Health Industry – Open Mind http://open-mind.org/ Mon, 19 Jul 2021 01:42:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 https://open-mind.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-6-150x150.png Health Industry – Open Mind http://open-mind.org/ 32 32 Tom Bacon, Gene Cochrane, Jr., John Frank, and Bill Pully: The Golden Chance for NC Health Care at Last | Columnists https://open-mind.org/tom-bacon-gene-cochrane-jr-john-frank-and-bill-pully-the-golden-chance-for-nc-health-care-at-last-columnists/ https://open-mind.org/tom-bacon-gene-cochrane-jr-john-frank-and-bill-pully-the-golden-chance-for-nc-health-care-at-last-columnists/#respond Mon, 19 Jul 2021 00:00:00 +0000 https://open-mind.org/tom-bacon-gene-cochrane-jr-john-frank-and-bill-pully-the-golden-chance-for-nc-health-care-at-last-columnists/ Of all the policy recipes to help these people, Medicaid’s closing the void would be the most comprehensive, experts agree – one that would benefit our rural communities tremendously. The funds would support rural hospitals and clinics and offer health insurance to workers who do not have an option to work with health insurance. To […]]]>


Of all the policy recipes to help these people, Medicaid’s closing the void would be the most comprehensive, experts agree – one that would benefit our rural communities tremendously. The funds would support rural hospitals and clinics and offer health insurance to workers who do not have an option to work with health insurance.

To get a clear picture of what the coverage gap means in your garden, Care4Carolina, an association of more than 110 members from health, business and religious organizations, has just launched a district-specific search engine at www.care4carolina.com.

Whether you are in an urban county or in the countryside, you can find the list of thousands of neighbors who are uninsured. Richard Craver, of the Winston-Salem Journal, used the map to find that the 14-county Triad region and northwest North Carolina had 123,956 in the coverage gap, with Guilford County topping the table at 35,194.

This includes working parents and veterans, restaurant workers, and business owners. You can also find the number of jobs that would fill the gap in hospitals and in the local health sectors.

The high number of uninsured in North Carolina is alarming and possibly the Achilles’ heel of our economic recovery. The good news, however, is that the timing has never been better to fill the coverage gap.



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What ever happened to IBM’s Watson? https://open-mind.org/what-ever-happened-to-ibms-watson/ https://open-mind.org/what-ever-happened-to-ibms-watson/#respond Sun, 18 Jul 2021 09:59:21 +0000 https://open-mind.org/what-ever-happened-to-ibms-watson/ IBM insists its revamped AI strategy – a scaled-down, less world-changing goal – works. The job of resurrecting growth was entrusted to Arvind Krishna, a computer scientist who became chief executive last year after leading the recent overhaul of IBM’s cloud and AI business. But the great visions of the past are gone. Today, Watson […]]]>


IBM insists its revamped AI strategy – a scaled-down, less world-changing goal – works. The job of resurrecting growth was entrusted to Arvind Krishna, a computer scientist who became chief executive last year after leading the recent overhaul of IBM’s cloud and AI business.

But the great visions of the past are gone. Today, Watson is not just an acronym for technological prowess, but a sobering example of the pitfalls of technological hype and AI hubris

It turns out that the march of artificial intelligence through the mainstream economy will be a gradual evolution rather than a catastrophic revolution.

Time and again in its 110-year history, IBM has introduced new technologies and sold them to corporations. The company dominated the mainframe market so much that it became the target of federal antitrust proceedings. PC sales really took off after IBM launched in 1981 and the small machines were recommended as indispensable tools in corporate offices. In the 1990s, IBM helped its traditional corporate customers adapt to the Internet.

IBM executives came to see AI as the next wave.

Mr. Ferrucci presented the idea of ​​Watson recognizing and analyzing words for the first time to his bosses in the research laboratories of IBM in 2006. Another research goal was the further development of techniques for automated answering of questions.

After overcoming initial skepticism, Mr. Ferrucci assembled a team of scientists – eventually more than two dozen – to work from the company’s laboratory in Yorktown Heights, NY, about 20 miles north of IBM’s Armonk headquarters.

The Watson they built was a room-sized supercomputer with thousands of processors running millions of lines of code. His storage disks were filled with digitized reference works, Wikipedia entries, and electronic books. Computer intelligence is a brute force issue, and the massive machine required 85,000 watts of power. The human brain, on the other hand, works with the equivalent of 20 watts.



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Mississippi needs to integrate doulas into the health system https://open-mind.org/mississippi-needs-to-integrate-doulas-into-the-health-system/ https://open-mind.org/mississippi-needs-to-integrate-doulas-into-the-health-system/#respond Sat, 17 Jul 2021 11:05:10 +0000 https://open-mind.org/mississippi-needs-to-integrate-doulas-into-the-health-system/ Historically, pregnant women were generally supported by laypeople during labor and delivery. This custom was particularly widespread among Mississippi black women who relied on grandma midwives and women from their communities, especially during the segregation era when black women were denied access to clinics and hospitals. Today women who do not provide medical care to […]]]>


Historically, pregnant women were generally supported by laypeople during labor and delivery. This custom was particularly widespread among Mississippi black women who relied on grandma midwives and women from their communities, especially during the segregation era when black women were denied access to clinics and hospitals.

Today women who do not provide medical care to working women are known as doulas.

Getty Israel

A doula is a trained obstetrician who provides emotional, physical, and social support during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and immediately after the baby is born. Typically, doulas develop relationships with pregnant women in the third trimester.

