These states have the most rural hospitals at 'high risk' of closure: report

FierceHealthcare | February 20, 2019

Unless their financial situations improve, at least 21% of rural hospitals in the U.S. are at high risk of closing, according to a new report from Navigant. In all, at-risk hospitals represent more than 21,000 beds staffed by 150,000 employees and $21.2 billion in total patient revenue. Of high-financial-risk rural hospitals, 64% of them are considered essential to their communities based on their trauma status, service to vulnerable populations, geographic isolation and economic impact. Officials called for solutions such as advancing legislation around telehealth reimbursement and such bills as the Rural Emergency Acute Care Hospital Act. The report comes just a day after the largest hospital groups around the country called on congressional leaders to delay the start of $4 billion in Medicaid disproportionate share hospital cuts, which are scheduled to begin Oct. 1, 2019.

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€300 billion costs to healthcare systems due to chronic pain. 1 in 5 people living with chronic pain have lost a job as a result of their pain. The back is the most commonly reported location for chronic pain. Chronic pain is continuous, long-term pain of more than 6 months’ duration. On average people with chronic pain can miss up to 12 days of¬ work per year because of their pain.


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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

Winner Medical Acquires Majority Stake in Pingan Medical to Fuel Growth

Winner Medical | June 02, 2022

Winner Medical Co. Ltd. a leading manufacturer of disposable wound care and surgical products, announced on May 18 that it will acquire a majority 65.55% stake in Hunan Pingan Medical Device Technology Co. Ltd. for 652 million yuan as the Company continues to expand its disposable medical supply lineup. Upon the completion of the deal, Winner Medical is set to hold a total of 68.7% stake in Pingan Medical for a total of 752 million yuan. The Company's move comes as it looks to make a foray into the field of injection products to diversify its product offerings besides consumer products, and comes in line with its strategy to provide one-stop disposable medical supply solutions. Established in 2010, Pingan Medical mainly produces disposable medical devices, such as syringes, infusion sets, and blood collection tubes among other medical supplies. In 2021, Pingan Medical recorded 360 million yuan in revenue and booked a net profit of 85 million yuan. The acquisition will leverage both companies' strengths and help fill the product gap in injection-related disposables of Winner Medical, enabling it to expand into new medical verticals and achieve its goal of becoming a major supplier for the domestic market. Specifically, the Company plans to roll out medical sets that comprise needle-type products from Pingan Medical and wound care supplies from Winner Medical, providing one-stop customized solutions for hospitals and large medical centers. Meanwhile, Winner Medical will help Pingan Medical with its industry-leading R&D capabilities to develop medical device solutions and build smart manufacturing plants. To fuel the growth based on the new deal, Winner Medical has signed an investment note with the local government of Li County in Hunan Province, where Pingan Medical is headquartered, to build medical equipment production lines, smart warehousing, and R&D facilities. The latest deal follows Winner Medical's April-11 acquisition of wound dressing maker Zhejiang Longterm Medical Technology Co. Ltd. as part of its expansion strategy to stay competitive in the area of high-end wound dressings. The Company has also set up a dedicated team to promote its self-developed wound dressing products as the market for such medical supplies is still in its infancy in China. Founded in 1991, Winner Medical has made efforts to offer quality cotton-based medical dressings and disposables, and will continue to push ahead with its strategy to diversify its product lineup and boost consumption. On the manufacturing front, the Company aims to expand to new medical verticals through acquisitions, while on the consumption front, it plans to enhance product sales through digitization and gradually phasing out less popular products. As such, the Company has made significant progress in digitizing its operations. Winner Medical has gone live on multiple e-commerce platforms, and has gone digital in terms of online and offline warehousing and order management.

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HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Easterseals and the Abbott Fund Join Together to Advance Education and Health Equity

