The church Valley Real Life says it raised $300,000 during its annual holiday fundraiser, which is enough to forgive $30 million in medical debt as part of the church's partnership with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from New Jersey, Washington, and Wisconsin.
- New Jersey: Merck on Thursday announced that its CEO, Kenneth Frazier, will retire effective June 30. Frazier has served as Merck's CEO since 2011, and he'll remain as Merck's executive chair for an indeterminate amount of time. Robert Davis, Merck's current CFO and EVP of global services, will replace Frazier as the company's CEO upon Frazier's retirement (Hopkins, Wall Street Journal, 2/4; Herper, STAT News, 2/4).
- Washington: The church Valley Real Life announced that it raised $300,000 during its annual holiday fundraiser, which is enough to forgive $30 million in medical debt as part of the church's partnership with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit organization that purchases bad medical debt for pennies on the dollar. Individuals who qualify for RIP Medical Debt's program have annual incomes that are less than two times the federal poverty level, have out-of-pocket expenses exceeding 5% of their annual income, or have debts that are greater than their assets (Adams, Becker's Hospital CFO Report, 2/4; Mason, The Spokesman-Review, 2/1).
- Wisconsin: Gov. Tony Evers (D) on Thursday issued a new statewide mask mandate, after the state's Legislature an hour earlier voted to repeal Evers' previous statewide mask mandate aimed at addressing America's coronavirus epidemic. "If the Legislature keeps playing politics and we don't keep wearing masks, we're going to see more preventable deaths, and it's going to take even longer to get our state economy back on track," Evers said in a video message. State Sen. Steve Nass (R) said Evers was being a "lawless governor," and Nass added that he was drafting another resolution seeking to repeal the new mandate, as well (Bauer, AP/Bloomberg, 2/4).