QWay Health brings to you the latest news in the healthcare industry in this weekly news bulletin. Glance through the headers and quickly catch up on the current happenings in health, mergers, health technology, and finance. Let’s get started!

HEALTH

  • According to the latest figures, the Covid-19 curve is going upwards in the USA, with 90% of the states showing a significant increase, according to the latest tweet by CDC.
  • Hospitalizations due to Covid-19 complications are also on the rise in more than 70% of the states.
  • The authorities have pointed out that the severe cases are mostly seen in the ones who are not vaccinated yet.
  • The CDC, in its latest tweet, alarmed the states that there was an increase of Covid-19 cases by more than 60% since last week. The federal body also called for ramped-up vaccination drives.
  • Among the states, only Rhode Island, Vermont and Delaware have shown a dip in Covid-19 hospitalization cases.
  • Overall, USA is still a few steps away from having 50% of its population vaccinated.
  • Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine were the top 3 states to have their population fully vaccinated.
  • For the first time, FDA has approved the use of biosimilar generic insulin in place of the branded insulin in the market.
  • The generic variant, “Semglee,” coming from Viatris Inc, can now be used interchangeably with Lantus, the well-known branded insulin.
  • According to the experts, this move by the FDA is going to have several positive rippling implications in the US healthcare industry.
  • The generic version of the drug will come at a much lower price and will be available at all drug stores for the patients.
  • The prescribing doctor needs to specifically mention the generic version on the records.
  • According to the IQVIA, USA healthcare plans can now save more than USD 100 Billion from 2020 to 2024.
  • This will also pave a pathway for more pharmaceutical companies to come out with generic versions of drugs, making it easy on the patients as well as the health plans.

TECHNOLOGY

  • As innovation becomes the top priority for healthcare leaders, UnityPoint Health and Qventus forge a partnership to improve the quality of patient experience with the help of artificial intelligence.
  • The primary issues targeted by this partnership are the long waiting times during patient discharge, increased confusion among staff teams, and decreased coordination with ancillary care providers.
  • The new technology will be able to predict the discharge for a patient beforehand. It will also list out the kind of issues that might crop up during the discharge time, making the process longer and difficult.
  • The goal is to keep the patient and all the care teams on the same timeline to make the discharging process smooth for both.
  • David Stark, president, and CEO of UnityPoint Health-Des Moines, said that this new platform would improve the transparency between the hospital and the patients and provide them with a holistic experience.
  • The giant healthcare collaboration platform, Digital Health Measurement Collaborative Community, has announced its first two projects.
  • The community is focused on health measurement with the help of digital tools. It has taken the first steps towards building a solid framework of credible information.
  • The first project will target the use of different voices from all communities, ethnicities, and sexual orientations to build digital health records which will be beneficial to all. It is a massive step towards inclusivity in digital space.
  • In the second project, they will evaluate these huge data sets to come up with standardizations for inclusive commercial digital tools.

MERGERS/ACQUISITIONS

  • In a view to serve the communities with accessible healthcare, healthcare giants Centra and UVA Health have decided to go for a clinical affiliation.
  • The affiliation focuses on innovative care programs for their patients so that they can access them closer to their region.
  • The two healthcare groups have decided to share expert knowledge and professional inputs to bring out the best possible outcome for their patients in both regions.
  • This means that Centra’s expert providers can operate clinics at UVA Health’s campus and vice versa.
  • The affiliation will be beneficial for the patients since they can access holistic expert providers from both organizations at their preferred location.
  • Avera eCare, the telemedicine business operated by Avera Health in Sioux Falls, is being acquired by Aquiline Capital Partners.
  • It will be operated by Aquiline with the same staff under the name of Avel eCare. The headquarters will remain in Sioux Falls.
  • Avel eCare will continue to serve patients from more than 32 states. The organization functions in around 600 sites in these states.
  • The service areas covered under the telemedicine business include emergency care, pharmacy, intensive care, behavioral health, and hospital care.
  • Patients from Avera Health can access the services as before since some of the health management like teleconsultations with specialists’ remains under the care of Avera Health.

FINANCE

  • The drafted Medicare Dental Coverage Bill, 2021, will make way for Medicare Part B to cover a significant part of dental services.
  • Around 37 million people in the USA lack coverage for dental services, leading to poor oral health and subsequent diseases.
  • According to the authors of the bill, representatives Steven Horsford, D-Nev, and Robin Kelly, D-Ill, most of the senior population let go of dental coverage due to high costs.
  • They also cited that poor oral health can lead to serious health conditions like dementia and cardiology issues in the future.
  • Dental coverage mentioned in the bill is aiming to cover the following services- oral tests, cleanings, denture (frequency as per the dentist’s recommendation), X-rays, and fluoride treatments, among others.
  • California became the first state in the USA to expand the Medicaid coverage for immigrants in the state above 50 years of age.
  • Earlier in 2019, California passed legislation to make Medicaid available to immigrants till the age of 26. Now it has extended its support to a greater population.
  • Governor Gavin Newsom, in his statement, mentioned that many of these aged people had been front-line warriors during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • With this bill in place, they will be able to gain access to good quality health care in the state.
  • The new bill has also mentioned clauses for postpartum care for mothers without valid papers. It extends the care period to 12 months from 60 days. They will also not be required to undergo a mental health diagnosis.

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