The effectiveness of doulas in reducing medical interventions, especially in caesarean sections, which are often medically unnecessary, and in improving labor outcomes is well understood.

Support for the doula during labor and delivery is associated with lower rates of caesarean sections and fewer obstetric procedures, lower rates of intrapartum analgesia, instrumental vaginal delivery, shorter labor, and higher rates of spontaneous delivery and APGAR scores for infants.



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Herrera Beutler Secures Funding to Expand Health Care Access and Prevent Drug Use Among Young People in Southwest Washington https://open-mind.org/herrera-beutler-secures-funding-to-expand-health-care-access-and-prevent-drug-use-among-young-people-in-southwest-washington/ https://open-mind.org/herrera-beutler-secures-funding-to-expand-health-care-access-and-prevent-drug-use-among-young-people-in-southwest-washington/#respond Fri, 16 Jul 2021 21:25:44 +0000 https://open-mind.org/herrera-beutler-secures-funding-to-expand-health-care-access-and-prevent-drug-use-among-young-people-in-southwest-washington/ This was announced by Congressman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) [on Thursday] that she has secured important federal funding in a committee-approved spending plan to support health-related initiatives in southwest Washington. The Work, Health, and Personnel Allocation Bill for FY22 included two priorities for funding for the Southwest Washington community: funding to support renovations and modernizations […]]]>


This was announced by Congressman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) [on Thursday] that she has secured important federal funding in a committee-approved spending plan to support health-related initiatives in southwest Washington.

The Work, Health, and Personnel Allocation Bill for FY22 included two priorities for funding for the Southwest Washington community: funding to support renovations and modernizations of Battle Ground Healthcare, which will expand vital health services, and funding for Camp Mariposa Southwest – Washington – A year-round camping and mentoring experience for children affected by a loved one with substance use disorder.

Southwest Washington Project Funding Details:

Battlefield Health – $ 320,000

“As the COVID pandemic has shown so clearly, the people of southwest Washington need access to affordable, quality healthcare. It is for this reason that I have successfully advocated the community request to modernize the Battle Ground Healthcare facility to enable the expansion of its services to enable more people in the local community to access critical health resources. “ said Herrera Beutler.

  • This federal funding will support renovations and upgrades so Battle Ground Healthcare can expand its services to its customers who are uninsured, underinsured, have chronic illnesses, and are at or below three hundred percent of the federal poverty line.

Camp Mariposa Southwest Washington – $ 50,000

“It’s not talked about often enough, but children who have been exposed to a loved one’s addiction can have lasting and devastating consequences. Camp Mariposa aims to break cycles of intergenerational addiction and to help children who have been exposed to drug use at home. For this reason, I am happy to support the community’s request to fund Camp Mariposa so that they can continue to work for and mentor young children in southwest Washington, “ said Herrera Beutler.

  • This federal funding will go to Camp Mariposa-Southwest Washington, a year-round campaign and mentoring experience for children affected by a loved one with an addiction disorder. The camp focuses on preventing addictions, responding to adverse childhood experiences and breaking cross-generational addiction cycles.

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The healthcare industry has to adjust to consolidation costs https://open-mind.org/the-healthcare-industry-has-to-adjust-to-consolidation-costs/ https://open-mind.org/the-healthcare-industry-has-to-adjust-to-consolidation-costs/#respond Thu, 15 Jul 2021 23:28:54 +0000 https://open-mind.org/the-healthcare-industry-has-to-adjust-to-consolidation-costs/ At Home Health Care News, it seems like we’ve been writing about “the rapidly consolidating home health market” for years. For example, look at this story from 2015. There are also these newer pieces from 2018 and 2019. In many ways, consolidation – either through agency shutdowns or through M&A activity – is a way […]]]>


At Home Health Care News, it seems like we’ve been writing about “the rapidly consolidating home health market” for years. For example, look at this story from 2015. There are also these newer pieces from 2018 and 2019.

In many ways, consolidation – either through agency shutdowns or through M&A activity – is a way of life in the home health industry. By 2020 and the introduction of the patient-controlled grouping model (PDGM), many executives in the home health system even forecast a new “historic” wave of consolidation, similar to the one in the 1990s with the start of the old prospective payment system (PPS).

At least based on the conversations I had in early 2020, that wave seemed to materialize.

“I’m getting some calls from agencies wanting to close at this point,” Mike Dordick, president of McBee Associates, told HHCN at the time. “You were on the verge of asserting yourself organizationally under PPS, and that is the last straw.”

In March 2020, however, the tide turned. The COVID-19 crisis began, forcing some potential sellers to focus on their response to the pandemic and patient care. Additionally, some of the insolvent operators who were on the verge of exiting the market have survived thanks to money from the Provider Relief Fund and upfront payments from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Accelerated consolidation just didn’t happen.

“We started to see some changes in the home health industry,” said Paul Kusserow, CEO of Amedisys, during a presentation at an investor conference in 2020. “We had about 50 deals ahead of us. We were able to complete a few of them, … but then with COVID-19 that completely dried up. “

But now that the pandemic is getting more manageable and COVID-19 aid is waning, M&A activity is picking up. This spring and early summer there has been a deluge of home healthcare stores, with Mission Healthcare’s acquisition of Healthy Living Network being one of the most recent examples.

From my HHCN editor’s chair, it feels like we’ve finally got to the point where the home health industry is going to shrink significantly. In this case, home nursing operators need to prepare for the positive and negative aspects of consolidation.

