Medical cannabis is gaining momentum in Asia

In Western markets, recreational cannabis is expected to outperform medicinal cannabis in market forecasts, but in Asia the opposite is likely to be true. Still, Prohibition Partners estimated that Asia’s medicinal cannabis market could by 2024 be worth $5.8 billion. “In Western markets, recreational cannabis is expected to outperform medicinal cannabis in market forecasts, but in Asia the opposite is likely to be true,” the consultancy said. “Chinese investors are warming up to the cannabis mar


In Western markets, recreational cannabis is expected to outperform medicinal cannabis in market forecasts, but in Asia the opposite is likely to be true. Still, Prohibition Partners estimated that Asia’s medicinal cannabis market could by 2024 be worth $5.8 billion. “In Western markets, recreational cannabis is expected to outperform medicinal cannabis in market forecasts, but in Asia the opposite is likely to be true,” the consultancy said. “Chinese investors are warming up to the cannabis mar
Medical cannabis is gaining momentum in Asia Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-15  Authors: grace shao
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, gaining, plant, research, drugs, recreational, momentum, medical, according, asia, market, medicinal, japan, cannabis


Medical cannabis is gaining momentum in Asia

Hemp plants are grown for medical research purposes in Chiang Mai province, Thailand. Taylor Weidman | Bloomberg | Getty Images

With Thailand’s legalization of medical cannabis in February, some experts predict that other Southeast Asian countries may move to decriminalize the plant. If that happens, it could prove a significant opportunity for investors interested in the space. Many countries in Asia have made headlines for strict punishments for possessing, trafficking and consuming cannabis — including, notable, the ongoing bloody war on drugs in the Philippines. But some nations are nevertheless softening their attitude toward the once-taboo drug, and bringing it to hospitals in the region. The global legal marijuana market — including recreational use — was estimated to be worth $13.8 billion last year and is projected to reach $66.3 billion by the end of 2025, according to a 2018 report from California-based market research firm Grand View Research. There are two widely studied components of the cannabis plant: CBD, a non-hallucinating compound sold in bud, oil and tinctures, used for calming inflammation and the nerves; and THC, the psychoactive constituent that is more often used for recreational purposes and is still illegal in most countries. According to a 2018 report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, both CBD and THC ingredients are applied in medicinal practices but used to treat different symptoms.

Momentum in the region

Currently, Canada and Uruguay are the only two countries that have fully legalized the recreational use of cannabis. But the piecemeal legalization of medicinal marijuana has been spreading across the world, including, notably, nations such as Israel, Australia, and Germany.

In Asia, Seoul and Bangkok look to be leading the way in the normalization and legalization of medical marijuana with government license. Thailand is the only country that has fully legalized medicinal cannabis with others actively looking into the plant’s health-care applications, according to Prohibition Partners, an international cannabis industry consultancy. Thailand, for its part, unveiled its first legal cannabis greenhouse in February. “The attitude is that it’s already a part of traditional medicine … and we should ensure that Thais can control their own industry, ” said Jim Plamondon, marketing head of Thai Cannabis Corporation said to Reuters last December. South Korea surprised many by being the first East Asian nation to legalize medical marijuana last November. The policy came to effect in March this year with the goal of expanding treatment options for patients with epilepsy, chronic pain and other conditions. In the same month, Japan approved clinical trials for the cannabis compound Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution used in treating epileptic patients.

In Western markets, recreational cannabis is expected to outperform medicinal cannabis in market forecasts, but in Asia the opposite is likely to be true. Prohibition Partners The 2019 Asian Cannabis Report

In late June, Malaysian Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said in a statement, “Drugs have destroyed many lives, but wrongheaded governmental policies have destroyed many more. I think it’s obvious that after 40 years of war on drugs, it has not worked. There should be decriminalization of drugs.” He added that legalizing medicinal cannabis would be a “game changer.” Even famously strict-on-drugs nations including Singapore and China have been involved in research into medical applications for cannabis.

Investment opportunities in Asia

That all indicates a softer tone than those countries have traditionally taken, but the plant remains illegal in the majority of Asian nations. Still, Prohibition Partners estimated that Asia’s medicinal cannabis market could by 2024 be worth $5.8 billion. “In Western markets, recreational cannabis is expected to outperform medicinal cannabis in market forecasts, but in Asia the opposite is likely to be true,” the consultancy said. Japan, for one, will very likely become a big consumer of medical cannabis. “Japan currently has the largest population of elderly people at 33.1% and this is set to bring about an unprecedented rise in healthcare costs in the long term,” the group’s 2019 report said. “The region’s spending on healthcare is estimated to reach US$2.7 trillion by 2020.” And Japan is not the only one faced with an aging population. By 2030, 17.8% of China’s population is expected to be above 65 years old, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit. The report added that Asia is on track to have the oldest population in the world very soon and with old age comes many chronic disease. As for investing opportunities, many are still reluctant to actively bet on the commodity due to the social stigma around the plant, according to Prohibition Partners. Still, Hong Kong saw its first-ever Cannabis Investor Symposium in November last year. “Chinese investors are warming up to the cannabis market,“ the consultancy said, noting that despite its illegality in China, medical cannabis research has received some government encouragement. In fact, China is not only involved in the research but also heavily in production. Asia’s largest economy currently grows nearly half the world’s legal hemp, a strain of cannabis that contains almost no hallucinogens, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

