Crowds Turn Out for HLTH, Hospitals Drop MA Plans, and Open Enrollment Approaches

Senior healthcare executives came together for a bustling HLTH conference to debate perspectives on the state of healthcare—from ongoing challenges to opportunities for improved processes and the promise of technology. An extensive new report on the national epidemic of chronic illness among young people also appeared, large drugstore chains are struggling, hospitals are increasingly dropping Medicare Advantage plans, and folks have begun to wonder about how a government shutdown might affect the healthcare world.  

  • HLTH gathers senior leaders from throughout the healthcare ecosystem. Payers, providers, startups, and investors gathered to discuss and debate today’s greatest challenges—and where to go next for solutions. MedCity News’ Katie Adams reports she haddozens of conversations with providers, digital health investors, startup CEOs and other players in the healthcare industry” and came away with 7 Hot Takes I Heard at HLTH including on AI, digital health monetization, provider paternalism, hybrid care, credible social media voices, and more.  Elsewhere, Yahoo Finance reports on discussion of the immature state of healthcare AI at HLTH.  
  • Among those under 65, chronic illnesses erase more than twice as many years as overdoses, homicides, suicides, and car accidents combined, the Washington Post found in a large-scale report on today’s national epidemic of chronic illness. The piece begins: “The United States is failing at a fundamental mission — keeping people alive.” While the U.S. specializes in high-tech interventions for acute illness, other countries emphasize preventing illnesses. Be sure to check out the takeaways.  
  • What might a government shutdown mean for healthcare? That’s a question under considerable discussion this month. Forty-two percent of HHS workers would be furloughed even as Medicare and Medicaid benefits continue, the Washington Post explains. Fierce Healthcare reminds: Not all federal health spending is the same, the Biden administration decides what stays open, and initial Medicare enrollment might be stalled, depending on how long a shutdown lasts if it indeed occurs. NPR, Axios, and Reuters also weigh in on the topic.  
  • Hospitals are dropping Medicare Advantage left and right, Beckers Hospital Review reports. More than half the nation’s seniors rely on Medicare Advantage, but a growing number of hospitals and health systems are dropping the private plans altogether. As open enrollment approaches, a number of thoughtful pieces assessing the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Vox
  • Large drugstore chains are struggling. Rite Aid, which has more than 45,000 employees, filed for bankruptcy. The firm faces both slumping sales and more than a thousand lawsuits that say it filled illegal prescriptions for opioids and has struggled in recent years to compete against larger peers like CVS and Walgreens Boots Alliance as well as Amazon. Walgreens, meanwhile, announced it will be shutting down unprofitable stores and this month mapped out $1 billion in cost cuts after it forecast an FY 2024 profit below Wall Street expectations.  

What healthcare events have most affected your organization this month—and why? Let us know!   

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