A more efficient market

According to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), the number of home health agencies decreased by about 3.6% from 2018 to 2019. Since 2015, the home health subsector has shrunk by more than 8% and nearly 1,000 agencies have left the market.

Today there are more than 11,000 health departments in the United States

From a compliance and program integrity perspective, there are many potential benefits associated with a smaller home health industry. To start with, fewer individual agencies mean less ground for CMS and its contractors. A consolidated field also means that bad actors are easier to spot.

In the meantime, from an operational perspective, scaling can lead to important efficiency gains and improvements in the quality of care.

For example, if a regional health system works with just a few GPs instead of dozens, this network can perfect an optimized referral process and minimize gaps in care. The same applies to health insurers who hire their members to provide home health insurance.

“You can really do other things for your employees, too,” Mission CEO Paul VerHoeve told me earlier this week. “You can serve contiguous regions, which is very important for your community partners.”

In addition, consolidation often leads to innovation in any industry as the acquiring companies are able to merge their intellectual property with that of their competitors. Of course, some may debate this claim, arguing that it is competition that drives more innovation.

There are a few potential Benefits of home health consolidation, which recent data also suggests is happening at an accelerated pace.

In the second quarter of 2020, the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were only seven home health transactions, according to M&A advisory firm Mertz Taggart. That has been slightly exceeded in every quarter since then, with at least 15 home health contracts signed in the second quarter of 2021.

Source: Mertz Taggart

Consolidation Risk Factors

Consolidation could be good for the home health industry. It can also be very, very bad.

In other sectors, increased consolidation has resulted in higher service costs, although this is usually the case when companies bill consumers directly. At Medicare, payment policies in some way protect the system from price increases due to horizontal consolidation.

Hospitals are a good example of this problem. An analysis of 25 metropolitan areas with the highest rates of hospital consolidation from 2010 to 2013 showed that the price that private insurers paid for the average hospital stay rose almost consistently from 11% to 54% in the following years.

And while home nursing executives say that consolidation can increase efficiency and improve the quality of care, it has not always been the case in other areas of health care. A 2013 study found that larger hospital-based provider groups had higher Medicare spending and readmission rates per beneficiary than smaller groups.

The consolidation of hospitals and health systems has been so problematic that it was the focus for former California attorney general Xavier Becerra, who now heads the U.S. Department of Health (HHS).

“You have to be careful that these systems throw their weight around,” Becerra previously told the New York Times. “We are looking for cases in which consolidation does nothing for efficiency and leads to market distortions.”

There are also times when larger providers take a larger market share and prioritize operational efficiency at the expense of patient care. Many GPs are already concerned about this risk, and some even take the time to email HHCN to raise their concerns.

“Previous studies tend to refute the argument that acquisitions improve efficiency, reduce costs and improve coordination of care,” said a March Commonwealth Fund article. “Instead, they show that consolidation increases prices and does not improve the quality of care.”

Connect the dots

The purpose of this HHCN article is not to defend or attack consolidation. Rather, it is intended to remind home care leaders that consolidation must be done responsibly, with patient care always at the fore.

In all honesty, in my personal opinion, it probably requires some degree of consolidation. There were no more than 8,000 home health authorities in the US until 2005 – and that number grew every year until about 2013.

If the consolidation is done too quickly – or if it’s too for-profit – clinicians will leave, making current workforce challenges worse as demand increases.

In addition, the home health industry has worked incredibly hard, itself over the past decade, to improve its reputation. Home care is now on a pedestal, and anything at risk is just not worth it.



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Many Oregon healthcare providers remain unvaccinated, new data shows https://open-mind.org/many-oregon-healthcare-providers-remain-unvaccinated-new-data-shows/ https://open-mind.org/many-oregon-healthcare-providers-remain-unvaccinated-new-data-shows/#respond Thu, 15 Jul 2021 05:13:31 +0000 https://open-mind.org/many-oregon-healthcare-providers-remain-unvaccinated-new-data-shows/ 94 percent of Oregon dentists received a COVID-19 vaccination. But only half of chiropractors have had a sting. And for chiropractors, the vaccination rate is 45%. Dentists and chiropractors represent the high and low end of vaccination rates among licensed health workers in the state, new data shows. Many other health professionals also have relatively […]]]>


94 percent of Oregon dentists received a COVID-19 vaccination.

But only half of chiropractors have had a sting. And for chiropractors, the vaccination rate is 45%. Dentists and chiropractors represent the high and low end of vaccination rates among licensed health workers in the state, new data shows. Many other health professionals also have relatively low vaccination rates: only 57% of certified nursing assistants in Oregon are vaccinated; 60% of licensed professional nurses are vaccinated; and only 56% of advanced paramedics have received an injection.

The picture came from data released this week by the Oregon Health Authority. The data pulls the curtain back on how health professionals accepted – or resisted – the COVID-19 vaccine.

The relatively poor rates in many health professions have raised the question of whether or not mandatory vaccination should be required for healthcare workers who may come in close contact with patients and are at high risk of contracting the virus or passing it on to others .

The state’s hospital industry group says Oregon leaders need to strengthen and change the state’s laws to allow providers to mandate vaccinations.

However, others say it is better to use advocates and other means to get healthcare workers to vaccinate rather than threatening them with firing.

Either way, the data is illuminating as it shows how many health care workers have turned down the vaccine or simply did not care, even as health leaders advocate vaccination of the entire population.

