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Weekender 9/18/20

September 18, 2020 Weekender 3 Comments


Weekly News Recap

  • Amwell raises $742 million in its IPO.
  • Provation acquires EPreop.
  • MDLive secures investment totalling $75 million.
  • Change Healthcare announces plans to permanently close its Nashville headquarters.
  • Amazon opens up its HIPAA-compliant Alexa skill program to interested app developers.
  • Apple adds a blood oxygen monitoring feature to the newest version of Apple Watch.
  • Kaiser Permanente launches Virtual Plus, a virtual-forward health plan for members in six Washington counties.

Best Reader Comments

Over the last few years, I have seen a lot of fancy AI driven care coordination tools, I have seen commercials from payers and health systems on how they are taking better care of their members and patients. But personally (for myself and for my family), I have not seen any improvement in how care is delivered to me. I have never ever received an individualized outreach from my insurance company (AI-driven or not) or my provider regarding the risks that I may face. I still struggle on hard to navigate websites to find the right provider. I still fumble through five different patient portal accounts to keep track of my own data. Even during the last six months of COVID-19 crises, I have not received even a generic email of empathy from my current insurance provider. Is the root cause of this complete lack of consumer care the fact that in the employer-driven medical care insurance world, the only customer that insurers like UMR have to please is the benefits manager at the employer? And those benefits managers typically don’t seek feedback from employees on whether they are satisfied with the insurance options? (US_MedicalCare)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits


Readers funded the Donors Choose grant request of first-year teacher Ms. A, who asked for STEM resource kits for her California kindergarten class. She reports, “My students and I want to thank you for your generosity to our project, STEM in Kinder. These supplies are being used every day during our science time. My students were very excited when they first saw the supplies arrive. Once again, I cannot thank you enough for your help with this project. Most importantly, thank you so much for supporting my students and me. Especially this year it will make a huge difference in the lives of my students while they are learning from home.”


A veterinarian at an Illinois zoo asks a “human doctor” to perform a hysterectomy on a monkey with a rare form of uterine cancer. OB-GYN Justin Hinzman, MD performed the procedure, noting that it felt strange because the patient was the size of a human toddler.

The Philippines banned nurses from leaving the country to work elsewhere because of its own COVID-19 needs, but working conditions there are so bad that most of those whose travel was denied aren’t working as nurses anyway. The country previously encouraged them to seek overseas employment that paid multiples of what they could earn at home, allowing them to send money back to their families. They make up 4% of the US nurse total.


A North Dakota doctor is arrested in a prostitution sting operation at Hong Kong Spa, a massage parlor he owns. An employee says he is a “false owner” who was paid by the real owners to put his name on the business license.


A hospice nurse makes the wish of a 50-year-old terminal cancer patient happen when she gets a private pilot to fly him to his son’s first high school football game of the season, an away game that was too far for him to travel by car.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Your employer/insurance wants to decrease your use of healthcare so that they don’t pay as much. Sending you advertising for healthcare (services) typically increases utilization. Care coordination is expensive in itself and often actually drives up utilization. The majority of Americans at this point are putting off some healthcare issue. Get them into a care Management program and suddenly youre paying for the issue they neglected for the last five years in order to make rent. Pay close attention to their issue and now you catch all the stuff that needs more medical attention. In conclusion, the answer to the question “Why don’t they X?” Is because X doesn’t make them money.

    • IANAL, Unless entities are being funded under a value-based / alternative payment model? In which case it makes both clinical and finanical sense to get patients into an appropriate care management program with the right interventions and support to reduce ED visits, admissions, readmissions, and post-acute care utilization over the long term.

      • The poster referred to their employer, therefore presumably commercial health insurance. In this model, value based care is typically “pay for quality” programs rather than models in which the incentives of those providing care is truly aligned with the patient. Essentially it is fee for service with an added qualifier that if the doc screws up and the patient gets readmitted the insurer reduces the payment for that service. It’s not the care team truly getting in front of issues before they come up or being responsible for the health of the patient long term. In maybe 2% of the commercial population do the providers actually have skin in the game and bear some of that downside risk.

        In other words, value based care in the commercial market is a sleight of hand that means payment coupled to minimum quality standards more than it means an entity being cost effective or being aligned with the patients needs, which is what the original commentator and the american voter/consumer are after.

        In relation to the options available to the original poster, this reform barely exists and I agree that those involved in the american healthcare system should be ashamed that they have only cleared this extremely low bar.

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