#13 • A Healthy Dose of Healthcare News • January 8, 2021
It’s been a rough week to say the least, so let’s cut to the chase.
In this edition, you will read about #13.1. the first-ever Medicaid block grant, #13.2. a welcome change in New York’s vaccine rollout policies, #13.3. Florida’s rollout strategy, #13.4. the death of Haven Health — three corporate giants’ healthcare venture, and #13.5. ongoing cyber attacks on our healthcare system.
#13.1. Tennessee Medicaid block grant gets 11th-hour approval, but Biden can reverse (Nashville Tennessean)
“A TennCare block grant does not align with the health care proposal of President-elect Joe Biden, who instead campaigned on plans to improve and expand Obamacare. Biden may reverse the Tennessee block grant decision before it has any effect.
For now, Tennessee is the first and only state approved to transform Medicaid in this way. Federal officials said the proposal could be a “model” for other states. Gov. Bill Lee touted the approval as a “legacy accomplishment” and a “historic day for Tennessee.””
#13.2. New York extending COVID-19 shots to people over 75 and essential workers (Newsday)
This happened today… which means that until today, the elderly — i.e. the people most at risk in the face of COVID — were not allowed to receive a COVID-19 shot in New York.
That’s true of other states, too. The distribution of the vaccine has been, by all standards, a disaster in most states. New York’s policies involve penalties in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for vaccinating the “wrong” people, which has led to under-distribution and even vaccine doses being thrown away.
#13.3. Floridians age 65 and up to be prioritized for vaccine, governor says (WESH)
Breaking with CDC guidelines, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida prioritized the inoculation of people ages 65 and over. He even refused to receive the vaccine himself.
“DeSantis said people age 65 and up will get the vaccine first, after front-line health care workers and long-term care facilities. The state has already started administering vaccines to people in long-term care facilities and to health care workers who deal with COVID-19 patients.”
““We’re going where the risk is greatest,” the governor said of the decision to prioritize people in the age group.”
Gov. DeSantis chose to allow local hospitals to prepare their own distribution plans, which he has been criticized for. Still, the number of people getting vaccinated in the state puts its strategy among high-performing states.
#13.4. Haven, the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture to disrupt health care, is disbanding after 3 years (CNBC)
You could see it coming a mile away. As I noted in a recent op-ed, Haven’s “two biggest headlines were when it launched and when its all-star CEO quit.” And now its third biggest headline is when it folded.
“The move to shutter Haven may be a sign of how difficult it is to radically improve American health care, a complicated and entrenched system of doctors, insurers, drugmakers and middlemen that costs the country $3.5 trillion every year. Last year, Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett seemed to indicate as much, saying that were was no guarantee that Haven would succeed in improving health care.”
“Shares of UnitedHealth Group, Humana and CVS Health each climbed more than 2% after the Haven news broke.”
My colleague Robert Graboyes presented Haven with recommendations back when they launched. If only they had heeded his advice.
#13.5. Ransomware Attacks On The Healthcare Sector Are Skyrocketing (Forbes)
“A recent report from Checkpoint Security notes that ransomware attacks against healthcare orgs have jumped about 45% since early November. That followed an alarming 71% spike in October. Checkpoint notes that healthcare entities were actually the number one target of ransomware attacks that month.”
“The figures from Checkpoint’s analysis are deeply concerning. On average, they report, these businesses and organizations faced an average of 440 attacks per week in October. By November that had climbed to 626 — nearly 90 attacks every single day.”
Previous editions of A Healthy Dose of Healthcare News here.