Hesitation hits the healthcare system

Some of the data come as little surprise: Health workers as a group are slightly more vaccinated than the general public. Overall, they had a 70% vaccination coverage rate by the end of June, ahead of Governor Kate Brown’s target of 70% for the general population. The state achieved this goal on July 2nd.

However, health workers had much more time to get vaccinated.

They were the first group to be eligible for vaccines when vaccinations were scarce and in high demand when Oregon developed priority lists to get vaccines to frontline medical workers and others at greatest risk. That was before Oregon offered lottery prizes and freebies to boost its sluggish vaccination rate after gunshots became widespread.

If anything, the data serves as a reminder that Oregon vaccine hesitation continues to persist, even among those who work in the healthcare sector and have had access to vaccines longer than other Oregonians. In addition, the barriers to vaccinating the broader population of Oregon also exist among health care workers. Minority health workers or those living in rural areas of the state often have lower vaccination rates than their counterparts elsewhere in Oregon.

This underscores another reality for Oregon: State law prevents health care providers and hospitals from making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for employees who work with their patients, even though the same providers vaccinate the general public and point out the importance of vaccination. The law requires healthcare employers to offer vaccinations to their employees, but they cannot make vaccines a condition of employment.

The debate continues even as Oregon reopens its economy and embarks on the long road to herd immunity.

Oregon still has a goal to vaccinate 80% of adults to reach this threshold. To achieve this, the state will have to vaccinate nearly 455,000 more people, according to the health authority. Currently, only about 5,000 people are vaccinated each day, state data shows.

Hospital group: “Misguided policy”

In response to state data on vaccination rates among health care workers, the Oregon Association of Hospitals & Health Care Systems said Wednesday that the state’s “misguided policy” of not allowing vaccination requests at work continues to hamper progress. Hospitals across the country support mandatory vaccines for employees.

“As the number of hospitals and health systems that require COVID-19 vaccination for employees in the US continues to grow, we can’t even have the conversation here in Oregon,” said Becky Hultberg, president and CEO of the association , in a statement. “Ensuring that health workers are vaccinated will protect vulnerable patients, visitors and employees. It is ruthless to leave tools on the table during a global pandemic. It is long time for heads of state to tackle this misguided policy. “

More than 30 hospital systems and hospital associations across the country support vaccine mandates, according to the Oregon Group. The Houston Methodist was the first health system nationwide to mandate vaccinations for employees as of April, according to a report by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Italy, France and Greece are among the nations that have mandated vaccinations for health workers.

The spokesman for Oregon Governor Kate Brown did not rule out or endorse mandatory vaccinations on Wednesday.

“For both their own safety and the safety of the patients they work with, it is vital that frontline health workers are protected from COVID-19 with vaccines,” said Charles Boyle, spokesman for Brown. “Therefore, the governor has given health workers priority in Phase 1a of the Oregon vaccination effort. The Oregon Legislature has just completed a six month term which would have been the appropriate place to raise this issue and discuss such an amendment to Oregon Law. “

Boyle said the topic “deserves careful consideration and public input from employers and workers alike,” adding that the February 2022 legislative session will provide that opportunity.

But there is opposition to such a mandate, both in Oregon and in other states. In Texas, 117 Houston Methodist workers tried the mandate in federal court, but their case was dismissed by the U.S. District Court in the southern Texas district. In the June 12 ruling, the judge stated that the hospital is “trying to save lives” and staff can refuse to get an injection and work elsewhere.

Nurses Union endorses the law

The Oregon Nurses Association, the union that represents approximately 15,000 registered nurses and related health workers, said it was not seeking to change state vaccination laws.

Nurses have a vaccination rate of 74%.

“ONA has a long history of promoting and delivering free vaccinations while protecting the privacy of medical records,” said Scott Palmer, union spokesman. “We are not currently seeking to change the Oregon Bylaws regarding vaccination in the workplace. We will continue to discuss the most effective ways to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are accessible and equal to all Oregonians. “

Palmer added that instead of killing people, companies would have other tools they could use to increase vaccination rates.

“We believe companies can do a lot more work protecting workers and increasing vaccination rates before firing Oregoners who work during a pandemic,” Palmer said. “Businesses must first ensure a safe workplace and support workers by providing adequate safety equipment, vaccination training, paid time off for vaccination appointments, paid sick leave that covers possible side effects of the vaccine, and employee compensation benefits for workers in high-risk environments on-the-COVID-19 contract -job. Healthcare companies can do more to make vaccination an easy choice for all Oregonians. “

Misinformation remains a concern

In rural Oregon, vaccination rates for health workers are low, a trend line similar to that of the general population.

Grant, Harney, Lake, and Malheur counties each have a vaccination rate of 50% or less for health workers, the state data shows. Harney County has the lowest rate at 43%.

The Oregon Health Care Association, which represents the long-term and senior housing industry, said health care workers continue to be reluctant to get vaccinated.

“Our employees are exposed online and in the same vaccine misinformation

their daily lives like other Oregonians, ”the group said in a statement.

Some providers have been able to achieve high vaccination rates, while others continue to see reluctance among employees, according to the group.

There are 21 active COVID-19 outbreaks, with a total of 188 cases in senior housing and other meeting places across Oregon, state data released Wednesday shows.

The Portland Tri-County area and Lane County, which also includes Eugene-Springfield, all have overall provider vaccination rates of 75% or more. Benton County has the highest percentage of vendors: 82%.

You can contact Ben Botkin at [email protected] or via Twitter @ BenBotkin1.





