UnitedHealthcare last week announced it has launched a virtual primary care service in partnership with Amwell, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Maryland, Minnesota, and Ohio.
- Minnesota: UnitedHealthcare (UHC) last week announced it has launched a virtual primary care service in partnership with Amwell, offering routine telehealth visits with low or no co-pays. The service—which is available to UHC members in some employer-based or self-funded plans in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia—went into effect Jan. 1. (Daily Briefing is published by Advisory Board, a division of Optum, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group. UnitedHealth Group separately owns UHC) (Coombs, CNBC, 1/13; Waddill, HealthPayerIntelligence, 1/15; Haefner, Becker's Payer Issues, 1/19).
- Maryland: CMS on Friday finalized a rule requiring payers with plans in Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and federal exchanges to build application programming interfaces to facilitate data exchange and streamline prior authorization. In addition, under the rule—which will be phased in between 2023 and 2024—certain health insurers will have up to 72 hours to decide on urgent prior authorization requests and seven days for non-urgent requests. Matt Eyles, CEO of lobby America's Health Insurance Plans, in a statement called the rule "shabbily and hastily constructed" and said it is "largely a series of empty promises." Eyles also criticized CMS for allowing only 14 days of comment on the rule and spending just nine days processing and reviewing comments. "This was wholly inadequate to allow stakeholders to conduct appropriate analyses and was clearly not consistent with the thoughtful notice-and-comment approach to developing policies that is customarily afforded a rule estimated to cost nearly $3 billion to implement," Eyles said (Brady, Modern Healthcare, 1/15; Pifer, Healthcare Dive, 1/15; Reed, FierceHealthcare, 1/15; Minemyer, FierceHealthcare, 1/19; Hackett, Healthcare Finance, 1/19).
- Ohio: Dennis King, founder, president, and CEO of Statking, a contract research organization, will be stepping down following the company's acquisition by Genesis Biotechnology Group and Genesis Drug Discovery & Development. King's position will be filled by Rod Lashley, Statking's EVP (Engel, Cincinnati Business Courier, 1/19).