News

CivicaRx, the not-for-profit entity created last year by a group of health systems and hospitals, is planning to achieve its goals of lowering drug prices and addressing shortages in hospitals by working directly with pharmaceutical companies and buying drugs, Bloomberg reported.

Some companies in particular are rising above the fray with their innovative solutions, according to Fast Company, which ranked the most innovative companies for 2019 across industries and overall.

 

Opioid-related deaths, particularly those associated with synthetic opioids, have impacted the eastern states, according to new research published in JAMA Network Open. Washington D.C. had the highest increase in death rates across the U.S.—more than tripling every year since 2013.

Getting to and waiting for a doctor’s appointment will likely take longer than getting a car repair, according to a recent analysis of travel and wait times among professional services by Altarum. All that waiting and traveling adds up to a significant burden in the U.S.–– an average of $89 billion annually in economic costs from 2006 to 2017.

The total number of urgent care centers in the country grew from 8,125 in November 2017 to 8,744 in the same month in 2018—a total growth rate of 8 percent, according to the Urgent Care Association’s 2018 Benchmarking Report. These statistics underscore the changing healthcare preferences among a diversified patient population. 

Physician burnout is getting better, according to a new triennial study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. In fact, doctors were less likely to indicate emotional exhaustion and depersonalization in a survey in 2017 compared to 2014, and burnout prevalence is closer to 2011 levels.

A group of hospital associations sent a letter to Congress outlining their joint position to utilize a new set of principles to protect patients from surprise billing.

More details about the still-unnamed healthcare joint venture between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase have come out during the ongoing court case over the hiring of a former UnitedHealth Group executive. The newly unsealed documents reveal the joint venture is aiming to redesign health insurance, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, a new Pasadena, California-based medical school opening in 2020, will allow students to attend tuition-free for the first five graduating classes.

The healthcare sector will continue to eclipse more of the economy over the next several years, with national healthcare expenditures hitting 19.4 percent of GDP by 2027, according to the Office of the Actuary at CMS. From 2018 to 2027, healthcare expenditures will grow an average of 5.5 percent annually, hitting nearly $6 trillion.

The $69 billion merger between Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, and CVS, a major retail pharmacy chain and pharmacy benefit manager, has been touted as a “transformative moment” moment for the healthcare industry. Now that the deal has been completed, consumers are split on whether they'll move their care to the retailer. 

After acquiring Aetna for nearly $70 billion, CVS Health has taken a financial hit. During the three months ending Dec. 31, 2018, CVS Health lost $421 million in net income, according to its end-of-year financial results.