A distributor holds a jar of medicinal cannabis in Buriram, Thailand. Lillian Suwanrumpha | AFP | Getty Images

Hanma Investment Group (HMI) is the first company to receive permission to extract CBD in China. The country’s largest hemp production firm has been advocating for the benefits of the plant and trying to change the negative connotation most Chinese hold toward it. The company currently exports 90% of its production, mostly to the United States, Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands, and increasingly to Japan. “(Chinese) people’s perception of cannabis is no longer as negative as before. We have been reiterating the uses cannabis can be utilized in the medical and health sector,” Tan Xi, HMI’s president, told CNBC in a Chinese-language text message. Tan added in a phone interview there had been an increase in Chinese companies getting involved in industrial cannabis. Since the start of 2019, he claimed, there’s been significant traction in China’s capital market for such companies. Tan said he was encouraged by the increasing number of American states legalizing medical cannabis, but he said China appears nowhere close to legalizing it anytime soon.

‘Bleak on the earnings front’


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-15  Authors: grace shao
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, gaining, plant, research, drugs, recreational, momentum, medical, according, asia, market, medicinal, japan, cannabis


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How being a female tech founder prepared this CEO to fight the medical system when she got cancer

Leila Janah, a social impact entrepreneur, was diagnosed with cancer at 36 Leila JanahLeila Janah, 36, thought she was doing everything right. But in the spring, she discovered a lump that turned out to be a type of cancer called a sarcoma. Sarcomas account for about 1 percent of adult cancers, and she has a particularly rare variety that showed up in her reproductive system. For Janah, going public with her experience has helped her find both high-quality doctors and potential treatments, which


Leila Janah, a social impact entrepreneur, was diagnosed with cancer at 36 Leila JanahLeila Janah, 36, thought she was doing everything right. But in the spring, she discovered a lump that turned out to be a type of cancer called a sarcoma. Sarcomas account for about 1 percent of adult cancers, and she has a particularly rare variety that showed up in her reproductive system. For Janah, going public with her experience has helped her find both high-quality doctors and potential treatments, which
How being a female tech founder prepared this CEO to fight the medical system when she got cancer Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-13  Authors: christina farr
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, social, medical, janah, tech, health, fight, doctors, ceo, patients, share, thats, female, cancer, founder, system, prepared, access


How being a female tech founder prepared this CEO to fight the medical system when she got cancer

Leila Janah, a social impact entrepreneur, was diagnosed with cancer at 36 Leila Janah

Leila Janah, 36, thought she was doing everything right. She started two tech companies with a strong sense of social mission, and she balanced that by exercising every day, eating well and seeing the doctor for regular check-ups. The last thing she expected was a cancer diagnosis. But in the spring, she discovered a lump that turned out to be a type of cancer called a sarcoma. Sarcomas account for about 1 percent of adult cancers, and she has a particularly rare variety that showed up in her reproductive system. In the months since her diagnosis, Janah has shared her experiences as a patient on social media, despite the potential risks that come from investors and customers being aware of her health challenges. In the U.S. health care system, there are many barriers that prevent patients from accessing the treatment they need, whether it’s the cost, lack of specialists or the shortage of resources. For Janah, going public with her experience has helped her find both high-quality doctors and potential treatments, which could save her life. In a phone interview, Janah said her entrepreneurial experiences have helped her navigate the complexities of the health care system, in part because she’s had a lot of practice advocating for herself as a female founder in Silicon Valley. “I’ve had to be pushy,” Janah said. “If there’s anything this experience has taught me, it’s to not take no for an answer.”

