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October 30, 2020

Around the nation: UHC to ship flu kits to thousands of MA members

Daily Briefing

    UnitedHealthcare has begun shipping flu kits to its Medicare Advantage members to help mitigate the severity of this flu season's impact on the U.S. health care system, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Minnesota, Ohio, and Tennessee.

    • Minnesota: UnitedHealthcare (UHC) has begun shipping no-cost flu kits to its Medicare Advantage (MA) members to help mitigate the severity of this flu season's impact on the U.S. health care system, which is also grappling with America's coronavirus epidemic. UHC plans to distribute the flu kits to 200,000 members. The kits include a digital thermometer, a diagnostic test for the novel coronavirus, and Tamiflu. UHC in late September started inviting its MA members to sign up for the kits online or by phone, beginning with those considered to be at the highest risk of experiencing complications from Covid-19 and the flu because of their age and health status. So far, 120,000 members have registered to receive the kits. (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) (Goldberg, New York Times, 10/24).

    • Ohio: Since University Hospitals launched its Antifragility Initiative in June 2019, the hospital-based violence intervention program has received $1.7 million in grants through the Victims of Crime Act Fund and has provided services to more than 80 teens. The program aims to help local teens who have been shot or assaulted overcome their trauma and avoid further violence by connecting them to therapy, mentorship, and other programs, with a particular focus on post-traumatic growth (MacDonald,, 10/26).

    • Tennessee: Williamson Medical Center (WMC) in a release issued Monday announced that it will not renew its children's hospital's partnership with Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). WMC said its board of trustees last week voted to allow WMC's contract with VUMC for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital Vanderbilt at Williamson Medical Center to expire on July 15, 2021. According to the release, "WMC can now contractually explore all options to providing the best possible pediatric care to Williamson County and surrounding communities in the future." VUMC in a separate statement released Monday said, "Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt has been serving as a unique resource for children and families of Tennessee and surrounding states for decades. These needs are only more apparent given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on families in our region. Now more than ever, we are committed to continuing to provide children and families of Williamson and surrounding counties with incomparable expertise and personalized care as we grow these services to meet the needs of the region" (Wegner, The Tennessean, 10/26).

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