Volume 3, Issue 5: Industry News



Lisa Woods, Sr.
Director Health Care Benefits
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Robert S. Mecklenburg, MD
Medical Director, Center for Health Care Solutions
Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington

Ruth Coleman, RN, MA
Health Design Plus

Laura Carabello

CPR Strategic Marketing Communications
Editor & Publisher: www.medicaltraveltoday.com

Thursday, April 26, 2018 10:45–12:00
Washington Hilton, Washington, D.C.

You’re in for a real treat – and a learning experience: the first-time panel presentation of these recognized pioneers who are the undisputed experts in direct-to-employer contracting. It’s a panel that represents the interests of jumbo, large and mid-size employers, healthcare purchasing coalitions and their hospital/healthcare partners.

“The employer-based purchasing power of health care is an important force for innovation,” adds Bruce Greenstein, Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “These experts will show how transparency in cost and quality can deliver better value in outcomes.”

Expect to hear new perspectives:

o Lessons learned and improvements implemented in employer purchasing of healthcare

o New ways to define value – employers, patients and providers.

o Using cost and quality data to ensure better, more cost-effective care for employees/dependents

o What’s ahead for employers and America’s healthcare ecosystem as it impacts purchasing?

If you haven’t attended Health Datapalooza in the past, now is a great time to start. Anticipate that you will want to meet and network with a diverse attendance of approximately 1,200 people:

o Sit beside Federal policymakers and regulatory leads

o Shake hands with Silicon Valley startups and the health system’s chief information officers.

o Greet and mix with a diverse community of big thinkers and roll-up-our-sleeves-and-get-it-done problem solvers

o Share the mission to liberate and use data to improve health and health care.

It’s the quintessential nexus of leaders, entrepreneurs, and organizations creating knowledge from data. These are the true innovators that are reshaping our digital health care economy — from top to bottom.

Conceived as part of a public/private movement to liberate and use health data, the Datapalooza continues its tradition of engaging patient and consumer voices, and bringing together national and international leaders (more than 15 countries represented in 2017) from the C-levels of business and government.

In addition, for the last two years the Health Datapalooza attained Patient Included certification, demonstrating its commitment to incorporating the experience and insight of patients and consumers into the planning and content of the meeting.

For 2018, this employer-focused panel broadens the meeting themes and content.

“Employer direct engagements with the highest value healthcare providers is changing the landscape of healthcare purchasing,” says Ruth Coleman. “Join us to learn what the leaders are doing now and in the future.”

Hope to see you in April. Register here: www.healthdatapalooza.org.



Oral diseases can impact every aspect of life, from personal relationships and self-confidence – to performance at school and work, and how we enjoy and process food. That’s why the World Dental Federation will celebrate World Oral Health Day on March 20, 2018 – kicking off a three-year campaign for World Oral Health Day (WOHD) under the theme ‘Say Ahh’ at the World Dental Congress in Madrid, Spain. Combined with different sub-themes each year, the 2018 WOHD campaign: ‘Say Ahh: Think Mouth, Think Health’ encourages people to make the connection between their oral health and their general health and well-being.

One of the fastest-growing career tracks in the United States is the Dental Assistant field and might soon become one of the best places to work as a medical assistant. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics, this field expects to add over 64,000 jobs between 2016-2026, a 19% increase that’s much faster than the national average. There are several reasons for the increased openings, including the fact that current generations take better care of their teeth than either their parents or their grandparents, and they regularly visit a dental office. Expanded health insurance coverage has also led to more patients, which should drive the demand for dental assistants in dentists’ offices and outpatient care centers. The median salary for dental assistants is just under 40K a year with a low, 2.8% unemployment rate.”

“We receive calls every week from dental offices requesting dental assistants,” says Chris Discello, the Dental Program Manager at Career Training Academy (CTA). Her program currently includes 28 students between both CTA campuses (Pittsburgh and Lower Burrell), many of whom come to CTA seeking the fast-paced, “different every day” workflow that a dentist’s office offers. As such, the field is understandably competitive.

Luckily, dental assistant graduates from CTA have an ace up their sleeves.

“Ours is an Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA) program,” says Discello. A licensed EFDA can do procedures that a regular dental assistant is not permitted to do in a dental office, such as placing fillings, giving fluoride treatments, and many other duties that allow the dentist to proceed more efficiently to another patient.

