Cigna, Humana, other insurers, waive costs for COVID-19 treatment

Healthcare Finance News | March 31, 2020

Cigna and Humana are joining other insurers in waiving costs for COVID-19 treatment. Cigna is waiving cost-sharing and co-payments through May 31. Humana is waiving costs for treatment related to COVID-19 and is now covering subsequent treatment, including inpatient hospital admissions. Humana will cover the member responsibility under the plan benefits for COVID-19-related services, whether treatment is delivered by in-network or out-of-network providers.

Spotlight

Healthcare institutions have identified challenges with reducing unwarranted care variation, especially as they seek to adopt risk-based reimbursement models. Effective care standardization can serve as a competitive advantage by reducing complications, improving outcomes, and increasing a health system’s ability to take on risk.


Other News
HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

CONVERT Clinical Trial Data Presented at ERS Demonstrates Early Success of AeriSeal System in Patients with Advanced COPD/Emphysema

Pulmonx Corporation | September 05, 2022

Pulmonx Corporation a global leader in minimally invasive treatments for severe lung disease, announces the presentation of interim results from the CONVERT Study at the 2022 European Respiratory Society International Conference. Data on the first 40 patients in the study demonstrated that treatment with the AeriSeal System successfully converted the collateral ventilation status in 78% of patients who were subsequently treated with Zephyr Valves. The AeriSeal System is used to close collateral air channels in a target lung lobe of a patient with severe COPD/emphysema, making the patient eligible to then undergo Bronchoscopic Lung Volume Reduction (BLVR) with Zephyr Valves. Patients whose lungs have untreated collateral ventilation are currently ineligible for treatment with Zephyr Valves and have limited options once medical management alone does not control symptoms. Once the target lobe is converted from CV+ to CV-, patients can be treated with Zephyr Valves, which has been shown to improve lung function, quality of life, and exercise capacity for patients with severe COPD/emphysema. The CONVERT study uses the AeriSeal System to close collateral air flow. Once the treated lobe tests negative for collateral ventilation Zephyr Valves are implanted to address hyperinflation of that target lobe to ease emphysema symptoms without major surgery. Successfully converted patients who received Zephyr Valves had clinically meaningful Target Lobe Volume Reduction with a mean reduction of greater than one (1) liter. The CONVERT trial is ongoing and full clinical outcomes of BLVR with Zephyr Valves were not reported at this time. However, results recently published from a single-center feasibility study at Macquarie University Hospital in Australia showed that the AeriSeal System successfully closed collateral air channels and allowed for successful clinical outcomes after treatment with Zephyr Valves.2 At 6 months, AeriSeal and Zephyr Valve treated CV+ patients experienced clinically meaningful improvements similar to improvements in CV- patients treated with Zephyr Valves alone.2 Improvements included Lung function (FEV1 increase of 19.7%, Residual Volume decrease of 16.2%) Quality of life (SGRQ score decrease of 15.1 points) Exercise capacity (Six-Minute Walk Distance increase of 77.2 meters) There were no serious adverse reactions experienced by patients in the Australian feasibility study; 20% of patients in the CONVERT Study experienced an inflammatory response following AeriSeal treatment - all were transient, medically managed, and resolved. The available data suggest that patients with collateral ventilation can undergo successful BLVR with Zephyr Valves following closure of the fissure gap with the AeriSeal System. “This is very promising news for patients with advanced COPD. We know that treatment with Zephyr Valves can provide long-term improvements in lung function, breathing, and quality of life, but for patients with collateral ventilation, this minimally invasive treatment has not been available as an option,” explains Dr. Michela Bezzi, Department Head and Director Interventional Pulmonology - ASST Spedali Civili, University Hospital, Brescia, Italy. “Having a technology like the AeriSeal System to convert collateral ventilation positive patients to negative status means we can provide a treatment to patients who currently have very few options.” “This work reflects our continued commitment to developing and testing new medical technologies to help patients with severe lung disease breathe easier and have better quality of life. These early study results are encouraging and move us closer to the goal of helping severe emphysema patients who have collateral ventilation benefit from our proven Zephyr Valve treatment.” Glen French, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pulmonx About the CONVERT Study CONVERT is a prospective, open-label, multi-center, single-arm study being conducted at up to 20 investigational sites. The study plans to enroll 140 subjects with severe emphysema and collateral ventilation in the target lobe. This protocol is designed to evaluate the utility of the AeriSeal System, which uses a synthetic polymer foam to occlude collateral air channels in a target lung lobe and convert the target lung lobe to having little to no collateral ventilation. Patients will then undergo Bronchoscopic Lung Volume Reduction with Zephyr Endobronchial Valves. Zephyr Valves are not effective if collateral ventilation (CV+) is present but once the target lobe is converted from CV+ to CV-, patients can be treated with Zephyr Valves which has been shown to improve lung function, quality of life, and exercise capacity for patients with severe COPD/emphysema. About Zephyr Valves The Zephyr Valve is a minimally invasive treatment option for severe COPD/emphysema. Zephyr Valves are placed via bronchoscopy to block off a diseased portion of the lung to prevent air from getting trapped and reduce hyperinflation, which allows the healthier lung tissue to expand and take in more air. This results in patients being able to breathe easier, be less short of breath, and have an improvement in their quality of life.1 National and global treatment guidelines for COPD include Endobronchial Valves like Zephyr Valves with the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease giving valves an ‘Evidence A’ rating. More than 25,000 patients have been treated with the Zephyr Valve worldwide. About Pulmonx Corporation Pulmonx Corporation is a global leader in minimally invasive treatments for severe lung disease. Pulmonx’s Zephyr® Endobronchial Valve, Chartis® Pulmonary Assessment System and StratX® Lung Analysis Platform are designed to assess and treat patients with severe emphysema/COPD who, despite medical management, are still profoundly symptomatic. Pulmonx received FDA premarket approval to commercialize the Zephyr Valve following its designation as a “breakthrough device.” The Zephyr Valve is commercially available in more than 25 countries, with over 100,000 valves used to treat more than 25,000 patients.

