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January 16, 2020

Around the nation: Cigna to launch virtual primary care checkups

Daily Briefing
    • Arkansas: The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could determine the extent to which states can regulate pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). The case centers on a 2015 Arkansas law that requires PBMs in the state to pay pharmacies for generic drugs at a price that is equal to or more than the pharmacies' costs for the drugs, based on wholesaler invoices. The law also prohibits PBMs that are associated with drugstores from paying their own stores more than they pay other pharmacies. The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) has challenged the Arkansas law, arguing that it conflicts with certain federal statutes that preempted the state law. A federal court judge and a federal appeals court have ruled in PCMA's favor, but Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) appealed the case to the Supreme Court (Romoser, Inside Health Policy, 1/10 [subscription required]; Silverman, "Pharmalot," STAT+, 1/11 [subscription required]).

    • Connecticut: Cigna is teaming up with telehealth service provider MDLive to launch a new video-based primary care service for the insurer's more than 12 million members. The service will allow Cigna members to choose a participating primary care physician (PCP) and continue seeing that physician for every virtual visit, rather than seeing a different provider every time they use the service. Cigna hopes the new service will encourage members who typically do not visit a PCP to do so. "There's a whole portion of our population not seeking any care, and we need to find convenient and affordable ways for those patients to be accessing care," said Julie McCarter, head of product solutions at Cigna (Reader, Fast Company, 1/13).

    • New Jersey: Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center CEO John Fromhold on Tuesday announced that he plans to retire on May 1. Fromhold, who has led the hospital for 12 years, said he did not want to retire until after the hospital opened its newest medical office building, which happened last week. Tim O'Brian, the hospital's COO, will serve as interim CEO upon Fromhold's retirement (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 1/14).

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