For the first time, doctors successfully transplanted a genetically altered pig heart into a patient with a life-threatening heart disease, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Maryland, Utah, and Washington.
- Maryland: Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center on Friday successfully performed the first transplant of a genetically modified pig heart into a human patient. Three days after the surgery, the hospital announced that the patient, a 57-year-old man named David Bennett Sr., was doing well after the eight-hour operation. According to Bartley Griffith, the medical center's cardiac transplant program director, who performed the operation, the pig heart "creates the pulse, it creates the pressure, it is his heart." Although it is still too early to tell if the heart will work in the long term, Griffith said, "It's working and it looks normal. We are thrilled, but we don't know what tomorrow will bring us. This has never been done before." (Rabin, New York Times, 1/10; AP/NPR, 1/10; Garfinkel, Axios, 1/10)
- Utah: Nomi Health has acquired Artemis Health in a $200 million deal. Artemis' 120 employees will join Nomi's team of over 2,000. The joining of the two payment-focused companies follows an ongoing trend in digital health where small, like-minded startups partner to bolster their offerings. Nomi helps connect employers directly to health care providers, while Artemis analyzes employers' health care budgets. Artemis will bring its existing partnerships with 500 employers and health plans, including GE Appliances, Intuit, and J.B. Hunt to Nomi. "If we're going to save the U.S. health care system we need to rewire it to run fast," said Nomi founder and CEO Mark Newman. "That's our approach." (Brodwin, Axios, 1/6)
- Washington: Amazon last week shortened its paid leave policy for employees isolating with Covid-19 from 10 days to 7 days, effective immediately—a change made in accordance with CDC's updated quarantine guidance. All U.S. employees must adhere to the new policy, regardless of vaccination status. According to a statement from the company, "Throughout the past two years, we have consistently based our response to the evolving Covid-19 pandemic on guidance from the [CDC] and the advice of our own medical experts." (Doherty, Axios, 1/8)