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Alignment Healthcare Adds MemorialCare Hospitals and Doctors to 2021 Medicare Advantage Provider Network

Nationally ranked nonprofit health system and Medicare Advantage insurance provider sign agreement to expand access to care for Medicare-eligible beneficiaries in Southern California

MemorialCare, a leading nonprofit health system in Southern California with hundreds of primary care and specialty providers, four top hospitals and 200 locations, is joining Alignment Healthcare’s Medicare Advantage provider network starting Jan. 1, 2021, expanding its scope of coverage to 2 million Medicare-eligible residents in Los Angeles and Orange counties.1

This means that Medicare beneficiaries who enroll in select plans from Alignment – named one of four 2020 Best Insurance Companies for Medicare Advantage in California by U.S. News & World Report – will have access to MemorialCare’s hospitals, health centers and urgent care locations and may seek “in-network” care from physicians associated with MemorialCare Medical Foundation. Medicare’s annual enrollment period for the 2021 plan year begins Oct. 15.

“As part of Alignment’s network, we will ensure that more people will have increased access to MemorialCare’s renowned services,” said Mark Schafer, M.D., CEO, MemorialCare Medical Foundation, which includes MemorialCare Medical Group, Greater Newport Physicians, and Edinger Medical Group. “MemorialCare has a long, 113-year history of providing quality care to Southern California communities, and joining Alignment’s network allows us to continue delivering on that commitment.”

Alignment Healthcare continues to grow and recently announced in August that it plans to expand its Medicare Advantage plans into several new markets across California, Nevada, and North Carolina starting in 2021. Alignment’s health care delivery model – powered by its proprietary command center technology AVA™ – and ACCESS On-Demand Concierge program, launched in 2019, offers its Medicare Advantage members white-glove service such as round-the-clock access to a doctor by phone or video, a dedicated concierge team, and a black benefits card that can be used like a debit card – all at no additional cost. Depending on their plan, members receive a monthly allowance automatically loaded onto their black card to purchase eligible over-the-counter and grocery benefit items at more than 50,000 retailers nationwide.

“At Alignment Healthcare, we are always looking for ways to make our members happy, and we hope they will be pleased with having access to MemorialCare’s top-rated doctors, hospitals and services,” said Dawn Maroney, president of consumer and markets, Alignment Healthcare. “This announcement is also an important consideration for Southern Californians who are making a decision about their 2021 Medicare coverage during this year’s Medicare Annual Election Period – to know what health care providers will be available to them in their health plan’s network when they need it in 2021.”

MemorialCare’s Long Beach Medical Center, Orange Coast Medical Center, Saddleback Medical Center and Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Hospitals and “high performing” in numerous clinical categories since the rankings began. In addition, MemorialCare Medical Foundation comprises more than 350 primary care physicians and 2,250 specialists in the areas of internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, geriatric medicine, pulmonology,

U.S. daily COVID-19 cases remain above 50,000, Montana adds 5,000 cases in October

Oct. 11 (UPI) — New COVID-19 cases in the United States continued to rise at their highest rates since August amid surges in states like Montana.

The Johns Hopkins University global tracker reported 54,639 new cases and 618 deaths on Saturday, the fourth consecutive day with more than 50,000 deaths, a level of daily increase not seen since August.

Since the first reported case in the country on Jan. 21, the United States has reported world-leading totals of 7,745,951 cases and 214,641 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Johns Hopkins data showed that Montana has reported 5,046 COVID-19 cases from Sept. 30 through Oct. 10 after recording just 5,017 cases in the 150 days between its first reported case on March 13 and Aug. 10.

With 585 new cases Sunday, Montana has reported 18,702 total cases, up from 14,645 as of last Sunday, and a death toll of 210.

California, which leads the nation in COVID-19 cases, reported 3,803 new cases for a total of 846,579 while adding 64 deaths for a death toll of 16,564, which is second in the nation.

Texas reported the nation’s second-highest case total at 792,478, with an addition of 2,262, as well ass 16,557 deaths, including 31 new ones, in third ahead of New Jersey with 16,274.

