10 September 2022 |

Outside the Huddle 9/11/22

By workweek

1) Federal Judge Rules Free Preventative Services are Unconstitutional

A federal judge from Texas (the same judge who has ruled against the ACA) ruled that using the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations to decide which preventative services must be covered by health insurance is unconstitutional. The USPSTF is generally regarded as the gold standard for preventative medicine by physicians in the U.S. He also decided that requiring coverage for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis violates religious freedoms. If any of these changes go into effect it will negatively impact many lives and likely result in increased costs down the line for patients.

2) Walmart and UnitedHealth to Form Strategic Partnership

Walmart and UnitedHealth agreed to a minimum 10-year-long value-based care partnership for Walmart clinicians. They also agreed to launch a new Medicare Advantage plan, which they’ll offer in Georgia, while also giving millions of UnitedHealth consumers access to Walmart Health services. CVS and Walgreens are also making large moves in the health space, especially in the at-home care arena. CVS (as I wrote above) recently acquired Signify Health and Walgreens acquired CareCentrix. The competition between the big three is getting fierce, but the end result will hopefully be increased access to affordable primary care services.

3) The Fentanyl Myth

Here’s a break from the news, and instead a gentle reminder that touching or being near fentanyl (or other opioids) does not cause sudden overdoses, contrary to the numerous news reports and videos of police officers suddenly collapsing (a symptom not consistent with overdoses) after being exposed to powders. WTFentanyl is a team of toxicologists and physicians aiming to address this myth and reassurance that it is safe for first responders to treat those experiencing overdoses.

4) Should Healthcare CEOs be Accepting Lavish Gifts?

Dr. Sachin Jain thinks not. He says, “In a system that, for all our striving to provide blanket coverage to the neediest, still leaves many millions of people unserved or under-served, and where costs have been rising unmitigated, this practice [(accepting lavish gifts)] is simply wrong.”

5) Baltimore’s E. coli Crisis

E. coli was found in Baltimore’s water, leading to a week-long panic. Much of Baltimore county was under a water boil advisory, meaning people were to boil their water before drinking it or doing anything with it. The situation has been resolved. However, this is just another water-crisis that’s occurred in the U.S. within weeks. I wrote about the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, last week. Please give it a read.