Choosing your health plan: HMO? PPO? Why not DPO?

The fall is a time of renewals and choices.  It is also a time of so called “open enrolment” for health plans. It is the one time of year we can study and learn about the options offered through employers or government sponsored plans.  Individuals and small business owners alike are also are faced with a myriad of choices with confusing and often contradictory language promising lower premiums with higher out of pocket costs for covered services subject to deductibles. What does it even mean anymore when your monthly premiums exceed your pay check and you still have to pay for your colonoscopy or your insulin? Where is it all going?

Let’s imagine you twist your ankle playing basketball.  You might go to an urgent care, receive an X-ray, probably be examined by a non-physician, and then referred to your primary care, who can’t see you for a few weeks but eventually sends you to an orthopaedic who takes another X-ray and treats your injury. Weeks have passed, multiple visits, time out of work, and co-pays, not to mention the out-of-pocket fees associated with imaging and perhaps a $100 ace bandage.  What stops you from going straight to the ankle specialist in the first place?  First, we have become conditioned to follow the directions dictated by the insurance companies, even when restrictions are not in place, patients have been convinced that stepping out of line will make all insurance promises null and void resulting in catastrophic bills and financial ruin.  Second, the doctors and their office staffs have been conditioned to deny entry to any patient who does not have the proper referral, authorization, or identification. There are dire consequences for both if the insurance rules are not followed and fear keeps both sides aligned.

The past two decades have seen an explosion of healthcare costs. Health insurance has become the single biggest line item second only to payroll for most businesses.  It is no coincidence that as the government increased its role as payor with state subsidies, the prices have gone up.  Much like college tuitions, when loans are easy to obtain and guaranteed by federal support, there is little to deter those in charge from increasing the price.  After all, everyone is doing it, it must be OK, and even if students end up in debt, it will be repaid because they have received the value of a great education. Right?  But unlike higher education, healthcare is a necessity. We cannot avoid it, and there needs to be a reliable mechanism in place to guarantee access.
Ironically, as charges and prices have continued to escalate, payments to doctors have diminished. Why medicine is the only service industry where there is no transparency is truly astounding, especially since the there has been no increase in so called “reimbursements” for decades. As physicians, we have been complicit, being fully aware of the discrepancies between what is charged and what a patient’s insurance will pay.  Even as patients began to have higher deductibles, and therefore higher out of pocket expenses, we continued to follow the rules, asking insurance permission to collect payment from the patient.  It is not surprising that bad debt accounts for over 50% of most account receivables and why over 70% of doctors are now employed by hospital networks or private equity, who not only go after patients, but benefit from the repricing that occurs when insurers pay a negotiated amount as opposed to the charge. In other words, we pay more not just for less, but for nothing.

But what if we twisted our ankle and went directly to that specialist and paid out of pocket a transparent price? What would it take for that to happen? Not much, the cost of care is predictable, and because payments have always been decreasing, most physicians have learned to be economical. Plus, out of pocket costs are capped by federal law, so no patient is really responsible for catastrophic bills. Charges inflate to cover overhead, but if payments were guaranteed and immediate, then the cost of doing business goes down.  Add technologies like telemedicine to a practice and you have increased patient access to a doctor without adding more personnel.  Direct pay doctors are emerging all over the country and have consistently offered better access and more affordable care. The bar is also being set by independent surgery centers and imaging centers who offer better outcomes at lower costs. Perhaps motivated by prohibitive pricing, better options have emerged that have moved patients away from expensive operating rooms to safe, office-based procedures.  Even cutting-edge cancer therapies can be delivered at home, preserving more of the healthcare dollar for medical care rather than the complex system built to manage it.

Competition and choice inevitably drive prices, but in a monolithic system the price is not negotiated, but instead it is set by only a few, in this case the big insurers.   Small businesses cannot compete when bigger companies come to town.  Eventually, the local hardware store gives way to a national brand, and the consumer is left with fewer choices and eventually higher prices.  Amazon disrupted this equation by creating a marketplace for individual buyers and sellers.  The convenience of finding a trusted brand, no longer available locally, is irresistible and the reason why we became loyal consumers.  Healthcare is no different. Trust exists implicitly between a physician and patient, because it is an authentic, empathetic, and logical relationship. Trust does not exist between a patient and their insurer, on the contrary it is an unsympathetic business relationship without transparency or consistency. Few doubt the insurance company’s top priority is the premium, not the patient.  Creating a direct relationship between the doctor and patient is a common-sense approach that serves both stakeholders well, and requires merely a fair and affordable price.  But do doctors have the capability or the will to do it and if so, can the rest of the system follow?