Third place Florida tallied 5,570 new cases and 178 deaths over two days on Sunday after the state did not report data on Saturday while officials worked to strike hundreds of thousands of duplicate test results resent on Friday by Helix Laboratory, a private testing lab.

Sunday’s numbers brought Florida’s case total to 734,491 and its death toll to 15,364, which is fifth in the ntation.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced 1,143 new cases for the country’s fourth-highest total at 474,286, while adding five deaths to bring the nation’s leading death toll to 25,574 of confirmed deaths and 33,942 including probable deaths.

The state’s overall positivity reached 0.96% the first time it fell below 1% since Sept. 24. However, in “Red Zone” areas — which account for 2.8% of the state’s population but 14.9% of all positive tests — the positivity rate was 5.74%, while the rate for the rest of the state was 0.84%.

“We are taking strong action to respond to these outbreaks and to stop the spread. Mask up,” Cuomo wrote on Twitter.

No. 5 Georgia reported 1,162 new cases for a total of 331,409 and 23 new deaths, bringing its death toll to 7,416.

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U.S. adds most COVID-19 cases in almost 2 months; deaths also rise

Oct. 9 (UPI) — For the fourth time in a week, the United States has added more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases — this time, in fact, climbing to a level not seen in almost two months.

Updated data from Johns Hopkins University on Friday showed an addition of 56,200 cases and almost 1,000 deaths on Thursday.

The case number is the highest since Aug. 14 and continues what appears to be a slowly rising trajectory of for the coronavirus disease in the United States that began in early September. There have now been four days in October with more than 50,000 cases, after just three for the entire month of September.

Thursday’s death toll was the highest since Sept. 25.

Since the start of the outbreak, there have been 7.61 million cases and 212,800 deaths nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said the rise in cases could pose serious problems this fall and winter.

With an average of more than 40,000 new cases per day, Fauci told MSNBC on Thursday he’s “not comfortable” with the present trajectory.

“I would like to see that level, way, way down, well below 10,000,” he said.

The United States hasn’t added fewer than 10,000 new cases on any day since late March.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he’s especially concerned about the Midwest and Northwest, where it’s “more difficult to deal with respiratory borne virus, as people begin to go indoors more.”

In Wisconsin, state officials reported the highest single-day total to date Thursday.

“We are on the verge of a crisis in Green Bay and our surrounding counties,” Dr. Paul Casey of Bellin Health Systems told CNBC.

Casey, chief of Bellin’s emergency department, said hospital beds have been at or near capacity for a week and the situation is taking on toll on doctors and nurses.

The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 has tripled in the past month, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, and intensive care patients have more than doubled.

In Utah, officials also reported a new daily record. The state has the nation’s fifth-highest level of COVID-19 transmission and trails only North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Montana, according to the Brown School of Public Health.

“As a physician, as a mother and a concerned citizen, I plead with you, wear a mask at all times out of your home,” University of Utah Dr. Emily Spivak appealed to residents at a press briefing.

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, head of Utah’s coronavirus task force, told the Deseret News he’s “sincerely concerned” about the state’s ability to deal with the rise in cases.

Hospital officials, he said, have been working “around the clock on contingency plans that I pray we will never have to implement.”

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Whil Adds its Workplace Wellbeing & Employee Performance Catalog to Degreed

Whil, a science-based training platform for workplace mindfulness, stress resilience, sleep and mental & emotional wellbeing, announced a new partnership and integration with Degreed, the leading learning experience platform. Whil’s full catalog of 250+ mini-courses and 3,000+ daily sessions, articles and exercises is now available to mutual clients through the integration.

Additionally, Whil has made select resources freely available to all Degreed clients through the One-Click Provider Integration program. This complimentary content, which includes 200+ articles, blogs, webinars and insights, is specifically tailored to help employees reduce stress and boost performance. Any organization’s Degreed administrator can enable this integration via the One-Click Dashboard.

Joe Burton, Founder and CEO of Whil, shared, “More than ever, employees need the skills to manage stress, anxiety and sleep issues in the face of ongoing change and disruption both inside and outside of the workplace. We’re incredibly excited to help Degreed’s clients create high performing cultures that start with employee wellbeing.”

