Payer Roundup—Insurance groups call for HRA protections; Maine governor signs Medicaid expansion

FierceHealthcare | January 04, 2019

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) are opposing a Trump administration proposal to allow usage of health reimbursement arrangements to buy short-term limited duration health plans. "Enforceable safeguards and non-discrimination protections are essential for these options to work for Americans," AHIP wrote in its comments in response to the proposal. The proposed rule would allow workers to use their HRAs to buy the short-term plans that are not required to comply with the Affordable Care Act or to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

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Treatments for breast cancer have advanced dramatically in recent years. There are now many options for patients battling breast cancer to consider including clinical trials and immunotherapies.


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HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Titan Medical Announces Purchase Order from Medtronic

Titan Medical Inc. | May 04, 2022

Titan Medical Inc. a medical device company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative surgical technologies for single access robotic-assisted surgery announced receipt of a $2.6 million purchase order from Medtronic plc a global leader in healthcare technology. The order covers the purchase of instruments and cameras that will be used in preclinical activities and the evaluation of Titan Medical as a potential manufacturing and supply partner for Medtronic. “Medtronic has been a great partner for Titan since 2020 and we’re excited about this opportunity to further our work together. Our manufacturing team and capabilities continue to expand at our operations in Chapel Hill. With this order, we will produce instruments and cameras for Medtronic’s evaluation and testing in addition to producing instruments and cameras for our own single-access RAS platform, Enos.” Paul Cataford, Interim President and CEO of Titan For clarity, these agreements are between Medtronic and Titan Medical Inc. Titan Medical is not affiliated with Titan Spine, which Medtronic acquired in 2019. About Titan Medical Titan Medical Inc. a medical device company headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, with operations in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is focused on enhancing robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) using innovative technology through a single access point. The Enos™ robotic single access surgical system is being developed with an ergonomic focus to provide a surgical experience that imitates real-life movements that surgeons demand. The Enos system includes multi-articulating instruments designed to allow surgeons an increased range of motion in a confined space, with dexterity and the ability to exert the forces necessary to complete common surgical tasks. Titan intends to initially pursue gynecologic surgical indications with the Enos

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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

UMC Health System Partners with Omnicell for Advanced Services Solutions to Streamline Medication Management & Enhance Clinical Outcomes

Omnicell | February 15, 2022

Omnicell, Inc., a leading provider of medication management and adherence tools for health systems and pharmacies, today announced that UMC Health System (“UMC”) in Lubbock, Texas, has selected Omnicell’s comprehensive portfolio of Advanced Services solutions to support key pharmacy initiatives, including acute care, outpatient, retail, and 340B program strategies. UMC has signed a 10-year sole source agreement for Omnicell’s cloud-based portfolio of solutions, including central pharmacy automation and point of care dispensing systems. The partnership is also expected to support UMC’s goals of expanding community pharmacy services through opportunities with Omnicell’s 340B services and EnlivenHealth’s patient engagement solutions, helping UMC to drive operational efficiency across its continuum of care. More importantly, these solutions will empower pharmacy staff and clinicians to focus on higher value tasks that support patient safety. As a public hospital with a 40-year tenure supporting the Lubbock community, UMC has experienced an increase in demand for its services. According to U.S. Census data, Texas has one of the highest uninsured population rates – at 18.4 percent in 2019, nearly double the national average. Programs like the federal 340B Drug Pricing Program and technology-enabled patient engagement solutions are intended to help improve health outcomes for these underserved communities. “At UMC, our top priority is patient safety and ensuring healthy outcomes for our community. Partnering with Omnicell, we are building an advanced pharmacy technology strategy that aligns with our vision to streamline and advance the pharmacy and nursing practice across our system. Most importantly, we are laying a technology foundation that will enable the best patient care.” John Lowe, vice president of Support Services at UMC Health System UMC has embraced the industry-defined vision of the Autonomous Pharmacy, a roadmap designed to develop a zero-error, fully automated medication management infrastructure. Through automation, intelligence, and expert services, the Autonomous Pharmacy is expected to drive performance and outcomes, and empower clinicians to shift their focus from manual administrative functions to patient support needs. “As medication management becomes more complex, we believe health systems need end-to-end, cloud-based solutions that will allow them to work smarter, while supporting safe, efficient pharmacy care,” said Scott Seidelmann, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Omnicell. “We’re confident that Omnicell’s partnership with UMC will provide comprehensive solutions that bridge acute and ambulatory care to help enhance performance and that are designed to deliver the highest levels of patient safety across the health system.” About UMC UMC Health System is a national award-winning health system comprised of over 4,600 team members and more than 30 care locations. We are proud to partner with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center to provide the best care to West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. Whether you are managing a chronic condition, dealing with an unexpected illness, or simply working to stay healthy, we are passionate about getting you well and helping you stay that way. At UMC, Our Passion is You. About Omnicell Since 1992, Omnicell has been committed to transforming the pharmacy care delivery model to dramatically improve outcomes and lower costs. Through the vision of the autonomous pharmacy, a combination of automation, intelligence, and technology-enabled services, powered by a cloud data platform, Omnicell supports more efficient ways to manage medications across all care settings. Healthcare facilities worldwide use Omnicell automation and analytics solutions to help increase operational efficiency, reduce medication errors, deliver actionable intelligence, and improve patient safety. Institutional and retail pharmacies across North America and the United Kingdom leverage Omnicell's innovative medication adherence and population health solutions to improve patient engagement and adherence to prescriptions, helping to reduce costly hospital readmissions.

