CEOs from leading healthcare companies are earning increased figures, report finds
A recent report by Axios has highlighted that since the Affordable Care Act has come into force, healthcare CEOs have been significantly profiting, with companies cumulatively earning $9.8 billion.
The figure is astonishing, and will no doubt outrage US citizens, where their ability to access vital healthcare services is becoming an increased concern, especially with President Trump’s current efforts to replace the ACA within the US.
Since 2010, 70 CEOs “earnings have far outstripped the wage growth of nearly all Americans,” highlighting that these CEOs could be out of touch with the very patients that they are treating, and have no plans to rein in healthcare spending, which is steadily on the rise.
Based on financial reports from 70 publicly traded US healthcare companies, John Martin, former CEO of the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, has accumulated $863 million, the highest figure of all CEOs. Following suit is John Hammergren (McKesson), accumulating $587 million, Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, who has amassed $338 million, and Stephen Hemsley of UnitedHealth Group with $279 million.
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However, the report highlights that “a large portion of what CEOs make, comes in the form of vested stock. These incentives drive their decision-making. The analysis shows that since the ACA was passed, health care executives routinely took measures to inflate stock prices — such as repurchasing shares or issuing dividends to shareholders — that led to higher take-home pay.”
A clever move, but this also has motivated CEOs to not focus on areas such as lowering prices, providing quality, patient centered, personalised services which are coordinated and systematic, to instead focus on the upsell of prescription drugs (which could be linked to the ongoing opioid epidemic in the US), raise prices and find ways in which to increase further revenue. Consequently, 11 pharmaceutical and drug-related company CEOs made the list.
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.