Physician Practice Roundup—DOJ approves $69B CVS-Aetna merger with Part D divestiture; Envision Healthcare completes merger

DOJ approves $69B CVS-Aetna merger with Part D divestiture

The Department of Justice (DOJ) approved the $69 billion CVS-Aetna merger on Wednesday after Aetna agreed to sell off its Part D business. 

The Part D divestiture was a condition of the merger's approval, according to the DOJ. Late last month, Aetna agreed to sell its 2.2 million Part D business to WellCare. (FierceHealthcare)

Envision Healthcare completes merger

Envision Healthcare Corporation today announced the completion of the previously announced acquisition of the company by global investment firm KKR. 

Envision provides physician staffing services to hospitals, primarily in emergency rooms, and post-acute care services. The deal is valued at $9.9 billion. As a result of the completion of the merger, Envision has become a wholly owned subsidiary of funds affiliated with KKR. (Business Wire announcement

Walgreens and LabCorp to open 600 in-store testing sites

Pharmacy chain Walgreens plans to partner with diagnostics giant LabCorp to open at least 600 testing centers inside Walgreens retail locations over the next four years. 

The move is an expansion of an existing partnership between Walgreens Boots Alliance and LabCorp in 17 Walgreens' locations that began in June 2017. Those LabCorp centers at Walgreens locations—in Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and Illinois—offer specimen collection services for LabCorp testing in a convenient and "secure, comfortable environment," officials said. 

This effort to bring direct-to-consumer lab-testing services is part of a broader effort by the company to expand from retail into healthcare service companies. (FierceHealthcare)

Doctors warned to disclose financial ties after Sloan Kettering controversy

Some of Boston’s most prominent hospitals are warning doctors that they must publicly disclose all financial ties with pharmaceutical and device companies, according to The Boston Globe.

The hospitals took action in light of an ethics crisis at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where Chief Medical Officer José Baselga, M.D., Ph.D., a physician with a reputation as one of the foremost breast cancer researchers in the world, resigned. His resignation came after it was reported he failed to disclose millions of dollars he was paid by drug and healthcare companies in dozens of research articles published in recent years.

A number of Boston hospitals have advised physicians to carefully review medical journal submissions and public presentations to make sure they accurately divulge all payments they receive from outside companies. (Boston Globe article)

AAFP adopts neutral position on medical aid-in-dying

In a break with the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has adopted a new position of “engaged neutrality” on medical aid-in-dying.

The AAFP, the AMA’s second largest component society, took a neutral stance on the issue, adopting a resolution opting to let families, physicians and states decide on aid-in-dying, which differs from the AMA Code of Ethics. (AAFP announcement, Compassion & Choices announcement)

Robert Pearl looks at doctors’ biggest fears

What are doctors most afraid of? Author Robert Pearl, M.D., a Stanford University professor, delves into that question in a Forbes column.

“Figuratively speaking, the industry’s pulse is racing with fear. I’ve observed that in just the past 12 months, the once-mild anxieties of American doctors have transformed into clear and present phobias,” writes Pearl. The fear of politics and of change make Pearl’s list of doctors’ five biggest fears. But those fears are also increasing physicians’ receptivity to change, Pearl says. (Forbes column)