‘I’m conditioned to trust my gut’

Before she was diagnosed, Janah had a feeling something that there was wrong. Her lump, which doctors reassured her was likely benign given her age and lack of symptoms, felt “ominous,” she said. “Because of my work with start-ups, I’m conditioned to trust my gut,” she said, as entrepreneurs are often told that their ideas lack merit, or they won’t work by people in positions of authority. “And that’s especially true when something feels wrong.” Janah insisted on further medical tests, and the results came back quickly. It was cancer. And it was rare and aggressive. So finding out sooner rather than later probably made a big difference. Another lesson learned from her entrepreneurial career was to try to get as many opinions as possible, and then bring in a team to evaluate her options. “That’s basically what you to when you’re shopping for a financing round,” she said. But she quickly hit a wall. Her doctors all offered conflicting advice, which she suspects is because her cancer is so rare that there aren’t many previous cases to draw from. Despite her best efforts, she couldn’t get them to agree to a conference call together to discuss her case. Another challenge was in pulling her medical information into one place, including charts, labs and imaging, so that she could make sure all her doctors had access to the same ground truth. That’s not surprising. Even today, it’s a laborious process for hospitals and clinics to exchange patient health information. Doctors still rely on legacy technologies, like fax machines and CD-ROMs, and their IT systems were not set up to make it easy to share data. At one point, Janah had to FedEx her imaging from California to New York because it was faster than getting two Manhattan-based hospitals to share a file. For a tech entrepreneur, that’s been a particular source of frustration. “The admin has been the hardest thing,” she said. “I’ve got two medical experts who disagree, but they can’t even share a CT scan between two different hospitals down the street from each other.”

At that point, Janah took matters into her own hands again. She saw that her busy specialists would all be attending a high-profile cancer conference, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, dubbed ASCO, in the fall. So she decided to fly out to Chicago on her own dime. She also hoped to meet with some of the executives behind a venture-backed bio-tech start-up called Epizyme. Epizyme has a drug in development called Tazemetostat, which is designed for sarcoma patients. It remains an experimental drug, meaning it has not been approved by federal regulators. Patients can access such drugs on a case-by-case basis, and it’s a hotly debated issue among bio-ethicists about whether promising therapies that are still in late-stage clinical trials should be made available. Janah’s trip was a success. She was granted access to the drug through the company’s Expanded Access Program, and she was able to get her doctors on the same page about her course of treatment. An Epizyme spokesperson declined to comment on her case, but did confirm that she met the criteria established by its policy.

Entrepreneurial patients, experimental drugs


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-13  Authors: christina farr
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, social, medical, janah, tech, health, fight, doctors, ceo, patients, share, thats, female, cancer, founder, system, prepared, access


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23andMe is moving into Apple’s territory with a pilot to pull in medical data, not just DNA

DNA-testing start-up 23andMe is experimenting with a new way to collect a lot more health data from millions of its users than just their DNA. The company is now asking a subset of customers if they’d be willing to incorporate their lab results, prescription information and medical history, after they’ve received the results from the genetic test. 23andMe, which has sold about 10 million at-home DNA testing kits, will be able to access that data if users let the company connect outside medical p


DNA-testing start-up 23andMe is experimenting with a new way to collect a lot more health data from millions of its users than just their DNA. The company is now asking a subset of customers if they’d be willing to incorporate their lab results, prescription information and medical history, after they’ve received the results from the genetic test. 23andMe, which has sold about 10 million at-home DNA testing kits, will be able to access that data if users let the company connect outside medical p
23andMe is moving into Apple’s territory with a pilot to pull in medical data, not just DNA Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-11  Authors: christina farr
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, dna, way, information, pull, pilot, data, apples, health, territory, results, moving, medical, users, 23andme, company, service


23andMe is moving into Apple's territory with a pilot to pull in medical data, not just DNA

DNA-testing start-up 23andMe is experimenting with a new way to collect a lot more health data from millions of its users than just their DNA.

The company is now asking a subset of customers if they’d be willing to incorporate their lab results, prescription information and medical history, after they’ve received the results from the genetic test. 23andMe, which has sold about 10 million at-home DNA testing kits, will be able to access that data if users let the company connect outside medical providers using a third-party medical data network called Human API.

CNBC viewed the service in action earlier this week and the company confirmed that it’s a beta program that will be gradually rolled out to all users, but declined to comment further on its plans. The service is still being piloted, said a person familiar with the matter, and the product could change depending on how it’s received.

Such a move would bring the 23andMe squarely into Apple’s territory.

Apple, in recent years, has developed its own health records service, which aims to aggregate medical information including lab tests and prescriptions into the Health app on the iPhone.

One missing component from Apple’s program, however, is genetics data, which might present an opportunity for 23andMe to reach people who care about getting a deeper analysis of how their genetic information might impact their risk of disease.

23andMe’s pitch to users is that the service is an easy way to access health data, especially if it’s scattered across multiple systems, get new insights about their health, and assist with research. (Click the image to enlarge.)


