Oak Street Health’s Mixed Financial Bag • Pritzker Raises Abortion Fees

OAK STREET SEEES REVENUES CLIMBING, EVEN IF THE LOSS PAYS: Chicago-based primary care provider Oak Street Health announced its second-quarter profit on Aug. 3, reporting revenues grew 48% to $523.7 million, up from $353.1 million in the same period last year.

However, Oak Street posted a net loss of $148.3 million, up from $100.3 million a year earlier.

Analysts for SVB Securities remain bullish on Oak Street’s stock, writing in a client note published Aug. 3 that the company’s stock has “performed well” despite some losses.

“The second quarter results highlighted ongoing themes of consistent delivery, progress in care delivery initiatives, resurgence of community-based outreach, and some complexity around prior-period alignments and cash-burning,” they wrote.

—Katherine Davis

ILLINOIS RISES MEDICAID RATES FOR ABORTION SERVICES: Illinois’ Medicaid program will soon start paying more to cover the cost of abortion services as the state moves to bolster access to reproductive health care in a post-Roe v. Wade country.

Beginning Sept. 1, Illinois’ Medicaid program will increase reimbursement rates for abortion services by 20%, Governor JB Pritzker announced Thursday during a news conference at the Chicago Family Health Center, which has several clinics on its south side.

The change aims to better support and fund the state’s abortion providers, many of whom have seen an influx of patients from nearby Midwestern states since Roe was destroyed in June. The governor’s office expects the fees to cost about $3 million per year. READ MORE.

BIDEN SIGN ACCESS DESCRIPTION: President Joe Biden signed a second executive order aimed at improving access to abortion services, a day after Kansas voters rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have ruled out women’s rights to the procedure.

Biden — who signed the order Wednesday, more than five weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court abolished the nationwide right to abortion — praised the Kansas measure’s defeat.

The order instructs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to consider actions to help patients travel outside their states for abortions using funds from Medicaid — a move conservatives are likely to challenge in the courts. READ MORE.

ARWADY HOPES THAT EMERGENCY DECLARATION WILL RESULT IN MORE MONKEYPOX VACCINE: US health officials have declared Monkeypox a public health emergency, a move to facilitate access to more funding to fight the virus.

The virus has spread to more than 26,000 people worldwide in just a few months, prompting the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on July 23. The US leads the world in known cases of monkeypox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The City of Chicago reports 459 cumulative confirmed cases as of yesterday.

dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said on Thursday she was pleased to see the federal government declare monkeypox an emergency because the greatest need is for more vaccines. She said she was hopeful that an effort like the federal move against COVID vaccines would take place with monkeypox. READ MORE.

COVID RETURN ON PAXLOVID DON’T WORRY CHICAGO DOCTORS: Infectious disease experts in Chicago say Paxlovid, the antiviral drug given to some COVID-19 patients shortly after they contract the virus, is doing what it was designed to do and more, despite reports of repeat positive tests or symptoms.

Some COVID patients, both those prescribed Paxlovid and those not taking the antiviral, may see a viral load rebound, testing negative and later testing positive, and sometimes patients also see symptoms return, which is not uncommon. in viral infections, said Dr. Jonathan Martin, an infectious disease physician at Cook County Health.

Martin said the risk of a rebound on Paxlovid is relatively low. A National Institutes of Health-funded study from December 2021 to May 2022 of California patients treated with Paxlovid found a rebound in viral load in 3.5% of patients and symptom rebound was only 2.3%, it said. he.

Patients not taking Paxlovid may see even more cases of rebounds, Martin said. In a preprinted study, posted Tuesday to the server for the health care study medrxiv.org, researchers at several hospitals across the country found that COVID patients who haven’t taken Paxlovid may be even more at risk for rebound than those taking it. drug are treated. READ MORE.

STUDY FINDS BLACK MEDICAL STUDENTS MORE COMFORTABLE AT HBCUs: A study that found that black medical students who historically attended black medical schools reported a greater sense of belonging and confidence in their scholastic abilities may point to the problems of inclusion and diversity in predominantly white medical schools, says a Northwestern professor university.

A survey was conducted three times during the study participants’ second year of medical education, comparing students’ experiences at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with those at predominately white institutions (PWIs), a statement said. from Northwestern.

In addition to finding a greater sense of belonging, the study found that HBCU students reported greater confidence in admission to a top 10 residence and greater stability of purpose of residence than those in LSIs, the statement said.

“Our findings suggest that black medical students in PWI schools experience more mundane discrimination compared to their HBCU peers, leading to a decreased perception of their ability to succeed within medical school,” said Sylvia Perry, senior researcher and university graduate. associate professor of psychology at the study. Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University.

Northwestern said in the statement that the study builds on Perry’s previous research using a self-affirmation intervention to counter the impact of racial stressors that black medical students experience among PWIs. Perry is also the principal investigator in the Social Cognition & Intergroup Processes Lab and a faculty member of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern.

“We believe it is important that predominantly white institutions are committed and committed to increasing diversity among interns and teachers,” Perry said.

“It’s not enough just to increase the number of students and faculty for color,” she added. “These institutions should also focus on increasing the sense of belonging among underrepresented medical students by explicitly prioritizing the reduction of bias and discrimination. Medical schools must create an environment where all students can thrive and feel safe.”

HCSC’s MA EXTENSION INTENDED TO COMPETE WITH LARGER NATIONAL CARRIERS: The plan of Health Care Service Corp. expanding its Medicare Advantage business to an additional 150 counties next year may be an effort to counter shrinking market share in that arena and better compete with national players such as UnitedHealthcare, Centene and Aetna.

“There may not be more competitive space in all health insurance plans than Medicare Advantage,” said Nathan Linsley, the company’s senior vice president of government and individual markets. “We’re seeing significant competition from both national carriers and we’ve also seen a lot of competition from newer entrants.” READ MORE.

OPINION: PRICES DRUGS WOULD HARM INNOVATION AND GROWTH: John Conrad, president and CEO of iBIO, the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization, says legislation that would set prices in Medicare Part D is bad for anyone who wants Illinois and America to remain at the forefront of developing innovative treatments and cures.

“In the name of lowering drug prices for patients, Congress is considering legislation that would set prices in Medicare Part D,” Conrad writes. “While lowering prices at the pharmacy counter is necessary, the proposed legislation would actually do very little to lower prices for consumers. Instead, the bill would reduce access to current drugs and encourage investment in future drugs. .” READ MORE.

HORIZON SEES LOW REVENUES RESULTING FROM OMICRON SURGE: Horizon Therapeutics, a Deerfield-based pharmaceutical manufacturer, reported second-quarter earnings that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations and lowered its earnings estimates for the remainder of the year.

Horizon saw net sales grow 5% in the second quarter to $876.4 million, but analysts expected revenue of $936 million, according to estimates from Zacks Investment Research. Net income fell 61% to $61 million, or about 26 cents per share, from $158.1 million, or about 67 cents per share, a year earlier.

Horizon CEO Tim Walbert blames the low net income on slower-than-expected sales of Tepezza, the company’s eye disease drug. While sales fell short of expectations, they still grew nearly 6% to $479 million in the second quarter. Walbert says Tepezza’s sales were impacted by a slow recovery from the COVID-19 microwave wave. READ MORE.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Paolo Amoruso has been appointed Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary of Deerfield-based medical technology company Surgalign Holdings.

Amoruso previously served as Surgalign’s interim general counsel, having joined the company in April 2022.

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