As March closes out the first quarter of 2022, our team pulled together another thoughtful collection of top news stories for the busy healthcare marketing and PR professional.

New updates pertaining to the pandemic materialized, including a treatment program and new age-specific booster guidance, while no additional federal funding was included in the $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package. Drug costs continue to rise, and tech giants Google and Microsoft completed major acquisitions in March. In regulatory news, new low-income ACA options are launching. We’ve also included highlights from recent healthcare conferences.



Biden signs $1.5T omnibus bill into law

President Biden signed a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package into law to fund the federal government through Sept. 30, but no additional funds have been allocated for the government’s COVID-19 response.

Biden announces COVID-19 antiviral treatment program

As part of a new “test-to-treat” program, Americans who test positive for COVID-19 at pharmacies across the US will immediately receive free antiviral pills.

FDA authorizes 2nd booster shot

A second booster shot, to be administered at least four months after the initial booster, has been authorized for Americans ages 50 and older and some immunocompromised individuals. 



US drug spending up 77% from 2010 to 2020

US spending on prescription and over-the-counter drugs soared 77% from $322 billion to $570 billion between 2010 and 2020, while out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions fell from $48 billion to $47 billion during the same period.



Microsoft closes $19B acquisition of Nuance

The AI speech recognition company that provides transcription technology for physician visits, voicemails and more was acquired by Microsoft in a $19.7 billion deal.

Google to acquire Mandiant for $5.4B

The company has plans to build an “end-to-end security operations suite” that integrates Mandiant Advantage SaaS platform, which is designed to help healthcare and other customers with various security functions, with the Google Cloud security portfolio.



HHS to change payment dispute process after court ruling

HHS said it will change its guidance for settling payment disputes for out-of-network medical bills under the No Surprises Act to conform with a recent federal court ruling.

CMS launches special low-income ACA enrollment option

Americans with incomes below 150% of the federal poverty level will be eligible to enroll in health insurance coverage at through year-end, and many states that run their own marketplaces are also opening enrollment to low-income residents.

CMMI: Health equity plan will be part of VBC models

Future value-based care models are likely to require participants to develop a health equity plan that outlines how they intend to identify underserved patient populations and reduce healthcare disparities according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.




The week-long event featured insights on healthcare innovation, improving the clinician experience and patient journey, and the future of medicine.


The 2022 ViVE program showcased high-powered keynote speakers, educational programming, and focus groups on hot topics like access to care, healthcare data insights, health policy and more.

SXSW Conference Health & MedTech

The growing healthcare segment of the SXSW event centered on discussions around equity, patient rights, shareability of data, CRISPR, telemedicine, mental health, CBD and psychedelics, 3D printed body parts, brain implants, and other new tech-driven innovations.