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Health assessment is important to improve care | News, sports, jobs https://open-mind.org/health-assessment-is-important-to-improve-care-news-sports-jobs/ https://open-mind.org/health-assessment-is-important-to-improve-care-news-sports-jobs/#respond Wed, 14 Jul 2021 05:01:24 +0000 https://open-mind.org/health-assessment-is-important-to-improve-care-news-sports-jobs/ This year, COVID-19 and its effects have brought awareness of personal health and the importance of healthy living to the fore in our lives. At UnityPoint Health, we want to be your partner for health in our community. To help us identify priorities, we ask that you be part of the Community Health Needs Assessment, […]]]>


This year, COVID-19 and its effects have brought awareness of personal health and the importance of healthy living to the fore in our lives. At UnityPoint Health, we want to be your partner for health in our community. To help us identify priorities, we ask that you be part of the Community Health Needs Assessment, a tool that helps Trinity prioritize our community’s needs for change.

Every three years UnityPoint Health – Trinity Regional Medical Center conducts this community health needs assessment. We reach out to our partners and community leaders through interviews to better understand the health issues they see. In the meantime, we ask you, our community members, for your thoughts on the health of our community. In general, the Community Health Needs Assessment is a way for all of us to use our voice to promote health and wellbeing.

In 2018, the Community Health Needs Assessment identified access to health care, obesity, and mental / behavioral health as priority areas for Webster County. UnityPoint Health – Trinity Regional Medical Center then worked to address each of these issues in a number of ways.

The clinical laboratory improvement addition removes the cost of these important laboratories, allowing us to improve our access to health services for our community. We have renewed this license which allows a nurse to conduct free screenings such as lipid panels, vitamin D and A1C for low income or uninsured members of the community at the Community Health Center. Insured screening is also available each month for just $ 25 per screening.

We also have representatives who sit on the Family and Community Action Team and work with other community organizations to discuss how the community can network, how children can be protected, and how families can be empowered with access to health care.

Trinity has worked with the community to fight obesity, especially childhood obesity. Although it was put on hold this year, in addition to THRIVE Swim, we continued to provide staff and resources for the THRIVE in-classroom wellness and obesity prevention program. These programs promote children’s health early on to improve their long-term health success.

The health of our community is a priority, and that thought extends to mental health as well. Since the last assessment, the Berryhill Center has added Behavioral Health Urgent Care, expanded substance use disorder services, and supported a community-based support group like the National Alliance on Mental Illness for Fort Dodge. During the pandemic, virtual care enabled patients to receive services from home. Along with the provision of more mental health nurses to the Trinity emergency room, our mental and behavioral health resources have improved in the way we serve our community.

The 2018 assessment provided UnityPoint Health – Trinity Regional Medical Center with valuable information that led to change in the community. To make 2021 as successful as 2018, we need your help. If you haven’t received one yet, you will receive a postcard with further information about the survey and the links to the online survey. This postcard was mailed to every home in Webster County.

The online survey can also be found on Facebook, and hardcopy copies of the survey are available at: Fort Dodge Public Library, Community Health Center, Webster County Health Department, and The Lord’s Cupboard. As a hospital, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking the survey and gathering many different perspectives. The data we get from the survey will be used to help plan community benefit activities and resources and to take big steps towards improving our community health.

If you have any questions about this process or would like a hard copy of the survey, please contact Hannah Dutcher at hannah.dutcher@unitypoint.org or 515-351-1351.

Leah Glasgo is President and CEO of UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge

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Employers are increasingly offering their employees medical care https://open-mind.org/employers-are-increasingly-offering-their-employees-medical-care/ https://open-mind.org/employers-are-increasingly-offering-their-employees-medical-care/#respond Sun, 11 Jul 2021 04:12:00 +0000 https://open-mind.org/employers-are-increasingly-offering-their-employees-medical-care/ In February, Amazon opened three dedicated primary care offices across the region – in Westland, Royal Oak and Brownstown – as part of a pilot program for its growing workforce. The company hires Crossover Health, based in San Francisco, to provide these services and has a total of 17 offices in Michigan, California, Texas, Arizona […]]]>


In February, Amazon opened three dedicated primary care offices across the region – in Westland, Royal Oak and Brownstown – as part of a pilot program for its growing workforce. The company hires Crossover Health, based in San Francisco, to provide these services and has a total of 17 offices in Michigan, California, Texas, Arizona and Kentucky.

There, employees pay $ 45 to $ 55 to see a doctor, depending on whether they’re enrolled on Amazon’s health plan. The fee covers the visit, all services provided, blood tests and all basic prescriptions. Amazon’s health centers also offer mental health and physical therapy services. These services are also available to dependent employees.

The three facilities employ 12 state-certified doctors, six therapists and one physiotherapist.

Jay Edward, practice manager for Crossover Health’s Detroit Amazon Clinics, said the websites were created to give Amazon employees quick access to healthcare. Employees can make appointments on the same or next day and waiting times in the waiting room are limited to five minutes or less.

Amazon’s workforce – approximately 8,000 full-time employees in the Detroit metropolitan area – did not take advantage of the company’s health benefits as much as other regions, said Derek Rubino, senior program manager of Amazon’s Special Programs for Health and Safety at Work.

“We give out (health) benefits on the first day of employment, but they haven’t been widely distributed,” said Rubino. “We have employees who work in different shifts and working hours that can be outside the regular doctor’s office. We saw this as an opportunity to enable really controllable access to care. We can bring (health care) wherever they go. ”Work and live the way it works for them. We can increase the use of services by breaking down barriers. “

Amazon’s three clinics are open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Rubino said the high emergency room rate in the area was a catalyst for Amazon’s pilot program.