“EFDAs are a terrific asset to a busy dental office and are in great demand,” says Discello. And because CTA is state-approved, their dental assistant student can sit for their Pennsylvania EFDA license upon graduation. “Our students can also sit for the Radiology certification exam while attending school,” adds Discello. “These certifications enable our dental assistant students to become extremely employable in their externships.”

With a school-wide externship-to-hiring rate over 80%, CTA students have proven to be valuable additions to dental offices across the region.

And with increased interest in cosmetic dental work like teeth whitening, as well as a surge of Baby Boomers whose improved health habits require active dental care instead of dentures, demand for their services won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

Ms. Discello has been with the Career Training Academy since 2001, when he became an instructor in the dental program. In 2006, she became the Dental Program Director.Career Training Academy celebrates “Dental Assistants Recognition Month”

Career Training Academy is proud to recognize the dedication dental assistants exhibit on the job. Quality dental health care is critical to a person’s overall general health. To know our graduates do this for their community is a proud moment. Ensuring that our programs are kept to a high standard enhances our graduates’ ability to help make an impact in this important and fast-growing healthcare profession.


Founded in 1972, Career Training Academy offers professional career training and advancement designed for an ever-increasing critical demand for well-prepared, entry-level workforce as tomorrow’s dental assistants, massage therapists, medical assistants, medical billing and coding professionals and phlebotomy technicians. Career Training Academy serves students in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties with newly renovated campuses in Pittsburgh and Lower Burrell.

The mission of Career Training Academy is to provide an educational environment that enhances learning and personal enrichment with unique and traditional methods, new techniques to learning, and a curriculum designed to meet career goals and industry needs. CTA maintains an active student community service program to foster character and self-esteem and is dedicated to the education and advancement of each individual’s career goals.

Career Training Academy fulfills its brand promise of Training for a Lifetime with the Graduate Quality Assurance Program – a lifetime commitment of complimentary coursework for every graduate. The program encourages lifelong learning with refresher courses designed for professional growth and continuing education often required by employers and various field-specific certifications. Training for a Lifetime invests in the personal advancement of every graduate, pledges free access to industry-responsive professional development and paves the way to a lifetime of career success.


The Year’s Severe Flu Exposes a Serious Flaw in our Medical System

By: Morten Wendelbo, Christine Crudo Blackburn

TheConversation.com – Flu season in the U.S. typically peaks in February, but this year’s outbreak is already one of the worst on record. As of Jan. 6, 20 children have died from the flu, and overall mortality caused by the flu is already double that of last year’s.

One reason the flu is so severe this season is that the dominant strain is H3N2, which has an impressive ability to mutate and is particularly aggressive against Americans over 50.

Making the threat worse is the fact that most of the IV saline bags used in common medical treatments and procedures – including severe cases of the flu – are made in Puerto Rico, which is still reeling from Hurricane Maria. Hospitals in some areas around the country that are operating at or above capacity because of the flu are quickly running low on saline, resorting to time-consuming and potentially dangerous treatments of patients.

The IV saline shortage is unlikely to cause a life-threatening breakdown of medical treatments. But the shortage does expose a dangerous flaw in the medical supply chains that everyone relies on to counter disease outbreaks or bioterrorism. Many different types of important medical equipment and medicines either come from abroad or rely on a single producer.

Global supply chains

Globalization has changed the way we produce, transport and store almost anything, including medicines and medical supplies. Now that it’s inexpensive to transport goods, many can be easily produced abroad at substantially lower costs. In nearly all cases, that benefits producers and consumers alike.

For the medical industry, approximately 80 percent of all pharmaceuticals used by Americans are produced overseas. The majority of this production takes place in China and India.

Forty-three percent of saline in the U.S. comes from Puerto Rico. The U.S. was already running below optimal levels of saline when Hurricane Maria hit.

Rapid transportation of goods also allows most industries to rely on “just in time” deliveries. That means goods arrive only shortly before they are needed, rather than arriving in large shipments.

In most situations, and for most goods, that causes few issues. However, when there’s an insufficient stockpile, delivery delays can be life-threatening. Many of our hospitals receive shipments of critical pharmaceuticals three times a day.

Unhappy coincidences

As researchers studying how countries can prepare for disease and disasters, it’s clear to us that the IV saline shortage is just the tip of a gigantic iceberg.