Easterseals | June 23, 2022

Easterseals announced today that it has received a grant of $750,000 from the Abbott Fund, the foundation of the global healthcare company Abbott, to pilot the Project on Education and Community Health Equity from now through 2025. The three-year project aims to address systemic barriers to high-quality education and healthcare experienced by children and families in underinvested communities. Research shows that many young children, particularly children with disabilities and children of color, face significant gaps in access to crucial health and social services that can provide the targeted support they need to be prepared to succeed in school. One example: according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Black children with autism and other disabilities are diagnosed an average of more than three years after their parents expressed concerns about their development. This delay in diagnosis means these children miss out on age-appropriate care and the chance to improve their health and cognitive skills, often resulting in them entering kindergarten with knowledge and skill deficits that many are not able to overcome throughout their K-12 educational journey. The Project on Education and Community Health Equity will create an integrated system that addresses the educational and healthcare needs of children to help them be kindergarten ready and reach their full potential. This includes work in three areas: expanding access to essential physical and mental health screenings and care for children; providing targeted social services to help families overcome gaps in basic needs, nutrition, transportation, and other social and economic barriers; and ensuring that early childhood administrators and educators have the right training to identify and address health and social challenges and provide culturally appropriate support for children. The project will be implemented at Easterseals Childhood Development Centers in Southern California, Atlanta and North Georgia, and the greater Washington, D.C., area. "Addressing the healthcare needs of infants and toddlers as early as possible in their lives is one of the critical ways in which Easterseals serves young children and families across the country. The Project on Education and Community Health Equity will allow us to better address healthcare disparities experienced by young BIPOC children and their families in historically underserved and marginalized communities, and to better understand the connection between more equitable access to healthcare and kindergarten readiness. Centering communities of color in our efforts is a critical strategy to close the gap. Outcomes from the project promise to inform its future expansion to early childhood and early education programs throughout the Easterseals Network of 70 affiliates in communities nationwide." Erika L. Watson, National Director of Childhood Development, Education and Equity at Easterseals "We're proud to support Easterseals' important work to help close equity gaps in education and community health," said Melissa Brotz, president of the Abbott Fund and vice president of Global Marketing and External Affairs at Abbott. "We're committed to advancing health equity and fighting racial health disparities, and our partnership with Easterseals will help reduce barriers to care for children, their families and their communities." The Project on Education and Community Health Equity builds on results seen through another Easterseals program, the Black Child Fund. Launched in 2021 with support from the Abbott Fund and others, the Black Child Fund advanced early identification and interventions among Black children with autism and other disabilities to reduce health disparities often experienced in early childhood. The Abbott Fund investment launched pilots at Easterseals locations serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford, DuPage and the Fox Valley Region (IL), and Kansas City and St. Louis (MO). Through these pilot programs, an 87% increase in the number of Black families seeking services and support was realized, with more than 300 Black children screened for early diagnosis of autism and other disabilities in just one year. Of these children, 80% were five years old or younger, with 75% requiring and receiving additional services through Easterseals. An important outcome of these pilots has been the strengthening of relationships within Black communities across these Easterseals service areas to ensure more equitable and more culturally responsive services and supports to young children of color with disabilities and their families. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released data revealing that during the pandemic public health emergency, rates for primary and preventive services among children in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) declined substantially. This decline in care for millions of children from low-income families will potentially have a significant impact on long-term health outcomes for the nearly 40 million children in the U.S. who rely on Medicaid and CHIP, including three-quarters of children living in poverty and many with special healthcare needs including infants, toddlers, and young children with disabilities. "Through the Project on Education and Community Health Equity, it is Easterseals' intention to address the disparities in healthcare among young children in low-investment communities and to understand the connection between health equity and early childhood educational attainment. We intend to center the experiences of children of color and their families, for whom inequities have only been exacerbated because of the pandemic," Watson concluded. The Abbott Fund's partnership with Easterseals supports Abbott's 2030 Sustainability Plan, which aims to advance health access and equity through partnership. Abbott's ongoing commitment to address health equity challenges includes targeted programs to increase diversity in clinical trials, create opportunities in STEM for women and underrepresented groups, and empower communities to break down social and economic barriers to better health. About Easterseals Easterseals is leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access through life-changing disability and community services. For more than 100 years, we have worked tirelessly with our partners to enhance quality of life and expand local access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. And we won't rest until every one of us is valued, respected, and accepted. Through our national network of Affiliates, Easterseals provides essential services and on-the-ground supports to more than 1.5 million people each year – from early childhood programs for the critical first five years, to autism services, medical rehabilitation and employment programs, veterans' services, and more. Our public education, policy, and advocacy initiatives positively shape perceptions and address the urgent and evolving needs of the one in four Americans living with disabilities today. Together, we're empowering people with disabilities, families, and communities to be full and equal participants in society. About Abbott and the Abbott Fund Abbott is a global healthcare leader that helps people live more fully at all stages of life. Our portfolio of life-changing technologies spans the spectrum of healthcare, with leading businesses and products in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic medicines. Our 113,000 colleagues serve people in more than 160 countries.

