Flu season could cost employers $21B
Influenza cost employers more than $21 billion in lost productivity during the 2017-18 flu season, according to an estimate from global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. The company estimated the flu sickened 25 million workers last season. Based on this estimate, analysts calculated average wages lost due to missing four eight-hour shifts using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They estimated flu caused $21.39 billion in losses for US employers. The company advised that employers, especially those with open offices and shared workspaces, should treat these spaces and other common areas as gyms treat exercise equipment. This includes daily cleanings of all surfaces with disinfectant. Employers should also keep soap and hand sanitizer in plentiful supply.

Best Buy to move into health space with $800M acquisition of GreatCall Inc
Best Buy has agreed to acquire GreatCall Inc (San Francisco, CA) for $800 million. The deal will expand Best Buy’s reach in the health space. Founded in 2006, GreatCall makes Jitterbug mobile phones and Lively wearable devices that provide easy, one-touch access to U.S.-based agents who can connect the user to family caregivers, provide concierge services or dispatch emergency personnel Moving forward, GreatCall will continue to operate separately, with CEO David Inns staying on in his role. The company’s headquarters will remain in San Diego and its caring centers will remain at their current locations in Carlsbad, California, and Reno, Nevada. This is the largest acquisition in Best Buy’s history. Best Buy’s acquisition of GreatCall is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. It’s expected to close by the end of Best Buy’s fiscal 2019 third quarter.

New collaborative to tackle end-to-end supply chain challenges
Executives from 12 healthcare organizations formed the Healthcare Supply Chain Collaborative to address and solve longstanding supply chain issues. The new organization’s mission is to transform the healthcare supply chain through best practices for processes and data. To address these issues from an end-to-end supply chain perspective, the organization’s leadership includes manufacturers, distributors, providers, and group purchasing organizations. The organization will initially focus on two primary areas: Supply chain visibility and contract administration and pricing. The Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) will provide staffing for the Collaborative. Members of its steering committee include senior executives from: BD (Becton, Dickson & Company), Cardinal Health, Henry Schein, Johnson & Johnson, The Mayo Clinic, McKesson Medical Surgical, Medline, Medtronic, Owens & Minor, Premier Inc, Quidel, UAB Medicine, and Vizient Inc. The Healthcare Supply Chain Collaborative will host a conference April 17-18, 2019, with sessions focusing on contract administration, e-commerce, and supply chain visibility. Industry organizations are invited to attend and to participate with the Collaborative.
To join the Collaborative, or for more information, contact Jeff Girardi at

HCA makes $500,000 donation to hurricane relief
HCA Healthcare (Nashville, TN) announced a donation of $500,000 to the American Red Cross to help people affected by Hurricane Florence. In South Carolina, HCA Healthcare has five hospital campuses, including Grand Strand Medical Center, the only Level 1 trauma center in the eastern part of the state, and 38 other sites of care.