According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, 44 percent of its members’ 672,000 ER visits in 2016 were preventable, and the lack of primary care is the leading cause. These visits are also a major problem for employers from a cost and productivity perspective.

“Not only are emergency room visits more expensive (the average damage cost for each visit is $ 1,368), but they can also be lengthy, potentially resulting in lost work time and lower productivity,” the Detroit-based health insurance company said in a blog post.

Rubino called these avoidable emergency visits “a loss for employers and employees”.

Tracy Watts, senior partner in Mercer’s healthcare division, said improving productivity is the number one reason employers are opening primary care clinics.

“When an employee needs to see a doctor, employers want it to be done as quickly as possible and with as little downtime as possible,” said Watts. “This is an effective way to streamline basic services for employees so that they can have as little time as possible from work and thus increase productivity.”

United Wholesale Mortgage, based in Pontiac, opened its on-site primary care clinic in October 2016 – one of the first in the region. His Troy-based clinic, operated by Salta Direct Primary Care and employing two doctors and five medical assistants, sees about 27 percent of UWM’s 9,200 employees each month, or about 2,500 to 3,000 visits per month, said Laura Lawson, chief people officer from UWM.

Staff pay a fee of $ 10 per visit. However, the clinic neither has a pharmacy nor does it run laboratories on site and is only available to team members, not relatives. The clinic has a 24-hour hotline from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.



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HEALTH CARE BRIEFING: Pelosi is pushing drug prices in budget proposal https://open-mind.org/health-care-briefing-pelosi-is-pushing-drug-prices-in-budget-proposal/ https://open-mind.org/health-care-briefing-pelosi-is-pushing-drug-prices-in-budget-proposal/#respond Fri, 09 Jul 2021 10:02:29 +0000 https://open-mind.org/health-care-briefing-pelosi-is-pushing-drug-prices-in-budget-proposal/ speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Said yesterday that she is pushing for anti-drug price legislation to be included in the grand draft budget that bears most of the president Joe Bidens $ 4 trillion economic agenda for the coming months. She criticized drug companies for the size of share buybacks and dividends in recent years, arguing […]]]>


speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Said yesterday that she is pushing for anti-drug price legislation to be included in the grand draft budget that bears most of the president Joe Bidens $ 4 trillion economic agenda for the coming months.

She criticized drug companies for the size of share buybacks and dividends in recent years, arguing that drug price cuts would not hurt R&D spending in light of new knowledge about buybacks.

The House bill would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and then force drug companies to lower the prices they charge private insurers or to impose heavy fines on companies. Pelosi said she wanted it to be part of a special budget bill that can pass the Senate without Republican support because it is immune to the filibuster.

“We have an exceptional opportunity to do this as we draw up this law of reconciliation,” she said on a conference call with reporters. She added that she is working with her own faction and top Senate Democrats to work out a version of the House of Representatives that can receive unified democratic support.

To fuel efforts to combat prescription pricing in Biden’s draft budget, House Oversight and Reform Committee staff yesterday released a detailed report on drug manufacturer buybacks and research and development spending. “How can you seriously say that lower drug prices for Americans will come at the expense of research and development?” Said Pelosi.

  • The committee’s report found that the top 14 pharmaceutical companies spent $ 577 billion on share buybacks and dividends from 2016 to 2020. That’s roughly $ 56 billion more than was spent on research and development, the report said. It estimates that drug pricing savings would account for less than half of the companies that will spend on buybacks and dividends over the next decade.
  • “Even if the pharmaceutical industry gets less revenue from pricing reforms like HR 3,” the report said, referring to the Democrats’ signature drug pricing plan, “companies could maintain or even exceed current R&D spending if they spend on buybacks.” reduce and dividends. “
  • Pharmaceutical companies have dispatched legions of lobbyists to thwart HR 3, arguing that doing so would hamper the development of new drugs and allow unnecessary suffering and death. “Industry documents show how pharmaceutical companies are partially exploiting the US because the law does not allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices,” said House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.).

It is not yet clear whether the budget balancing bill will include drug price changes that were not originally part of Biden’s proposals for the American Families Plan or the American Jobs Plan that were presented to Congress in the spring. The first step in broader economic legislation is a budget resolution that the Senate budget chairman is currently working on Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Read more from Erik Wasson.

Biden calls for efforts to lower drug prices in the order of execution: Biden will ask his government to work with states to work out a plan to import drugs from Canada, according to the Washington Post, citing people in the administration and others familiar with the executive order, reports Charles Capel. The contract is intended to strengthen competition between hospitals and health insurance companies in order to make care more affordable. Part of the order calls for the Department of Health to come up with a plan within 45 days to deal with high prescription drug prices.

The president’s action will cause the federal government to enact new regulations on everything from airline baggage fees to non-compete clauses. He will sign the mandate after making comments on the American economy according to a public schedule published by the White House. Read more from Justin Sink.

Also happened on the hill

House Allocation Surcharges: The homeowners will resume accounting for the draft budget for labor, health and personal services 2022 on Monday. The Labor-HHS subcommittee plans to publish its bill on Sunday. The entire House Budgets Committee will mark the Labor HHS bills on Thursday.

