hope you all had a restful Labor Day! No major analysis for this week as I get back into the swing of things, but of course I have plenty of thoughts on college football’s opening weekend below.

Let’s get into it!

Partnerships and Strategy Updates:

Anything affecting decision making in healthcare – notable moves and strategies for healthcare operators to keep on your radar.

Executive Shake-ups: Two major healthcare firms saw CEO shake-ups this week:

  • Walgreens: Rosalind Brewer will step down as CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. on August 31, 2023, and will be replaced by interim CEO Ginger Graham. Brewer will continue to advise the company during the search for a permanent CEO.
    • In a LinkedIn note, Brewer mentioned her legacy as pivoting Walgreens in a time of transition to a healthcare-centric firm:
      • Perhaps what I’m most proud of is our work to develop a strategic pivot towards the growth of WBA into health care. Through three strategic acquisitions to build new infrastructure and expand and accelerate our health care offerings, we have developed significant new revenue streams for the company. I leave WBA confident that it is on the track to be a leading consumer-centric healthcare company, serving thousands of communities across the country, especially those that need access to healthcare the most.
  • One Medical: One Medical’s Amir Dan Rubin will depart Amazon one year post its acquisition. (Link)

CMS Nursing Home Staffing Ratio Controversy: A CMS study revealed there’s no single minimum staffing requirement for nursing homes. The Biden Admin had been hard at work trying to come up with an answer to the staffing ratio requirement in SNFs, but found that “there was no single staffing level that would guarantee quality care, although the report estimated that higher staffing levels would lead to fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits, faster care, and fewer failures to provide care.” Oddly, KFF noted that the ‘widely anticipated’ study had been published…in error? Lots of controversy and heat surrounding this study, with folks disagreeing with the CMS instructions to the contractors for research methodology and more. (Link)

Humana’s In-Home Care: Humana introduced an in-home care program for seniors via CenterWell in Georgia and Louisiana. (Link)

HCA expands partnership with Google Cloud: HCA Healthcare partnered with Google Cloud to incorporate Generative AI into hospitals, and Google announced a number of AI and expanded LLM access with its healthcare customers including HCA, Mayo, and others. Lots of stuff going on in the cloud between this and Microsoft-Epic-Nuance and Oracle-Cerner. (Link)

Humana’s Legal Stand: Humana is suing the federal government over backtracking on the fee for service adjuster payment methodology in Medicare Advantage risk adjustment. (Link)

Curai & Amazon Clinic: Curai Health’s Neal Khosla penned some thoughts on its launch with Amazon Clinic, targeting the provision of affordable healthcare for all Americans, and the rationale for the partnership. (Link)

Anthem’s Virtual Health: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield released the Anthem Link Virtual First Health Plans to enhance members’ accessibility to affordable care options. (Link)

Community Health’s Virtual Expansion: Community Health Systems announced the expansion of virtual sitting services to 29 hospitals. (Link)

Walmart’s Pharmacy Issues: Walmart reduced pharmacist compensation and hours, exacerbating the workload. (Link)

CVS in Ohio: Serious operational problems were uncovered at Ohio’s CVS pharmacies during inspections. (Link)

AmerisourceBergen Rebrands: AmerisourceBergen rebranded as Cencora, reflecting its enhanced global reach and core role in pharmaceutical access and care. (Link)

Partnership Announcements:

  1. Oura partnered with teletherapy platform Talkspace to integrate health tracking with teletherapy services. (Link)
  2. UW Health introduced a program where selected patients received hospital-grade care at home. (Link)
  3. Headspace teamed up with Intermountain’s Castell to enhance access to behavioral health resources. (Link)
  4. Covenant Health furthered its hospital-at-home initiative to deliver comprehensive healthcare directly to patients’ homes. (Link)
  5. Albertsons allied with Bicycle Health to facilitate opioid treatment in 17 states. (Link)
  6. KeyCare posted a good update on its progress over the past year, including notching its $28M Series A and a number of partnerships with health systems. (Link). KeyCare also announced a partnership with Parkview Health to provide patients with 24×7 virtual healthcare through its Epic-based platform, a distinct integration advantage over competitors. (Link)

Finance and M&A Updates:

Anything related to the financial side of healthcare and M&A.

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Providence reduced its H1 2023 operating loss to $547 million as it continues to target financial recovery. (Link)

Advocate Health achieved a 0.6% operating margin and a net gain of $1B in the first half of its inaugural year. (Link)

Highmark Health reported a net income of $389M and revenue of $13.6B during the first half of 2023. (Link)

Intermountain acquired the home health agency, Advent Home Health. (Link)

Hoag Orthopedic Institute opened a new ambulatory surgery center in Aliso Viejo. (Link)

Digital Health and Innovation Updates:

Notable fundraising announcements, health tech product launches, breakthrough innovation, and reasons for optimism.

Fundraising Announcements:

  • Intuition Robotics raised $25M. (Link)
  • QuantHealth secured $15M. (Link)
  • Kyros, creators of a digital platform for substance use disorder treatments, obtained $10.5M. (Link)
  • TapestryHealth announced a $25M credit investment from Catalio Capital Management. (Link)

Miscellaneous Maddenings

Fun, random stories & updates from Blake

  • What an opening weekend for college football. Some rapid fire thoughts:
    • Prime Time!! What a win for Colorado and Travis Hunter is an unreal athlete playing both sides and that many snaps in 100 degree heat.
    • Clemson…yikes. Is Dabo’s reign over?
    • Texas: Slow start, offense was anemic with bad interior line play, but our defense seems to be for real. That will obviously be tested against Bama and Milroe as an incredibly mobile QB.
    • Pac 12: 13-0 in week 1!! Tell me why they’re disbanding the league again?
    • Nebraska: Still cursed. I feel their pain.
    • Florida State: Extremely impressive victory but LSU also exposed
  • I played out in Rockwall, Texas at Buffalo Creek Golf Course yesterday and would have reported back to all of my loyal subscribers who stay up to date on my golf…except for the fact that I left my putter and 60 degree wedge, two of the most important clubs in the bag, at the new PGA Omni in Frisco! So I had to play the whole round putting with a 54 degree wedge. It was sort of fun and took the pressure off of the round, so overall not a bad time out there. Still, I shot almost a 50 on the front 9 and something like a 39-40 on the back.

Hospitalogy Top Reads

My favorite healthcare essays from the week

  • ProPublica delves into the perplexing nature of insurance denial appeals, detailing the complexities and confusions of the system.(Link)
  • In an article from The Wall Street Journal, the rise of full-body scans among the affluent is investigated. The story poses the question of whether such practices lead to early disease detection or are they simply redundant. (Link)
  • This was a good piece on healthcare disruption from Medpage Today. (Link)
  • From an insider perspective, Dr. Hugh Harvey’s tweet thread discussing the collapse of Babylon Health and how their AI was actually a bunch of Excel decision trees was unreal. (Link)

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Blake Madden
Blake Madden
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