WHAT A NEW HOME SPEAKER MEANS FOR HEALTHCARE IN ILLINOIS: Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch was elected the state’s first black spokesman On Wednesday, Michael Madigan’s decade-long deputy power grab ends.

Health groups see the change in leadership as an opportunity to significantly eliminate health inequalities in the state. Which was among the most vocal officials in 2019 when the new owner of Westlake Hospital announced plans to close Melrose Park Medical Center. Welch, a member of the hospital’s board of trustees, said the move would restrict access to health care for black and brown communities. The controversial Westlake closure ultimately led to an amendment to the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act that makes it easier for the state to restrict a hospital’s closability.

Welch was an advocate for diversity in the healthcare industry and led the Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services Penalize Medicaid managed care providers who have not achieved the contract objectives for companies owned by women or people of color.

The Illinois Health and Hospital Association said it looks forward to “working with Speaker Welch on critical health topics, including bridging health and healthcare disparities, to improve the health and wellbeing of all Illinois people.”

Welch also supported the Reproductive Health Act and HB40, which require health insurance policies sold in the state to provide coverage for abortion.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Speaker Welch to ensure Illinois is a safe haven for reproductive rights and access to health care,” said Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action.

TRANSFORMATION PLAN FOR HEALTH CARE HEAD TO PRITZKER DESK: Illinois lawmakers unanimously voted Wednesday to allocate $ 150 million of the annual hospital assessment fund to projects aimed at reducing health inequalities across the state.

The measure, which is expected to be signed by Governor JB Pritzker, is based on it on a proposal from DHS in November That puts more emphasis on supporting hospitals in underserved communities. In early 2020, lawmakers approved a revision of the state’s hospital rating program, but declined to allocate the $ 150 million as some officials raised concerns that a large chunk of the funds will go towards a now-dead merger of four South Side safety net hospitals would. .

AJ Wilhelmi, president and CEO of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, said the funding will “improve service delivery through provider partnerships that improve access and outcomes – and reduce the health inequalities and inequalities created by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in color communities. “”

CHICAGO OPENS MORE MASS IMPINATION SITES: Chicago will have six mass vaccination sites at City College locations by the end of next week, allowing an additional 25,000 COVID-19 shots to be distributed per week.

The locations are currently only open to non-hospital and other health care workers by appointment. Starting Jan. 18, hospitals with remaining doses will be able to start vaccinating their highest-risk patients over age 65, said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner for the Chicago Department of Health, at a news conference Thursday. Patients must already be enrolled in the facilities.

Arwady said providers should give priority to patients who are older and have the most underlying conditions and focus on “those parts of town where we don’t get as much vaccine”.CONTINUE READING.

WALGREENS LAUNCHES NEW DELIVERY MODEL FOR HEALTH CARE WITH A NEW CREDIT CARD: Walgreens is doing everything it can to get its dwindling finances back on track and stay relevant. Modern health reports.

Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens Boots Alliance is launching a new model of healthcare delivery designed to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes, CFO James Kehoe said during a presentation at this year’s JP Morgan Healthcare Virtual Conference. He said Walgreens has a team of about 200 people working on the “company within a company” that is expected to launch in the fourth quarter.

The pharmacy chain also said it works with Synchrony and Mastercard Start credit cards and a prepaid debit card in the following months.

AHA FROZEN POSTS TO POLS WHO VOTED THE VOTE: The American Hospital Association is the latest health organization to publicly announce that it will suspend all political contributions to lawmakers who voted against the election results last week. Modern health reports.

The Chicago-based association, which represents around 5,000 hospitals, said Thursday it would “immediately suspend” contributions to members of Congress who protested the results of the electoral college.

AHA’s decision follows the decision of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, which made a similar announcement earlier this week.

MEDICARE TO COVER BREAKTHROUGH MEDICAL EQUIPMENT: As a potential boon to medical device manufacturers, including Abbott Labs, Medicare will cover all medical devices identified as “breakthrough” technology by the Food and Drug Administration.