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-11  Authors: christina farr
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, dna, way, information, pull, pilot, data, apples, health, territory, results, moving, medical, users, 23andme, company, service


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Medical bills are a growing concern for cancer patients

Cancer can take a significant toll on your health, your work, your family – and, increasingly, your wallet. There are currently an estimated 16.9 million people in the U.S. who have received a cancer diagnosis. For them, the disease comes with many disproportionate hardships, from the physical and the emotional to the financial. Not only is cancer one of the most expensive medical conditions to treat, but even those with good medical insurance face an added burden from other aspects of treatment


Cancer can take a significant toll on your health, your work, your family – and, increasingly, your wallet. There are currently an estimated 16.9 million people in the U.S. who have received a cancer diagnosis. For them, the disease comes with many disproportionate hardships, from the physical and the emotional to the financial. Not only is cancer one of the most expensive medical conditions to treat, but even those with good medical insurance face an added burden from other aspects of treatment
Medical bills are a growing concern for cancer patients Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-11  Authors: jessica dickler
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, concern, treatment, bills, travel, patients, growing, significant, wallet, treat, work, cancer, medical, toll, workwhat


Medical bills are a growing concern for cancer patients

Cancer can take a significant toll on your health, your work, your family – and, increasingly, your wallet. There are currently an estimated 16.9 million people in the U.S. who have received a cancer diagnosis. For them, the disease comes with many disproportionate hardships, from the physical and the emotional to the financial. Not only is cancer one of the most expensive medical conditions to treat, but even those with good medical insurance face an added burden from other aspects of treatment, such as travel expenses and increased time off from work.

What is a problem is when the cost of care is a shock. Janet de Moor program director at the National Cancer Institute


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-11  Authors: jessica dickler
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, concern, treatment, bills, travel, patients, growing, significant, wallet, treat, work, cancer, medical, toll, workwhat


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Health insurer Anthem has hired a bunch of Apple employees to help it modernize

In the past few months, Anthem has hired Warris Bokhari from Apple Health, as well as Toni Trujillo Vian (a 24-year Apple vet), and senior machine learning researcher Stefanos Giampanis, according to LinkedIn and two people familiar with the matter. As Anthem scoops up talent from Apple and other tech companies, Apple has been recruiting heavily from the medical sector. It’s currently focusing on aggregating clinical information via Health Records, developing biosensors for the Apple Watch, and


In the past few months, Anthem has hired Warris Bokhari from Apple Health, as well as Toni Trujillo Vian (a 24-year Apple vet), and senior machine learning researcher Stefanos Giampanis, according to LinkedIn and two people familiar with the matter. As Anthem scoops up talent from Apple and other tech companies, Apple has been recruiting heavily from the medical sector. It’s currently focusing on aggregating clinical information via Health Records, developing biosensors for the Apple Watch, and
Health insurer Anthem has hired a bunch of Apple employees to help it modernize Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-09  Authors: christina farr
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, health, modernize, help, apple, hired, anthem, medical, technology, digital, tech, product, bunch, efforts, insurer, employees, previously


Health insurer Anthem has hired a bunch of Apple employees to help it modernize

Gail Koziara Boudreaux attends The Women’s Sports Foundation’s 39th Annual Salute To Women In Sports And The Girls They Inspire Awards Gala on October 17, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Women’s Sports Foundation)

Health insurance isn’t exactly known for its consumer-friendliness. But Anthem, one of the largest insurers, is looking to change that with a slew of recent hires from the company best known for its commitment to user-friendly design: Apple.

In Silicon Valley, technology companies like Apple and Alphabet are increasingly trying to bring their technology to the health sector and are building out dedicated teams of medical experts. They’re chasing a $3.5 trillion market that’s been slow to adapt and change, believing that their expertise in user-friendly design can help improve the experience for consumers. Traditional health companies, like insurers and hospitals, are reacting by partnering with tech giants but are also adapting their own offerings and touting their digital friendliness.

In the past few months, Anthem has hired Warris Bokhari from Apple Health, as well as Toni Trujillo Vian (a 24-year Apple vet), and senior machine learning researcher Stefanos Giampanis, according to LinkedIn and two people familiar with the matter.

The health insurer also hired Ted Goldstein, a former Apple vice president from 2002 to 2007, to run its AI and health data efforts, about six months ago, and some lower-level folks like Berick Bacani, a former Apple operations specialist, as a UX designer on the digital team.

The focus on hiring from Apple dates back a few years: Anthem’s vice president of commercial Aneesh Kumar, who has been at the company for a few years started his career in the 1990s as a product manager at Apple. And Rajeev Ronanki, the company’s chief digital officer, previously worked at the consulting firm Deloitte on health innovation-related projects.

It’s not just Apple employees migrating over to Anthem. Another high-profile recruit from the technology world is Udi Manber, who previously headed up Google’s search efforts and is now a technical advisor at Anthem.

As Anthem scoops up talent from Apple and other tech companies, Apple has been recruiting heavily from the medical sector.