Never in the history of modern medicine have physicians been more dissatisfied.  US healthcare used to lead the world in innovation and outcomes, now we struggle to break the top thirty. We may have the most brilliant doctors and scientists with access to the best resources, but the need to maximize profits while catering to special interests, be they commercial or political, has led us to favour certain therapies over others despite marginal proven benefits. Doctors have little autonomy and less authority; prescribed treatments are routinely denied by insurance companies without a second thought or appropriate peer review.  In fact, insurers even renamed us “providers”, a term used to by Nazis when referring to Jewish doctors to devalue them professionally.  Over 56% of physicians are burned out, nearly all report moral injury and as hospitals have systematically replaced doctors with non-physicians with limited training, we have watched the standard of care deteriorate. It is no wonder we have witnessed the single biggest loss in life expectancy since WWII. The prognosis is grim, but there are solutions.

We need to reinvent healthcare by removing the middleman.  We don’t have to set the price, but we can make it transparent so patients can decide for themselves if it is worth the inconvenience, the delay, and the co-pay to use insurance or just pay directly.  Health savings accounts are tax deferred and can cover an out-of-pocket maximum in just a couple of years. Paying for care means there are no surprise bills or out of network costs, because there are essentially no networks and therefore no need to follow restrictions.  You’d be hard pressed to find a doctor or hospital unwilling to accept an immediate cash payment, especially when it costs nothing more than the service provided.  There are no billing cycles, or claims to prepare, no up coding, or authorizations.  Doctors free to care for patients, patients treated individually and not subject to protocols designed to maximize charges. There are literally thousands of direct pay primary care and specialists now available all over the country and they are building alliances with likeminded people providing imaging, ancillary services, surgery centers, and prescriptions all at fair market prices.  More and more employers are moving toward medical cost sharing plans that not only lower the cost of care but the cost of administration.  Even the biggest payor, namely the government, sees the benefit of price transparency and is piloting models of direct contracting. 

We will always need coverage for those unexpected events, emergencies, or hospital-based services, but all the rest - doctor visits, screening tests, and outpatient procedures - are easily affordable.  After all, do we use our car insurance to pay for an oil change? If we did, the cost would be prohibitive and few of us would drive. But health insurers have lost our trust, they no longer cover necessary services and no longer honour contracts with physicians or patients.  It is time to offer another option and let the patients and doctors get back to the real business of medicine.

Spotlight

The US Oncology Network

The US Oncology Network is one of the nation’s largest networks of integrated, community-based oncology practices dedicated to advancing high-quality, evidence-based cancer care. A physician-led organization, The US Oncology Network unites like-minded physicians and clinicians around a common vision of improving patient outcomes and quality of life. Leveraging healthcare information technology, shared best practices, evidence-based guidelines and quality measurements, physicians within The US Oncology Network are pioneering new ways to achieve this vision.

OTHER ARTICLES
Insurance

Amazon Care: Revolutionizing Virtual Care

Article | July 7, 2023

In 2021, the introduction of Amazon Care marked the first time a prominent technology firm stepped into the healthcare services industry. The fact that Amazon filed paperwork to offer care in multiple states without much fanfare is intriguing. In March 2021, the company confirmed the details of its new services, announcing that it would be delivering the services through an independent private medical practice called Care Medical. The move may signify another diversification for Amazon, but what does it mean for the healthcare services landscape? The Highlights of Amazon Care’s Services Home healthcare Amazon announced that it would be participating in an advocacy group for home healthcare. The Moving Health at Home initiative aims to transform how policymakers view the home as a site to deliver clinical services. Amazon Care may be riding on the trend for home care that has been evolving in the form of remote patient monitoring for post-acute care management and chronic care. Employer-oriented offering Amazon Care aims to become a workplace benefit partner for employers. One of the pain points it is directly addressing is the challenge of runaway inflation that increases healthcare costs. Virtual care simplified The most significant offering that Amazon Care plans to lead with is virtual care that promises to reduce wait times for quality patient care to under 60 seconds. It also includes the option to access 24-hour care services through messaging and video calling. In addition, it eliminates unnecessary traveling and long wait times by delivering care in the comfort of the patient’s home. The Path Ahead Amazon is known for introducing a slew of initiatives in the health and fitness sector, like the Halo wearables, a data management product called Amazon Health Lake, and a healthcare delivery system called Haven, which doubled over in 2021 after a three-year run. However, the tech juggernaut is not about to stop attempting to disrupt healthcare services. Only time will tell whether Amazon Care finally proves to be a feather in Amazon’s healthcare cap or another ambitious project that bites the dust.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

Addressing social determinants of health with data interoperability

Article | September 8, 2023

Across the spectrum of healthcare delivery – payor, provider, vendor, consumer, there is a land rush underway to embrace consumer-centric care. With tools like value-based care, chronic disease management, retail services, analytics, and remote patient monitoring, healthcare organizations are pivoting towards capabilities that provide a deeper understanding of patient behaviors and address the whole patient and not just the condition.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

Blockchain in the Healthcare Industry

Article | September 7, 2023

Prioritizing health and managing it, has become highly important because our lifestyle is continuously evolving in ways that take a toll on us mentally, physically, and emotionally. However, the major issue for the patients lies in the inaccuracy of treatment due to the lack of complete health records in any hospital. With the recent changes in privacy legislation and data management, patients are even unable to retrieve their own health records. For example, someone had an accident and was taken to the emergency room. The first thing they will need to do in their condition is to fill the hospital’s form. Then, for the treatment, if the injured person is conscious enough, doctors ask questions like if they are allergic to some medicines or do they suffer from diabetes or any other disease. Besides, what if the individual denies having allergies or diabetes in their half-conscious state? And the previous hospitals where they have already had treatment before have denied sharing the medical details of the person either due to privacy issues or data corruption. Well, it can create a lot of fuzz. Solely, to improve the health industry without compromising the security of the individuals, blockchain has remained in the discussion. It has the potential to address the operability challenges present in the healthcare industry. But, what is blockchain, what are its underlying fundamentals, why blockchain, and what are its advantages? Today’s blog will help in understanding every aspect of blockchain and its impact on the healthcare industry. So let’s get started! What is Blockchain? Blockchain is a P2P or peer-to-peer distributed or decentralized ledger technology. It stores a chain of data called blocks of information. These blocks are chained together by cryptographic signatures. These signatures are called hash that is stored in the shared ledger and backed by a connected processes network - node. These nodes reserve a copy of the complete chain and get continually updated by synchronization. Though, to include blockchain in the process it’s necessary to hire a developer who has prior experience and knowledge about its architecture and can work with the components efficiently as blockchain is a designed pattern that consists of three major constituents - a distributed network, a shared ledger, and all the digital transactions. a. Distributed Network As discussed before, blockchain is built on peer-to-peer networks. While having no central point of storage, it makes the information on the network less vulnerable to being lost or exploited. Unlike the traditional client-server model that has a centralized storage point or controlling party, all the information in the blockchain network is constantly recorded and transferred to the participants of the network that are also known as nodes or peers. These peers also own several identical copies of the information. That’s why blockchain is seen as a huge improvement to centralized models and is considered the future of data storage and ownership. b. Shared Ledger Each authorized participant in the network records the transactions into the shared ledger. If they want to add any transaction, it is important to run algorithms that evaluate and verify the transactions. If the majority of members agree to the transaction’s validity, a new transaction gets added to the shared ledger. The changes done in the shared ledger is reflected in minutes or even seconds in the copies of the blockchain. Once the transaction is added, there’s no way to modify or delete it. Also, as the copy is shared in the form of a ledger to each member, no single member can alter data. c. Digital Transaction Transactions are information i.e. data transmission to one block. During the process of data transmission, each node acts as a central point to generate and digitally sign the transaction. As the nodes connect each other in the network, each of them has to verify the transaction independently for its conflicts, validity, and compliance. Only after the transaction passes the verification, the information is added into the shared ledger. The major element that makes digital transactions successful is cryptographic hashing that encrypts the data for security. Why Blockchain technology in healthcare? It has happened so often that the patient remains unable to gather all of their previous medical records in one format from one place swiftly or sometimes cannot even collect the required information at all. Unfortunately, in most cases, the information of critical patients remains scattered across several different institutions of healthcare that too in different formats. Besides, the data management systems along with the security regulations also vary in different institutions making it difficult to trace and fix mistakes. But, what can blockchain do? A blockchain is a system used for storing and sharing information with security and transparency. Every block in the chain is an independent unit of its own and a dependent link among the collective chain that creates a network controlled by participants rather than a third party. As blockchains are managed by network nodes instead of central authority, they are decentralized that prevents one entity from having complete control over the network. With the incorporation of blockchain, the need for a central administrator will be removed by cryptography. Healthcare providers will be able to promote data management processes beyond perception. It will help in collecting, analyzing, sharing, and securing medical records. It will provide the access to healthcare workers for retrieving health records with the cryptographic keys provided by patients from anywhere without creating any privacy or security problems. Advantages of Healthcare Blockchain Although applications of blockchain in the healthcare industry are inceptive, some early solutions have shown the possibility of reduced healthcare costs, improved access to information among different stakeholders, and streamlining the entire business process. So, keeping aside the buzz, let’s see the real advantages of blockchain in healthcare. 1. Master Patient Indexes The master patient index helps in the identification of patients across separate administrative systems. It is often created within the EHR or electronic health record system. As these EHRs have different vendors, there are several irregularities of MPIs. In many cases, the data of a patient between these healthcare systems become mismatched. However, with the nature of decentralization in Blockchain, it possesses the ability to solve the issue. In the blockchain-based MPIs, the data will be hashed to the ledger and content will remain unique as only the authorized nodes of the data can make changes to the hashes while all parties with access can only check the related information. 2. Single, elongated patient records Blockchain technology is potent to transform health care by placing patients at the center of the system while increasing the security and privacy of health records. It provides a new model for health information exchange by forming electronic elongated patient records secured and efficient. Additionally, the fact that the data is copied among all the nodes of the blockchain network creates an atmosphere of clarity and transparency that enables healthcare providers and patients to know how their data is handled by whom, how, and when. It can also help healthcare from potential frauds, data losses, or security attacks. 3. Supply Chain Management Supply chain management in healthcare is a challenging aspect. With scattered settings for ordering drugs, medical supplies, and critical resources, there’s an inherent risk of compromising the supply chain that might impact patient safety. Indulgence of blockchain technology in the transactions can tap into the complete process of medicine or drug products movement. As all the transactions will be recorded onto the shared ledger with every block recording and maintaining every transaction, it will become easy to verify the vendor, distributor, and origin of the drug within a matter of seconds. It will also enable healthcare physicians and officials to check the authenticity of the supplier’s credentials. 4. Claims Justification Currently, the insurance claim processes face difficulties like lack of transparency i.e. most customers don’t even know how insurance works; human errors and inefficiencies i.e. insurances are full of confusion along with human errors that create inefficiencies that lead to the increased cost to customers; higher frauds in claims. But, blockchain technology can simplify and enhance recordkeeping, payment processing, claims registration, contract management, and closure with its immutable ledger. 5. Interoperability Interoperability is the capability of distinct healthcare information technology to interpret, exchange, and use data. Due to the privacy issues, the alphanumeric code to identify a patient has been revoked that caused problems in gathering the required record of the patient. Enforcing measurement standards for industry-wide interoperability is also a challenge in interoperability. With blockchain in healthcare interoperability, data can be shared in real-time on the trusted network and provides access to the patient’s record in a secured manner. Moreover, with the pri

