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University of Miami Health System hires Keith Murphy as VP of supply chain services
The University of Miami Health System hired Keith J. Murphy as its new VP of supply chain services, effective October 1. In this newly created role, Murphy will provide oversight of the supply chain of the health system, including the hospital-based and ambulatory facilities, and the UM Medical Group. Murphy previously was at the Yale New Haven Health System, where he was executive director of Corporate Supply Chain.

Indian River Medical Center to join Cleveland Clinic Health System
Indian River Medical Center’s governing board voted in favor of a series of agreements that will result in IRMC joining the Cleveland Clinic health system. When finalized, IRMC and its affiliates will become part of the Cleveland Clinic health system, with the Cleveland Clinic having ultimate governing authority at IRMC. IRMC will continue to lease the hospital facilities and the land on which they stand under an amended and restated agreement with the Hospital District for a term of up to 75 years. The agreements are expected to be formally signed later this week. Under the terms of the transaction, Cleveland Clinic is committing to invest at least $250 million in IRMC over the next 10 years. In addition, Cleveland Clinic will maintain maternity care, in-patient well baby care/pediatrics and gynecology services, behavioral health/mental health services, inpatient and outpatient cardiovascular services, inpatient and outpatient cancer care services, and gastroenterology services at IRMC for at least 10 years.

Sanford Health now co-owns three hotels
Sanford Health (Sioux Falls, SD) expanded its reach into the hospitality business with joint ownership of three hotels in South Dakota. The hospital system is partnering with the Brandt Hospitality Group. Under the deal, the organizations will jointly own three hotels: the Fairfield Inn & Suites Sioux Falls Airport, the Home2 Suites Sioux Falls, and a Courtyard by Marriott scheduled to open in the coming months in Fargo, South Dakota.

Mayo Clinic gets $10M donation to support several initiatives
Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN) received a $10 million donation from The Louis Gerstner Jr. Fund at Vanguard Charitable to support several initiatives across the health system. The grant will support five initiatives at Mayo Clinic’s various care sites in Minnesota, Arizona, and Florida. The money will be used to advance research into augmented human intelligence in cardiovascular care, regenerative medicine for spine care, and will support ongoing educational opportunities for nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

168M flu shots available this season
Up to 168 million doses of flu vaccine will be available to protect people from the strains of the influenza virus that should be most common in the 2018-2019 flu season, according to the CDC. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot by the end of this month, because it takes about two weeks after getting the vaccine for the antibodies against flu to develop, and the flu generally starts spreading by early November. This year, the nasal spray vaccine – which was not recommended the past two flu seasons – is again considered an acceptable alternative to the injectable vaccine, according to the Washington Post. The CDC says that, in recent years, being vaccinated has reduced the risk by about 40% of being hospitalized because of the flu. Still, about 900,000 people were hospitalized because of influenza, and about 80,000 people, including 180 children (most of them unvaccinated), died during the 2017-2018 flu season, the deadliest in decades.

Vizient launches next-gen eCommerce Exchange platform
Vizient (Irving, TX) launched its next-generation eCommerce Exchange platform, which is integrated with more than 500 of the largest suppliers in healthcare. The company says that the new platform will allow providers to lower their operating costs and streamline operations with suppliers by automating many common supply chain transactions, such as the purchase order, purchase order acknowledgement, and invoices. The platform’s new functionality also enables users to customize the tool by uploading local, custom and aggregation contracts. The integrated platform enables: Automation of purchasing tasks; greater visibility into purchasing operations; automation of invoices; and increased accuracy on purchase orders, confirmations, and invoices.

CMS’ new Bundled Payment model recruits 1,300 providers
CMS has announced that 1,299 entities, including hospitals and physician groups, signed agreements to participate in Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Advanced, CMS’ newest bundled payment model. CMS unveiled the new model in January. It currently includes 32 clinical episodes, with 29 in the inpatient setting and three in the outpatient setting. CMS said the top three clinical episodes currently selected by participants are: major joint replacement of the lower extremity, congestive heart failure, and sepsis. Hospitals owned by Dignity Health (San Francisco, CA), Tenet Healthcare (Dallas, TX), and HCA Healthcare (Nashville, TN) are among those participating in BPCI Advanced. Under the program, provider payments will be based on quality performance during a 90-day episode of care. BPCI Advanced qualifies as an advanced APM under the Quality Payment Program, meaning participants will be eligible for bonuses under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.

DOJ approves CVS/Aetna merger
CVS Health entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to move forward with its $69 billion acquisition of Aetna. As part of CVS Health’s agreement with federal officials, Aetna will sell its stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to WellCare Health Plans (Tampa, FL). WellCare will assume control of the 2.2 million-member business December 31. Aetna will provide administrative services and retain financial results for the plans through 2019. The CVS Health-Aetna deal is still subject to some state regulatory approvals, most of which have been granted. The companies still expect the deal to close in Q4 2018.