CVS Health Targets Illinois Expansion • Latest Cook County Strike • Forensic Medical Examiner's grim job during COVID

CVS HEALTH EXTENDED HERE: CVS, which merged with health insurer Aetna in 2018, is expanding in Illinois through state health insurance programs and medical clinics in its drugstores.

The game for more business here leads to a showdown with local giants Walgreens and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois.

“Illinois is really Walgreens’ home turf, and it’s a bit of a challenge for a competitor to get in,” said Syed Husain, managing director of pharmacy and health practice for consulting firm PJ Solomon. “CVS has always been there, but what happened with the Aetna acquisition – and ultimately (the acquisition of a managed care company from Medicaid in Illinois last year) – is that there is now a reason to be there expand and maybe add a little more underpinning. ”READ MORE.

COOK COUNTY STRIKE UPDATE: A strike against Cook County is set to resume this morning after contract negotiations stalled over the weekend.

More than 1,000 members of Service Employee International Union Local 73 who work at Cook County Health have been on strike since Friday morning, a union spokesman said in an email. About 2,000 SEIU members across the county government are on the picket line.

The striking employees of the CCH include employees in housekeeping and catering, but also medical technicians, respiratory therapists, ward employees, psychiatrists, medical assistants, medical assistants and care coordination staff.

A statement from Local 73 said the two sides negotiated until 2 a.m. on Sunday morning that weekend without reaching an agreement, and workers expected the strike to continue until Monday.

Cook County said in an email on Sunday afternoon that Cook County Health “continues to have sufficient staff to meet the essential health needs of our patients.”

CRAIN’S FORUM LOOKS AT THE MEDICAL EXAMINER’S LONG COVID YEAR: In a typical year, the Cook County’s coroner’s office handles approximately 6,000 cases. In 2020, more than 16,000 were processed.

As Cook County approaches a dismal mark – 11,000 registered COVID deaths since the pandemic began – Crains Forum speaks to coroner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar about the experiences of her practice over the past 15 months.

“It’s been a long year,” she said. CONTINUE READING.

ABBVIE RECEIVES MIXED NEWS ABOUT RINVOQ: A European committee has recommended AbbVies Rinvoq for use in atopic dermatitis, but the company’s proposed US expansion into the US for the drug has to wait after the FDA postponed a decision.

The FDA expected to make a decision in June on whether the JAK inhibitor could be used in psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, but the agency is now seeking a delay, according to a statement from AbbVie. A new decision date was not announced.

The delay comes after Pfizer’s Xeljanz, another JAK inhibitor, found risks for dangerous heart side effects and cancer in a post-marketing study in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Rinvoq’s positive opinion from the European Commission bodes well that the FDA could approve the drug. However, the changed regulatory timeline begs the question of whether AbbVie can meet its target of $ 8 billion in sales for Rinvoq in 2025, Fierce Pharma points out.

NON-SURGICAL ORTHOPEDIC TREATMENT COMPANY BUYS NAPERVILLE CENTER: The Naperville Active Medical Center site was acquired by IMAC Holdings, Inc., a Brentwood, Tennessee-based provider of rehabilitation services.

The clinic that offers chiropractic and pain management will now be called Mike Ditka IMAC Regeneration Center. This is IMAC’s third location in the greater Chicago area and the first in the Southwest Suburbs.

WESANA TEAMS WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA FOR RESEARCH ON TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES: Wesana Health Holdings Inc., a life science company based in Chicago and Toronto, is partnering with the University of South Carolina to develop a center for neurological and cognitive improvement research.

BrainStorm Lab will work neuroscience researchers at the University of South Carolina and other universities to develop programming, protocols, and FDA-approved drugs to address some fundamental problems in the area of ​​traumatic brain injury, a statement said.

Wesana will initially finance the expansion of the BrainStorm Center with 1.5 million US dollars. It will also do clinical drug development work, it said.

NOWPOW PARTNERS WITH THE MARSHFIELD CLINIC: Marshfield, Wis. Clinic Health System is partnering with Hyde Park’s NowPow, a platform that enables physicians, insurers, and community-based organizations to digitally refer patients to clinicians, human resource development agencies, and other support services.

The Marshfield System will use NowPow’s system to identify what social conditions are important to patient long-term health and to connect individuals to resources.

“The pandemic has made the pervasive injustices that still shape the lives of far too many Americans more evident than ever,” said Dr. Susan Turney, CEO of the Marshfield Clinic Health System, in the statement. “We pride ourselves on being part of a paradigm shift that sees human health as a complex picture and works to address the structural inequalities and socio-economic factors that affect it.”

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

• Rob Miller works as a director in the executive search department at the personnel consultancy Felix Global. Miller specializes in recruiting for the C-Suite and its teams in industries such as healthcare and life sciences.