Care Delivery

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. 

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 $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. 

For better healthcare, the U.S. needs more primary care physicians. In a study of U.S. population data, greater PCP supply was associated with improved mortality rates, but per capita PCP supply decreased between 2005 and 2015, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Nurses with poor physical and mental health—particularly depression—are more likely to make medical errors in the workplace, according to new research published in the Journal for Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 

CMS has proposed covering a new form of cancer therapy, CAR T-cell therapy, under Medicare. The proposal would create a uniform standard of covering the treatment, which uses a patient’s own immune system to fight the disease.

CVS Health is testing out a new store format in three Houston locations that aim to be a health hub for residents in those communities, with more of the store designated for healthcare services. The concept combines digital health offerings and community spaces with in-store services.

HHS and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) introduced a new payment model for emergency ambulance services that would allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive care on the scene or at lower acuity sites, such as urgent care clinics.

Health insurers are taking steps to address social determinants of health that go beyond clinical care. Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) and the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Institute have launched a food delivery service in Chicago and Dallas.

The FDA is cracking down on the supplement industry, after Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, asked the makers of 12 different supplements to cease claiming their products cure various diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cancer, among others. Additionally, Gottlieb announced a new plan for policy advancements in an effort to modernize dietary supplement regulation and oversight.

Younger generations have different preferences when it comes to healthcare, with many rejecting some of the traditional aspects of care, according to a recent consumer survey from Accenture. These changing attitudes will help shape the future of healthcare as younger people age and have higher care needs.