Tuesday, December 21, 2021 | Kaiser Health News

Around 10,000 Containers Of Medical Supplies Stuck In Shipping Delay

The shipping crunch is also affecting the health industry, Modern Healthcare reports, with resources delayed an average of up to 37 days by U.S. supply chain congestion. Meanwhile, Oracle has confirmed it will buy electronic medical records firm Cerner for $28.3 billion.

Modern Healthcare:
Transport Congestion Causing Lengthy Delays For Medical Supplies

Hospitals and other providers are experiencing lags in the delivery of between 8,000-12,000 containers of critical medical supplies and equipment, a setback that could negatively impact patient care and public health. Healthcare resources are being delayed an average of up to 37 days throughout the U.S. transportation system due to supply chain congestion, according to research from the Health Industry Distributors Association. Medical shipments are being held up at U.S. ports for around 17 days. The Long Beach and Los Angeles ports in California have the largest number of delayed medical containers on the West Coast. The Port of Savannah, Georgia is the most congested on the Eastern Seaboard, the association reports. (Devereaux, 12/20)

In updates on the Oracle/Cerner deal —

Modern Healthcare:
Oracle To Buy Cerner For $28.3 Billion

Oracle on Monday said it plans to acquire electronic health records giant Cerner in a deal valued at $28.3 billion. The Austin, Texas-based tech giant will acquire Kansas City, Missouri-based Cerner through an all-cash tender offer of $95 per share in a transaction expected to close in 2022. The transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals and closing conditions, including Cerner stockholders agreeing to sell a majority of Cerner’s outstanding shares as part of Oracle’s offer. (Kim Cohen, 12/20)

In other health industry news —

NBC News:
Doctors Sue Envision Healthcare, Say Private Equity-Backed Firm Shouldn’t Run ERs In California

An emergency medicine physicians group has sued Envision Healthcare, the giant health care services company, alleging that it violated California laws barring corporations from practicing medicine when it took over staffing of the emergency department at Placentia-Linda Hospital in Placentia, California, in August. The lawsuit was filed by the American Academy of Emergency Medicine Physician Group, or AAEM, a nonprofit professional medical association that provides administrative services to physician groups. For-profit Envision Healthcare says it is the country’s largest emergency medicine group, partnering with 540 health care facilities in 45 states. Envision is owned by KKR, the private equity powerhouse. (Morgenson, 12/21)

Modern Healthcare:
Report: 10 Private Equity-Backed Healthcare Providers Will Go Public In 2022

More private equity firms took their healthcare provider portfolio companies public in 2021 than ever before, and one research firm thinks the number will almost double in 2022. Data analytics and research firm PitchBook predicts at least 10 private equity-backed healthcare provider platforms will list publicly next year, breaking 2021’s record of six such IPOs. The prediction was part of PitchBook’s 2022 U.S. private equity outlook. Six PE-backed healthcare provider IPOs in a year might not sound like a lot, but it compares with between zero and two in each of the previous 10 years, PitchBook found. (Bannow, 12/20)

Philadelphia Inquirer:
Inspira Health Is Acquiring Salem Medical Center

Inspira Health has agreed to acquire Salem Medical Center, a small Salem County nonprofit that has had a tumultuous ownership history in recent years, Inspira announced Monday. The acquisition could bring more stability to a small hospital that has struggled financially. And it would give Inspira a stronger foothold in Salem County, which sits across the Delaware River from Wilmington. (Brubaker, 12/21)

In news about medical billing —

Indianapolis Star:
IU Health Announces Freeze To Bring Prices Closer To Other Hospitals

After hearing many constituents complain about the high cost of medical care and hospital billing, Fort Wayne Sen. Justin Busch decided that it was time for the public to have any opportunity to ask questions of the state’s health care institutions. Last year he authored a bill that required hospitals and health insurers doing business in the state to each hold an annual public forum to discuss pricing in the interest of transparency. This year, the first that the bill took effect, many of the affected non-profit hospitals waited until the final weeks of the year to hold their hour-long sessions in which they presented a picture of their finances while touting the work they have done. (Rudavsky, 12/21)

NICU Bill Installment Plan: That’ll Be $45,843 A Month For 12 Months, Please

Close to midnight on Nov. 12, 2020, Bisi Bennett was sitting on the couch in her pajamas and feeling uncomfortable. She was about seven months pregnant with her first child, Dorian, and the thought that she could be in labor didn’t even cross her mind. Then, she felt a contraction so strong it knocked her off the couch. She shouted to her husband, Chris, and they ran to the car to start the 15-minute drive to AdventHealth hospital in Orlando, Florida. About halfway through the trip, Bennett gave birth to Dorian in her family’s Mitsubishi Outlander. Her husband kept one hand on his newborn son’s back and one hand on the wheel. (Knight, 12/21)

Covered California’s Insurance Deals Range From ‘No-Brainer’ To Sticker Shock 

If you purchase your own health insurance, it’s time to choose your coverage for 2022. If you buy it through Covered California, the chances are better than ever that you will get a big discount on your monthly premium — or pay no premium at all. Many middle-class families who previously paid full fare for their health plans got financial assistance this year through the American Rescue Plan, a law that significantly expanded federal tax credits that reduce the premiums consumers pay. (Wolfson, 12/21)

Crash Course: Injured Patients Who Sign ‘Letters Of Protection’ May Face Huge Medical Bills And Risks

Jean Louis-Charles couldn’t afford spine surgery to ease nagging neck and back pain after a car crash. So he signed a document, promising to pay the bill with money he hoped to get from a lawsuit against the driver who caused the collision. That never happened. Louis-Charles, 68, died hours after the operation at a South Florida outpatient surgery center in March 2019. The surgery center had put him in an Uber with his wife, Marie Julien, according to depositions. After a 60-mile ride home, he collapsed, court records show. Her husband’s death left Julien to deal with more than $100,000 in medical debt, as described in the “letter of protection,” or LOP, that Louis-Charles had signed. (Schulte, 12/21)

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