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Morning Brew January 25, 2023

Healthcare Brew

GE Healthcare

Happy Wednesday! It’s already the end of January. Wild. You know what else is wild? A theme party. While this newsletter is no toga party by any stretch of the imagination, we celebrate the reporting we’re doing here at Healthcare Brew just as hard. This month had a particular theme, as will every month. Did you catch it? Sound off in the LinkedIn group.

In today’s edition:

Medicaid matters

Diabetes screening

—Shannon Young, Maia Anderson

MATERNAL MORTALITY

Pregnancy paradigm

A nurse makes a postpartum visit to a new mom's home. Hero Images Inc/Getty Images

Hundreds in the US die annually from pregnancy-related conditions, but that could soon change under bipartisan efforts to revamp state Medicaid programs.

More than half of all states (and DC!) implemented a postpartum coverage extension to ensure more residents receive care up to one year postpartum. The policy change—made easier through recent federal legislation—seeks to curb deaths deemed largely preventable (up to 80%, according to one CDC analysis). And other states, including New York, are set to follow once they also receive federal approval to modify their Medicaid programs.

A February 2021 report from the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the “combined federal and state cost to provide 10 additional months of Medicaid coverage would be about $1,500 per person, on average, in 2022,” and increase at an average annual rate of 6% through 2030.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other supporters of the extension argue that providing Medicaid coverage up to one year after a person gives birth will not only improve patient outcomes and prevent deaths—of which there are about 700 annually in the US—but also reduce costly emergency room visits and uncompensated care.

And since Black and Hispanic people are nearly three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related conditions, advocates say it will address critical racial disparities in healthcare.

“We are in a maternal health crisis right now, especially for Black and Indigenous birthing people,” said Taylor Platt, health policy manager for ACOG. “The first thing we can do [is give these people] an additional 10 months of insurance coverage to make sure that they are able to have the first step in accessing the care they need.” Keep reading here.—SY

Do you work in healthcare or have information about the industry that we should know? Email Shannon at [email protected] For completely confidential conversations, ask Shannon for her number on Signal.

        

TOGETHER WITH GE HEALTHCARE

Brand spankin’ new

GE Healthcare

2023 is here, and it’s time for a refresh. And who knows more about rejuvenation than GE HealthCare? For more than 100 years, they’ve been a leader in healthcare innovation, from unveiling the first high-field MRI scanner to creating the first deep-learning image reconstruction CT software.

Today, GE HealthCare emerges as an independent company, becoming one of the “oldest” new companies on the market. But you can still expect the same dedication to precision care solutions that improve patient health, increase clinical productivity, and extend lives.

GEHC’s evolution is centered around what Peter Arduini, GE HealthCare CEO, calls “D3.” This includes advancements to smart devices, disease states, and their digital platform—so pretty much the glue that connects it all together.

Step into the future with GE HealthCare here

PUBLIC HEALTH

Costly condition

A person holds a phone with glucose monitoring while a person stands in front of them with the patch on, tracking their vitals. Artur Debat/Getty Images

A patient entering the ER with a sprained ankle may be surprised if the attending physician asks to screen them for Type 2 diabetes. But at NYU Langone Health, it’s been the norm since 2019—and as a result, the system has tested more than 10,000 patients for the disease, diagnosing 20% of them with prediabetes and 2.5% with diabetes.

The health system, which runs the screening initiative at four emergency rooms located in Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as on Long Island, started giving a blood test for Type 2 diabetes (at no additional cost to the patient) to people who meet criteria set out by the US Preventive Services Task Force.

The diabetes screening initiative is the first of its kind in New York City. Reed Caldwell, the health system’s EMS medical director, said he instituted the policy because it would lower morbidity and mortality rates for these patients while also decreasing healthcare costs.

How it works: The ER was the perfect spot to do the screening because many people only seek care there, Caldwell said.

The inexpensive tests, which check hemoglobin A1C levels, can quickly indicate whether a patient has diabetes. So by the time they’re getting sent home with care directions for that ankle injury, a primary care appointment can be scheduled for diabetes management, said Caldwell. 

The cost-saving benefit of screening: Roughly 10% of Americans have diabetes, and 90%–95% of those people have Type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition with symptoms that can be reversed by eating healthier and living a more active lifestyle.

The disease is extremely expensive to treat. The CDC estimates that a quarter of annual US healthcare dollars ($4.3 trillion in 2021) is spent on treating the condition. Keep reading here.—MA

Do you work in healthcare or have information about the industry that we should know? Email Maia at [email protected] For completely confidential conversations, ask Maia for her number on Signal.

        

VITAL SIGNS

A laptop tracking vital signs is placed on rolling medical equipment. Francis Scialabba

Today’s top healthcare reads.

Stat: More than half of all US adults believe the government “should ensure all Americans have healthcare coverage.” (Gallup)

Quote: “Unfortunately, we have a wide variety of people who say they’re pro-life. Some believe in no abortions at all. Some believe in exceptions. Some believe when you hear a heartbeat. Some believe other things.”—Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton on the Republican Party’s definition of “pro-life” (Politico)

Read: Minutes count when a person goes into cardiac arrest—a leading cause of death in the US—and early intervention can make the difference as to whether or not someone survives. (the New York Times)

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and its foundation issued grants to help reduce maternal mortality rates.
  • Tobacco giant Altria spent nearly $270,000 lobbying the Kentucky General Assembly in 2022 to successfully block legislation that would raise taxes on some tobacco products.
  • New healthcare programs, including a Medicaid telehealth expansion, were quietly approved in December 2022’s Congressional omnibus bill.
  • Health officials are investigating Washington’s first measles case this year.

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Written by Shannon Young and Maia Anderson

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