Thursday Miscellany

Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

Today is the first day of National Nurse’s Week. The well-deserved celebration begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. What a marvelous profession.

Meanwhile Healthcare Dive reports that

  • Last year marked a historic shift in the organization of medicine, with fewer than half of U.S. doctors working in a private practice, according to the latest American Medical Association Physician Practice Benchmark Survey. And among those private practices that continue to operate, many are trending toward a larger size.
  • According to the report, 50.2% of physicians were employees, up from 47.4% in 2018 and 41.8% in 2012. The proportion of doctors working in a private practice was 49.1% last year.
  • Hospitals are one of the largest employers of physicians, with the proportion increasing nearly 50% between 2012 and last year. And with the vast majority of doctors under the age of 40 now employees rather than employers, it suggests the trend will continue over the long term.

The Raleigh (NC) News-Observer reports that

CVS [Health] announced Wednesday it’s joining the list of pharmacies offering people the coronavirus vaccine without requiring an appointment, spokesperson Matt Blanchette told McClatchy News. Same-day scheduling as soon as one hour ahead of time is also available.  Walk-ins are available at 8,300 CVS locations across the country, Blanchette said. The company has more than 9,900 locations across 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. 

The New York Times adds that “Chains like Walmart, Walgreens, Safeway and Stop & Shop have said that they are now offering vaccines to walk-in clients at some locations or in mobile clinics. Other pharmacies preceded the president’s announcement. Rite Aid said that it would accommodate walk-ins on a limited basis last week, for example.” Let’s go.

Forbes reports that Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna will apply for full FDA marketing approval of their respective COVID-19 vaccines later this month.

The FDA authorized the Moderna vaccine under an EUA on Dec. 18, after granting the same authorization to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. The FDA can grant emergency use authorizations when a panel of experts determine the “known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks,” and when the secretary of Health and Human Services determines a health crisis deems emergency use of unapproved products “appropriate.” Pfizer announced Monday it would file for full FDA approval, and it’s likely Johnson & Johnson, manufacturers of the only other Covid-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use in the U.S., will file for full FDA approval as well. Emergency use authorizations can be revoked when public health crises subside, and FDA approval would allow companies, like Moderna and Pfizer, to directly market their vaccines to consumers. 

FLASH: Politico reports that Pfizer/BioNTech applied for full FDA approval on Friday May 7.

Errata: The FEHBlog included in a post last month an erroneous report that Moderna had filed for FDA approval. He had understood that the application was overdue. Whoops.

Forbes further informs us

Moderna announced Wednesday its booster shot showed a positive immune response against the Covid-19 variants found in South Africa and Brazil. Moderna is testing booster shots in individuals who already received their two-dose Moderna vaccine regimen. [Moderna CEO Stephane] Bancel has said he expects booster shots will be necessary, and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said it’s “likely” vaccinated individuals will need a booster within a year of being fully vaccinated. 

From the healthcare business front —

  • According to the Wall Street JournalWalmart Inc. said Thursday it purchased telehealth provider MeMD and plans to offer nationwide virtual healthcare services, another sign of the retail behemoth’s healthcare ambitions. The acquisition will allow Walmart to expand its Walmart Health service around the country, the company said. The retail giant didn’t disclose the financial details of the transaction.
  • The Journal further reports that ‘The MeMD deal opens another front in which Walmart and Amazon will compete, as Amazon recently announced plans to provide its telehealth service, Amazon Care, to its nearly 1 million U.S. employees by summer. Amazon Care, which now serves company workers in Washington state, will also be offered to other employers.” STAT News informs us that “Amazon Care signed its first enterprise customer this week, a significant milestone as the virtual-first health care platform looks to expand its footprint. The client, Precor, is a fitness business that was recently acquired by fitness technology company Peloton for $420 million in cash. Although small financially, the deal is a significant opener for Care.”
  • Healthcare Dive adds that “Nearly two out of three healthcare leaders say they’re currently prioritizing investment in telehealth as the pandemic continues, but that could change over the next few years, when investing in artificial intelligence shoots up the list of priorities, according to a new report from health tech giant Philips.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *