, community-based providers, Ombudsman programs, transportation providers, Kaiser social workers, county health staff, and more.
ALSO, CiA and the work they do was spotlighted in a recent article in the Concord Clayton Pioneer - Choice in Aging aims to change the way we support older adults.
AND, watch recent Dishing With Debbie episodes here. (BA)

Donor Network West (Janice Whaley) Celebrates Signing of AB 1268 Into Law

Donor Network West (DNW) shares that the vital legislation they've been advocating for, AB 1268, has been signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. AB 1268 represents a crucial step forward in organ donation for Californians; it streamlines the registration process, eliminating any unnecessary hurdles and ensuring that more Californians can easily become donors, ultimately offering the profound gift of life to those in need. DNW says that 100,000+ Americans are currently waiting for an organ transplant, and 20,000+ live in California. (BA)

Eitan Medical (Roger Massengale) Wins Health Tech Home Care Award

Eitan Medical is a recent Gold winner of a 2023 Merit Award for Technology in Health Tech in the Home Care category, for its Eitan Insights product in combination with its Sapphire and Avoset infusion pumps. The Merit Awards, judged by industry leaders, is an independent awards program that celebrates excellence in global industries and the markets they serve. The Merit Awards for technology were judged based on submissions that represent the best in current and next-generation innovations and technologies. (OC)

El Camino Health (Cecile Currier) Earns HeartCARE Center Designation & Named One of the Nation's Top Hospitals

El Camino Health (ECH)'s Norma Melchor Heart & Vascular Institute (HVI) has earned the HeartCARE Center National Distinction of Excellence, based on meeting stringent accreditation criteria, and through their ongoing performance registry reporting. The American College of Cardiology has recognized HVI for its demonstrated commitment to providing a comprehensive, high-quality heart program and cardiovascular care that exceeds national standards.
AND, for the sixth consecutive year, ECH has been honored as one of the top performing large community hospitals in the U.S. - named one of the nation's 100 Top Hospitals® according to an independent quality analysis provided by PINC AI™ and reported by Fortune. ECH is also the only hospital in California to earn an additional distinction as an Everest Award winner, just one of 29 hospitals nationwide to receive this prestigious honor. (BA)

Illumination Foundation's (Pooja Bhalla, DNP) Partnership with CalOptima & OC Health Care Agency is Highlighted in Recent Webinar

Illumination Foundation, CalOptima Health, and the Orange County Health Care Agency are partnering to smoothly transition people experiencing homelessness from recuperative care (medical respite) into permanent housing. The three have joined together as part of a grant from the California Health Care Foundation, which supports cross-sector teams of healthcare and homeless services organizations to improve care delivery and health and housing outcomes for Californians experiencing homelessness. Recently, representatives from the three organizations were part of a webinar - Building Connections Between Medical Respite Care and Permanent Housing: Lessons from Orange County, California - which highlighted their partnership approach, challenges they've encountered and how they navigated them, and the program's impact to date. Watch the webinar and download its slides at the link above. (OC)

Kaiser Permanente (Marcos Vasconcelos) Adds Digital Services to Assist Patients

Kaiser Permanente (KP) recently reported that the health system is enhancing its digital offerings for patients in a bid to make healthcare easier. KP has improved its digital check-in process, allowing patients to fill out pre-appointment forms and make copayments through their Kaiser app before arriving at the medical facility. The health system also rolled out geolocation technology that pinpoints the location of the user's device and destination. KP's app also allows patients to have the option to arrange follow-up video appointments and request prescription refills. (BA)

Life Adjustment Team (Cynthia Sampson) Examines Exercise as Medicine & Life Skills Training as Part of Psychosocial Rehab

In Exercise as Medicine: The Impact of Physical Activity on Depression, Life Adjustment Team (LAT) investigates how physical activity can enhance mood, decrease symptoms, and promote overall mental well-being by exploring the profound connection between exercise, physical health, and mental health.
AND, in Building Independence Through Life Skills Training in Psychosocial Rehabilitation, LAT explains how and why life skills training is integral to the psychosocial rehabilitation process, providing a framework to help people reach their potential and lead more meaningful lives (LA)

