Tuesday’s Tidbits

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

GEHA, the largest employee organization sponsored plan in the FEHB, has a new President and CEO, Arthur A. Nizza, DSW. According to GEHA’s press release, “Dr. Nizza has more than 25 years of leadership experience in the health care industry and has held senior leadership roles at major integrated delivery systems in the Midwest and Northeast. His experience includes roles as Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Information Officer at for-profit and non-profit companies, academic medical centers and faith-based institutions. Most recently, Nizza served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of UnityPoint Health (UPH) in Des Moines, Iowa.” Good luck, Dr. Nizza.

In the tidbits department for this Tuesday —

  • The Agency for Health Research and Quality issued a study of diagnoses causing U.S. hospitalizations in 2018. For example, “Of the 10 most common principal diagnoses among nonmaternal, nonneonatal inpatient stays in 2018, septicemia was the most frequent and accounted for the highest aggregate costs ($41.5 billion). The mean cost per stay was also higher for septicemia than for the other top 10 conditions, with the exception of acute myocardial infarction (AMI).” Healthline explains that “Septicemia is a serious bloodstream infection. It’s also known as blood poisoning. Septicemia occurs when a bacterial infection elsewhere in the body, such as the lungs or skin, enters the bloodstream. This is dangerous because the bacteria and their toxins can be carried through the bloodstream to your entire body. Septicemia can quickly become life-threatening. It must be treated in a hospital. If left untreated, septicemia can progress to sepsis.
  • Becker’s Hospital review tells us that “The pandemic led to a dip in emergency room visits, and the numbers may not recover, UnitedHealth CEO Andrew Witty said during the company’s July 15 earnings call. * * *While still speculative, Mr. Witty said urgent care centers may see the patients who turned away from the emergency room.”
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) informs us at a glance that “By combining parts of spike proteins from different coronaviruses, researchers developed an mRNA vaccine that protected mice against a range of coronaviruses. The results point the way toward a universal coronavirus vaccine that could prevent future pandemics.” Keep hope alive.
  • NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins discusses in his weekly blog research into genetic reasons for a person’s susceptibility to COVID-19 illnesses and more specifically to severe COVID-19 illnesses.
  • The Drug Channels blog discusses the state of the 340B program market in our country. According to HRSA, the HHS agency that runs the 340B program,

The 340B Program enables covered entities to stretch scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.

Manufacturers participating in Medicaid agree to provide outpatient drugs to covered entities at significantly reduced prices.

Eligible health care organizations/covered entities are defined in statute and include HRSA-supported health centers and look-alikes, Ryan White clinics and State AIDS Drug Assistance programs, Medicare/Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospitals, children’s hospitals, and other safety net providers. See the full list of eligible organizations/covered entities.

  • Drug Channels observes that “The 340B Drug Pricing Program continues to expand far more quickly than the overall pharmaceutical market—and some channels are benefiting more than others. [M]ail and specialty pharmacies’ purchases of products that are eligible for 340B discounts have grown by an incredible 56% per year since 2017. That’s about six times faster than the overall mail and specialty market. 

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