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Healthcare Analytics

IMMERSIVE ENVIRONMENTS COULD BE THE NUDGE WE"RE ALL LOOKING FOR WHEN IT COMES TO FRAMING BEHAVIORAL FRAMEWORKS...

Article | December 21, 2020

Yes, empathy has become a fad. Connecting to another human is actually something cool kids do now. If a brand doesn’t have an impact model that includes a practical social issue, consumers tend to not take that brand seriously. In this case, empathy needs to be revisited beyond the trend itself for these strategies to have real, lasting impact. Practical strategies around compassion meanwhile have similarly become an intrinsic part of social impact organisations. They have become so commonplace that prosocial behaviour has strayed into a kind of tokenism. It is common for instance for consumers to donate their hard-earned money to companies who focus their energies on trying to alleviate real-world issues. The question then is whether this proxy for compassion isn’t in fact watering down human connections, as well as our positive impact on the issues business and organisations seek to solve with our help. Postmodern behavioral science If it is, then we must understand why and how to change that. This is where postmodern behavioral science provides a possible better alternative to social impact strategies. Postmodern behavioral science suggests that the current approach to understanding human behaviour lacks even a rudimentary understanding of empathy, defined in the area of social impact as a discursive strategy that allows us to feel what the group we are trying to help is feeling. Of course, compassion has very close ties with empathy. Empathy is an innate ability we all have, one that we can learn to develop and fine-tune over time. It is our emotional connection to another human, though one that lies beyond our own ego. It takes the perspective of the person who is struggling and seeks to understand their life, their struggle, and their worldview. It also resolves to value and validate their perspective and experience — something that donating money to a social impact cause does not. In its broader definition, empathy is a shared interpersonal experience which is implicated in many aspects of social cognition, notably prosocial behavior, morality, and the regulation of aggression. Empathy has a host of positive after-effects when applied as an interpersonal experience. If a social impact organisation is preoccupied with raising capital, then it is likely to disregard the practical worth of empathy for those who truly want to achieve its mission. Immersive empathy One way that behavioral science can contribute is to utilise tools that can help augment the experience of those in need for those needing to understand those needs. Both AR and VR can help people visualise and follow the stories of those who require compassion. These create virtual environments for partners, governments, and consumers to experience with the people they seek to help. But of course, much of human behaviour is geared toward seeking pleasant experiences and avoiding unnecessary pain. Our in-built hedonic valuation systems guide decisions towards and away from experiences according to our survival instincts. This is precisely why business owners who want to encourage empathy in their customers go the easy route, but should seek a more participatory frameworks to inspire and provide experiences for those on board with a social mission. Then there are issues like financial literacy in underserved populations, access to clean water, education for women and girls, and environmental conservation, to name a few of the problems that social impact companies are attempting to tackle. If a company is trying to tackle an issue such as access to clean water, then rather than start there, it should first ask exactly how this issue arose and developed. It should question the beliefs that underpin this chronic social inequality, those that inform policies, practices, cultural taboos, and beliefs about water and people’s access to it. To simply respond to an issue in its developed form is to leave it unfixed. We must be willing to reverse engineer the origins of that issue that got us to where we are. In other words, human behaviour is not the only component to consider in this. The main behavioral framework public servants should take with them is to develop a nudge unit solely based on the relationship between behavioural science and technology. This is mainly because technology is an inevitable part of how we now relate to one another. Immersive Compassion meanwhile should embrace tools like AR/VR that seek to create empathetic environments and valuable impact longevity. To fully embrace empathy as an organisation is to create relevant and rigorous responses that go as far as to alter the infrastructure of its target goals. Optimising social impact comes down to optimising human experience.