Scattered across its health teams, Apple has installed dozens of doctors to offer advice and steer product decisions. It’s currently focusing on aggregating clinical information via Health Records, developing biosensors for the Apple Watch, and health apps for things like reproductive health and sleep monitoring.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously said that he believes the company’s “greatest contribution to mankind” will be its efforts in health. The health team currently reports to Apple COO Jeff Williams, who has a strong personal interest in the sector.

Meanwhile, Anthem CEO Gail Boudreaux has emphasized the company’s continued investment in its digital offerings, including putting budget behind its consumer tech and artificial intelligence teams.

The company is working on a number of different tech projects, such as a partnership with the health-tech start-up Doc.ai to detect allergy patterns, and Act Wise, a website for health plans to better manage their employees’ medical benefits.

Anthem competitor UnitedHealth has also touted its commitment to digital technology. It has a “consumer digital health platform ” called Rally, and one team there focuses on providing rewards for people who meet their health goals. Aetna, another health insurer owned by CVS, is working with Apple on an effort to reward members for meeting health-related milestones via their Apple Watch.

Anthem and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

WATCH: Apple pushes further in to health care by selling diabetes product in its stores


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-09  Authors: christina farr
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, health, modernize, help, apple, hired, anthem, medical, technology, digital, tech, product, bunch, efforts, insurer, employees, previously


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New JAMA study shows legalizing pot might discourage teen use

Legalizing pot does not appear to encourage teen use and might actually discourage it, a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics suggests. The results show teen pot use both before and after medical marijuana laws were adopted in 27 states, seven of which also legalized recreational marijuana during the survey period. Teen marijuana use didn’t change much after medical marijuana was legalized, they found. The study estimates an association between legalization and teen use, not causation, mean


Legalizing pot does not appear to encourage teen use and might actually discourage it, a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics suggests. The results show teen pot use both before and after medical marijuana laws were adopted in 27 states, seven of which also legalized recreational marijuana during the survey period. Teen marijuana use didn’t change much after medical marijuana was legalized, they found. The study estimates an association between legalization and teen use, not causation, mean
New JAMA study shows legalizing pot might discourage teen use Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-08  Authors: angelica lavito
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, recreational, legalizing, university, discourage, marijuana, study, states, teens, teen, pot, jama, shows, legalized, medical


New JAMA study shows legalizing pot might discourage teen use

Legalizing pot does not appear to encourage teen use and might actually discourage it, a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 1.4 million high school students between 1993 and 2017, collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its Youth Risk Behavior survey. The results show teen pot use both before and after medical marijuana laws were adopted in 27 states, seven of which also legalized recreational marijuana during the survey period.

Teen marijuana use didn’t change much after medical marijuana was legalized, they found. In states that legalized recreational use, the number of teens who said they smoked pot in the previous 30 days dropped 8% while the number who used it 10 or more times fell by 9%.

One theory floated by the study’s authors was that teens may find it more difficult to access marijuana if drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age, possibly contributing to the decrease.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia have now legalized recreational use of marijuana, while 34 states permit medical use. Some worry normalizing pot will give young people the impression that marijuana is harmless. Plus, they worry that selling pot at dispensaries will make it easy for young people to access the drug.

The study estimates an association between legalization and teen use, not causation, meaning the study does not show conclusively that legalizing pot causes a decrease in teen use. Still, the findings are consistent with similar research that suggests teens might smoke less pot in states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal.

The study was conducted by D. Mark Anderson of Montana State University, Benjamin Hansen of the University of Oregon, Daniel Rees of the University of Colorado Denver and Joseph Sabia of San Diego State University. The research was funded by grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health and the Charles Koch Foundation.

Though generally aligned with Republicans, the Koch brothers have split with the party on marijuana and some other issues. The powerful libertarian donors support states legalizing pot and criticize federal attempts to thwart local laws.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-08  Authors: angelica lavito
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, recreational, legalizing, university, discourage, marijuana, study, states, teens, teen, pot, jama, shows, legalized, medical


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Meet the 18-year-old who helped wipe out $6.7 million in medical debt

To help connect her donated dollars with those in need, Zames coordinated with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt. The organization locates unpaid medical debt and then uses charitable donations to forgive old, outstanding debts for pennies on the dollar. That enabled RIP Medical Debt to purchase and abolish $6.7 million in old medical debt from Onondaga, Madison and Oneida counties near Syracuse, New York. How RIP Medical Debt worksIn the U.S., approximately 79 million people have unpaid medical bi


To help connect her donated dollars with those in need, Zames coordinated with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt. The organization locates unpaid medical debt and then uses charitable donations to forgive old, outstanding debts for pennies on the dollar. That enabled RIP Medical Debt to purchase and abolish $6.7 million in old medical debt from Onondaga, Madison and Oneida counties near Syracuse, New York. How RIP Medical Debt worksIn the U.S., approximately 79 million people have unpaid medical bi
Meet the 18-year-old who helped wipe out $6.7 million in medical debt Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-01  Authors: megan leonhardt
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, 18yearold, campaign, meet, zames, project, rip, debt, times, helped, medical, school, wipe, eraser, 67, million


