About 100 passengers and crew developed flu-like symptoms—including cough, fever, and vomiting—during the Emirates Airline flight from Dubai in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, and Washington.
- Florida/Michigan: Tampa, Florida-based WellCare Health Plans on Tuesday announced that effective Sept. 1, it had completed its $2.5 billion acquisition of Detroit-based health insurer Meridian Health Plans and its pharmacy benefit manager MeridianRx. The deal will increase WellCare's Medicaid membership by almost 40% in Illinois and Michigan, and will allow the insurer to build internal pharmacy management capabilities, according to Modern Healthcare's Shelby Livingston. The deal was announced May 2018 and was not expected to close until the end of this year (Livingston, Modern Healthcare, 9/4).
- Nebraska/New York/Washington: The new Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase health care venture on Tuesday named Jack Stoddard as chief operating officer, effective immediately. Stoddard previously served as general manager for digital health at Comcast. The venture, which was announced in January 2018, uses technology and data analysis to cut health care costs and improve care quality. Stoddard previously worked for Advisory Board, which publishes the Daily Briefing. He also worked for Advisory Board's parent company, Optum (Shivdas, Reuters, 9/4).
- New York: An Emirates Airline flight travelling from Dubai was quarantined at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday after about 100 people, including passengers and crew, reported flu-like symptoms. Eleven people on the flight were hospitalized. Laboratory tests have not yet confirmed the cause of the patients' symptoms, but according to Oxiris Barbot, New York City's acting health commissioner, the symptoms—including cough, fever, and vomiting—suggest influenza (Cherelus/Campos, Reuters, 9/5; Branswell, STAT News, 9/5; Sullivan, The Hill, 9/5; Pager, New York Times, 9/5).
Infographic: How to avoid the flu when you fly
Download this infographic to learn about both the obvious and less obvious locations where germs on planes are rampant.