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Spotlight

The US Oncology Network

The US Oncology Network is one of the nation’s largest networks of integrated, community-based oncology practices dedicated to advancing high-quality, evidence-based cancer care. A physician-led organization, The US Oncology Network unites like-minded physicians and clinicians around a common vision of improving patient outcomes and quality of life. Leveraging healthcare information technology, shared best practices, evidence-based guidelines and quality measurements, physicians within The US Oncology Network are pioneering new ways to achieve this vision.

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Healthcare Analytics

Keystone Healthcare Partners Establishes Partnership with Trinity Medical to Expand Emergency Medicine Footprint into Louisiana

Keystone Healthcare Partners | February 05, 2024

Keystone Healthcare Partners a leading provider of emergency medicine, hospital medicine, critical care medicine, and telehealth staffing and management services, as well as revenue cycle management, recently announced that it has formed a partnership with Trinity Medical in Ferriday, Louisiana. Keystone's delivery of emergency medicine services at Trinity Medical will commence on February 1, 2024. This contract represents an exciting expansion of Keystone's regional influence into Louisiana; the company has managed contracts in Mississippi for decades. Glenn Adams, Keystone's CEO & Co-founder, notes, "We are excited to kick off another partnership with a client where we see opportunity for real impact. We've hit the ground running to shore up areas of frustration for the client and bring value-add and innovative solutions, such as Keystone Connect AI technology to the emergency medicine program." While the healthcare landscape has been challenging for rural and critical access hospitals, the two entities share a patient-centered ethos that will be paramount to the partnership. The two entities share a community- and patient-focus that is embodied by Trinity's motto, "People you know, caring for people you love." "We are very excited to start our partnership with Keystone Healthcare," states Keisha Smith, CEO of Trinity. "My goal for Trinity Medical has always been to provide our patients with the best healthcare and customer service possible in the Miss-Lou area. We feel that Keystone shares the same goals that we have and will be a true asset to our hospital. Henry Ford stated, 'Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.' We are looking forward to a long lasting, successful partnership with Keystone Healthcare." Trinity Medical, a 23-bed licensed facility, continues to grow and upgrade their services and facilities in addition to recruiting physicians to meet the growing needs of their expanding community. About Keystone Healthcare Keystone Healthcare™ is a leading provider of Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Critical Care Medicine and Telehealth clinical management services and staffing solutions for hospitals. We efficiently deliver high-quality, patient-centered care through strong physician leadership and involved management that drive our innovative and integrated business model. About Trinity Medical Trinity Medical is operated by Concordia Parish Hospital Service District No. 1. Trinity Medical, formerly Riverland Medical Center, opened in 1964 as Concordia Parish Hospital and has continuously served the residents of the area for more than 55 years. In addition to emergency and acute care, Trinity Medical offers surgical services, diagnostic imaging, infusion center, cardio-respiratory care, gastroenterology, lab services, otolaryngology, urology, and an in-hospital rehabilitation service as well as an extensive range of out-patient services, both diagnostic and for treatment.

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Digital Healthcare

UCI Health Reaches Definitive Agreement to Acquire Four Southern California Hospitals From Tenet Healthcare Corporation