Meet the 18-year-old who helped wipe out $6.7 million in medical debt

A wave of letters sealed in canary yellow envelopes will descend upon Syracuse, New York, and the surrounding region in just a few weeks. They contain good news for the recipients: Thanks to the efforts of a local high school senior, their medical debt has been wiped out. While some high school seniors were slacking off during their final months of school, Talia Zames, 18, launched a campaign to raise $15,000 in an effort to pay off old medical debt from those in her own community. To help connect her donated dollars with those in need, Zames coordinated with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt. The organization locates unpaid medical debt and then uses charitable donations to forgive old, outstanding debts for pennies on the dollar. In 2016, the nonprofit gained national prominence after “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” worked with RIP to wipe out $15 million worth of medical debt for approximately 9,000 people, a stunt that John Oliver claimed was the biggest giveaway on television. Zames’ months-long “Project Eraser” campaign did not quite hit Oliver’s level, but she did surpass her initial goal, raising $20,000 in total. That enabled RIP Medical Debt to purchase and abolish $6.7 million in old medical debt from Onondaga, Madison and Oneida counties near Syracuse, New York. The recipients will be receiving letters in the mail from RIP around July 12. “People care. If you’re willing to put yourself out there and make those speeches, make those [social media] posts and talk to anyone you can, people can see how passionate you are…and they’re going to want to help you,” Zames tells CNBC Make It.

How the project got started

It was Zames’s grandmother who actually sparked the idea for a campaign. In December, she read a New York Times article that profiled two women in Ithaca, New York, who raised enough to wipe out $1.5 million in medical debt. “That’s when I first heard about RIP,” Zames says. “I started looking into it and realized I could start my own campaign to raise money to erase local debt.” The issue hit home for the teen. Seven years ago, her family experienced how much a trip to the emergency room could cost when one of her younger sisters, just 5 years old at the time, was rushed to the hospital. The medical bills for the visit totaled over $150,000, Zames details in a video she created to support the fundraiser. Her parents had medical insurance, but the deductible and related bills still totaled about $30,000, Zames says. Her family was able to pay off the bills over the course of the next year, but others are not so fortunate. Over half a million families say medical bills were a major factor in their decision to file for bankruptcy, according to recent academic research that analyzed bankruptcies from 2013 to 2016. Zames reached out to RIP Medical Debt and, with the organization’s help, started building out a fundraising game plan. “I’m a planner,” Zames says. “I needed to have it all laid out, so I sat down and listed all the possible things I could think of to raise $15,000.” A little more than a month after she heard first heard about RIP Debt in the New York Times, Zames launched her own campaign in mid-January 2019. The goal was to raise $15,000 to abolish about $1 million in medical debt.

Talia Zames, 18, her mother and younger sisters during the kickoff of the Project Eraser fundraiser.

How RIP Medical Debt works

In the U.S., approximately 79 million people have unpaid medical bills or debt problems, according to the health nonprofit the Commonwealth Fund. And in many cases, that debt is not held by the hospital or doctor’s office that the patient originally visited. Instead, that debt is typically bought and sold several times over — some debts have changed hands upwards of four times. When debt is sold multiple times, it’s usually sold at a discount because it can be increasingly difficult for the collection agency to get paid. That represents an opportunity for RIP, which was founded in 2014 by two former debt collectors who wanted to work on a project to forgive debt, rather than collect on it. RIP is able to swoop in and offer to buy up the debt at a deep discount with donations from individuals like Zames. Typically, a $1 donation can be used to buy $100 in medical debt. In Zames’ case, RIP found that the debt was pretty old in the counties she wanted to target, so they hoped to leverage the donations to wipe out a bit more than average. The nonprofit, working in partnership with TransUnion, focuses on identifying, verifying and buying up the medical debt of those who are in the most dire need. Typically, it aims to wipe out debt for individuals who are earning less than two times the federal poverty level, which varies by state and household size, but is around $25,750 for a family of four. RIP also focuses on wiping out debt for those who are facing financial hardship or insolvency. Over the course of five years, RIP has raised enough money to wipe out $675 million of medical debt for over 200,000 people. And that debt forgiveness is tax-free for the recipients, Daniel Lempert, a spokesman for RIP, tells CNBC Make It.

