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THCB Reader -- May 29, 2021

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THCB Reader

May 29 · Issue #115 · View online

Everything you always wanted to know about the health care system. But were afraid to ask.


This week on THCB Reader, public health nurses Karen Johnson and Whitney Thurman push back on the shift towards going maskless; Vince Kuraitis, Edward Anderson, and Geoffery Parker dive into Google’s “Health Care Studio” and whether this will platformize EHRs; and Chadi Nabhan reviews the breast cancer memoir “Off Our Chests.” 
On WTF Health, Jess DaMassa meets Dr. Julia Hoffman, Head of Mental Health Strategy for Teladoc Health to get the scoop on Teladoc’s mental health integration with myStrength Complete. We also have two episodes of Health in 2 Point 00 for you in which we cover some big acquisitions and other massive funding featuring Babylon, Noom, and Ro. 
And of course to listen any time you can subscribe to #THCBGang (which was off this week but has 50+ great episodes) and #Healthin2Point00 podcasts with an easy click on Apple or Spotify.

And a note from my other life. I’m inviting you to take part in IDIH Week 2021, a 4-day FREE online event hosted by Catalyst @ Health 2.0 & our partner organizations that is dedicated to researchers, innovators, care providers and users associations dealing with Digital Health for Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA). We have been involved in this project since 2019, and are super excited to be sharing this conference with you! Register now for the June 1st-4th event, but hurry!
In this week’s health care tidbits, we’re discussing hedge funds. Not those small private equity funds that are defunding small safety net hospitals and being exposed by Propublica & PBS Frontline. (Did you catch #TCHBGangster Jeff Goldsmith on the latter?). No, I’m talking about big non-profit hedge funds that also perform some health care services. This week two of them reported results.
Famed regional hedge fund Mayo Clinic’s health services business reported $243m profit on $3.7bn revenue for Q1 2021. Not exactly Apple margins, but a respectable 6.5%. While catholic national hedge fund Ascension eeked out a $700m profit on $20bn of revenue in the nine months June 2020 to March 2021. The good news is that Mayo has $15bn in its main trading account while in those nine months Ascension made $4.3 Billion on Wall Street bringing its balance to a healthy $25.6 Bn.
And if you were concerned that these hedge funds were in trouble because of the pandemic, well not only do they avoid property, income tax and more they also got plenty of help from the taxpayer. CMS prepaid $2billion of Medicare payments to Ascension, presumably they made a tad more playing the markets with that, and then there’s the non-refundable CARES Act grants. Yes Ascension has got $900m since June 2020 ($1.1billion in all) and Mayo received $356m, although they were nice enough to pay $138m back.
I’m sure those Americans who lost their jobs, their houses and waited for months for government help are glad that–despite the pandemic–these hedge funds weren’t having to dip into their main reserves to keep their health services subsidiaries going…..
Follow me on Twitter @boltyboy and THCB at @thcbstaff for more similar insights/nonsense (and even the occasional sensible idea)! Enjoy! – Matthew Holt
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May 28, Karen Johnson and Whitney Thurman 
After the CDC gave fully vaccinated Americans the green light to ditch their masks, Johnson and Thurman ask—what were they thinking? The CDC’s approach falls prey to the individualistic mindset of Americans and centers the good fortune of the predominately white, well-educated, and wealthy communities who have had easiesty access to the vaccine thus far. This latest recommendation from the CDC is yet another example of the burden of the pandemic falling disproportionately on communities with the least power to protect themselves.
May 26, Vince Kuraitis, Edward Anderson and Geoffrey Parker
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated calls for the development of EHR 2.0 – the next generation of EHRs with extended platform features and capabilities. This article highlights early efforts by Google Health Care Studio and interrogates whether Care Studio has the potential to bring platform functionality to a sector of the healthcare industry known for resistance to change and innovation.
May 27, Chadi Nabhan
The book Off Our Chests follows the story of Liza and John Marshall following Liza’s diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer, made more complicated by her husband’s work as an esteemed oncologist. Chadi gives his candid review of the book and the emotional journey it takes readers through in this article. 
One Drop is reimagining chronic condition care. Learn more at getonedrop.com
One Drop is reimagining chronic condition care. Learn more at getonedrop.com
#Healthin2Point00, Episode 210 | Babylon acquires Meritage IPA, Ro acquires Modern Fertility & more
Hope you enjoyed the newsletter. As ever let me know if you have any comments or want to sponsor/advertise–this newsletter doesn’t write itself but about 17,000 people get it and 80-100K visit the blog every month!
Matthew Holt
Matthew Holt
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