“Mental health couldn’t be more important for organizations to be thinking about. According to our upcoming State of Skills report, anxiety about skills is becoming a major mental health and wellness issue with nearly four-in-10 (38%) workers and business leaders stating that a lack of confidence in their skills makes their mental health suffer,” said Sarah Danzl, Head of Global Communications at Degreed. “Whil’s focus on employee mindfulness and mental & emotional wellbeing is a welcome addition to our One-Click library and supports our continued drive to improve Degreed’s content offering.”

Whil’s content catalog leverages 300+ evidence-based studies, incorporates 35+ of the world’s leading MDs, PhDs and Certified Experts, and is based on decades of experience in neuroscience, mindfulness, positive psychology and Adult Learning Theory. Whil’s current customers include Harvard Business School, Toyota, Poly (Polycom), Ansell, Square, Allina Health, Northwestern Mutual, Independence University and 250+ other companies committed to building mindful cultures.

Employers interested in learning more about Whil should visit

About Whil

Whil is the leading digital solution for training stress resilience, mindfulness, sleep, wellbeing and emotional intelligence skills. Our mini-courses and sessions are based on decades of experience in neuroscience, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, positive psychology and Adult Learning Theory. Over 250 companies are currently using Whil to reduce absenteeism, stress, turnover and healthcare costs – while creating more mindful, high-performance cultures.

Learn more about Whil: Website | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter

About Degreed

Degreed is the workforce upskilling platform for one in three Fortune 50 companies. We integrate and curate all the resources people use to learn — including learning management systems and millions of courses, videos, articles, books, and podcasts. Then we use behavioral and data science to analyze everyone’s skills, and to automatically personalize career development based on their jobs, strengths, and goals. Founded in 2012, Degreed is headquartered in Pleasanton, California, with additional offices in Salt Lake City, New York, London, Amsterdam, and Brisbane.

Learn more about Degreed: Website | YouTube | LinkedIn | Twitter

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Alan Blashaw

Trump’s fight with COVID-19 adds fresh fuel to the misinformation fire he started

With the president hospitalized, his doctors evading basic questions and an election 29 days away, chaos reigned after Trump tested positive for the virus that’s killed more than 200,000 Americans. Now, after a four-day stay at Walter Reed medical center, the president said he will return to the White House. But more questions than answers remain.

Unlike a normal residence, the White House has its own medical unit, offering “full-time” care and facilities for emergency surgery, including the ability to administer supplemental oxygen — which he previously received at the White House — and even a crash cart for resuscitation.

If the president leaves the hospital Monday evening, the situation could become even more opaque. Trump is eager to return to an image of normalcy, but he’s still a high-risk patient in the throes of a wildly unpredictable and deadly virus that seldom charts a linear course to recovery. And because it’s clear that Trump is eager to feign normalcy at any cost with less than a month to go before the election, his return to the White House is not a reliable sign that he’s anywhere near being in the clear.

One result of obfuscating the president’s health? The internet is left to eagerly fill in the gaps.

Top-down misinformation

Doctors provided the first update about the status of Trump’s health on Saturday, but that event backfired, with White House Physician Dr. Sean Conley later admitting that he omitted information in order to keep the president’s spirits high. Conley also threw the timeline of Trump’s diagnosis into question — confusion that’s only been partially resolved since.

The White House’s coronavirus outbreak is a big opening for opportunists, according to Yonder, an AI company that monitors online conversations and tracks disinformation. In an online info ecosystem the company says is “broken,” a fresh crisis is rocket fuel for false claims and conspiracies.

“From groups suggesting the diagnosis was a hoax for political gain to QAnon supporters suggesting it was all part of a plan to isolate and protect the President from his adversaries in the ‘deep state,’ social media continues to act as a weaponized rumor mill,” Yonder CEO Jonathon Morgan said.

“In every case, agenda-driven groups on social media are using another national crisis to their advantage, and obscuring the truth in the process.”

On Friday, left-leaning conspiracy theories like #TrumpCovidHoax posited that the

Michigan Adds Over 1,400 New Coronavirus Cases, Deaths Top 6,800

MICHIGAN — Michigan added more than 1,400 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, according to the most recent data provided by state health officials.