MedWand (Bob Rose) Debuts REACH: Rapid Electronic Assessment for Community Health

MedWand has developed an acronym - REACH, short for Rapid Electronic Assessment for Community Health. MedWand's REACH empowers caregivers, provides insight to patient status, and reduces avoidable hospitalizations. It enables collaborative clinical care to collect more than vitals, perform onsite and remote exams, and export results to electronic health records. (OC)

Nelson Hardiman (Harry Nelson, JD) Examines California's Office of Health Care Affordability & Implications of New Reproductive Health Laws

Nelson Hardiman's (NH) recent regulatory update - Taxing the Titans? How California's New Office of Health Care Affordability Takes Aim at "Big Health" - discusses the genesis of California's Office of Health Care Affordability (OHCA). Making a strategic departure from the notion of taxing already burdened individuals and employers, the OHCA focuses on scrutinizing large healthcare participants, such as hospitals and managed care organizations, with the goal of identifying untapped potential for savings and funding. NH ponders, will OHCA succeed in making healthcare more affordable?
AND, NH has made its recent webinar available to watch on demand: Implications of California's New Reproductive Healthcare Laws for Providers, presented by founding Partner Harry Nelson and Of Counsel Natalie Birnbaum. (LA)

On Lok (Grace Li) PACE Removes Barriers for Seniors Facing Isolation and Loneliness

In its recent celebration of National PACE Month, On Lok noted that while the COVID-19 pandemic may be behind us, California seniors are still suffering an epidemic of isolation and loneliness. Nearly 25% of adults age 65+ are considered socially isolated, and older adults are more likely to live alone or be homebound due to mobility issues or a lack of transportation. Loneliness and social isolation in older adults present a serious risk to their health, increasing their risk of dementia and other chronic conditions. According to the National Institute on Aging, the health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day. Meanwhile, On Lok's PACE Program stands out as a proven model that provides care to seniors in their own homes and empowers them to age with dignity and independence. Today, On Lok PACE serves 1,800+ seniors in San Francisco, Southern Alameda and Santa Clara counties, while nearly 70,000 frail seniors are served nationally by 153 PACE organizations in 32 states. Read more. (BA)

Onward (Steve Grau) Recognized in Digital Health Hub Foundation Awards

Onward was recently named a Quarter-finalist in the Digital Health Hub Foundation Awards, in the Longevity - Best in Class category. These awards recognize the achievements of innovative companies that are dramatically improving healthcare through the use of technology. More than 1500 companies competed in this year's event. Onward is also celebrating its recent completion of 50,000 companion rides. (BA)

PreludeDx (Dan Forche) Featured in DocWire News Interview

Dan Forche, CEO of PreludeDx, spoke with DocWire News regarding precision medicine and his company's DCISionRT's clinical impact for physicians and their patients with ductal carcinoma in situ. Dan also comments on PreludeDx's agreement with Medical Cost Containment Professionals and its significance. (OC)

Providence Digital Innovation Group (Marcee Chmait) Unveils Praia Health, Its 4th Incubated Technology

Providence announced that Praia Health, a new platform-as-a-service technology built by and for health systems, is the next incubated technology from Providence Digital Innovation Group (DIG). Adopting the proven digital flywheel concept for engaging and re-engaging consumers algorithmically, Praia Health removes barriers to patient care by personalizing individuals' health journeys and seamlessly connecting them to the right services, products and resources. Providence DIG is currently working with a select set of health systems, ecosystem partners and system integrators for Praia Health. Interested parties can contact the team at www.praiahealth.com. (LA)

Pulse Healthcare Marketing's Robin Raff Certified in AI Business Strategies & Applications

