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February 25, 2019

Around the nation: Judge declines to block former Optum exec from joining Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture

Daily Briefing

    Optum's parent company, UnitedHealth Group, claimed that a noncompete agreement prevented the executive from joining the new venture, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.

    • Massachusetts/Minnesota: A federal judge in Boston on Friday denied a request from UnitedHealth Group to immediately block a former executive in its Optum business from working for the new health care venture formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase. (The Daily Briefing is published by Advisory Board, a division of Optum.) UnitedHealth in court argued that the executive, David William Smith, was covered by a noncompete agreement that prevented him from taking the role. Although U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled against Optum, the company said the issues are still unresolved. Matt Stearns, a spokesperson for Optum, told the New York Times, "We are committed to protecting our confidential information and will aggressively do so in arbitration." A spokesperson for the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture declined to comment (Abelson, New York Times, 2/22).

    • Connecticut: The Yale School of Public Health is establishing a health informatics division to teach students how to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to clinical practice. Students will be able to receive a master's in health informatics through the division, which will be part of the department of biostatistics (Monica, EHRIntelligence, 2/21).

    • Pennsylvania: St. Luke's University Health Network has received a $401,700 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service to launch a telehealth program. The program will allow physicians at St. Luke's University Hospital to remotely support patients and providers at Geisinger St. Luke's Hospital (Garrity, Becker's Hospital Review, 2/21).

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