CVS Health on Tuesday completed its $10.6 billion acquisition of primary care provider Oak Street Health (OSH), in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
- District of Columbia: Former First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday announced that she co-founded PLEZi Nutrition — a food and drink company that wants "to help raise a healthier generation of kids." The company builds on Obama's "Let's Move!" health campaign, which she launched in 2010. Its first product is a drink called PLEZi, which has 75% less sugar than the average 100% fruit juice and contains no added sugar. According to a company statement, "PLEZi Nutrition will also provide an educational platform for parents and kids. A sizable portion of the marketing budget will be dedicated to promotional content around what's best for kids' health." In addition, "[t]he company will actively promote drinking water and eating whole fruits and vegetables," the statement said. "I've learned that on this issue, if you want to change the game, you can't just work from the outside," Obama said. "You've got to get inside — you've got to find ways to change the food and beverage industry itself." (Falconer, Axios, 5/4)
- Rhode Island: CVS Health on Tuesday completed its $10.6 billion acquisition of primary care provider OSH in an all-cash transaction for $39 per share. The deal, which was announced in February, was approved by OSH shareholders on Friday. Following the purchase, OSH will continue to work with provider networks for multiple insurance companies — not just CVS subsidiary Aetna. According to CVS CFO Shawn Guertin, OSH currently operates over 170 sites in 21 states and plans to expand to 300 sites by 2026. "The biggest focus is finding that balance, keeping Oak Street, for lack of a better term, as independent as possible, so we can keep doing what we're great at doing," said OSH CEO Mike Pykosz. "But not missing out on the fact that the whole reason to do this in the first place was to take advantage of all the all the resources that CVS can bring." (Berryman, Modern Healthcare, 5/2)
- Vermont: Vermont recently became the first state to lift a residency requirement for medically-assisted death — a move that gives terminally ill individuals from out of state access to life-ending care. Last month, the state Senate and House passed a measure that amended a decade-old law that has allowed doctors to prescribe life-ending treatments to terminally ill individuals aged 18 and older. On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott (R) signed a bill that removed the residency requirement. The measure passed following a legal battle brought against the state by Lynda Bluestein, an out-of-state woman with late-stage fallopian tube cancer who argued that the state's restriction was unconstitutional. As part of a settlement, the state waived the residency requirement for Bluestein in March. "I was always hoping that the Legislature would change the law and make it open to everyone," Bluestein said on Tuesday. "I was really thrilled." (Albeck-Ripka, New York Times, 5/2)