Daily Briefing – October 4, 2019

“NEW YORK CITY—Insurance giant Humana operates a mail-order pharmacy, has more than 230 owned or alliance primary care clinics and a large home health care provider, Kindred at Home. And the payer continues to build out capabilities to address members’ social determinants of health. These healthcare services are part of Humana’s shift from “an insurance company with elements of healthcare to a healthcare company with elements of insurance,” Vishal Agrawal, chief strategy and corporate development officer at Humana, said during CB Insights’ Future of Health event in Manhattan Wednesday. “Parts of (these capabilities) we will own, as we’re building primary care clinics, but we’re also looking to stitch together other primary care innovators that believe in value-based care,” he said. Innovative technology will be critical to help support these healthcare services, Agrawal said. “We’re using technology to enable better care for members. We’re creating a holistic platform for our members, and Medicare Advantage is a financing model that helps to do that, and technology is a key enabler of that journey,” he said.”

“One in four people will suffer a mental disorder throughout their life. This surprising fact, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently revealed, has been a voice of alarm for all mental health professionals. Such a high prevalence, and which seems to continue to increase, establishes the need to advance in the development of effective treatments and prevention programs and early invention. However, the limited resources available in many cases represent a limitation to reach all the people who need them. What can be done so that treatments reach more and more population and faster? One of the lines of work, in this sense, is the treatments that make use of the new technologies. The possibilities are very wide and varied: Mobile applications that help us in the treatment of emotional disorders, guiding us throughout the entire process; YouTube channels where we can learn to relax or meditate; complete treatment programs that we can access from our computer or mobile; and the virtual reality used to overcome our phobias to speak in public or to fly.”

“Walmart Inc. will test a variety of new health-care programs for some of its workers next year, aiming to provide easier access and better care while also reducing its own expenses. The nation’s biggest private employer will use a data-analytics company to connect workers with select local doctors in a few regions, expand its tele-health program in other areas and offer health-care “concierges” to act as a single point of contact for staff in North Carolina and South Carolina, according to a statement Thursday. The company is also adding a $35 co-pay for doctor visits in its most-used medical plan, and providing discounted gym memberships. “If you get people the right care, you end up seeing downstream savings in the long run,” said Lisa Woods, Walmart’s senior director of U.S. benefit strategy and design. “If we get this right, we can raise the tide for all health care.” The steps, which take effect in January, are the latest example of how Walmart has sweetened the benefits offered to its 1.5 million U.S. employees, after weathering years of criticism that it shortchanged them. The moves include everything from expanding parental leave to relaxing its dress code. The changes come amid a broader health-care push by Walmart, a strategy that includes opening low-cost medical clinics for shoppers, offering subsidized degrees in health-related fields and rolling out a bundle of health-care offerings for members of its Sam’s Club warehouse chain.”