Read More

HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

VBA Partners With Healthcare Bluebook to Provide Enhanced Reporting of Quality Data for Physicians and Hospitals

Healthcare Bluebook and VBA | September 09, 2022

VBA, a leading-edge healthcare technology company, has teamed up with Healthcare Bluebook to incorporate Quantros quality scores for over half a million physicians and hospitals into its VBAnalytics reporting solution. This move is just one of many exciting enhancements around quality-based care reporting planned in 2022 to make VBAnalytics the premier population health and business insight solution for healthcare payers. VBAnalytics already provides robust analysis and reporting of healthcare utilization and costs and offers insight to help payers make the necessary changes to ensure their health plans are performing effectively. “As the healthcare industry continues to strive for transparency in both cost and quality, the Quantros quality data is essential for our clients to remain competitive. Being able to benchmark their results against millions of healthcare claims from all regions of the country provides invaluable insight to manage their plan performance.” Michael Clayton, President and CEO of VBA With VBAnalytics Value-Based Care Reporting, powered by Quantros, health plans can easily combine cost and quality data to determine which providers are performing the best under their value-based care arrangements. Equipped with this information, payers can make adjustments to their provider networks to ensure that patients have access to the best providers. The Quantros quality scores include important measures of physician and hospital performance including patient safety, complications from a procedure or hospitalization, mortality, and hospital readmissions. Data is combined among multiple providers to create an episode of care, which allows for a more comprehensive view of the patient’s experience. VBA has also integrated Healthcare Bluebook’s online shopping tool within its VBAGateway member portal to make it simple for members to access cost and quality information they need with just a few clicks. “When consumers are equipped with accurate information on cost and quality, everybody wins,” said Clayton. “As consumers become more educated about their healthcare decisions, it will lead to more thoughtful choices that can have a positive ripple effect throughout the healthcare system.” Providing consumers with better information also helps to reduce the overall cost of healthcare for employers, who cover a significant portion of the healthcare costs for their employees. About VBA VBA is a leading-edge healthcare technology company providing comprehensive solutions to the insurance industry. Uniquely delivered on a secure, cloud-based platform, VBA provides a suite of technology solutions for benefits administration, user experience, customer support, business insight and more. About Healthcare Bluebook Healthcare Bluebook's purpose is to protect consumers and companies nationwide from overpriced, low-quality healthcare. Since 2007, Healthcare Bluebook has helped millions of people by making it easy for them to find high-quality care at a Fair Price™.