Grijalva calls for an investigation into accommodation for children with a migrant background: MP Raúl Grijalva called for an independent investigation into a child migrant facility in Fort Bliss, Texas after a federal whistleblower complaint revealed a lack of medical supplies, clothing, showers and skilled caregivers. Grijalva also reiterated his call for such facilities to be closed permanently. “The Biden government must pursue community-based alternatives to incarceration that put the children’s well-being first,” he said.

The coronavirus pandemic

Pfizer Outlines Booster Plans As Regulators Signal Caution: Pfizer plans to apply for US emergency approval for a third booster dose of its vaccine in August based on early data showing it can greatly increase immune protection against the coronavirus. The company has received initial data from early human studies showing that a third dose is safe and can increase antibody levels ten-fold, a Pfizer official said.

At the same time, however, the federal health authorities signaled last night that they would be cautious about possible booster vaccinations, stressing that the vaccines currently available are effective in preventing people from getting sick from the coronavirus. Robert Langreth and Josh Wingrove have more.

Genetic flashpoints of the virus identified in a huge study: Throughout the entire pandemic, scientists around the world have been grappling with one crucial question: Why do some people get so sick with Covid-19 while others show no symptoms at all? A look deep into the human genome of a global initiative with more than 3,000 researchers from 25 countries now provides answers. Read more from Kristen V. Brown.

Buttigieg does not say a set date for the lifting of the travel ban: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the Biden administration was not ready to relax restrictions on international travel to the US, even as it announces progress against Covid-19 in other areas, including domestic travel. “Unfortunately, it cannot be based on an arbitrary date. It has to be conditional, ”he told Bloomberg, noting that the US has working groups with the UK, Europe, Canada and Mexico. Keith Laing has more.

Trump Approved Coronavirus Killers Blocked: The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a freeze on sales of Allied BioScience’s SurfaceWise2 product less than a year after American Airlines approved the use of the disinfectant to fight the coronavirus on some aircraft and airport facilities, reports Jennifer A. Dlouhy. The EPA said in a press release that it had directed Allied BioScience to immediately cease sales and distribution of the product due to “scientific concerns about product performance”.

Other headlines:

What You Should Know Today

Biogen limits the scope of Alzheimer’s drugs: Biogen updated the label for its new Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, restricting its use to people with mild cognitive impairment or early dementia after doctors expressed confusion about who should get it. The change comes after the FDA approved Aduhelm in general for Alzheimer’s patients, not just the early-stage patients that Biogen focused on in clinical trials. Read more from Fiona Rutherford.

HHS Beats Hospitals’ Lawsuit Over Medicare Payment Formula: A group of 30+ safety net hospitals have lost their dispute against an HHS rule that sets the formula for calculating certain Medicare salary adjustments because the HHS did not act arbitrarily in adopting the measure, a federal court said. The US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Department had duly recognized and explained the reasons for the change in the policy. Read more from Mary Anne Pazanowski.

Other headlines:

To contact the reporter about this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Zachary Sherwood at the zsherwood@bgov.com; Giuseppe Macri at the gmacri@bgov.com; Michaela Ross at the mross@bgov.com



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Caron CEO-Elect, Brad Sorte, shares his findings on the impact of AI on substance abuse recovery https://open-mind.org/caron-ceo-elect-brad-sorte-shares-his-findings-on-the-impact-of-ai-on-substance-abuse-recovery/ https://open-mind.org/caron-ceo-elect-brad-sorte-shares-his-findings-on-the-impact-of-ai-on-substance-abuse-recovery/#respond Wed, 07 Jul 2021 20:53:42 +0000 https://open-mind.org/caron-ceo-elect-brad-sorte-shares-his-findings-on-the-impact-of-ai-on-substance-abuse-recovery/ Caron CEO-Elect, Brad Sorte Caron The statistics are overwhelming; According to the American Addiction Centers, over 22 million Americans are said to be struggling with substance abuse / addiction and only 10% of them are treated in any way. As in so many other industries, it’s not difficult to claim that AI is revolutionizing the […]]]>


The statistics are overwhelming; According to the American Addiction Centers, over 22 million Americans are said to be struggling with substance abuse / addiction and only 10% of them are treated in any way.

As in so many other industries, it’s not difficult to claim that AI is revolutionizing the drug abuse treatment sector, offering new ways to identify crises, find like-minded people, identify early through genetic testing, and ultimately achieve full recovery.

While fully automated, AI-driven drug abuse treatment may be a long way off, AI and machine learning technologies designed to help patients and their families return to health are becoming more accessible and effective every day.

Caron has been at the forefront of fighting this public epidemic for 60 years and has just entered a new phase with the appointment of Brad Sorte as CEO-elect. In this interview, Brad shares his insight into how artificial intelligence will work [and is already impacting] Drug abuse treatment, as well as experiences from someone who has seen and helped countless people deal with and recover from their addiction.

You have just achieved what many would consider a desirable milestone in your career. How does it feel to be the CEO of Caron?

Sort by: Well, there is a great responsibility to hand over the baton to advance that vision. In fact, it’s kind of sacred. It really feels special, not just because it’s a milestone, but because of the journey that brought me here.

You know, I remember vividly 2015 when I was the new Executive Director of Caron Florida. I made my first trip to Caron Pennsylvania since my parents dropped me off there as a patient almost 10 years ago. I’ve seen a lot of people – friends included – come and go at Caron’s.

As I approached Caron’s PA campus and its iconic fences, it struck me how diverse the circumstances of these trips were – and how real the gift and promise of life in recovery are.

It’s a journey I would take almost every day as Caron’s new CEO. That fills me with gratitude and a great sense of responsibility.