Robin Raff, CEO of Pulse Healthcare Marketing, recently obtained a new certification - Artificial Intelligence: Business Strategies and Applications - from Emeritus, which collaborates with more than 80 top-tier universities worldwide. Robin's courses were provided via UC Berkeley Executive Education. (BA)

Sheppard Mullin (Linda Igarashi) Examines New M&A Safe Harbor Policy & Pillars of Due Diligence

In DOJ Announces Mergers & Acquisitions Safe Harbor Policy, Sheppard Mullin (SM) reports that the Department of Justice recently announced the advent of a new safe harbor for companies that discover wrongdoing by the acquired business in the course of an M&A transaction. Buyers hoping to take advantage of this avenue for leniency would be well-advised to conduct thorough diligence and act quickly to report any wrongdoing they uncover, as the potential upsides for those who do so may be considerable considering the DOJ's new policy.
AND, in Pillars of Due Diligence, SM writes that given the current economic uncertainty, due diligence plays an increasingly critical role in the M&A process. Sellers and buyers alike need to implement a strategic approach to due diligence as they balance costs with the ability to provide a fully transparent process. SM provides a brief list of the primary due diligence items a seller and buyer may want to consider as part of their transaction. (OC)

WestFax (Barry Clark) "Leads the Pack" Among HIPAA-Compliant Fax Providers

WestFax is named among the Top HIPAA-Compliant Fax Providers of 2023 by Grit Daily, which says: "Leading the pack for 2023 is WestFax. Revered for its bespoke services tailored for the financial, healthcare, and government sectors, WestFax has made its mark by championing data security. Their reputation has been built over the years, with numerous institutions placing their trust in the platform's unyielding commitment to protecting sensitive information. While WestFax's security mechanisms are robust and continually updated to counter potential threats, it has also struck a balance by offering a user interface that's both intuitive and efficient, ensuring even first-time users find the process of faxing effortless." (OC)

Wipfli (Jeff Johnson) to Present Healthcare-Focused Webinar on Nov. 21

Wipfli will present a webinar on November 21 - Healthcare Connections: Strategic planning 2.0 - building an implementation road map for organization success - in which the firm's healthcare strategic planning team will share how healthcare organizations are bringing their strategic plans from vision to reality with high-performing implementation plans.
ALSO, a recent article from Wipfli includes 7 ways a cloud-based ERP helps you manage costs and care, aimed at healthcare providers. (BA)

Eckert & Ziegler (Frank Yeager) Signs Supply Agreements

Eckert & Ziegler AG (EZ) has signed a reservation agreement for the supply of the therapeutic radioisotope Actinium-225, used as an active substance in cancer treatment, whereby PharmaLogic Holdings Corp will have access to EZ's high-purity, non-carrier-added Ac-225 for the labeling of radiopharmaceuticals for R&D work and commercial use.
PLUS, EZ signed an agreement with POINT Biopharma Global for the supply of carrier-free lutetium-177. POINT's pipeline has multiple lutetium 177-based clinical candidates including for the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. (LA)

GIDEON Informatics (Uri Blackman) on: Successful Mass Vaccination Programs

In Successful Mass Vaccination Programs: From Smallpox to COVID-19, GIDEON Informatics shares that the World Health Organization (WHO) has just approved a second vaccine to prevent malaria, an important milestone in the fight against this highly contagious disease. An effective mass vaccination campaign is desperately needed since there is no effective treatment for malaria. GIDEON notes that such programs helped us eradicate smallpox, significantly reduce polio cases, and lower the number of deaths, severe diseases, and hospitalizations from diphtheria, cholera, tetanus, influenza, rubella, measles, and more. GIDEON goes on to look at three notable mass immunization campaigns, starting with COVID-19.
MEANWHILE, GIDEON recently announced that its ebook on infectious diseases in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza would be free for 30 days. This data can help frontline relief efforts. (LA)

New California Law Raises Minimum Wage for Health Care Workers Beginning June 1, 2024