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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

Virtua Health and Medtronic Share Plans to Reimagine Traditional Health Care Models

Virtua Health | December 16, 2021

Virtua Health and Medtronic plc announce a five-year partnership focused on improving delivery of quality care for residents of South Jersey, particularly those who reside in underserved communities or face systemic barriers to care. Medtronic LABS, an independent impact-focused organization funded by Medtronic plc, will simultaneously launch a separate pilot collaboration with the Cherry Hill Free Clinic and Virtua to address care and food access for people with chronic conditions – the first U.S.-based initiative for Medtronic LABS. "I truly believe technology is the path forward to improving human welfare," said Geoff Martha, Chairman and CEO of Medtronic. "This new partnership and collaboration demonstrate the opportunity to use technology to tackle health challenges in a localized, grassroots way. By taking a data-informed approach, we can help improve access and outcomes for patients with chronic conditions in southern New Jersey." "This partnership presents a significant opportunity to accelerate health equity and better outcomes for individuals and families in our community. Together, we will apply the latest research and innovation to the fundamentals of community-based care, allowing us to identify and empower those who need support to achieve the best-possible quality of life." Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, president and CEO of Virtua Health The scope of the partnership includes the following projects and will expand over time. Heart Health: Medtronic plc and Virtua Health will develop a program to optimize care for hospital patients diagnosed with heart failure, with a focus on slowing the progression of the disease and enhancing the experience of both patient and provider. By employing Medtronic's data-driven, decision-support tools, Virtua clinicians will provide ongoing resources post-hospitalization, minimizing the likelihood of readmission and creating sustainable, enriching solutions for the individual. Outpatient Care Continuity: The partnership will also optimize patient care in high-value outpatient settings, including ambulatory surgery centers. Additionally, Medtronic plc and Virtua will expand Virtua's hospital at home program, which is due to launch officially in early 2022 and aims to reduce the resource-strain on the health system while allowing eligible patients to heal from the comfort of home. Medtronic LABS' collaboration intends to address population health in the following ways: Community Health and the Cherry Hill Free Clinic: Community health workers and clinicians at the Cherry Hill Free Clinic will utilize Medtronic LABS' digital health platform, extending their reach through mobile tools and point-of-care diagnostics. Those identified as having (or being at risk for) chronic illnesses, such as Type 2 diabetes or hypertension, will then connect to the Cherry Hill Free Clinic for follow-up care. Over time, the platform will become more sophisticated and specific as the data accumulates and reveals localized trends and challenges. Food Access: Medtronic LABS will also support Virtua's Eat Well food access programs, specifically the Food Farmacies located inside Virtua Mount Holly Hospital and the Virtua Health & Wellness Center – Camden. Medtronic LABS and Virtua will identify those at risk for food insecurity – due to financial circumstances or limited health literacy – and connect them to free food, nutrition education, and social-work services. "I am honored that Medtronic LABS and Virtua recognize the essential services we provide at the Cherry Hill Free Clinic, and that they are combining their resources and expertise toward enhancing continuity of care for existing and prospective patients," said Jubril Oyeyemi, MD, founder and chief medical officer of the Cherry Hill Free Clinic. "The CDC estimates that 20 percent of Camden County residents do not have health insurance. By creating pathways to care, we build healthier communities." "Medtronic LABS has trained more than 2,000 health workers and provided screenings to more than a million people worldwide. To date, we have focused our efforts on communities in Kenya, Ghana, India, and the Philippines, which is why we are thrilled to partner with Virtua Health on our first U.S.-based endeavor," said Ruchika Singhal, vice president of Medtronic LABS. "In time, this collaboration will create scalable, replicable improvements to the care-delivery model while advancing health and wellness on an individual level." About the Partners Medtronic: Bold thinking. Bolder actions. We are Medtronic. Medtronic plc, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is the leading global healthcare technology company that boldly attacks the most challenging health problems facing humanity by searching out and finding solutions. Our Mission — to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life — unites a global team of 90,000+ passionate people across 150 countries. Our technologies and therapies treat 70 health conditions and include cardiac devices, surgical robotics, insulin pumps, surgical tools, patient monitoring systems, and more. Powered by our diverse knowledge, insatiable curiosity, and desire to help all those who need it, we deliver innovative technologies that transform the lives of two people every second, every hour, every day. Expect more from us as we empower insight-driven care, experiences that put people first, and better outcomes for our world. In everything we do, we are engineering the extraordinary. Medtronic LABS is an independent, non-profit structure with multiple entities including an operating foundation, a social business, an in-country non-profit, and for-profit subsidiaries. Medtronic LABS is setting out to design the health system of the future: one that is equitable, tech-enabled, and patient-centered. To date, Medtronic LABS has screened more than 1M patients and improved clinical outcomes for over 35K patients in Kenya, Ghana, India, and the Philippines. Virtua Health is an integrated health care system and the trusted partner for personalized health care and wellness for communities in southern New Jersey. With more than 280 locations and 14,000 colleagues, Virtua provides high-quality care with more than two million annual encounters across the full range of community and tertiary health services – from preventive care to urgent care through specialty services in cancer, women's health, neuroscience, and orthopedics to complex minimally invasive cardiac surgery and organ transplantation. Performing more than 175,000 surgeries at its hospitals and network of ambulatory centers, Virtua is one of the largest providers of surgery in the state. As a not-for-profit leader, Virtua continues to improve social determinants in health and has distributed more than 160,000 pounds of fresh produce in underserved areas to address food insecurity. Virtua is advancing important partnerships into the future to help you be well, get well, and stay well. Cherry Hill Free Clinic (CHFC) is an independent 501(c)(3) with the mission of providing free primary care to the uninsured and under-insured. CHFC is supported by Virtua Health, which provides lab, radiology and, in some cases, specialty care to CHFC patients.

