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Friday
Mar292019

Friday Five: Top 5 healthcare business news items from the MCOL Weekend edition

Every business day, MCOL posts feature stories making news on the business of health care. Here are five we think are particularly important for this week: 

Ruling creates uncertainty for states’ Medicaid work rules

The governor whose state is at the center of the fight over work requirements for Medicaid recipients said Thursday he wants to fight a judge’s ruling blocking those rules, while Republicans elsewhere are trying to determine the decision’s effect on their state.

Seattle Times

Friday, March 29, 2019 

Trump administration suffers another Obamacare blow in court

The Trump administration has lost another Obamacare legal battle — its second this week — just as the president has revived his drive to destroy and replace the 2010 health law.

Politico

Friday, March 29, 2019 

Centene to buy smaller rival WellCare Health Plans in deal worth $17.3 billion

Major U.S. health insurer Centene will purchase government-sponsored health-care provider WellCare Health Plans in a cash and stock deal valued at $17.3 billion.

USA Today

Friday, March 29, 2019 

Medicaid Expansion Boosts Hospital Bottom Lines — And Prices

The Medicaid expansion promoted by the Affordable Care Act was a boon for St. Mary’s Medical Center, the largest hospital in western Colorado. Since 2014, the number of uninsured patients it served dropped by more than half, saving the nonprofit hospital more than $3 million a year.

Kaiser Health News

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 

Purdue Pharma settles with Oklahoma in landmark opioid lawsuit

Purdue Pharma and the state of Oklahoma have agreed to a $270 million settlement in a lawsuit that claims the illegal marketing of OxyContin helped lead to the opioid crisis.

The Hill

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 

These and more weekly news items on the business of healthcare are featured in the MCOL Weekend edition, along with the MCOL Tidbits, and more, for MCOL Premium level members.

Friday
Mar292019

Cigna Study: More Stressed + Less Rested + Less Family & Friends Time = America

Cigna has released their 2019 360 Well Being Survey: Well and Beyond, a 15-page report “that explores perceptions of well-being across five key indicators – physical, family, social, financial and work – in 22 countries, including the United States.” Their findings indicate applicable measure for the U.S. are all getting worse – not better. Jose Quesada, Cigna’s Chief Medical Officer, International Markets tells us “we’re seeing high incidences of stress, poor sleep quality and less time connecting with loved ones, which all can have a profound impact on one’s physical health.”

Overall the study found "the global well-being index remained largely steady at 62.0 points, closer to 2017 levels, with a marginal improvement from 2018’s decline;" and that "geographically, India, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Indonesia showed the strongest improvement in overall wellness with a rise of between 2.1 and 4.4 points, while the US, New Zealand, Taiwan and Singapore showed slight drops, with New Zealand reporting the largest fall." 

The survey results for Americans include:

  • Only 28% reported being at a healthy weight
  • 33% know their Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • 60%+ know their blood pressure
  • Four of five Americans report feeling stressed
  • Only 25% report employer assistance/support f in managing stress – down 17% from 2018
  • 61% said their employer did not provide or sponsor any workplace wellness program
  • Only 35% report they get sufficient sleep at night, down six points from 2017
  • 32% report having “good quality sleep,” down eight points from 2017
  • 45% attested to feeling excellent/very good about the amount of time spent with family, compared to 51% in 2017
  • 62% of Americans spend sufficient time with friends, down five points from 2018

 

Friday
Mar222019

Healthcare Incumbents: Watch Your Sides as Well As Your Back For Disruptions

By Clive Riddle, March 22, 2019 

Reuters reports that “United Parcel Service Inc wants to get beyond U.S. doorsteps with a new push into healthcare.” They tell us “the world’s largest package delivery firm is preparing to test a U.S. service that dispatches nurses to vaccinate adults in their homes, Reuters has learned, as the company and its healthcare clients work to fend off cost pressures and competitive threats from Amazon.com.” 

Deloitte, in a recent paper on the Health Plan of Tomorrow, that is the subject of an upcoming webinar, asks who will win the future of healthcare and health insurance: incumbents or disrupters> They tell us that “incumbents’ decisions will determine wither disrupters will be willing to partner with them in the transformation or compete and disrupt their business models.” 

Disrupters and Incumbents, it seems, are relative terms. We often think of disrupters as startups, and incumbents as established companies. But clearly the terms apply to lines of business, as opposed to the business as a whole. So UPS the incumbent in package delivery can become a disrupter in healthcare. Existing healthcare incumbents need to not just watch their backs for startup disrupters seeking to pass them by, but watch their sides as well, from established disrupters. 

UPS has touted healthcare supply chain management for some time. Then in May last year they announced “Chris Cassidy as vice president of global healthcare logistics strategy. He is charged with leading and advancing UPS’s commitment to the healthcare supply chain, which remains a top company priority….Cassidy possesses 18+ years of global logistics and business change experience, holding various supply chain operations, strategy and transformation roles at global healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).”

Reuters states that “the world’s largest package delivery firm is preparing to test a U.S. service that dispatches nurses to vaccinate adults in their homes, Reuters has learned, as the company and its healthcare clients work to fend off cost pressures and competitive threats from Amazon.com UPS did not disclose which vaccines it would be using in the project, but drug and vaccine maker Merck & Co told Reuters it is looking at partnering with the company for the initiative.” 

How far and how disruptive this plays out to be remains to be seen, but the transformative potential is there for more healthcare to be transferred from provider settings to the home. And then of course, when patients with more complex needs have to set foot outside the home into provider settings and back again, there is now the disruption taking place with UberHealth and Lyft Healthcare, who have been around long enough to be incumbents in personal transportation but now disrupt in healthcare transportation. The Uber and Lyft disruption is being further fueled by SDOH (Social Determinants of Health), causing CRM incumbent Salesforce to recently roll “out new ‘social determinant’ tool for patients who need other kinds of help, like a ride to the doctor.” And now Uber and Lyft face startups like Veyo solely focusing on peer-to-peer healthcare transportation. 

So who is an incumbent and who is a disruptor? While answering be sure to watch your sides as well as your backs.

 

Friday
Mar222019

Friday Five: Top 5 healthcare business news items from the MCOL Weekend edition

Every business day, MCOL posts feature stories making news on the business of health care. Here are five we think are particularly important for this week: 

Government watchdog: Costly air ambulances can put patients at 'financial risk'

Air ambulances can be life-saving for critically ill patients who need to get to a hospital quickly, but they can also put patients in financial risk, according to a study conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Hill

Friday, March 22, 2019 

Health Plans For State Employees Use Medicare's Hammer On Hospital Bills

States. They're just as perplexed as the rest of us over the ever-rising cost of health care premiums.

NPR

Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Fentanyl-Linked Deaths: The U.S. Opioid Epidemic's Third Wave Begins

Men are dying after opioid overdoses at nearly three times the rate of women in the United States. Overdose deaths are increasing faster among black and Latino Americans than among whites. And there's an especially steep rise in the number of young adults ages 25 to 34 whose death certificates include some version of the drug fentanyl.

NPR

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Bayer shares slide after latest Roundup cancer ruling

Shares in Germany’s Bayer’s fell more than 12 percent on Wednesday after a second U.S. jury ruled its Roundup weed killer caused cancer.

Reuters

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

Ohio accuses UnitedHealth's OptumRx of drug overcharges in lawsuit

Ohio’s attorney general on Monday said he had filed a lawsuit against UnitedHealth Group Inc’s OptumRx unit, saying the pharmacy benefit manager had overcharged the state nearly $16 million for prescription drugs.

Reuters

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

These and more weekly news items on the business of healthcare are featured in the MCOL Weekend edition, along with the MCOL Tidbits, and more, for MCOL Premium level members.

Friday
Mar152019

An Innovative Acquisition for HCA

by Clive Riddle, March 15, 2019

Nashville-based HCA Healthcare has just announced that HCA will become the majority owner of the parent company of Galen College of Nursing, one of the largest educators of nurses in the nation.  HCA, of course, is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services, comprising 185 hospitals and approximately 1,800 sites of care.

The announcement states that “The innovative new strategic partnership brings together two of the top nursing organizations in the country in order to increase access to nursing education and provide career development opportunities in nursing to improve patient care. With 94,000 registered nurses, HCA Healthcare is one of the largest employers of nurses in the country, with nurses holding positions from bedside caregivers in a variety of healthcare settings to leadership positions throughout the organization.”

Hospital funding and partnerships for nursing education certainly isn’t new. For example, here’s a website providing a state-by-state listing of 123 such hospital arrangements, which they acknowledge is only a partial list.

But what is innovative is to move beyond strategic partnerships with an outright acquisition.  Not only does the move create synergy for HCA’s staff career development, it should also serve as a burse recruitment tool for HCA, in an environment where hospitals compete for nursing staffing.

Furthermore, this perhaps signals that healthcare organizations will continue to peek and climb further out-of-the-box with acquisitions beyond traditional M&A of other healthcare providers.  Deloitte, in a discussion of the Health Plan of Tomorrow that is the subject of an upcoming webinar, writes that "buy, share or build? is a question many health plan leaders will face as they begin this transformation journey. And accessing these capabilities may require an industry-agnostic approach. As new players break the rules around who plays what role in the industry, health plans may need to turn to want might today be considered strange bedfellows: competitors, providers, manufacturers, technology companies, transactional sector companies, and/or other industries for answers."

The same holds true for healthcare providers as for health plans.  And so HCA and Galen seem to be pairing up on a transformative journey as well.