Read More

FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

Radius XR™ Named as the CES 2023 Innovation Award Honoree for Wearable Device That Combines Therapy and Diagnostic Capabilities

Radius XR | November 17, 2022

Today at the CES Unveiled New York event, Radius XR™, a new fashion-forward wearable healthcare technology brand, was named a CES® 2023 Innovation Awards Honoree in both the Digital Health and Virtual & Augmented Reality categories. Radius was selected from among a record number of submissions to this year’s CES Innovation Awards program. The announcement was made ahead of CES 2023, the influential technology event, happening Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas, NV. Radius XR builds on the therapeutic legacy of IrisVision, a leader in digital vision technologies and itself a 2019 CES Innovation Winner. The Radius proprietary XR assistive device brings together—for the first time—multimodal diagnostics, practice management, and patient engagement. “This is a tremendous honor for our new company. It follows on the success of our IrisVision visual assistive device, which has provided a life-changing solution for thousands of individuals living with legal blindness and low-vision conditions. Radius expands on our commitment to vision health by providing the eyecare industry with an easy-to-use wearable device capable of performing standard perimetry tests. Other exams include color vision, visual acuity, contrast sensitivity—a comprehensive suite of standard vision tests. Development of additional exams is ongoing.” Radius founder and CEO Ammad Khan Radius enables patients to quickly and easily conduct vision tests with minimal guidance or intervention by the staff. The device’s RadiusExam® software and proprietary algorithms provide diagnostic testing results equivalent to current exam gold standards. “By designing our own hardware and software, we’re able to overcome many of the challenges inherent in the off-the-shelf headsets already on the market. Matching visual field strategies, background luminance, stimulus size and dynamic range allows us to mirror the current standards, making it easy and intuitive for clinicians to transition to Radius,” said John Trefethen, Radius Chief Marketing Officer. In addition, the included Business Suite helps clinicians manage everyday aspects critical to their practice's ongoing success. Features like patient education, staff training and clinician onboarding are now possible inline with the Radius platform. Radius is the industry’s lightest wearable device and has the look and feel of a pair of stylish sunglasses. The compact, lightweight design overcomes the challenges of expensive and bulky legacy devices that force patients to sit in uncomfortable positions for testing. With Radius, exams can be conducted anywhere, even in the waiting room, eliminating the need to shuttle patients between machines, which can be challenging for individuals with mobility or vision issues. The CES Innovation Awards program, owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, is an annual competition honoring outstanding design and engineering in 27 consumer technology product categories. Those with the highest rating receive the “Best of Innovation” distinction. An elite panel of industry expert judges, including members of the media, designers, engineers and more, reviewed submissions based on innovation, engineering and functionality, aesthetics, and design. The CES 2023 Innovation Awards honorees, including product descriptions and photos, can be found at CES.tech/innovation. Radius will be on display at the Innovation Awards Showcase at CES 2023 in Las Vegas in January. About Radius XR The Radius XR platform is a portable vision diagnostic and patient engagement system that combines medical-grade diagnostics, business management, and patient education tools in a single wearable XR device. The RadiusExam® and proprietary algorithms provide diagnostic testing results equivalent to current exam gold standards, with the clinical science validated by Deming regression. As the algorithm presents stimuli to patients, it adapts to responses to maximize the algorithm's speed. The total hardware and software system helps medical professionals diagnose patients with accuracy, grow their eyecare practices, enhance patient engagement, and reduce staff workload by enabling patients to perform self-guided vision exams with minimal supervision.