There are two ways the “just in time” system can be disrupted: an unexpected surge in demand or a delay in delivery. In this case, both occurred simultaneously. The U.S. is dealing with an unusually potent strain of the flu, while Hurricane Maria brought production in Puerto Rico to a grinding halt. If only one of the two had occurred, it’s unlikely the U.S. would have experienced a shortage.

Now, hospitals overrun with flu patients have to turn to alternatives to IV saline. One is an IV push procedure, in which medications are manually “pushed” into the IV line. This can be deadly if not done correctly.

In the case of IV saline, the simultaneous occurrence of both demand and delay was accidental. Unfortunately, it’s not only possible that such confluence will occur in the future – it’s likely. In the case of pandemics or biological warfare, there will likely be both a surge in demand for important goods and a simultaneous disruption of production and delivery.

If a pandemic disease severely affected China or India, where large shares of medicines come from, production could be knocked out or slowed. That would leave the rest of the world vulnerable to the disease’s spread, because there would be no supply of crucial medicines to combat it. The 1918 influenza pandemic caused disruptions that prevented coal from being delivered to the northeastern U.S. That left some without heat in the height of winter, causing people to freeze to death and compounding the deadly pandemic.

Today, such a breakdown could leave hospitals and other crucial infrastructure without electricity. If the spread of the disease is intentional, as in cases of bioterrorism or bio-warfare, adversaries could target global supplies of crucial treatments.

Preparing for problems

The destruction in Puerto Rico and the impact it has had on the supply of small IV saline bags in American hospitals is a warning. This time, it’s IV saline. Next time, it might be electricity to run intensive care units or critical antibiotics to treat infections.

Global supply chains are a massive puzzle, but public health and emergency preparedness officials need to, at a minimum, understand every link in the chain of critical goods. Without a thorough understanding of the supply chain, it’s difficult to preempt problems that could arise in times of emergency. Hospitals and other crucial infrastructure, such as power plants and the transportation industry, may want to diversify their suppliers of critical goods and encourage those suppliers to not focus production in a single area, especially not to an area prone to natural disaster. A final, but far more costly, option is to ensure we can produce most of these goods domestically in times of emergency.

In our view, the solution depends on a partnership between government and industry. Federal, state and local governments have to alter procedures, but private companies involved in the production and delivery of critical goods have to plan ahead for emergencies.

If these weaknesses in our global supply chains are not addressed, especially as they relate to medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and other critical goods, we are headed for disaster.

To view the original article, click here.


Workers Favor Employer-Provided Health Benefits Coverage

By: Amanda Umpierrez

Plansponsor.com With the rise of health care cost unlikely to dwindle in the future, an America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) survey reveals the significance participants place on employer-provided health benefits coverage.

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.


CDC: No Change in Percentage of Uninsured in U.S. From ’16 to ’17

PhysciansBriefing.com The percentage of uninsured U.S. persons of all ages did not change significantly from 2016 to the first nine months of 2017, according to a report published online Feb. 22 by the National Center for Health Statistics.

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.


As surgery centers boom, patients are paying with their lives

FireceHealthcare.com – The surgery went fine. Her doctors left for the day. Four hours later, Paulina Tam started gasping for air. Internal bleeding was cutting off her windpipe, a well-known complication of the spine surgery she had undergone.

To view the original article in its entirely, click here.


Philadelphia International Medicine signs first European hospital affiliation deal

By: John George

Bizjournals.com – Philadelphia International Medicine (PIM) is collaborating with Vilnius University Hospital Santaros Klinikos of Lithuania in a partnership aimed at improving health outcomes in their regions through mutual physician education and clinical programs.

To view the original article in its entirely, click here.


Why Does America Spend More Money on Health Care?

By: Dennis Thompson

Consumer.Healthday.com It’s well-known that the United States spends a lot more for its health care than other industrialized nations do. But a new study claims that some of the purported explanations for why America’s health care bill is so huge simply do not wash.

To view the original article in its entirely, click here.


Rehab Riviera: Addiction Advertising Can Trick You to Death

By: Teri Sforza, Tony Saavedra, Lori Basheda

Ocregister.com People looking to quit alcohol or other drugs typically find treatment the same way they might search for take-out food or a mechanic – by typing search words into Google.

Once there, addicts and their families can get trapped in a tangle of lies.

To view the original article in its entirely, click here.

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