UCI Health | February 02, 2024

The Regents of the University of California, on behalf of the University of California, Irvine, has entered into a definitive agreement with Tenet Healthcare Corporation to acquire Tenet's Pacific Coast Network. The network will become part of UCI Health, the clinical enterprise of UC Irvine. "UC Irvine has deepened its healthcare commitment to the future of Orange County, our region and California," said UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman. "This journey in healthcare is deeply intertwined with the University of California's dedication to bettering our communities, expanding access to premier healthcare, and pioneering the medical innovations of tomorrow, today. Our vision will bridge gaps in regional care and reinforce UCI's place among the nation's leading academic health systems while advancing solutions to challenges facing healthcare." Pending customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions, the proposed acquisition would bring four medical centers in Lakewood, Los Alamitos, Fountain Valley and Placentia and associated outpatient locations into the UCI Health system. UCI Health currently delivers care at UCI Medical Center in Orange and a growing network of multispecialty care centers. "At UCI Health, we are excited to add these new care sites to the UCI Health network and extend the benefits of our compassionate, high-level care, clinical innovation, and scientific discovery," said Chad Lefteris, president and chief executive officer of UCI Health. "As Orange County's only academic health system, UCI Health is unique in its ability to offer the highest level of advanced care powered by the research and innovation of a world-class public research institution." UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network. "These four hospitals are well-regarded in their communities for providing high-quality, compassionate care," said Saum Sutaria, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Tenet Healthcare. "The local communities will benefit from the nationally recognized advancements, medical knowledge, research, and community focus that UCI Health brings as an innovative academic health system. UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by the Pacific Coast Network." In a region with a population greater than that of two dozen states, UCI Health operates the only Level I trauma center, locally based National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal-neonatal service and is the largest regional burn center and leading provider of complex tertiary and quaternary care. The system's clinical excellence has consistently placed UCI Health in the top 10 for quality and safety among the nation's leading comprehensive academic health systems. The acquisition also means more patients will have access to advanced therapies in the region's largest and most diverse portfolio of clinical trials, ranging from cancer to neurosciences, digestive diseases, orthopedics and internal medicine specialties. UCI Health and Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network patients can continue receiving care at their local facilities as they normally would from the care teams they know and trust. The transaction is expected to be completed in spring 2024, subject to customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions. "It is a privilege to provide world-class care to Californians and we are excited to welcome the clinicians and co-workers from these Tenet Healthcare sites to UCI Health as partners in improving the health of local communities," Lefteris said. About UCI Health UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 459-bed, acute care hospital, listed among America's Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 23 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County's only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center, gold level 1 geriatric emergency department and regional burn center. About UC Irvine About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation's top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 37,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It's located in one of the world's safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County's second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. About Tenet Healthcare Tenet Healthcare Corporation is a diversified healthcare services company headquartered in Dallas. Our care delivery network includes United Surgical Partners International, the largest ambulatory platform in the country, which operates or has ownership interests in more than 480 ambulatory surgery centers and surgical hospitals. We also operate 58 acute care and specialty hospitals, approximately 110 other outpatient facilities, a network of leading employed physicians and a global business center in Manila, Philippines. Our Conifer Health Solutions subsidiary provides revenue cycle management and value-based care services to hospitals, health systems, physician practices, employers, and other clients. Across the Tenet enterprise, we are united by our mission to deliver quality, compassionate care in the communities we serve.

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Health Technology

Beckman Coulter Unveils DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, Expanding Portfolio with Proven Six Sigma Performance

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics | January 30, 2024

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics, a clinical diagnostics leader, will unveil its new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, an automated clinical chemistry analyzer, at Medlab Middle East in Dubai, taking place February 5-8, 2024. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is one of several recent Beckman Coulter solutions designed to address the complete needs of healthcare systems that are looking to complement central hub laboratories by advancing the technology and capabilities of satellite and independent hospital laboratories. "Healthcare systems around the world are strategically adopting hub-and-spoke models for better efficiency and healthcare access," said Kathleen Orland, Senior Vice President, Business Unit, General Manager, Chemistry and Immunoassay for Beckman Coulter Diagnostics. "Hub-and-spoke clinical laboratory models optimize resources to improve access to testing services and enhance overall standardization for quality testing and positive impact on inventory and cost management across a health system. The new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer advances capabilities of spoked labs with a broad menu of high-quality assays that deliver consistent, commutable results across Beckman Coulter's AU clinical chemistry systems, positively impacting clinical decision-making and patient outcomes." The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer features advanced automation technology, onboard guided workflows, and standardized reagents for use across healthcare networks. Its menu of more than 120 assays has been independently and objectively verified for high quality Six Sigma performance, supporting confidence in clinical results, reducing QC trouble shooting and lab operational costs. "Our Six Sigma assessment has shown that the DxC 500 AU analyzer easily exceeds the demands of the new, more stringent CLIA 2024 performance specifications," stated Sten Westgard, Director of Client Services and Technology for Westgard QC. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is for in vitro diagnostic use only. It is available throughout North America and the Middle East. Global commercial availability is planned for March 2024. About Beckman Coulter. Inc. A global leader in advanced diagnostics, Beckman Coulter has challenged convention to elevate the diagnostic laboratory's role in improving patient health for more than 80 years. Our mission is to Relentlessly Reimagine Healthcare, One Diagnosis at a Time – and we do this by applying the power of science, technology and the passion and creativity of our teams. Our diagnostic solutions are used in complex clinical testing, and are found in hospitals, reference laboratories and physician office settings around the globe. We exist to deliver smarter, faster diagnostic solutions that move the needle forward from what's now to what's next. We seek to accelerate care with an extensive clinical menu, scalable lab automation technologies, insightful clinical informatics, and optimize lab performance services. Headquartered in Brea, Calif., with more than 11,000 global team members, Beckman Coulter Diagnostics is proud to be part of Danaher. Danaher is a global science and technology leader. Together we combine our capabilities to accelerate the real-life impact of tomorrow's science and technology to improve human health. ©2024 Beckman Coulter. All rights reserved. Beckman Coulter, the stylized logo, and the Beckman Coulter product and service marks mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Beckman Coulter, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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Healthcare Analytics