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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

House Rx Secures $30 Million in Financing to Improve the Specialty Pharmacy Experience for Patients and Their Care Teams

House Rx | March 15, 2022

House Rx, a health technology platform focused on improving affordability and patient access to specialty medications, announced it has secured $25 million in Series A financing led by Bessemer Venture Partners, bringing total funding to $30 million. House Rx's technology platform and pharmacy service enable specialty practices to offer medically-integrated dispensing, which means patients can receive both their physician and pharmacy care from one team, collaborating on a unified technology platform. Since it launched in March 2021, House Rx has partnered with four medical specialty practices and 30 prescribers in California and Washington. "We have a simple idea: partner with specialty clinics all over the country to enable medically integrated dispensing where the physician, pharmacist, nurses and techs can work together as one team, under one proverbial roof, to improve patient care. Our vision for the future of specialty pharmacy is a more local, more collaborative, and ultimately a more affordable system that leads to much better outcomes for patients." Ogi Kavazovic, CEO and a co-founder Specialty medications, which include treatments for cancers, rheumatic diseases and other chronic and acute conditions, are some of the most expensive drugs available. Unlike infused therapies which are administered in the clinics, the burden of specialty medication access and adherence often falls on patients, who typically need to battle several large bureaucracies to gain access to their medications. These often lead to multi-week delays in treatment and much lower adherence rates compared to medications administered in clinics. Currently, specialty medications are mainly dispensed via mail by a patient's insurance company, not their doctor or a pharmacy a patient chooses. A growing body of research demonstrates that when patients obtain timely access to cancer treatments directly from their care team, they have better outcomes, including improved quality of life and increased survivability. House Rx currently has over 30 employees, who are mostly software engineers and pharmacy operations. In addition to Bessemer Venture Partners, First Round Capital, Character.vc, and 1984.vc participated in the Series A funding. First Round Capital led the seed round as the initial investor alongside Khosla Ventures, Maverick Ventures, and 1984.vc. The funding from this latest round will go towards continued investments in House Rx's technology platform and scaling pharmacy operations. "The specialty pharmacy market is in much need of a new approach - the current system severely lacks in patient choice and innovation, and we think House Rx's vision for a more modern, more decentralized approach will have incredible impact," said Steve Kraus, Partner, Bessemer Venture Partners. "Bessemer is proud to back a company with a mission to ultimately make it easier and more cost effective for patients to get the treatment they need." In addition to Kavazovic, the health technology start-up was co-founded by Tesh Khullar, who serves as the company's President. Kavazovic and Khullar are former Flatiron Health executives, where they gained experience working closely with hundreds of oncology clinics. The company's Chief Pharmacy & Operating Officer is Denali Cahoon, PharmD, who is a former executive at Trellis Rx. "The antiquated pharmacy systems developed decades ago inhibit coordinated patient care and increase costs. The current system also prevents patients from choosing where they can get their medically prescribed life-sustaining therapies," said Tesh Khullar, President and a co-founder. "We started House Rx to make the medically integrated dispensing model the new normal in specialty pharmacy. With the right technology, and the right distribution partners, we can re-establish the partnership between physicians and pharmacists that brings a new level of transparency and patient care." House Rx's technology platform helps prescribers and pharmacists collaborate more effectively via one integrated system. Built based on in-depth feedback from pharmacists and physicians, the platform is designed specifically for the management of specialty medication, and includes built-in analytics to enable continuous improvement in operational efficiency and quality of care. The specialty medical practices that have already partnered with House Rx include Care Oncology Center, California; Sarcoma Oncology, California; Arthritis Northwest Washington; and Northwest Medical Specialties, Washington. About House Rx House Rx is a technology-enabled service company focused on making specialty medication more accessible and affordable. We do so by helping clinics dispense specialty medications to their patients in a medically-integrated way using pharmacist expertise and modern technology. By helping physicians and pharmacists collaborate on patient care, we're able to improve patient outcomes, lower the cost of care, and create a better experience for patients and their caregivers.

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Spotlight

€300 billion costs to healthcare systems due to chronic pain. 1 in 5 people living with chronic pain have lost a job as a result of their pain. The back is the most commonly reported location for chronic pain. Chronic pain is continuous, long-term pain of more than 6 months’ duration. On average people with chronic pain can miss up to 12 days of¬ work per year because of their pain.

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