On October 13, 2023, California Governor Newsom signed California Senate Bill No. 525 into law, which gradually raises the minimum wage to $25 for California health care workers. Beginning June 1, 2024, SB 525 requires most health care facilities to raise minimum wages for their employees, with the rate of the wage increases depending on the type of facility. Unless expressly exempted, facilities providing health care services must comply with the minimum wage increases under SB 525. The term "health care services" is defined broadly to mean "patient care-related services including nursing; caregiving; services provided by medical residents, interns, or fellows; technical and ancillary services; janitorial work; housekeeping; groundskeeping; guard duties; business office clerical work; food services; laundry; medical coding and billing; call center and warehouse work; scheduling; and gift shop work; but only where such services support patient care." (https://www.kslaw.com/news-and-insights/health-headlines-october-23-2023)

Consumers are Happier with Health Insurers than Hospitals

Consumers rate their satisfaction with health insurers higher than with hospitals, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The index scored overall satisfaction with health insurers at 76 out of 100, the highest the industry has ever received, according to an Oct. 17 news release. Hospitals were rated at 74 out of 100. According to the Satisfaction Index, consumers report much higher levels of satisfaction with outpatient care, which received a score of 81 out of 100. The index is based on interviews with 12,849 customers conducted between October 2022 and September 2023. (https://www.beckerspayer.com/payer/consumers-are-happier-with-health-insurers-than-hospitals.html)

Healthcare is Unaffordable Even for Insured Americans: Survey

As health care costs continue to rise, more than half of working-age Americans said they've struggled to afford care this year, according to a new Commonwealth Fund survey. Nearly a third of adults reported having medical or dental debt, and nearly half of them said it's at least $2,000. Other results included: 57% said at least one-tenth of their monthly budget goes toward health care. 43% of those in employer-sponsored health insurance, which is the largest source of insurance coverage in the U.S., said they had difficulty affording care. Almost 40% of adults reported skipping or putting off health care in the past year because they couldn't afford it. Of this group, 57% said their health worsened as a result. About 33% adults said health care costs made it harder to pay for food and utilities, regardless of their coverage status. (https://www.axios.com/2023/10/26/health-care-unaffordable-insurance)

"Why AI Is Medicine's Biggest Moment Since Antibiotics"

The dean of Stanford University's medical school, Dr. Lloyd Minor, thinks artificial intelligence will transform the medicines you take, the care you get and the training of doctors. Dr. Minor has teamed up with Fei-Fei Li, co-director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, to launch an initiative called Responsible AI for Safe and Equitable Health, or Raise-Health, which the two groups are funding together. It aims to serve as a repository for key research, to gather experts to discuss AI and to tackle ethical concerns in its application. Dr. Minor spoke with the Wall Street Journal about how he expects AI to change medicine: https://www.wsj.com/tech/ai/artificial-intelligence-medicine-innovation-6739b4f8?mod=hp_lista_pos3

Telemedicine: DEA Again Extends Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Medications

The COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges to the health care system, especially for patients who rely on controlled medications for their treatment. In response, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued several waivers and temporary rules to facilitate the practice of telemedicine and allow for the prescription of controlled medications via online platforms. The most recent extension, announced on October 6, 2023, prolongs these flexibilities until December 31, 2024, providing telemedicine providers a longer runway and more time to develop competitive strategies befitting the post-pandemic healthcare economy. Read Nelson Hardiman's Regulatory Update on the topic: One More Lifeline for Telemedicine: DEA Again Extends Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Medications. (https://www.nelsonhardiman.com/dea-again-extends-flexibilities-for-prescription-of-controlled-medications/)

FDA's Latest Salvo in the Laboratory Developed Tests Wars

The Food & Drug Administration recently published a long-awaited proposed rule on laboratory developed tests - showing that FDA is still asserting that it has statutory authority over all laboratory developed tests and has not significantly changed its thinking on laboratory developed tests since it issued draft guidance on the topic in 2014. The proposed rule is open for public comment through December 2, 2023. (https://kslawemail.com/128/10749/uploads/ca-(1).pdf)