Keystone Healthcare Partners Establishes Partnership with Trinity Medical to Expand Emergency Medicine Footprint into Louisiana

Keystone Healthcare Partners | February 05, 2024

Keystone Healthcare Partners a leading provider of emergency medicine, hospital medicine, critical care medicine, and telehealth staffing and management services, as well as revenue cycle management, recently announced that it has formed a partnership with Trinity Medical in Ferriday, Louisiana. Keystone's delivery of emergency medicine services at Trinity Medical will commence on February 1, 2024. This contract represents an exciting expansion of Keystone's regional influence into Louisiana; the company has managed contracts in Mississippi for decades. Glenn Adams, Keystone's CEO & Co-founder, notes, "We are excited to kick off another partnership with a client where we see opportunity for real impact. We've hit the ground running to shore up areas of frustration for the client and bring value-add and innovative solutions, such as Keystone Connect AI technology to the emergency medicine program." While the healthcare landscape has been challenging for rural and critical access hospitals, the two entities share a patient-centered ethos that will be paramount to the partnership. The two entities share a community- and patient-focus that is embodied by Trinity's motto, "People you know, caring for people you love." "We are very excited to start our partnership with Keystone Healthcare," states Keisha Smith, CEO of Trinity. "My goal for Trinity Medical has always been to provide our patients with the best healthcare and customer service possible in the Miss-Lou area. We feel that Keystone shares the same goals that we have and will be a true asset to our hospital. Henry Ford stated, 'Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.' We are looking forward to a long lasting, successful partnership with Keystone Healthcare." Trinity Medical, a 23-bed licensed facility, continues to grow and upgrade their services and facilities in addition to recruiting physicians to meet the growing needs of their expanding community. About Keystone Healthcare Keystone Healthcare™ is a leading provider of Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Critical Care Medicine and Telehealth clinical management services and staffing solutions for hospitals. We efficiently deliver high-quality, patient-centered care through strong physician leadership and involved management that drive our innovative and integrated business model. About Trinity Medical Trinity Medical is operated by Concordia Parish Hospital Service District No. 1. Trinity Medical, formerly Riverland Medical Center, opened in 1964 as Concordia Parish Hospital and has continuously served the residents of the area for more than 55 years. In addition to emergency and acute care, Trinity Medical offers surgical services, diagnostic imaging, infusion center, cardio-respiratory care, gastroenterology, lab services, otolaryngology, urology, and an in-hospital rehabilitation service as well as an extensive range of out-patient services, both diagnostic and for treatment.

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Digital Healthcare

UCI Health Reaches Definitive Agreement to Acquire Four Southern California Hospitals From Tenet Healthcare Corporation

