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» Competitive Advantages: RIP Bill Russell, come play Top Golf with the LBL Group, healthcare notes, and how to argue!

August 2, 2022

Business Strategies, Digital Health, Direct Contracting, Employee Benefits, Health Equity, Healthcare Spending, Human Resources, Learning and Development, News, Prescription Drugs, Research, Uncategorized

RIP Bill Russell

It’s unfathomable to think this guy won 11 NBA titles and seemed as good a person off the court as he was a player on it. But this note about the racism he experienced while he was playing (and winning) in Boston is sobering to read. This stuff never went away, it’s still around us today.

How are you creating a better world today than the one you found?

Do you make benefits decisions, do you live in LA, and are you interested in Top Golf?

If so, send me an email for an upcoming event we have at the new Top Golf in El Segundo this month!

We’ll be talking about the future of healthcare and how you and your organization fit in. It’ll be a great networking opportunity with other leaders in LA and you also get to enjoy a couple hours at Top Golf!

Despite recession concerns, US employers increase pay budgets:  While the big economic news is the newly debatable nature of the term ‘recession,’ with GDP falling for 2 consecutive quarters, companies still expect to raise pay.

WTW published findings that companies are budgeting for a 4.1 percent pay increase for 2023. While this is the largest increase since ’08, inflation is up 9.1 percent.

With these increases to wages and rising inflation, this is a good time to look at your benefit plan financing and free up some cash!

Job market indicates more cooling off: Job openings fell another 600,000 to 10.7 million, the third straight month of declines. In the big picture, this is still nearly twice as high as the typical rate pre-pandemic. This is paired with the continued wave of quitting, as June was the 13th straight month where more than 4 million workers left their jobs. Layoffs were down 1.3 million.

My take – our labor force participation is still low and there’s still a decent gap between supply and demand in the labor market. Employers are rightfully concerned about their bottom line, but they can’t think they can coast on recruiting and retaining people in a still-tight labor market. As always, your business strategy should include a strong benefits program and they shouldn’t be an afterthought.

FemTec Health makes another couple of acquisitions: Digital women’s health start-ups have grown over the last few years, with Rock Health citing reproductive and maternal health as the fifth-highest funded clinical area so far in 2022. Of course, there’s more to women’s health than reproduction and birthing, but it’s a high-cost area of healthcare so it does deserve attention.

FemTec Health launched last year with acquisitions of beauty box company BirchBox, cosmetics company Mira Beauty, and social marketing platform Liquid Grids. It recently added Nutrimedy, a nutrition platform, and Ava AG, makers of a fertility wearable. FemTec is looking to go direct-to-consumer, similar to other players like Tia Health.

‘Build a Network’ is all the rage: With prices more in the open due to price transparency, we expect to see more network and plan customization. Payers will leverage this information in negotiations and take advantage of more solutions like Direct Contracting and Centers of Excellence.

Health Tech Stack put out a piece on network builders and what’s going on in that space. This is a great primer for any group considering self-funding or already self-funding their health plan. Most groups start self-funding by renting a large BUCA network but eventually may transition to a more customized network with various point solutions and relationships.

This Twitter thread explains PBMs and formularies better than most brokers can: Formularies kind of suck. One reason is that they are an example of health insurance companies playing doctor. People decide which drugs to take by what is covered and not covered, so when a formulary is changed to remove a drug, patients tend to switch over to a medicine that’s on the new formulary.

Heart disease and drug overdoses have worsened since COVID began: The WSJ recently covered how American’s health outcomes have worsened in key areas such as heart disease and drug overdoses. Keep in mind that these conditions have multiple comorbidities (meaning there are many causes that can contribute to them), and COVID, unfortunately, worsened many of them.

‘You can’t say that!’ learn to argue better: ‘A good debate isn’t about one person declaring victory, it’s about both people making a discovery.’

Adam Grant (@AdamGrant) is a popular author of books such as Give and Take and Originals, covering topics involved with organizational psychology, which is basically how we think in groups and what implications that has for us. It’s a great article and you should give it your time. I won’t say anything more and just drop the quote below:

A difference of opinion doesn’t have to threaten a relationship, it can be an opportunity to learn. The people who teach you the most are the ones who question your thought process, not the ones who validate your conclusions.

As always, let me know if you’d like to discuss any topic in further detail by scheduling time with me.

Posted by in Business Strategies, Digital Health, Direct Contracting, Employee Benefits, Health Equity, Healthcare Spending, Human Resources, Learning and Development, News, Prescription Drugs, Research, Uncategorized