Health experts say Atul Gawande's potential exit from Haven could derail the company, which they claim has yet to make an impact on America's health care system, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Massachusetts.
- District of Columbia: A group of small hospitals that have filed for bankruptcy are separately suing the Small Business Administration (SBA) for denying them loans under the Paycheck Protection Program created under a recent federal stimulus bill. The hospitals claim it is unlawful for SBA to deny the loans to bankrupt businesses because the law that created the program does not stipulate that businesses in bankruptcy proceedings cannot qualify for the loans. So far, bankruptcy judges in Maine and Vermont have ruled in favor of the hospitals in their lawsuits against SBA (Owens, "Vitals," Axios, 5/8).
- Maryland: CMS on Thursday released a final rule outlining regulatory changes for health plans sold through the Affordable Care Act's exchanges for the 2021 coverage year. The agency did not finalize changes it had proposed for the automatic enrollment process for exchange plans, but it did finalize a change allowing health insurers to no longer count copayment assistance coupons from drugmakers toward enrollees' out-of-pocket cost-sharing and deductible requirement—a move that patient advocates say could increase enrollees' costs for medications. CMS on Thursday also announced a one-week extension for certain certification and rate review deadlines for insurers planning to sell exchange plans for the 2021 coverage year. The agency said it extended the deadlines to give insurers more time to assess the impact of the country's new coronavirus epidemic (King, FierceHealthcare, 5/7; Livingston, Modern Healthcare, 5/7).
- Massachusetts: Atul Gawande is reportedly in discussions to resign as CEO of Haven—the health care venture formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase—after serving in the role for two years, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. The individuals said if Gawande step's down as CEO he'd stay on as chair of the venture. A spokesperson for Haven told STAT+ that the initiative's founders remain committed to the venture, but the spokesperson did not comment on Gawande's reported departure. Gawande did not respond to STAT+'s request for comment (Wilde Mathews/Benoit, Wall Street Journal, 5/8; Ross/Brodwin, STAT+, 5/11 [subscription required]).