What We’re Reading: Value-Based Care Partnership; HHS Official Takes Leave of Absence; Vaccine Rollout Plan Unveiled

September 17, 2020

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, MedStar Health announce partnership; HHS official takes medical leave; Trump administration releases vaccine rollout plan.

Value-Based Care Partnership Aims to Improve Affordability, Quality

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and MedStar Health announced the organizations will work together to offer value-based health care with the aim of improving affordability, accessibility, quality, and patient experience in the communities they serve. CareFirst is the mid-Atlantic’s largest not-for-profit health care insurance company while MedStar is the region’s largest not-for-profit health care provider. By focusing on preventive care, the organizations estimate improved health outcomes and quality of care will impact the projected costs of care by $400 million over the next 7 years.

HHS Public Affairs Official to Take Medical Leave

HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo will take a 60-day medical leave of absence to focus on his health and family’s well-being, according to a statement from the department. The announcement comes after Caputo baselessly claimed government scientists are withholding effective coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treatments to hurt President Donald Trump, CBS reported. Caputo’s senior policy advisor, Paul Alexander, PhD, who was hired to assist with the administration’s COVID-19 response, will also be leaving the department. This week, House Democrats opened an investigation into whether Caputo and his team retroactively altered the CDC's COVID-19 morbidity and mortality reports.

Trump Administration Releases Vaccine Distribution Plan

The Trump administration released its most detailed COVID-19 distribution and administration plan, aimed at making the vaccine free for all Americans, Politico reports. The plan, devised by HHS and the Department of Defense, states rollout of a safe and effective vaccine will begin in January 2021. It also dictates 6.6 million kits of supplies needed to administer vaccines, like syringes and alcohol pads, will be distributed once a vaccine is authorized. CDC is also mandating states and jurisdictions must submit plans on how they would administer a vaccine by October 16, 2020. A final decision on who will be the first to receive vaccines has not been made.