Agencies Propose Changes to No Surprises Act Independent Dispute Resolution Process Operations

On October 27, 2023, the Departments of HHS, Labor, and Treasury and the Office of Personnel Management released a proposed rule updating the payor-provider dispute resolution process under the federal No Surprises Act. The proposed rule (the IDR Operations Proposed Rule) focuses on the operations of the independent dispute resolution (IDR) process and does not address the controversial dispute resolution criteria. If finalized, the IDR Operations Proposed Rule would modify the requirements for pre-dispute negotiation communications between plans and providers, expand upon the pre-dispute eligibility determination processes, and change the administrative fee structure. The IDR Operations Proposed Rule also provides new batching provisions. The IDR Portal opened for disputes on April 15, 2022. The Departments reported that 489,000+ disputes were submitted between April 2022 and July 2023, and that as a result of this unexpected high volume the dispute resolution process is taking longer than required under prior rulemaking. (https://kslawemail.com/128/10770/pages/art1.asp?sid=a0584477-26cc-45d7-927b-4d37da9d9c38)

CMS Announces the End-Stage Renal Disease Prospective Payment System for Calendar Year 2024

CMS issued a final rule on October 27, 2023, that updates payment rates and policies under the end-stage renal disease (ESRD) prospective payment system (PPS) for renal dialysis services provided to Medicare beneficiaries on or after January 1, 2024. The changes to the ESRD PPS will provide a bundled, per-treatment payment to ESRD facilities that covers all renal analysis services provided for outpatient maintenance dialysis, including drugs, biological products, and other items and services that were previously separately payable. The final rule also includes several changes to the payment policies, such as reporting requirements for discarded dialysis drugs and biological products. (https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/calendar-year-2024-end-stage-renal-disease-esrd-prospective-payment-system-pps-final-rule-cms-1782-f)

FDA Warns 26 Eye Drop Products Could Cause Dangerous Infections

U.S. health officials are warning consumers to stop using more than two dozen over-the-counter eye drop products due to the potential risk of eye infection that could lead to vision loss. The FDA recently issued the alert for 26 products from the following brands: CVS Health, Leader (Cardinal Health), Rugby (Cardinal Health), Rite Aid, Target Up&Up and Velocity Pharma. The agency said it recommended the manufacturers to recall the subject products, after FDA investigators found bacterial contamination in critical drug production areas of a manufacturing facility. None of the products have caused adverse effects in consumers yet (as of article publication). (https://www.npr.org/2023/10/29/1209279307/fda-eyedrops-contamination)

CISA, HHS Release Collaborative Cybersecurity Healthcare Toolkit

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently co-hosted a roundtable discussion on the cybersecurity challenges that the U.S. healthcare and public health sector system faces, and how government and industry can work together to close the gaps in resources and cyber capabilities. Ahead of the roundtable, CISA and HHS released a cybersecurity tool kit that includes resources tailored for the healthcare and public health sector. This toolkit is at www.CISA.gov/healthcare and consolidates resources like: CISA's Cyber Hygiene Services; HHS's Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices; and HHS and the HSCC's HPH Sector Cybersecurity Framework Implementation Guide.  (https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2023/10/25/cisa-hhs-release-collaborative-cybersecurity-healthcare-toolkit.html)

$330+ Million in New Funding Announced to Advance Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative + Improve Health Care Research, Treatment & Outcomes