The state reported 1,407 new cases of the virus have been confirmed in Michigan, bringing the state’s total of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 129,923. Thirteen more deaths also were reported in Michigan Monday, bringing the coronavirus death toll in the state to 6,816.

On Saturday, officials in Michigan said that 99,521 Michiganders had recovered from the coronavirus.

Don’t miss important updates from health and government officials on the impact of the coronavirus in Michigan. Sign up for Patch’s daily newsletters and email alerts.

According to the World Health Organization, Michigan is 17th in the U.S. in reported coronavirus cases. Michigan is 10th in the nation in COVID-19 deaths.

More than 7.6 million cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the U.S., according to the World Health Organization. Over 214,000 people in the U.S. have died from the virus. More than 4.8 million people in the U.S. have recovered from the virus.

Over 35.5 million cases of the coronavirus have been reported worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Of those, more than 1 million have resulted in deaths. More than 26.7 million cases are recoveries. Over 7.8 million cases of the virus remain active.

This article originally appeared on the Detroit Patch

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EyeGuide Adds Six Sports Medicine, Neuroscience Experts to Scientific Advisory Board

EyeGuide Inc., a health technology and bioinformatics company revolutionizing the way brain health is monitored, has announced the expansion of its scientific advisory board with the additions of Dr. Anne Naclerio, Dr. Dhiren Naidu, Dr. Jon Patricios, Dr. Kathryn Schneider, Dr. Karen Sutton and Dr. Michael Turner. Each of these leading scientific experts brings specialized skills, knowledge and experience to help the EyeGuide team build a world-class advisory board.

“EyeGuide is doing important work to improve ocular-motor assessment of athletes with suspected brain injuries, to advance brain health, and to improve the wellness and performance of athletes of all ages. This is an exciting step forward for EyeGuide as the company now gains further support from an array of respected senior experts across the field of sports medicine and neuroscience,” said Dr. Ruben Echemendia, Chairperson of EyeGuide Scientific Advisory Board, which was established earlier this year. “I am eager to work together with this impressive team of advisers as well as collaborate on providing insight and guidance to EyeGuide so its products may help improve the lives of many people across the U.S. and around the world.”

The new members of EyeGuide’s Scientific Advisory Board include:

  • Dr. Anne Naclerio has spent the past 10 years working as chief of clinical operations for the Regional Health Command Atlantic, deputy surgeon for the U.S. Army in Europe, the command surgeon for the Army National Guard, and the chief of medical readiness and policy for the U.S. Army Surgeon General. Dr. Naclerio served in the Army for over 30 years and has earned numerous decorations including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and the Legion of Merit. She also established and led the Women’s Health Taskforce to enable the services to better understand and meet the unique needs of female service members.

  • Dr. Dhiren Naidu is a tenured associate professor in the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Alberta. He is also currently the head team physician for the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers, the lead physician for the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos, the head physician for the University of Alberta Golden Bears football team and a health physician for their varsity athletic program.

  • Dr. Jon Patricios is an associate professor in the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences and director of Wits Sport and Health (WiSH). He is also the current director of Waterfall Sports Orthopaedic Surgery in Johannesburg; founder and Director of Sports Concussion South Africa; sports concussion consultant to World Rugby; a board member of the international Concussion in Sports Group; and on the Scientific Committee for the International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport. He is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, the Faculty of Sports & Exercise Medicine (UK) and the International Sports Medicine Federation. Jon serves on the advisory board of the Sports Health and Safety Institute at the University of Washington, Seattle. Apart from sports concussion, he has an interest in the pediatric and aging athlete, joint disease, tendinopathy, and

U.S. adds 43K COVID-19 cases; side effects seen in vaccine trials

Oct. 1 (UPI) — Clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine have seen multiple volunteers come down with intense side effects, and a new study has identified President Donald Trump as the world’s greatest single source of misinformation about the crisis.

CNBC reported Thursday that five human subjects testing vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer experienced strong side effects that included high fever, chills, body aches and severe headaches.

The volunteers said the symptoms were uncomfortable and severe, but they disappeared after a short period. One, a 44-year-old computational biologist in Utah, said he was bedridden with a fever of more than 101 degrees and other symptoms after taking a second dose during the final stage of Moderna’s trials.

