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Kaiser’s 2019 growth should help expand former CEO Bernard Tyson’s legacy of investing in communities

February 11, 2020, 1:04 AM UTC

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Happy Monday, readers. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Kaiser Permanente suffered an unexpected loss in 2019. Not in the financial sense—in fact, the nonprofit health system nearly tripled its net income between 2018 and 2019.

This was a much deeper, and profound, loss. Last October, longtime CEO Bernard Tyson suddenly passed away in his sleep at the age of 60.

The news hit the medical community hard. I met Tyson on a number of occasions, and the sorrow following his untimely death is unsurprising—he was one of the kindest and most thoughtful health care leaders I’ve ever spoken with.

No matter what you thought of his ideas, you were bound to be impressed and inspired by how much he cared about the communities Kaiser served (for a much more eloquent and thoughtful reflection on Tyson, please read my colleague and Fortune editor-in-chief Clifton Leaf’s remembrance of him).

It feels a bit weird to talk about financials given this still-recent history. But Kaiser, which has a network of both health plans and hospitals, pulled off the unlikely feat of tripling its net income between 2018 and 2019 (from $2.5 billion to $7.4 billion).

Revenues swelled from about $80 billion to $85 billion. That stems from a combination of robust investments and operational returns. Since Kaiser is a nonprofit, a swell in its profits means more money for such investments. And the organization’s new leadership has previously sworn to carry on Tyson’s legacy of investing in community health, mental health, and digital health programs.

Last year’s impressive numbers will, hopefully, help Kaiser live up to that legacy.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com
@the_sy_guy

DIGITAL HEALTH

Cerner and Boston Children's Hospital want to speed up immunizations. This one's a little in the weeds, but important from a practical health care standpoint—Healthcare IT News reports that Boston Children's Hospital and tech giant Cerner have entered a collaboration to speed up the process of getting vaccines to kids. The organizations were aiming to cut down on immunization wait times by taking the due dates for certain vaccines and putting them into an electronic forecasting system to fast-track the whole process. This just goes to show the myriad hassles of the U.S. health system you may never even think about. (Healthcare IT News)

INDICATIONS

Yet another hit to Alzheimer's drugs. Biogen investors were, at least temporarily, shaken on Monday as Eli Lilly reported a trial failure for its Alzheimer's disease drug, which follows roughly the same thesis as a treatment that Biogen has submitted for FDA approval. (For the long, complicated history on that latter point, read this.) But Lilly's latest clinical trial failure for solanezumab could, in the eyes of more bearish investors, be a bad signal for Biogen. On the flip side, some stakeholders are clearly betting that an FDA that's been approving treatments left and right may push just about anything past the finish line, especially in a field with a dearth of treatments.

THE BIG PICTURE

Wuhan aims to test all suspected coronavirus cases by Tuesday. The Chinese city of Wuhan is aiming to have all suspected cases of the new coronavirus outbreak tested by Tuesday, the country's government said on Monday. On the same day, authorities reported that the global death toll from the respiratory illness has surpassed 1,000, and while the outbreak is still overwhelmingly affecting China, international health agencies must be vigilant, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). (Reuters

REQUIRED READING

ARM unveils two new A.I. computer chip designsby Jeremy Kahn

Airbnb suspends all check-ins in Beijing amid the coronavirus outbreakby Bloomberg

Layoffs start rippling though the Boeing 737 Max supply chainby Dan Catchpole

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