July 29, 2021
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On the Provider Front
VA requires COVID-19 vaccine for all healthcare workers
(Agencia Press South/Getty Images)
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced all of its 115,000 healthcare workers dealing directly with patients will be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine within the next eight weeks, making it the first federal agency to mandate vaccination for its employees. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough said the move is intended to ensure the safety of veterans and expressed concern about coronavirus outbreaks among staff members at several VA healthcare centers that resulted in staff shortages and forced the VA to implement emergency measures in some cases.
Full Story: The New York Times (7/26) 
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Signify Health is rolling out its Transition to Home program in over 50 hospitals to provide evidence-based clinical and social care coordination services to Medicare beneficiaries to help them transition from hospital to home. The program, which currently supports patients in 10 states, provides services such as risk stratification, social needs and behavior health assessment, and medication review delivered by an interdisciplinary team of clinical and social care coordinators, physicians, nurses and pharmacists, who also coordinate care with the beneficiary's primary care provider.
Full Story: Healthcare Finance (7/22) 
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On the Payer Front
Hospitals and providers aiming to achieve high-quality outcomes at lower costs should team up with health insurers in collaborative arrangements to ensure a successful shift to value-based care, according to Angie Meoli, Aetna's senior vice president of network strategy and provider experience. Health systems and hospitals that have engaged in capitated payment models and other value-based care agreements generally fared better financially during the pandemic than providers in fee-for-service models, Meoli noted.
Full Story: Managed Healthcare Executive (7/27) 
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Anthem commits $87.9M to affordable housing in Ind.
(Pixabay)
Anthem announced that it will invest $87.9 million to fund 1,139 affordable housing units in 11 Indiana communities. "Particularly in this time, homelessness continues to be a critical component in addressing the whole health of individuals, families and communities," said Kimberly Roop, the company's Medicaid plan president in Indiana.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (7/26) 
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HIT Developments
Patients' ability to connect to the internet and use digital health tools is the "sixth vital sign" that health professionals should be alert to, as it may affect whether patients can get needed care, according to a commentary in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology. The ability and willingness to use digital health technologies can make a difference in patient outcomes across a range of medical conditions, and the researchers proposed giving patients a 10-question survey to determine their digital connectivity score.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/Endocrine Today (7/23) 
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Trends in Healthcare
Adopting clinically focused cost strategies beyond care coordination and population health can help accountable care organizations (ACOs) achieve stronger savings potential, according to Roji Health Intelligence CEO Theresa Hush. To do so, ACOs must leverage clinical data that can help identify cost drivers and reveal clinical improvements; support data sharing arrangements and collaborations between primary and specialty care practices; and develop care plans based on the ACO patient population and risks.
Full Story: Managed Healthcare Executive (7/27) 
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Aon News
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many companies discovered significant vulnerabilities in their supply chains, remote working capabilities, IT management and beyond. Together, these vulnerabilities created a stress test for companies' business continuity management strategies.
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Listen to Aon Cyber and Ransomware experts discuss cyber threats, and how to protect energy companies against ransomware attacks, data breaches and other business interruptions related to cyber and ransomware events. The speakers highlight the costs associated with attacks, emerging risks, and explore how Aon’s leading edge cyber and ransomware solutions team helps energy companies navigate these risks on a proactive and reactive basis.
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If the ends don't justify the means, then what does?
Bob Moses,
civil rights activist, educator
1935-2021
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