The symptoms disappeared after 12 hours, he said.

Moderna and Pfizer have acknowledged in published results from earlier trials the vaccines could induce side effects similar to the symptoms of mild COVID-19.

Another late-stage trial for a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca is still on hold in the United States, but Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn has declined to explain the reason.

AstraZeneca halted its trial worldwide weeks ago after one volunteer developed a serious illness. The testing has since resumed overseas but not in the United States.

“I can’t speak to confidential commercial information,” Hahn said Wednesday. “We will look at any and all data, and we will make a decision when we have the data available to us regarding any issue, whether it’s safety or effectiveness.”

The United States added 42,800 COVID-19 cases and about 950 deaths on Wednesday, according to updated data from Johns Hopkins University.

The data show there have been 7.24 million cases and 207,000 deaths nationwide since the outbreak began early this year.

A study at Cornell University said a thorough review of almost 40 million English-language news reports worldwide identified Trump as the single-largest driver of misinformation about the pandemic.

The main author of the study, which was first reported by The New York Times, called the results a “big surprise.”

“That’s concerning in that there are real-world dire health implications,” Cornell Alliance for Science director Sarah Evanega, the study’s lead author, told the Times.

In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves allowed a statewide mask order to expire and signed a new order calling for continued face coverings in schools and certain businesses.

Reeves ordered mandatory mask usage in August after initial resistance to the idea.

“I still believe masks work,” Reeves said in a statement. “It’s the wise thing to do.”

Cases and hospitalizations in Mississippi have declined in recent weeks after peaking in midsummer. The state now averages about 500 new cases per day.

In Washington state, officials say they’re looking into an outbreak linked to a resort and spa about 40 miles east of Seattle. Cases involving staff and guests have been linked to the Salish Lodge & Spa in Snoqualmie, Wash., they said.

Authorities are encouraging tests and isolation for anyone who visited the lodge since mid-September.

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Spanish ICU Adds Beds for Winter After ‘Terrible Avalanche’ of Patients Earlier This Year | World News

BARAKALDO, Spain (Reuters) – At the Cruces hospital just outside the Spanish city of Bilbao, the sound of power drills and hammers rings out as a construction crew gets to work on a new intensive care ward in preparation for a potential winter surge in COVID-19 cases.

“Winter is going to be a high-risk time for us as more people will be staying at home in enclosed spaces, raising the risk of infection,” said Dr Alberto Martinez Ruiz, the hospital’s head of anaesthesiology and recovery.

During the epidemic’s first peak in March, when the virus spread unchecked through Spain’s population, the hospital struggled to accommodate an unprecedented surge in critically ill patients.

“Our experience of the COVID epidemic was of a terrible avalanche of patients in a short time,” Dr Ruiz recalled. “In March we were admitting up to seven or eight patients a day.”

Irregular spaces like gyms were hastily transformed into wards, rapidly increasing capacity to more than 80 beds from 32.

“From one day to the next they all filled up. That allowed us to save lots of lives,” Dr Ruiz said.

Imposing one of Europe’s toughest lockdowns helped Spain bring down the contagion and gave the health service a chance to regain its footing. But infections have soared since the nationwide confinement ended in mid-June, with cases now rising by more than 10,000 a day.

Spain has logged nearly 770,000 cases, more than anywhere else in Western Europe, and almost 32,000 deaths.

Hospitalizations are on the increase too but the number of severe cases remains far lower than during the first wave and ICUs across the country have plenty of spare capacity for now.

The average age of patients admitted to Cruces is now between 60-65, around 10 years lower than during the first wave.

“Patients are being admitted earlier than expected but in a much more staggered fashion,” Dr Fermin Labayan, head of Intensive care at Cruces, told Reuters. “We don’t have the same pressure.”

With the new ward boosting capacity to more than 200 critical beds and just 14 patients currently admitted, the medics feel the hospital should be able to cope even if severe cases begin to spiral and they now have of experience of which treatments are most effective.

“We are mentally quite tired… But we are prepared,” Dr Labayan said.

(Reporting by Vincent West; Writing by Nathan Allen; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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