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Weekender 3/19/21

March 19, 2021 Weekender No Comments


Weekly News Recap

  • Transcarent executive chairman Glen Tullman adds the CEO role to his responsibilities.
  • Social services referral platform vendor Unite Us raises $150 million.
  • Amazon announces plans to expand its employee-only virtual care service to 50 states, then offer it to other employers.
  • Analytics vendor Clarify Health raises $115 million.
  • A study finds that two-thirds of the country’s largest hospitals are not complying with new federal pricing transparency rules.
  • Tegria acquires Cumberland.
  • Tech-enabled kidney care company Strive Health raises $140 million.
  • Grand Rounds acquires Doctor On Demand.
  • HIMSS pays $2.8 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by HIMSS20 exhibitors over unrefunded fees.
  • HIMSS21 registration opens.

Best Reader Comments

From Amazon’s announcement, the service and sales model is basically Teladoc. I think the big question is if Amazon expects the venture to ever make money or just make financial sense for their employment expenses? I think it will be like Walmart, where they initially focused on their own employees, that didn’t work too well, so they tried to pivot to selling via in-store clinics, which didn’t work, so they gave up and outsourced it to like VillageMD or something. (IANAL)

I think we are starting to see the growth of some subscription-based service for telehealth. Just a matter of whether it will be privatized or socialized subscriptions.(Elizabeth H. H. Holmes)

Most measures required for ambulatory and pop health purposes are designed with zero consideration of the reality of clinical data and patient journeys across siloed information systems. Appropriate that the story directly follows the analysis of the failures in COVID-19 data. When the measurement system is designed without consideration of the data sources, chaos ensues. (Quality4Evah)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits


Readers funded the Donors Choose teacher grant request of Ms. D, who asked for supplies and tote bags for her elementary school class in Maine. She reports,  “On the first two days of school, students were able to color their tote bags and pencil bags. They were so excited that they had new markers to use and could not believe that they could decorate their own bags. They could not believe that they were allowed to keep the materials at home. The white board and markers was the most exciting item in the bag. The students were yelling with excitement that they had their very own white board to use at home. They use it when they are learning remotely to show me math equations and math work. It is much easier than trying to write on a laptop with a mouse! The students take a picture of their work on the white board and send it to me so I can see it. Thank you so much for your generous donations to help my students engage while learning at home.”

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The founders of bankrupt digestive tract microbiome testing company UBiome are indicted on federal healthcare and securities fraud charges. The company started by selling a “Gut Explorer” test directly to consumers for under $100, but then expanded its business to offer similar tests for medical professionals for which the company would seek up to $3,000 in insurance payments, with the intention of boosting revenue to attract investors for its Series B and Series C fundraising rounds. The company billed $300 million and collected $35 million.

A federal grand jury charges a Florida doctor, clinic owner, and clinic employees with falsifying clinical trials data by enrolling ineligible participants, falsifying medical records, and falsely stating that participants were taking the drugs being studied. Martin Valdes, MD, the study’s lead investigator, was charged with mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and making a false statement to FDA inspectors.


Spectrum Health launches an investigation after OB/GYN residents post photos of the removed organs of surgical patients to Instagram, saying that the OR staff regularly play “guess the weight” of the removed tissue.


Washington University in St. Louis surgery and emergency medicine professor Tiffany Osborn, MD, MSc – who works in the ED and ICU of BJC — moves back into her house after a year of living in an RV parked in her driveway to avoid infecting her family. She would work three weeks without a day off, get tested, and then spend a couple of days with her family before going back to work. She moved back after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

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