What We're Reading: Kaiser Permanente CEO Dies at 60; Vaping Illness Catalyst Found; Medicare Outpatient Premium Rises

Kaiser Permanente chairman and chief executive officer Bernard J. Tyson dies at 60; vitamin E acetate is linked as a potential cause of vaping-related lung injuries; Medicare’s outpatient premium cost is rising.

Bernard Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, Dies at 60

Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the health plan provider Kaiser Permanente, died unexpectedly in his sleep yesterday at the age of 60, reported USA Today. The news came after Tyson had spoken 1 day earlier at a tech gathering called AfroTech in Oakland, California. Kaiser Permanente issued a statement late Sunday evening stating, “On behalf of our Board of Directors, employees, and physicians, we extend our deepest sympathies to Bernard’s family during this very difficult time.” Tyson became the head of Kaiser Permanente in 2013 and had worked at the company for over 30 years.

CDC Finds Potential Cause of Vaping Illness Epidemic

Health officials at the CDC announced on Friday that there has been a breakthrough in the investigation of vaping-related lung injuries, as the chemical compound vitamin E acetate was found in all samples of lung fluid collected from 29 patients who were hospitalized for vaping, according to NPR. The vaping outbreak, which has led to the deaths of 39 people and sickened more than 2000 others, had been linked in hundreds of patients to the use of THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana. Anne Schuchat, MD, CDC’s principal deputy director, told reporters on a press call that “vitamin E acetate is a known additive used to dilute liquid in e-cigarettes or vaping products that contain THC,” said Schuchat.

Medicare’s Outpatient Part B Premium Increasing

Medicare’s Part B premium for outpatient care is set to rise next year by nearly 7% to $144.60 a month next year, according to the Associated Press. Officials blamed the premium increase largely on rising spending for drugs administered in doctors’ offices, which are covered under the Part B outpatient benefit and include many cancer drugs. The $9.10 monthly increase follows a smaller $1.50 rise this year and comes after Social Security announced a modest cost-of-living raise for 2020 that comes out to approximately $24 a month for the average retired worker.

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