Raising money and awareness

With the help of RIP, Zames spent several hours in January setting up a fundraising website, creating social media pages and shooting a video for Project Eraser. She and her mom even created a bunch of Project Eraser T-shirts with iron-on decals to help spread the word. But the teen also went beyond the online appeals: Zames wanted to get her classmates, teachers and school faculty involved with the project as well. She attends Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, which is a private school with a dress code. But each month, students are allowed to dress down if they donate to a charitable cause. Zames capitalized on this, giving a speech to her entire school about Project Eraser and how medical debt affects so many Americans. “Before I started the campaign, I didn’t understand medical bills and medical debt, so I just wanted my fellow classmates, and even my teachers, to understand what I was doing,” Zames says.

People care. If you’re willing to put yourself out there and make those speeches, make those [social media] posts and talk to anyone you can, people can see how passionate you are…and they’re going to want to help you. Talia Zames

Her initiative paid off. The school raised $2,300 for Project Eraser, which was one of the largest single-source donations of her entire campaign. It was so successful, she gave another speech at her local synagogue, and even helped her younger sister give a similar presentation at her elementary school. At the end of February, Zames coordinated with her favorite restaurant, Panera, to host a community fundraiser night. For every person who ordered food or drinks at Panera on that night and mentioned Project Eraser, the restaurant donated a portion of the sale to Zames’ cause. The event raised about $200, but more importantly to Zames, it allowed her friends and those who couldn’t afford to donate directly to her campaign to participate by simply ordering a meal. “I got to have dinner with friends and erase medical debt at the same time,” she says. Zames, who is heading to the Rochester Institute of Technology this fall, says her biggest takeaway from the project is the impact a single person, even a teenager, can make. “At first I was really terrified [about hitting such a big goal]; I had a lot of learning to do, a lot of trial-and-error,” she says. But the success she experienced with her first activist project has her already eyeing more opportunities. “I could definitely see myself getting more involved in the future,” Zames says. Don’t miss: Nearly 25% of Americans are going into debt trying to pay for necessities like food Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-01  Authors: megan leonhardt
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, 18yearold, campaign, meet, zames, project, rip, debt, times, helped, medical, school, wipe, eraser, 67, million


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Google’s next battleground as it gets into health care will be privacy, lawsuit shows

Since Feinberg’s hiring, several units have been folded into Google Health, including Deep Mind’s health division, which was previously based in London. The lawsuit shows a major challenge for Google and other large technology companies marching into health care. Personal health information can be transferred between organizations as part of a so-called business associate agreement, said Lucia Savage, a health privacy lawyer with the digital health company Omada Health. These agreements ensure t


Since Feinberg’s hiring, several units have been folded into Google Health, including Deep Mind’s health division, which was previously based in London. The lawsuit shows a major challenge for Google and other large technology companies marching into health care. Personal health information can be transferred between organizations as part of a so-called business associate agreement, said Lucia Savage, a health privacy lawyer with the digital health company Omada Health. These agreements ensure t
Google’s next battleground as it gets into health care will be privacy, lawsuit shows Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-06-28  Authors: christina farr
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, health, data, company, battleground, companies, chicago, information, privacy, shows, medical, patient, university, lawsuit, care, googles, gets, google


Google's next battleground as it gets into health care will be privacy, lawsuit shows

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, speaks to the media before the opening of the Berlin representation of Google Germany in Berlin on January 22, 2019.

In the wake of that, the company recently hired a health system executive, David Feinberg, to streamline its health efforts and create more unity among the various teams. Since Feinberg’s hiring, several units have been folded into Google Health, including Deep Mind’s health division, which was previously based in London. DeepMind has stressed that no patient data has been linked with Google products or services.

The lawsuit shows a major challenge for Google and other large technology companies marching into health care. These companies are facing looming regulation from Washington and increased scrutiny about whether the proper steps have been taken to safeguard data, especially in how the company allows third-party marketers to target users with ads. It also faced an outcry when a U.K. government privacy watchdog said a hospital had illegally sent 1.6 million records to Google DeepMind for a new health care app.

A new lawsuit against Google and the University of Chicago Medical Center alleges that researchers did not strip out date stamps or doctor’s notes buried within hundreds of thousands of patient medical records, and that this information could be used to identify a patient.

What the case says

Google and the University of Chicago have been partnering since 2017 in research aimed at what they said would “create predictive models that could help prevent unplanned hospital readmissions, avoid costly complications and save lives.”

The complaint was filed Wednesday on behalf of Matt Dinerstein, a patient with the University of Chicago Medical Center.

It argues that dates of service can be used to identify subjects, because “Google — as one of the most prolific data mining companies — is uniquely able to determine the identity of every medical record the University released.”

In other words, because Google already knows people’s location, their searches and their interests, theoretically that information could be used with dates of service to identify a specific individual.

It then accuses the university of consumer fraud and fraudulent business practices because it did not keep his private records confidential.

In a statement, Google said: “We believe our healthcare research could help save lives in the future, which is why we take privacy seriously and follow all relevant rules and regulations in our handling of health data. In particular, we take compliance with HIPAA seriously, including in the receipt and use of the limited data set provided by the University of Chicago. ”

The medical center said the lawsuit’s claims are without merit.