UCI Health | February 02, 2024

The Regents of the University of California, on behalf of the University of California, Irvine, has entered into a definitive agreement with Tenet Healthcare Corporation to acquire Tenet's Pacific Coast Network. The network will become part of UCI Health, the clinical enterprise of UC Irvine. "UC Irvine has deepened its healthcare commitment to the future of Orange County, our region and California," said UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman. "This journey in healthcare is deeply intertwined with the University of California's dedication to bettering our communities, expanding access to premier healthcare, and pioneering the medical innovations of tomorrow, today. Our vision will bridge gaps in regional care and reinforce UCI's place among the nation's leading academic health systems while advancing solutions to challenges facing healthcare." Pending customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions, the proposed acquisition would bring four medical centers in Lakewood, Los Alamitos, Fountain Valley and Placentia and associated outpatient locations into the UCI Health system. UCI Health currently delivers care at UCI Medical Center in Orange and a growing network of multispecialty care centers. "At UCI Health, we are excited to add these new care sites to the UCI Health network and extend the benefits of our compassionate, high-level care, clinical innovation, and scientific discovery," said Chad Lefteris, president and chief executive officer of UCI Health. "As Orange County's only academic health system, UCI Health is unique in its ability to offer the highest level of advanced care powered by the research and innovation of a world-class public research institution." UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network. "These four hospitals are well-regarded in their communities for providing high-quality, compassionate care," said Saum Sutaria, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Tenet Healthcare. "The local communities will benefit from the nationally recognized advancements, medical knowledge, research, and community focus that UCI Health brings as an innovative academic health system. UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by the Pacific Coast Network." In a region with a population greater than that of two dozen states, UCI Health operates the only Level I trauma center, locally based National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal-neonatal service and is the largest regional burn center and leading provider of complex tertiary and quaternary care. The system's clinical excellence has consistently placed UCI Health in the top 10 for quality and safety among the nation's leading comprehensive academic health systems. The acquisition also means more patients will have access to advanced therapies in the region's largest and most diverse portfolio of clinical trials, ranging from cancer to neurosciences, digestive diseases, orthopedics and internal medicine specialties. UCI Health and Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network patients can continue receiving care at their local facilities as they normally would from the care teams they know and trust. The transaction is expected to be completed in spring 2024, subject to customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions. "It is a privilege to provide world-class care to Californians and we are excited to welcome the clinicians and co-workers from these Tenet Healthcare sites to UCI Health as partners in improving the health of local communities," Lefteris said. About UCI Health UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 459-bed, acute care hospital, listed among America's Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 23 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County's only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center, gold level 1 geriatric emergency department and regional burn center. About UC Irvine About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation's top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 37,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It's located in one of the world's safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County's second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. About Tenet Healthcare Tenet Healthcare Corporation is a diversified healthcare services company headquartered in Dallas. Our care delivery network includes United Surgical Partners International, the largest ambulatory platform in the country, which operates or has ownership interests in more than 480 ambulatory surgery centers and surgical hospitals. We also operate 58 acute care and specialty hospitals, approximately 110 other outpatient facilities, a network of leading employed physicians and a global business center in Manila, Philippines. Our Conifer Health Solutions subsidiary provides revenue cycle management and value-based care services to hospitals, health systems, physician practices, employers, and other clients. Across the Tenet enterprise, we are united by our mission to deliver quality, compassionate care in the communities we serve.

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Health Technology

Beckman Coulter Unveils DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, Expanding Portfolio with Proven Six Sigma Performance

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics | January 30, 2024

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics, a clinical diagnostics leader, will unveil its new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, an automated clinical chemistry analyzer, at Medlab Middle East in Dubai, taking place February 5-8, 2024. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is one of several recent Beckman Coulter solutions designed to address the complete needs of healthcare systems that are looking to complement central hub laboratories by advancing the technology and capabilities of satellite and independent hospital laboratories. "Healthcare systems around the world are strategically adopting hub-and-spoke models for better efficiency and healthcare access," said Kathleen Orland, Senior Vice President, Business Unit, General Manager, Chemistry and Immunoassay for Beckman Coulter Diagnostics. "Hub-and-spoke clinical laboratory models optimize resources to improve access to testing services and enhance overall standardization for quality testing and positive impact on inventory and cost management across a health system. The new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer advances capabilities of spoked labs with a broad menu of high-quality assays that deliver consistent, commutable results across Beckman Coulter's AU clinical chemistry systems, positively impacting clinical decision-making and patient outcomes." The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer features advanced automation technology, onboard guided workflows, and standardized reagents for use across healthcare networks. Its menu of more than 120 assays has been independently and objectively verified for high quality Six Sigma performance, supporting confidence in clinical results, reducing QC trouble shooting and lab operational costs. "Our Six Sigma assessment has shown that the DxC 500 AU analyzer easily exceeds the demands of the new, more stringent CLIA 2024 performance specifications," stated Sten Westgard, Director of Client Services and Technology for Westgard QC. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is for in vitro diagnostic use only. It is available throughout North America and the Middle East. Global commercial availability is planned for March 2024. About Beckman Coulter. Inc. A global leader in advanced diagnostics, Beckman Coulter has challenged convention to elevate the diagnostic laboratory's role in improving patient health for more than 80 years. Our mission is to Relentlessly Reimagine Healthcare, One Diagnosis at a Time – and we do this by applying the power of science, technology and the passion and creativity of our teams. Our diagnostic solutions are used in complex clinical testing, and are found in hospitals, reference laboratories and physician office settings around the globe. We exist to deliver smarter, faster diagnostic solutions that move the needle forward from what's now to what's next. We seek to accelerate care with an extensive clinical menu, scalable lab automation technologies, insightful clinical informatics, and optimize lab performance services. Headquartered in Brea, Calif., with more than 11,000 global team members, Beckman Coulter Diagnostics is proud to be part of Danaher. Danaher is a global science and technology leader. Together we combine our capabilities to accelerate the real-life impact of tomorrow's science and technology to improve human health. ©2024 Beckman Coulter. All rights reserved. Beckman Coulter, the stylized logo, and the Beckman Coulter product and service marks mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Beckman Coulter, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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