The final rule, published Tuesday, applies to using a breakthrough device for four years after it gains FDA marketing approval.

Medical device manufacturers praised the plan, though CMS first announced it last summer. However, patient safety groups fear that doing so could jeopardize the safety of Medicare patients, as devices are typically tested in much smaller groups than drugs before release, and vulnerable seniors are typically not included in the studies. More from modern healthcare.

UNITEDHEALTHCARE EXPANDS THE AVAILABILITY OF VIRTUAL CARE IN ILLINOIS: UnitedHealthcare announced Thursday that it has expanded the availability of virtual care for members participating in employer-sponsored plans in 11 states, including Illinois.

UnitedHealthcare has updated its policies to encourage the use of virtual care and allow eligible members to virtually meet their doctors. A new virtual primary care service has also been introduced to optimize access to telehealth services. It is offered in partnership with a national group of telemedicine providers, according to a statement.

VALUEHEALTH SAYS COMMERCIAL BRANDS LAUNCH OF LOCAL SURGICAL NURSING NETWORK: The Kendall Pointe Surgery Center in Oswego was acquired by ValueHealth, LLC to bring the Kansas company to the Chicago market.

ValueHealth is building a network of value-driven surgical care centers. The acquisition includes the surgery center and the surrounding 2 hectares of land. According to a statement, there are plans to expand the site to accommodate larger outpatient orthopedic surgery.

ValueHealth has partnered with Dr. Scott Sporer of Midwest Orthopedics teamed up at Rush. In addition to partnering with Kendall Pointe, Sporer will serve as the company’s regional medical director and help expand the orthopedic network in the Chicago area.

NORTHWEST RESEARCHERS DISCOVER THE DANGERS OF COVID PNEUMONIA: Instead of quickly infecting large areas of the lung like other bacteria or viruses that cause pneumonia, COVID-19 pneumonia targets small areas of the lungs and infects the organs over a period of many days or even weeks.

The discovery by researchers at Northwestern Medicine was published in a study in Nature this week. The health system says it is the first to compare immune cells in the lungs of COVID-19 pneumonia patients and those in the lungs of patients with pneumonia caused by other viruses or bacteria.

Researchers were able to identify critical targets to treat severe COVID pneumonia and reduce its harm. Northwestern Medicine will begin testing an experimental drug earlier this year that will dampen the inflammatory response of certain immune cells so that the repair process can begin in the injured lung.

“Our goal is to make COVID-19 mild rather than heavy, which makes it comparable to a bad cold,” said study co-senior author Dr. Scott Budinger, chief physician for pulmonary and intensive care medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University A story posted on Northwestern’s website.

R1 RCM IS A MONEY MAKER FOR ASCENT: The chief financial officer of St. Louis-based healthcare system Ascension says his investment in Chicago-based revenue cycle company R1 RCM has grown exponentially.

Elizabeth Foshage, the system’s chief financial officer, told a virtual audience at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference this week that Ascension’s 2016 investment of $ 90 million in its revenue cycle provider R1 RCM is now worth has more than $ 1.8 billion. She added that during the first five years of that relationship, R1 achieved an “operating value” of more than $ 325 million, or lower cost and improved collections The Modern Healthcare reporter’s notebook from the event.

ICYMI: DINA, STARTUP TARGET HEALTH HEALTH, INCREASES $ 7M: Health tech startup Dina raised an additional $ 7 million as COVID-19 drives demand for technology that health care providers can use to better monitor patients at home. The company recently developed a chatbot SMS product that will make it easier for healthcare providers to check in with patients.

The Chicago-based company tripled its sales in the past year, says CEO Ashish Shah, despite refusing to disclose the amount. He plans to double the workforce of around 25 employees and introduce the company’s products on a national basis. CONTINUE READING.


• • Sameer K. Mishra has been named chief information officer for Itasca-based health technology company Discovery Health Partners. Previously, he served as CIO for Myers and Stauffer LC, a consulting firm that works exclusively with government health programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.