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Weekender 10/8/21

October 8, 2021 Weekender No Comments


Weekly News Recap

  • Virgin Pulse announces that it will acquire Welltok.
  • Healthcare Triangle revises its $40 million IPO plans down to $21 million.
  • Carbon Health acquires remote patient monitoring tools vendor Alertive Healthcare.
  • Evolent Health acquires Vital Decisions.
  • Cerner launches RevElate, which will be its single go-forward patient accounting system.
  • Three large health systems launch Graphite Health, a non-profit that will help member organizations with digital health solutions.
  • Quality measurement and clinical intelligence platform vendor Apervita shuts down.
  • David Feinberg, MD, MBA takes the helm as president and CEO of Cerner.
  • Cerner, reversing its previous position, will require US employees to be vaccinated by December 8.

Best Reader Comments

If all that Jobs + Woz had done had been the Apple I & II, they would have been important. Add in the Mac and they became industry leaders. Now add to that the iPhone, iPod, Apple Music, iPad, and more. Jobs also had those interesting side projects of NeXT and Pixar. Thank goodness that Jobs didn’t fade away during Apple’s low point in the 1990s. (Brian Too)

Many people, especially those with serious mental illnesses, have very brittle illness, just like a brittle diabetic. No one would think of terminating a brittle diabetic from care just because their glucose levels are under control by one or more glucose measurements. So why are we even discussing the “benefits” of “measurement based care” in making quicker transitions and terminations of care for those with psychiatric disorders for whom we know that a stable consistent therapeutic alliance is just as important (if not more so) than in other clinical contexts. Perhaps, in addition to the other barriers to using patient reported outcomes in mental health treatment, clinicians are being understandably cautious in trying to protect their patients from even greater harm and outright discrimination and victimization by insurers and others. (Concerned clinician)

I don’t know anything about Apervita, but it seems like an extremely consulting heavy business, one that wants to be product-like. In my idea of consulting’s business model, lots of senior rock star consultants are the exact opposite of what you need for product-based consulting. Implementing quality measures seems very similar to the most common type of consulting business: implementing new accounting practices and performing accounting audits. The big accounting firms know that this work does not require rock stars. It requires a few senior people to sell to the C suite and verify juniors’ work, and it needs an army of juniors to do piles of grunt work for a manageable cost, which in turn necessitates a hiring pipeline so you always have a fresh crop of juniors to replace the attrition of juniors aging into seniors, being poached, or otherwise leaving. The most successful companies in the accounting consulting market are the ones who are the best at hiring and managing lots of juniors. (IANAL)

I tend to refer to HR, legal, and marketing as the “pink ghetto.” It’s unfortunate, really. It’s difficult to be CEO when you haven’t been responsible for P&L. (Pamela)

Will having someone with informatics experience directing the Joint Commission make it more or less likely that they will continue to (1) Demand more EHR documentation that doesn’t help patients but burns out clinical staff; (2) Require use of “evidence based” scales for which the evidence of actual benefit is weak (e.g. C-SSRS); (3) Terrorize organizations with the threat of impending visits while they are just trying to stay ahead of a raging pandemic. Yes, I understand that the Joint Commission is just doing what CMS tells them to audit, but it’s also clear that they have a neat little racket going, frightening organizations into paying for their consulting services in the hope of not getting dinged in the next visit. Has anyone actually examined the evidence that the CMS conditions of participation and the other Joint Commission requirements are actually worthwhile? Perhaps health care organizations should band together and just say no to JCAHO.  (Joint question)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits


Readers funded the Donors Choose teacher grant request of Ms. C in North Carolina, who asked for headphones and teacher motivational stamp for her combined kindergarten and first grade class. She reports, “Thank you so much for your generosity to our classroom. Our school has IPads that our students use for independent reading and lessons. With kindergarten and first grade students, they are able to have the iPad read aloud to them. Unfortunately it becomes very disruptive for the students to focus on their lesson when the student next to them is listening to a lesson. The headphones allow the students to focus on their own lesson. Focusing on their own lessons and reading will allow them to be more successful in the classroom.”


A Virginia woman’s tweet earns puzzlement and scorn for the US health system from Twitter users in other countries who understandably misinterpret the hospital’s charge description for CPT 96127,  a short mental screening questionnaire whose full description is “brief emotional / behavioral assessment.” Those Twitter users are directionally correct in their brief emotion at how our health system differs so wildly from theirs and the rest of the civilized world – a company has turned CPT 96127 into a business by selling quiz software that doctors can use to generate up to four of the charge items per patient visit.

Federal agents arrest 18 former professional basketball players who are charged with defrauding the NBA out of $4 million by submitting fake medical claims for reimbursement. They were caught because of mistakes they made in creating the claims, such as one player claiming that he had dental work in Beverly Hills during a week he was playing in Taiwan. Others may have recalled their college days when they copied each other’s claims, with multiple players declaring that they had the same dental procedures performed on the same six teeth on the same days. 


A St. Louis children’s hospital doctor follows through on her promise to a nine-year-old with aplastic anemia that if a bone marrow transplant caused the girl’s hair to fall out, she would shave her own head. She even let the patient do the honors.

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