Read More

FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

Athlete Training and Health Expands with New Facilities, Team Members

Athlete | September 27, 2022

Whether for active adults or Olympians, Athlete Training and Health (ATH) encourages its athletes to strive for their own personal best. ATH is raising its own bar on community health and performance training once again, with the announcement of two new facilities in the Houston area and the addition of another world-renowned coach to its executive staff. “What we know is that evidence-led training allows everyone to benefit from the science behind the best in health and performance. Expanding and offering this world-class environment and approach will benefit athletes of all ages and abilities. We are pleased to collaborate with healthcare systems, professional sports teams, universities and school districts to continue pursuing a new level of health and performance training for many communities.” Greg Centilli, chief operating officer for ATH and a recent addition to the growing ATH organization Construction has begun on a new ATH sports medicine and human performance facility in Pearland. Located on the Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital campus at 16100 South Freeway, the roughly 13K-square-foot facility will house unparalleled human performance expertise and opportunities to train in an adult fitness space, a professional sport-style weight room, and on indoor and outdoor turf fields. The facility, a collaboration between ATH, Memorial Hermann and UT Physicians Orthopedics, is expected to open fall 2023. Also in the works is an ATH facility in Cypress, also in collaboration with Memorial Hermann. On the campus of Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital at 27800 Highway 290, ATH will open and operate a roughly 13K-square-foot facility in 2024. At this location, student, collegiate, professional and adult athletes will find the expertise needed to up their game on their own performance. “We are extremely pleased to welcome Professor Cronin to ATH. His science-based expertise and educational experience, alongside his international standing, will help educate investors and the general markets on the significance and industry importance of ATH-led initiatives,” said Centilli. Cronin serves as professor of strength and conditioning at the Sports Performance Research Institute of New Zealand (SPRINZ) at Auckland University of Technology (AUT). His research interests are in human movement, particularly around strengthening of muscle, injury resistance, return to play and high-performance sports. Cronin’s research has been published in more than 400 peer-reviewed papers. AUT and ATH have a long-standing history. Post-graduate fellows from AUT conduct research at ATH as part of a team involving coaches and select students, as well as collaborate on sport technology development. “I know the organization well, and my research interests and expertise align well with ATH’s interest in sporting performance and allied health, so I’m very excited to be advising ATH about the latest science-based studies and learnings to support their people, programs and products,” Cronin said. Celebrating Wins While its clients celebrate personal victories, ATH celebrates industry wins. Readers of Living Magazine recently voted ATH the “2022 Best Health Club/Gym” winner in McKinney/Allen and in Katy/Fulshear via an annual award competition that allows readers to nominate and then vote for their favorite companies by category and market. ATH also was honored to be named a “2022 Neighborhood Favorite” in NextDoor’s annual celebration of local businesses, and a finalist for “2022 Best Gym/Fitness Center in Houston” by readers of Houston Chronicle in an annual awards competition voted on by Houstonians. “While it’s important for us to acknowledge the hard work of our coaches and staff who make awards like these possible, it’s our job to continuously raise the bar, so we consider this just the beginning,” noted Centilli. “We are excited about what we have accomplished and are even more excited for the developments ahead.” Whether it’s losing the pandemic pounds, living in a healthier body, or even reaching the pinnacle of your sport, the certified, experienced sports performance experts at ATH have the expertise and a program tailored just for you. ABOUT ATHLETE TRAINING AND HEALTH (ATH) ATH is more than a gym. It’s a place of community, inspiration and results. ATH provides award-winning adult fitness and sports performance training for youth, collegiate and professional athletes. ATH utilizes best practices from human performance research to provide a world-class training environment for athletes and adults of all fitness levels collaborating with hospitals, professional sports teams, universities and school districts to set new standards for health and performance training. ATH invests heavily in the post-graduate education of its performance coaches, who in turn develop evidence-led training programs guaranteed to deliver sustainable results. ATH currently operates two training centers in the Houston metro area and one in Allen, north of DFW.

Read More

Spotlight

Healthcare institutions have identified challenges with reducing unwarranted care variation, especially as they seek to adopt risk-based reimbursement models. Effective care standardization can serve as a competitive advantage by reducing complications, improving outcomes, and increasing a health system’s ability to take on risk.

Resources