What We're Reading: VA Nominee Withdraws; Startup for Cheaper Drugs; Costly Self-Care Courses

After various accusations about his work, Ronny Jackson, MD, has withdrawn from consideration to run the Department of Veterans Affairs; a new online shopping tool would help doctors find cheaper medications for patients based on the patient’s insurance plan information; hospitals have found a new revenue opportunity in self-management courses that teach patients how to prevent or delay complications of disease.

VA Nomination Withdrawn From Consideration

At the beginning of the week, the Senate postponed a confirmation hearing for Ronny Jackson, MD, the president’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, after accusations about his management came to light. Now, the White House has withdrawn the nomination, despite Jackson calling the allegations “false and fabricated,” reported The New York Times. The accusations from more than 23 people who worked with Jackson included creating a hostile work environment, improperly dispensing prescription drugs, and being intoxicated while traveling with the president.

Startup Aims to Help Doctors Find Cheaper Prescription Drugs

A new online shopping tool would help doctors find cheaper medications for patients based on the patient’s insurance plan information. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, when the physician is prescribing a medication, the tool, Gemini Health, would generate a list of similar drugs and what out-of-pocket costs the patient would be responsible for. Gemini’s first customer is Blue Shield of California, which will introduce the service to 6000 doctors over the next 2 months.

Surprise Cost of Diabetes Self-Management Courses

Hospitals have found a new revenue opportunity in self-management courses that teach patients how to prevent or delay complications of disease. Kaiser Health News reported hospitals are targeting patients with early or mild diabetes to teach them how to modify their habits, but the classes come at a hefty price. While research has found the classes can save an estimated $1300 over 3 years for every Medicare Advantage patient who complete the program, the cost of the classes might prevent patients from actually attending.