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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

Change Healthcare and Optum Extend Merger Agreement

Optum | April 06, 2022

Optum, a diversified health services company, and Change Healthcare a health care technology leader, have agreed to extend their merger agreement to December 31, 2022. “The extended agreement reflects our firm belief in the potential of our combination to improve health care, and in our commitment to contesting the meritless legal challenge to this merger.” In a joint statement, the companies Change Healthcare and Optum share a vision for achieving a simpler, more intelligent and adaptive health system for patients, payers and providers. The combination of Optum and Change Healthcare will connect and simplify the core clinical, administrative and payment processes health care providers and payers depend on to serve patients. Increasing efficiency and reducing friction will benefit the entire health system, resulting in lower costs and a better experience for all stakeholders. Change Healthcare and Optum will detail the benefits of this combination at a two-week trial scheduled to begin on August 1. The U.S. Department of Justice’s attempt to block the combination is without merit and serves only to delay improving the experience and outcomes for all participants in the health system. As part of the extension, Optum will pay a $650 million fee to Change Healthcare in the event the merger is unable to be completed because of the court’s decision. Change Healthcare will pay a special cash dividend of $2.00 per share to its shareholders at or about the time of the closing. About Optum Optum is a leading information and technology-enabled health services business dedicated to helping make the health system work better for everyone. With more than 190,000 people worldwide, Optum delivers intelligent, integrated solutions that help to modernize the health system and improve overall population health. Optum is part of UnitedHealth Group. About Change Healthcare Change Healthcare is a leading healthcare technology company focused on insights, innovation, and accelerating the transformation of the U.S. healthcare system through the power of the Change Healthcare Platform. We provide data and analytics-driven solutions to improve clinical, financial, administrative, and patient-engagement outcomes in the U.S. healthcare system.

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MEDICAL DEVICES

Lark Health Builds AI-Driven Heart Health Program

Lark Health | March 17, 2022

Lark Health today announced the development of a novel AI-driven program for the prevention and management of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease in collaboration with Roche Diagnostics. The program, named Lark Heart Health, is an AI-driven virtual care solution that provides personalized health coaching anytime, anywhere. The new Heart Health program is planned to launch later this year. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, and nearly half of all adults in the U.S. have some form of CVD. It's also one of the most expensive chronic conditions, with heart disease and stroke costing the U.S. healthcare system roughly $214 billion annually. Yet, provider shortages and siloed care teams leave patients with limited care options, gaps in care, and insufficient education and empowerment to self-manage their heart health. Additionally, high treatment costs and resource constraints often limit care to those with the highest acuity conditions. Built using a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy framework and designed in accordance with guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA), Lark Heart Health will provide a cost-effective, scalable solution for continuous, person-centric remote heart health coaching intended to help users improve their healthy lifestyle behaviors, reduce stress levels, and ultimately decrease risk factors for heart disease. Through an evidence-based educational curriculum and real-time personalized coaching, Lark will provide users with the tools they need to make meaningful lifestyle changes that can help them better prevent and manage ASCVD and CAD. Earlier this year, Lark announced it had joined the AHA's Network at American Heart Association Center of Health Technology & Innovation, which is focused on building and fostering health technology relationships to develop innovative and scalable solutions. "Lark Heart Health will help those at high risk prevent and actively manage cardiovascular disease through personalized digital coaching. By leveraging our AI technology, we can deliver meaningful and engaging care at an unprecedented scale, and this collaboration with Roche Diagnostics will support the expansion of our proven tech platform into one of the costliest chronic disease markets." Julia Hu, co-founder and CEO of Lark About Lark Health Lark is a healthcare technology company aimed at delivering infinitely scalable, virtual chronic and preventative healthcare through conversational AI. To date, Lark has provided nearly 2 million people with unlimited, 24/7 personalized care delivered through an easy-to-use, text message-like interface that integrates remote patient monitoring tools and is built on a cognitive behavioral therapy framework. Lark's platform seamlessly integrates with health plans' and employers' existing healthcare infrastructure to help them scale their chronic disease prevention and management programs, boost engagement, and improve health outcomes. Lark currently works with many of the largest health plans and across four programs: Prevention, Diabetes Prevention, Diabetes Care, and Hypertension Care. Lark's Diabetes Prevention Program, which is the fastest growing and lowest cost DPP, has received the highest level of clinical recognition—Full Recognition—from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The company has received numerous accolades, including having been named as one of CB Insights Digital Health 150 (2019), a finalist for the UCSF Digital Health Awards one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies and one of Fierce Healthcare's Fierce 15.

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