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Facing Disaster After Disaster, the American Red Cross C.E.O. Stays Optimistic

It helped me in my career. There were 50 women and 1,900 men. I had a great education there, but what it really also taught me was what it felt like to be the only woman in the room. I don’t remember taking any classes where there were other women. So you learn how to hold your own, because you have no choice.

What did you learn from the corporate world that you’ve been able to apply to your work at the Red Cross?

What is really profoundly different at a nonprofit is that you really have to not only lead with your head, you have to lead with your heart. If you explain the changes you are making through the lens of the mission, people will do anything for you. But they need to know, and understand, how their actions are going to impact the mission.

At AT&T I’d tell people to calm down. “It’s only telecommunications,” I’d say. “We’re not saving lives here. Let’s not panic.” I always was unflappable at Fidelity. “We’re just managing money here,” I’d say. “We’re not saving lives here.” That schtick does not work at the American Red Cross.

But you had to make some painful cuts when you took over.

Part of the reason we had a deficit is there was a lot of duplication. When I walked in the door, there were 720 different chapters, and each chapter had a C.E.O., a local board, their own marketing, their own email platform, their own finances, their own bank accounts, their own treasury, their own purchasing. I had 69 different contracts for T-shirts. So a lot of it was just consolidation and turning to a classic headquarters model. The first year we were able to save $15 million just by managing our purchasing function.

I didn’t hear a lot of complaints about taking all that back-office stuff and centralizing it. We withheld merit increases for a year, and I didn’t hear a peep. We had to do layoffs and I didn’t even hear much squawking about that.

How has the pandemic impacted your ability to operate?

We’re delivering our mission exactly as we should, but the way we’re doing service delivery is different. The first place where we saw the impact of this was in our biomedical organization, which provides 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply. It was kind of stunning how fast that occurred. We watched blood drives start to get canceled rapidly. Schools were closed, businesses were closed. But the team stood up new blood drives in sports arenas and parking lots.

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Reflow Medical Receives Approval in Japan for the Wingman Catheter to Cross Chronic Total Occlusions (CTOs) in Peripheral Artery Disease

Reflow Medical, Inc., a California-based medical device company, announced that Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) has approved the Wingman™ CTO Catheter. Reflow Medical has partnered with Century Medical, Inc. (CMI), a leading medical device distributor based in Tokyo, to introduce the Wingman CTO Catheter in Japan.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201008005741/en/

Wingman CTO Catheter (Photo: Business Wire)

The Wingman Catheter crosses peripheral CTOs using an extendable beveled tip. The physician controls the advancement and activation of the tip to create a channel to help penetrate, or cross, the occlusion with a guidewire, enabling further treatment of the lesion with therapeutic devices. The catheter is compatible with the physician’s preferred guidewire and procedural technique.

Approval by Japan’s PMDA follows the completion of the Wing-IT CTO clinical trial, a prospective, international, multicenter study that treated 85 patients and followed them for 30 days. The Wingman Catheter was able to demonstrate a 90% crossing rate when up to two previous guidewires could not cross the CTOs, meeting its primary safety and efficacy endpoints.

“We are very excited to launch the Wingman CTO catheter in the Japanese market,” said CMI President and CEO Takahiko Motani. “This product should have a significant impact on the Japanese peripheral market by helping physicians address specific treatment challenges within a growing patient population. We look forward to providing this new and unique device in partnership with Reflow Medical, Inc.”

“Reflow Medical focuses their efforts on developing technologies based on physicians’ needs,” said John R. Laird, MD, of Adventist Heart and Vascular Institute in St. Helena, California. Dr. Laird was the principal investigator for the study. “We rely on Reflow for real clinical evidence when utilizing the technology.”

“It is an honor for our device to have gained approval by Japan’s PMDA,” noted Reflow Medical Co-founder and CEO Isa Rizk. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with a fantastic organization like Century Medical.”

Reflow’s Wingman Crossing Catheter received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the expanded CTO indication for the Wingman Crossing Catheter in March 2020 after completing the Wing-IT clinical trial.

About Reflow Medical, Inc.

Reflow Medical, Inc. is a private company focused on empowering physicians through the design and development of innovative and effective technologies for cardiovascular disease. Reflow is developing a family of products to treat cardiovascular disease.

About Century Medical, Inc.

Century Medical, Inc. (CMI) is one of the largest independent medical device distributors in Japan, with more than 40 years of experience marketing medical devices. CMI has been a pioneering force, successfully introducing many new technologies to the Japanese healthcare community. Century Medical, Inc, is a wholly owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Corporation.

About Chronic Total Occlusions (CTO) in Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Chronic total occlusions (CTO) of the lower extremities are found in 40% of symptomatic peripheral artery disease (PAD) patients. Endovascular options for the treatment of a CTO can be complex; conventional wire and catheter technique have a

WellCare of Nebraska Will Rebrand as Healthy Blue in January, Reflecting a New Alliance With Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska

Members’ health plan benefits and services will remain the same.

Community Care Health Plan of Nebraska, Inc. (dba WellCare of Nebraska), which is an Anthem Inc. company and leading managed care provider of health benefits for Nebraska’s Heritage Health Medicaid program, along with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE), the largest health insurer in Nebraska, have received approval to enter into an alliance to collaboratively serve Medicaid beneficiaries across the state.

In support of this venture, the Nebraska health plan known as WellCare will be rebranded as Healthy Blue to reflect the strength of its new alliance with BCBSNE, as well as to extend brand stability and recognition of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield name to its Heritage Health Medicaid members. This name change will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

“Through this joint venture, we are bringing together proficiency in building best-in-class Medicaid programs with expertise that comes from being the state’s oldest and largest health insurer,” said Tim Meyers, health plan president. “We both have a shared interest in addressing the unique needs of Nebraska’s Medicaid beneficiaries and alleviating Nebraska’s most pressing health issues. Through our shared mission, we are confident that we will succeed in building healthier, stronger communities across our state.”

Approximately 83,000 health plan members, who participate in the state’s Heritage Health Medicaid program, will be notified through the mail to inform them of the change to their health plan’s name. Members should expect to receive new Healthy Blue member ID cards with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield logo before January 1, 2021. Existing WellCare of Nebraska member ID cards should be used through the end of 2020.

Members will also continue to receive the same healthcare benefits and have access to their established primary care providers, specialists and care centers. This rebrand will not have any impact on BCBSNE health plan members or providers.

“We have been here for millions of Nebraskans throughout their health journeys and believe that ensuring care access and equity is fundamental to the health and well-being of our communities,” said Steve Grandfield, president and chief executive officer of BCBSNE. “In collaboration with a fellow industry leader, we look forward to equipping more people across our state with the power and peace of mind a Blue card provides.”

When the name change takes effect on Jan. 1, 2021, the current member website will be redirected to a new Healthy Blue website, and members should begin using the new customer service phone numbers printed on their Healthy Blue ID cards. Current members who do not receive their new Healthy Blue ID cards by Jan. 1, or those who have questions may contact member services at 855-599-3811 (TTY 877-247-6272), Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. CST, or visit myhealthybluene.com.

About Community Health Plan of Nebraska, Inc.

Community Care Health Plan of Nebraska, Inc. (“CCHPN”), an Anthem Inc. company that is formally known as WellCare of Nebraska, Inc., is a managed healthcare provider committed to