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Convenience store enters into urgent care business
Plus: BCBS MI and BCBS VT looking to merge?
Good morning and happy Friday. This is the Friday Pulse Check; your weekly e-newsletter focusing on healthcare economics, payor issues, and other general healthcare items of interest.
In the news:
Regulators eye BCBS Michigan and BCBS Vermont affiliation
Pending regulatory approval, BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont is seeking to become a wholly owned subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of Michigan. According to filings with the state, all governance and executive decisions would be made in Berlin, Vermont, and the Detroit-based insurer would not have a role in processing claims or making policy decisions. The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation is looking closely into how this may affect patient outcomes and healthcare costs in the state. Read more in VTDigger.
Convenience store company QuikTrip ventures into the urgent care business
QuikTrip’s new venture is called MedWise, and the company has opened twelve locations in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area in the last few years. They don’t share branding or locations with QuikTrip locations but they operate on a similar business model: easy-to-find locations, accepting multiple payment methods, and catering to walk-ins. It is another example of a company attempting to break into the retail healthcare sphere. Read more in USA Today.
California Watch: BlueShield of California opts for new online pharmacies for its patients
In an interesting turn this week, the Oakland, California-based insurer announced it would be working with Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Co. and Amazon Pharmacy as its preferred pharmacies going forward, limiting its long relationship with pharmacy benefit manager CVS Caremark. CVS will continue providing specialty drugs. BlueShield of California has 4.8 million members and is the second payor to enter into a contract with Cost Plus Drug Co. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based Capital BlueCross and its 1 million members also have access to Cuban’s new pharmacy. Read more in Becker’s Payer Issues.
Other articles of interest:
The FLATLINING Podcast from Fulcrum Strategies
This week on the podcast, our president and CEO Ron Howrigon wanted to take some time to share how Dr. Dan Hurley’s testimony affected him personally and professionally.
When I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Hurley in May, I was impressed with his candor and professionalism as he faced a seemingly monstrous issue. It can be very easy to demonize your adversary, call them names, or brush them off as ignorant (just look at our political system). Dr. Hurley didn’t do that. Perhaps it is because he understood the odds of his survival and could see more clearly than I might that those tactics that we fall into so frequently would be futile in this situation.
Despite his cool-headedness, he was extremely determined. This is what impressed Ron. Dr. Hurley saw an issue that he could have an impact on by sharing his testimony to outlets like ours and Wendell Potter’s and rather than back away from the potential spotlight out of his own humility, he went for it. And for that we are thankful.
or listen to it on YouTube:
The Ukrainian article this week is definitely more for those who are interested in international relations. Israel has been providing Ukrainian refugees free access to their country’s health system. Reportedly, some of those benefits lapsed, but Israel and Ukraine have reached an agreement to continue to provide healthcare to refugees living in Israel. Read more from The New Voice of Ukraine.
You may have noticed new colors, logos, and designs on our website and podcast this week. As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, we have some big plans for how we are going to improve our podcast and newsletter. I will have more on that in the future, but I am happy to say that our podcast is now on more locations than ever. You can now listen to us on PodBean, Podchaser, Samsung Podcasts, Boom Play, Listen Notes, PlayerFM, or by saying “Hey Alexa - Play the FLATLINING Podcast from Fulcrum Strategies.” You can find the complete list and links by clicking here. More info on a better newsletter and podcast is coming soon.
Have a good weekend,