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February 5, 2021

Around the nation: UHG CEO David Wichmann retires

Daily Briefing

    UnitedHealth Group has named Andrew Witty as CEO, effective immediately, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Georgia, Minnesota, and New York.

    • Georgia: CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Wednesday said there is "increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen"—and the data "does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated [against Covid-19] in order to reopen safely." However, Walensky noted that guidance issued by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices considers teachers as essential workers who should be prioritized for Covid-19 vaccinations. Separately, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki when asked about Walensky's comments said CDC hasn't yet released official guidelines on teacher vaccinations and the measures schools need to take to reopen safely. Psaki said the White House would "certainly defer to that" guidance when it's issued, "which we'd hope to see soon." Psaki added, "Certainly ensuring teachers are vaccinated, prioritizing teachers, is important to [President Biden]" (Sullivan, The Hill, 2/3; Court/Wingrove, Bloomberg, 2/3).
    • Minnesota: UnitedHealth Group (UHG) has named Andrew Witty as CEO, effective immediately. Witty recently returned to the organization after working with the World Health Organization to develop Covid-19 vaccines. Witty has been president of UHG's Optum health services since 2018. Witty succeeds David Wichmann, who is retiring after serving as UHG's CEO since September 2017. (Daily Briefing is published by Advisory Board, a division of Optum, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group.) (Japsen, Forbes, 2/4).
    • New York: McKinsey & Co. has agreed to pay $573 million to settle lawsuits filed by 47 states and the District of Columbia for the consulting firm's role in fueling America's opioid epidemic, people familiar with the matter told several media outlets. According to various media reports, McKinsey in 2013 sent memos to Purdue Pharma, the makers of the opioid painkiller OxyContin, recommending that Purdue's sales team specifically target health care providers that McKinsey knew wrote the largest numbers of OxyContin prescriptions, which McKinsey predicted could increase Purdue's annual sales by more than $100 million. According to Reuters, McKinsey did not respond to requests for comment on the reported settlement agreement (Raymond, Reuters, 2/4; Forsythe/Bogdanich, New York Times, 2/3; Randazzo/Randles, Wall Street Journal, 2/3).

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