Pharma News for March 1, 2020

A potentially positive outcome from the pandemic is the push in Congress to permanently continue the ability of Medicare patients to use telehealth which has become more widespread over the past year. There are two main sticking points; the government has to continue to allow normal Medicare reimbursement to doctors and whether or not doctors in one geographical location can continue to see patients who are in another location. (Healthcaredive)

In perhaps the only program of its kind in the U.S., a hospital in Baltimore has had a positive impact far beyond just providing medical services to the surrounding community. Bon Secours hospital, in the 1990s, purchased low – income housing in the area. The plan was to see if the hospital could alleviate at least some of the issues associated with living in poorer neighborhoods. As of 2019, the hospital owned 801 housing units. In 2018 the hospital spent $5.7 million dollars in maintenance, staffing, utilities and various other costs but the return was $1.39 – $1.92 per dollar spent. It’s an interesting case study in that it shows entities can have a much larger impact on the lives of people that goes beyond what is expected. (Healthcaredive)

To show that the CDC is prepared for any sort of medical emergency, it has updated its disaster preparedness website to include a potential zombie apocalypse in 2021. This partly in response to a rather cryptic prediction from Nostradamus from the 1500s predicting this calamity. Many of the suggestions by the CDC would work in a “regular” disaster but given the past year that everyone has lived through, better to plan for anything than not be prepared. (Forbes)