The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an agency within HHS, recently announced a series of research projects totaling over $330 million that will support biomedical health breakthroughs aimed at improving health solutions and health care for the American public. ARPA-H makes pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies and broadly applicable platforms, capabilities, resources, and solutions with the potential to transform important areas of medicine and health that cannot readily be accomplished through traditional research or commercial activity. Last year, President Biden worked with Democrats and Republicans in Congress to establish and fund ARPA-H to drive breakthroughs to prevent, detect, and treat cancer and other diseases. ARPA-H is now moving aggressively to advance the goals of the Biden Cancer Moonshot and the President's Unity Agenda, among other initiatives.
Initiatives include:
>> Up to $50M in funding for six contract awards through the Digital Health Security project, to protect the U.S. health care system's electronic infrastructure.
>> Up to $26M for a newly funded project that aims to lay the groundwork for the development of 3D printed, fully-functional human organs.
>> Up to $37M in project funding to restore function to the thymus, an organ responsible for supporting normal immune cell development, and potentially restore immune system function as people age.
>> A new project to combat the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
>> 3 major projects for radical new ways to detect and treat cancer.
>> The launch of ARPANET-H, a nationwide health innovation network. (https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2023/09/29/biden-harris-admin-announces-over-330-mil-dollars-in-new-funding-to-advance-biden-cancer-moonshot-initiative-improve-health-care-research-treatment-and-outcomes.html)

California Revises Proposed Rules for Healthcare Transaction Filings

The California Office of Healthcare Affordability (OHCA) recently released updated regulations pertaining to the healthcare transaction notice requirements that will apply to transactions that close on or after April 1, 2024. On June 30, 2022, the Health Care Quality and Affordability Act (SB 184) was signed into law in California. The new law established OHCA and set forth that OHCA would be tasked with overseeing and containing healthcare spending in California. As part of that responsibility, OHCA would review certain proposed healthcare transactions in the state. Earlier this year, OHCA published proposed regulations to govern the review of proposed healthcare transactions that close on or after April 1, 2024. Beginning on April 1, 2024, a "health care entity" is required to provide written notice to OHCA at least 90 days prior to entering into a covered agreement or transaction. Within 60 days, OHCA will advise the entity whether OHCA will conduct a cost and market impact review (CMIR) or provide a written waiver. OHCA must conduct a CMIR if the proposed transaction is "likely to have a risk of a significant impact on market competition, the state's ability to meet cost targets, or costs for purchasers and consumers." OHCA may not block a transaction, but the review could take longer than the 90-day notice period and should be factored into a transaction's closing timeline. https://www.kslaw.com/news-and-insights/health-headlines-october-23-2023

CEOs' Great Resignation

Across all industries, 164 CEOs left their posts in September, according to the most recent report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas (CGC), an executive outplacement firm that tracks turnover month to month. That's the highest total on record for the third quarter. The problem persists in healthcare; hospitals and health systems, all of which reported 125 CEO changes in the first nine months of the year, up 67% from the same time period in 2022. Fortune recently described CEO turnover as a "Great Resignation" of its own. CGC data shows that most companies are vague about CEO departures. Although 22% of exits can be attributed to retirements, and 17% stepped down into other C-level, advisory or board roles, the uncertain economy might also be playing a role. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/ceos-great-resignation.html)

Apple Watch Now Tracks Time Spent in Daylight

A new feature in Apple Watch Series 6 and later versions uses the device's ambient light sensor, GPS and motion sensors to track the amount of time the wearer spends outdoors. Too much exposure to the sun without protection is detrimental to human health, but too little sun exposure and time indoors is also detrimental, and Apple says the Time in Daylight feature can encourage people to spend more time outdoors. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2023/10/11/apple-watch-health-daylight-tracker/)

Cedars-Sinai Launches Virtual Care App with AI Chatbot

LA's Cedars-Sinai has launched a 24/7 virtual care app that uses artificial intelligence to evaluate patients. Cedars-Sinai Connect offers virtual urgent care around the clock and same-day primary care appointments. The health system developed the platform as a joint venture with digital health company K Health, which uses AI for clinical intake and data entry to speed up appointments. When patients log into Cedars-Sinai Connect, an AI chatbot collects health details and symptoms and then generates a summary for the virtual clinicians. The app, which is integrated with Cedars-Sinai's EHR, is available for California patients and accepts any insurance that the health system takes. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/digital-health/cedars-sinai-launches-virtual-care-app-with-ai-chatbot.html)

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