Why do you think Caron has done so many positive things over the years? What role did data, technology and AI play in this success?

Caron’s patient-centered approach to treatment, prevention, and research is why we can have a positive impact on individuals, families, and the treatment community at large. By continuously reviewing our performance at all levels and evaluating our results, customer feedback, and the latest science and research, we can quickly adapt and apply innovations and improvements to our patient care.

We also examine the opportunities where we believe our customers and stakeholders are not being served and that is where we focus our time and energy. Caron’s program innovations – whether it offered one of the first gender-segregated program models more than 20 years ago, or more recently developed programs for specific groups such as young adults, older adults and the medically impaired, or recently moved into our value-based insurance contract model – continue to set standards for our industry .

Technology plays a vital role in the science of addiction medicine. At Caron Treatment Centers specifically, we are now using a person’s DNA to determine the best medication for their underlying psychological diagnosis so that we can start that medication earlier, which increases the likelihood of sustained recovery. We can also use artificial intelligence to predict and intervene when a person is in the early stages of relapse or recurrence.

Through AI, we are able to create predictive indexes that can identify when a person is at risk of relapse due to changes in their geolocation, contacts they interact with on their phone, and consistent follow-up recommendations.

All of this information is combined to create a rich data set that enables us to respond specifically to minimize relapse, while also allowing us to redirect people for treatment immediately after a full relapse. This early warning system is especially important in opioid use disorders as the risk of death increases significantly for those who relapse after treatment.

How do you see the use of AI in drug abuse treatment? How would you like to use it in the future?

We’re just scratching the surface of AI in treating substance use disorders. I see several areas where artificial intelligence can expand its influence and improve long-term results. AI is essential to building predictive engines and analyzing a wide variety of data points. This can be used to identify people at high risk of relapse. In addition, the idea of ​​creating “centaurs” with human and artificial intelligence that combine the best of human intuition and AI analysis will allow us greater accuracy in identifying the best treatment protocols by analyzing a patient’s clinical problems . We have seen this in oncology and these results are a great example of the whole being stronger than the sum of its parts.

How can other companies in your industry and beyond take a page out of your book when it comes to an innovative approach? What advice would you give aspiring executives looking to build a company with a legacy like Caron?

It’s easy to get distracted by the latest trends in treatment. Chasing the latest shiny objects causes companies to exhaust their resources, as does trying to be everything to all people rather than really refining what their strengths lie in. Focus on your customers’ needs, what they are looking for and how they are not being met. I would recommend a relentless commitment to quality and customer service to newcomers. People come to us on the worst day of their lives confused by the choices they have to make. It is up to us to make this as painless as possible and at the same time to take care of you in the best possible way.

I think every company has a vision, a reason to exist. However, it seems that companies and organizations are often obsessed with being a business, making money, rather than meeting a need or achieving their vision.

Perhaps as a nonprofit, Caron influenced our commitment to our vision, but what I’ve found with our patient-centric approach is that when you invest in a system that prioritizes recovery of a patient from this chronic, treatable disease, when you have full-time doctors, Caron has brain disease for addiction medicine, hiring doctors and psychologists at master’s level, consultants certified in substance and process disorders (sex, gambling, shopping, digital use, games) – and medically appropriate evidence-based treatment … patients get well, insurers want to work with you and people stand up for your cause.

This applies to us at Caron and there is no reason why this cannot apply to anyone. When you understand your customers’ needs, align your vision and resources, and do the right thing, you will succeed.

It’s about focusing on the vision and the big picture and not pushing the balance sheet to the detriment of the result. I would also advise prospective managers to remain humble, listen, stay open-minded and retain their curiosity.

Knowing why we are doing what we are doing is just as important as doing it.

What do you think of the future of technology, artificial intelligence, and the future of substance abuse treatment?

There are still many opportunities for technology to improve the health system, especially in the treatment of addictions. One of the best places we see this will be the continued growth of measurable results that can help educate doctors on how to improve their care, research efforts to advance the science of addiction medicine, and improved access.

The future of substance use disorder treatment will continue to see integration into the full behavioral health continuum as the silos between psychiatric treatment and substance use disorder treatment continue to collapse. Eventually, these sectors will also become a more integrated part of the overall health care system. The pandemic has highlighted the need for greater coordination of mental, behavioral and physical health care, which we at Caron support through our medical education initiatives. This will be beneficial for the patients as these issues are treated through a whole person’s perspective and the interdependencies of their issues are addressed collectively.

After all, what inspired you and what keeps you going after more than ten years in the field?

The promise of recovery and its realization! Can you think of a more inspiring phenomenon?

People come to Caron on some of the worst and darkest days of their lives. Seeing them start making connections, reconnecting with family and loved ones inspires me to move on. I am also driven by the fact that untreated substance use disorder can be fatal. Our work saves lives.

Caron’s reach extends beyond treatment to include prevention, education, and medical research. We’re trying to educate people about the effectiveness of treatment and its ability to improve the lives of 1 in 3 American families affected by the disease. We want to help redefine the way we talk and think about substance use disorders and their treatment, we want to share the promise of recovery. I’ve seen it firsthand many times and as CEO I want to continue to give hope to not only individuals and families, but results as well.

75% of patients with substance use disorder recover and achieve remission. After a year, recovery is more likely than relapse, and after 5 years, a person in recovery is just as likely to start substance abuse as a person who has never had a substance disorder.

People in America need to start taking their mental health seriously and that inspires me and us at Caron to keep fighting and working.



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