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THCB Reader -- May 8, 2021


THCB Reader

May 8 · Issue #112 · View online

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

First up, you remember that State of Digital Health survey I was asking the world to take earlier this year? Well the results are out on Tuesday 11th at 11 PT-2 ET! To see them please sign up!
This week on THCB Reader, Mike Magee compares Biden with FDR following his recent address to Congress, and Kim Bellard urges us to all become usability activists and speak up against bad design in health care. Hans Duvefelt does just that, pointing out major workflow design flaws in EMRs. And in a special Mother’s Day weekend piece Rosemarie Day & Deb Gordon say the time is right for all mothers to get better health coverage
Now for some interviews: on WTF Health, Jessica DaMassa interviews Russ Glass, CEO of Ginger, and Doug Nemecek, Cigna’s Behavioral Health CMO on their national rollout of digital mental health services. Jess also gets the scoop on Vida Health’s $110M Series D from CEO Stephanie Tilenius. We have three(!) episodes of Health in 2 Point 00 where we cover many more deals (and I get just a little excited over Chelsea’s champions’ league semi-final win).
Meanwhile, on Thursday’s episode of THCB Gang, I was joined by regulars: futurists Ian Morrison (@seccurve) & Jeff Goldsmith; privacy expert and now entrepreneur Deven McGraw @HealthPrivacy; policy expert consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1); medical historian Mike Magee (@drmikemagee), & THCB regular writer Kim Bellard (kimbbellard). Click here to see it.
And of course to listen any time you can subscribe to #THCBGang and #Healthin2Point00 podcasts with an easy click on Apple or Spotify.

In health care tidbits this week, let’s talk about the seedy world of private equity and poor hospitals.
In recent years ProPublica has featured the efforts of private equity company Leonard Green to use all sorts of financial games to take over publicly run hospitals, make all kinds of promises on the way in, but actually load them up with debt, extract vast sums from them in cash and then abandon them to the taxpayer when the music stops & the money runs out.
It seems that the bandits have perhaps met their match. Peter Neronha, the AG of Rhode Island, this week stopped Prospect Medical (the hospital company controlled by Leonard Green) selling their two hospitals in the state (Roger Williams Medical & Fatima Hospital) to their current CEO and walking away. And he issued this scathing statement: “You chose to get into health care. Act like you believe in it.”
The managing partner of Leonard Green, one John Danhakl, learned his trade at the feet of junk bond king Michael Milliken at Drexel Burnham Lambert. Those of you remembering the 1980s might recall what a scumbag that convicted felon was, despite years of trying to greenwash his way out with his fancy conference and donations to cancer charities, and of course his 2020 pardon by equal scumbag Donald Trump. Apparently the apple fell close to the tree.
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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A great session on May 20th from #THCBGang members Fard Johnmar & Denise Pines
A great session on May 20th from #THCBGang members Fard Johnmar & Denise Pines
May 7, Mike Magee
Turning a phrase that is as lasting as it is powerful, FDR said, “Necessitous men are not free men.” And in his list of economic rights that he pledged to pursue, these two appeared: (1) The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health; (2) The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment. Now, three quarters of a century later, a new President is signaling once again that the time is right for change.
May 4, Kim Bellard
Raise your hand if you’ve had trouble figuring out how to schedule a COVID vaccine appointment, use an EHR or an associated Patient Portal. Maybe you thought it was you. Maybe you thought you weren’t tech-savvy enough. But, a trio of usability experts reassure us, it’s not: it’s just bad design. And we should speak up. 
May 3, Hans Duvefelt
This may come as a surprise for people with business degrees: Doctors don’t really care when a test was ordered. Hans comments on the poor design of EMRs, emphasizing that clinicians need the right information at the right time, in the order we need it, even if the bookkeepers prefer it a different way. When non-clinicians design their “workflows”, things can work out just like the Boeing 737 MAXX. Healthcare systems are still blaming providers when the systems they work with don’t work for them.
May 8, Rosemarie Day & Deb Gordon
The way we treat mothers in the US, especially poor and black mothers, is appalling. They struggle with access to insurance and access to care, and the results have ramifications for their children and society. Rosemarie Day & Deb Gordon show us that Medicaid expansion can fix it, but we need to act quickly to get all mothers the health care coverage they deserve.
One Drop is reimagining chronic condition care. Learn more at
One Drop is reimagining chronic condition care. Learn more at
Inside Vida Health's $110M Series D & Big Push into Digital Mental Health
Digital Mental Health Hits Mainstream: Cigna's Behavioral Health CMO on National Rollout of Ginger
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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