“That research partnership was appropriate and legal and the claims asserted in this case are baseless and a disservice to the Medical Center’s fundamental mission of improving the lives of its patients,” a spokesperson said. “The University and the Medical Center will vigorously defend this action in court.”

HIPAA, the federal privacy rule for health records and information, clearly outlines two methods for de-identifying data. One of them, the so-called “safe harbor” method, specifies that “all elements of dates,” should not be shared, in order for a company to claim that the patient health information data is, in fact, de-identified. That includes dates of service, which the University of Chicago shared with Google.

There’s another method, called “expert determination,” where a statistician or other expert claims that it’s unlikely that the data could be used to re-identify a person.

But there are times when health systems can transfer patient information.

Personal health information can be transferred between organizations as part of a so-called business associate agreement, said Lucia Savage, a health privacy lawyer with the digital health company Omada Health. These agreements ensure that personal health information is provided in a secure manner. And there are guidelines around the use of limited data sets in medical research.

That requires a company like Google to sign a data-use agreement with a health provider, and it specifies that really specific data like names and telephone numbers cannot be shared. In this case, Google would be required to safeguard the data, said David Harlow, a principal with The Harlow Group. And the lawsuit would need to prove that it did not.

But as tech companies march into health care, and see value in data, that could prompt debate about the proper uses of patient information. In some cases, that might mean more oversight of companies that sell it to third-parties or form collaborations with Big Pharma.

Ultimately, Google and other tech companies will need to determine whether they view their role in health as bolstering medical research to potentially save lives, or whether they will look to take advantage of the $3.5 trillion health-care sector in unforeseen ways.

Follow @CNBCtech on Twitter for the latest tech industry news.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-06-28  Authors: christina farr
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, health, data, company, battleground, companies, chicago, information, privacy, shows, medical, patient, university, lawsuit, care, googles, gets, google


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Uber teams with start-up Grand Rounds to give big-company employees free rides to the doctor

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber Technologies, speaks during an Economic Club of Washington event in Washington, DC, June 11, 2019. The ride-hailing company announced Wednesday it is working with Grand Rounds, a venture-backed health-tech start-up that works with employers to provide guidance on employees’ medical needs. For Uber, working with Grand Rounds is an opportunity to move into a new and potentially lucrative market: large companies that are self-insured. Providing free rides could prove


Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber Technologies, speaks during an Economic Club of Washington event in Washington, DC, June 11, 2019. The ride-hailing company announced Wednesday it is working with Grand Rounds, a venture-backed health-tech start-up that works with employers to provide guidance on employees’ medical needs. For Uber, working with Grand Rounds is an opportunity to move into a new and potentially lucrative market: large companies that are self-insured. Providing free rides could prove
Uber teams with start-up Grand Rounds to give big-company employees free rides to the doctor Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-06-18  Authors: christina farr
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, transportation, employees, uber, free, doctor, opportunity, washington, teams, bigcompany, health, medical, grand, market, working, rounds, startup, rides, employers


Uber teams with start-up Grand Rounds to give big-company employees free rides to the doctor

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber Technologies, speaks during an Economic Club of Washington event in Washington, DC, June 11, 2019.

Uber is moving more deeply into the health sector, and that means striking deals so employers and health plans will cover the cost of a trip to a doctor’s office.

The ride-hailing company announced Wednesday it is working with Grand Rounds, a venture-backed health-tech start-up that works with employers to provide guidance on employees’ medical needs. That includes things like finding the right doctor or getting a second opinion for a complex diagnosis.

Uber’s health-care efforts to date have primarily involved nonemergency medical transportation, which is a $3 billion market, and fit into the larger medical transport market, which some researchers say will be worth $42 billion by 2024.

Uber and rival Lyft see an opportunity here because some 3.6 million Americans miss their health-care appointments each year due to a lack of reliable transportation. Uber and Lyft have focused on selling to Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other insurers, to help those who can’t afford a ride or can no longer drive.

For Uber, working with Grand Rounds is an opportunity to move into a new and potentially lucrative market: large companies that are self-insured.

Increasingly, companies are willing to pay for their workers to seek medical care, especially if it means they can avoid costlier health expenses down the line. As part of this many, employers are starting to experiment with ways to steer their employees to higher-quality and lower-cost physicians. Providing free rides could prove to be incentive enough for a worker to make the shift.

Grand Rounds’ largest customers include Comcast (which owns CNBC’s parent company NBCUniversal), Walmart and News Corp, all of which are self-insured.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-06-18  Authors: christina farr
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, transportation, employees, uber, free, doctor, opportunity, washington, teams, bigcompany, health, medical, grand, market, working, rounds, startup, rides, employers


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