Mid-week roundup: Colorado terms Friday Health Plans; Cano 3 continue to savage board; Amazon Pharmacy layoffs; hacking attacks: QuickBlox, Barts Health; Phreesia buys MediFind; financing pops for K Health, Amino

Colorado liquidates, terminates insolvent insurtech Friday Health Plans. The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) had placed it into receivership in June after the company declared it would close, unable to find funds to operate its plans. On Monday, the DOI moved to liquidate its operations and terminate the plan effective 31 August. Their 30,000 policyholders on individual Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange plans will be scrambling to find new coverage. In the receivership move, DOI had hoped that Friday had enough funds to keep the state plan solvent through end of year, but they did not. According to the Colorado Sun, Friday still owed unpaid Federal taxes as well as roughly $2 million in fee payments to the state’s insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, which left the DOI without much hope. Friday had previously just about shut down its headquarters in Alamosa. This leaves not only 30,000 individuals scrambling, but also out eight months and perhaps thousands of dollars in deductibles as these plans tended to be high deductible. Colorado DOI opened a special enrollment period (SEP) for Friday policyholders and insurance brokers starting immediately through 31 October.  Providers are protected somewhat through the state’s Colorado Insurance Guaranty Association but many stopped taking Friday-covered patients last month. Friday’s crash-and-burn is the worst example of an insurtech’s demise to date and not promising for policyholders in other states such as Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Nevada. Healthcare Dive

The Cano 3 attack in the continuation war with the Cano Health board. In the latest episode of this telenovela, resigned directors Barry Sternlicht, Elliot Cooperstone, and Lewis Gold, who among them have about 35% of the company’s shares, are still supporting interim CEO Mark Kent but pressing hard to oust three of the directors reelected at the last shareholder meeting, including Marlow Hernandez, the founder and former CEO. What’s new is that they have declared war on Sol Trujillo as chairman and Angel Morales as chair of the audit committee as allies of Dr. Hernandez. In addition to divesting five directors and the interim chief legal officer plus ending their high monthly equity awards, they support divesting non-core assets. Mark Kent will have to be Clark Kent ducking into the phone booth to succeed in this. Press release  Mr. Sternlicht cannot be in a good mood, as Starwood Capital Group is in default on a $212.5 million mortgage on an Atlanta office property, Tower Place 100, in the continuing souring of the commercial real estate market. Fortune

Amazon Pharmacy has laid off 80 employees, mostly pharmacy technicians and team leaders, in continuing cutbacks there. This is the former PillPack. One would think that it would be expanding based on the growing medical needs of One Medical and Amazon Clinic. About the latter which was to roll out nationally today but was questioned on data privacy grounds, as of today there is no update announcement. To date, Amazon has released an amazing 27,000 workers. Semafor, Becker’s

Cybersecurity also racked up some hacks in the past week or so:

  • A popular software framework used in telehealth and financial applications, QuickBlox, was found to have several critical security flaws. The QuickBlox SDK (Software Development Kit) and API (Application Programming Interface) that are used for developing chat and video applications had a vulnerability that led researchers to take over multiple accounts and compromise the user database and extract PHI. The vulnerability also permitted a hacker to impersonate a physician or patient and alter health records. This was reported by Team82 and Check Point Research (CPR) teams but have since been fixed. Blow-by-blow with screenshots in Cybersecuritynews and overview in Becker’s.
  • Barts Health NHS Trust was hacked by BlackCat, a/k/a ALPHV. What was stolen was about 70 terabytes of data, which BlackCat claims as the largest breach in UK medical history. ALPHV listed the stolen data, including employee identification documents, including passports and driver licenses, and internal emails labeled “confidential”, around 30 June. Barts runs five London-based hospitals and serves more than 2.5 million patients. The Barts Health hack adds to NHS misery with an earlier attack on a University of Manchester NHS dataset with information on 1.1 million patients across 200 hospitals. The same CLOP Russian ransomware gang that got Johns Hopkins [TTA 19 July] also got Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator.  TechCrunch

Yes, there is good news in M&A and funding:

Phreesia is buying MediFind. No purchase price or management transition was disclosed. Phreesia is a patient intake platform that grew from a tablet used in practices for scheduling and patient check-in to a fully featured platform for workflow, claims, outreach and patient education. MediFind uses machine learning and analytics to connect patients with leading experts, clinical trials, health systems, and healthcare technologies. Phreesia is one of the few 2019 vintage IPOs to not crater–it’s trading on the NYSE at above $32 though as recently as end of 2021 its share price was double. Phreesia release.

K Health gained an unlettered venture round of $59 million from Cedars-Sinai, its new partner, plus current investors, including Valor Equity Partners, Mangrove Capital Partners, and Pico Venture Partners. This brings funding for this Israeli company to $330 million through a Series E. K Health’s platform uses a chat function that pre-screens patients with symptoms, uses AI to suggest possible diagnoses based on that person’s medical history, age, and gender, and will connect with a doctor or nurse if needed–which sounds somewhat like Babylon Health and Zipnosis. The chat can be used for primary care, some pediatric areas, urgent and chronic care management. K Health claims that 10 million individuals have interacted with K Health’s AI, and 3.1 million patients in 48 states have chatted with a doctor or nurse. FierceHealthcare

Amino, a navigation platform, received $42 million in credit financing from Oxford Finance. This was the final part of its $80 million venture raise in May. Amino connects physical and mental healthcare providers and benefits programs with members at self-insured employers and health plans, managed by third-party administrators, brokers, and human resources. Members access recommendations for providers and relevant benefits. Amino’s total funding is $125 million, mostly in venture rounds. Its last letter round was a Series C in 2017. It’s a busy sector with similar companies like Accolade, Rightway, and Transcarent.  Mobihealthnews

Manchester as ‘age-friendly city’, King’s Fund on health, social care (UK)

By 2030, 15 percent of the world’s city population will be 60+. This projection led researchers from The Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA) at the University of Manchester to examine the experience of aging, and where better than Manchester, in 2010 recognized by the WHO as the UK’s first ‘age-friendly’ city? The result is a short film presenting their findings: “social inclusion (as) the secret to ageing well – while age-friendly transport and housing make them feel more a part of the urban neighbourhoods they live in.” The film was premiered at a community event in Whalley Range on 23 June and also shown at the British Society of Gerontology’s annual conference at the start of July. Trailer (1 min 24 sec), video (15 min), University of Manchester article.

Integrated health and social care in England – Progress and prospects is now available in full text in the July issue of Health Policy. Written by Richard Humphries of The King’s Fund, it examines the patchy and limited success of 40 years of policy goals by successive Governments, including the last coalition government. It illustrates the tensions among of a variety of new initiatives, along with the NHS reaching for new models of care delivery. “Expectations that integration will achieve substantial financial savings are not supported by evidence. Local effort alone will be insufficient to overcome the fundamental differences in entitlement, funding and delivery between the NHS and the social care system.” TTA has been a media partner of The King’s Fund Digital Health and other events