The Daily Scan

October 12, 2018

Last Updated: 1:00 PM EST

Litigation

  • New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced Wednesday that the state has entered into a settlement agreement with Aetna, Inc. to resolve allegations that the company improperly disclosed protected health information of thousands of Americans, including hundreds of New Jersey residents. The settlement is the result of a multi-state investigation focused on two separate privacy breaches by Aetna that occurred in 2017 – one involving a mailing that potentially revealed information about addressees’ HIV/AIDS status, the other involving a mailing that potentially revealed individuals’ involvement in a study of patients with atrial fibrillation (or AFib). New Jersey coordinated with Connecticut, Washington and the District of Columbia in conducting the investigation and negotiating a resolution. Under the terms of the settlement, Aetna will put in place policy, protocol and training reforms designed to safeguard individuals’ protected health information, and ensure the confidentiality of mailings containing that information. The company also will hire an independent consultant to evaluate and report on its privacy protection practices, and to monitor its compliance with the settlement’s injunctive terms. In addition, Aetna will pay a civil penalty of $365,211.59 to New Jersey. (NJ.gov)

Legislation

  • This week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley wrote to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons requesting the FTC conduct an assessment of potentially anticompetitive contracting practices between insurers and hospital systems in the United States deliberately designed to prevent consumers’ access to quality, lower cost care. “If true, these practices undermine Congress’s efforts to lower the cost of, and increase access to, health care for millions across the country. … The last thing American patients and consumers need at this time is a health care system that permits or encourages anticompetitive agreements that hinder access to lower cost care,” Grassley wrote. “It is critical for Congress to understand the FTC’s perspective on these issues, including whether contractual provisions—like those highlighted in recent reports—impact the cost of health care in the United States and whether consolidation in the marketplace magnifies the impact of such provisions.” (Grassley.Senate.gov)

Private Sector

  • Walgreens and LabCorp® this week announced their mutual commitment to a significant expansion of their LabCorp at Walgreens collaboration. The two companies have agreed to open at least 600 LabCorp patient service centers at Walgreens stores across the U.S. over the next four years, inclusive of the 17 locations that have opened since they first announced their consumer-focused initiative in June 2017. LabCorp at Walgreens locations are currently open in Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and Deerfield, Illinois, serving as an important part of LabCorp’s network of nearly 2,000 patient service centers across the U.S. Consumers and healthcare providers continue to have a positive response to the existing locations, which offer specimen collection services for LabCorp testing in a secure, comfortable environment. The sites are located near the pharmacy area inside the Walgreens store, providing a convenient location for consumers to access important health services and information. (Walgreens.com

 

  • MedMen Enterprises Inc. and Chicago-based PharmaCann LLC announced yesterday that both companies have signed a binding letter of intent for MedMen to acquire PharmaCann in an all-stock transaction valued at $682 million. The resulting pro-forma company (including pending acquisitions by MedMen) will have a portfolio of cannabis licenses in 12 states that will permit the combined company to operate 79 cannabis facilities. The combined company will operate in 12 states, which comprise a total estimated addressable market, as of 2030, of approximately $40 billion according to Cowen Group. Through the transaction, MedMen will add licenses in Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia and Michigan. “This is a transformative acquisition that will create the largest U.S. cannabis company in the world’s largest cannabis market,” said Adam Bierman, MedMen’s chief executive officer and co-founder. (MedMen.com)

Research

  • A new study from the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health revealed that women giving birth today in the U.S. are more at risk of dying than their mothers were. Even more alarming is a considerable racial disparity: African American women are three to four times more likely to experience pregnancy-related deaths than Caucasian women. In light of this report, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), and Health Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) have launched an investigation to determine why maternal mortality and morbidity rates are rising in America and what federal agencies, states, and hospitals are doing and can do to address this issue. Upon announcement of this investigation, Chairman Brady, Chairman Jenkins, and Chairman Roskam released the following statement: “Bringing a new baby into this world should be one of the most exciting and rewarding times in a woman’s life. It is absolutely unacceptable that preventable failures are the cause of avoidable, unnecessary, and absolutely tragic deaths. America needs to be the health care leader of the world, and women across the country need to know they will be safe and in good hands while giving birth. With this investigation, we are committed to finding out why these deaths are happening and where Congress can take action to not only prevent these deaths, but also reverse this trend.” (WaysandMeans.House.gov)

 

 

 

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