From the earlier news blast: The Gingrich Group LLC, doing business as the Center for Health Transformation, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in a Georgia court. The for-profit organization, which makes up the majority of Newt Gingrich’s net worth in the form of money it owes him for his share of ownership, struggled to survive after Gingrich resigned as its chairman last year to run for the presidency. The organization listed its assets as less than $100,000, with liabilities stated as $1 million to $10 million. Several healthcare IT companies are listed among its creditors, including Cerner, Greenway, and Health Trio.
My initial reaction to CHT’s tanking:
- So much for pretending that Center for Health Transformation was anything more than a way for Newt to sell his political influence to high-paying vendors under the guise of healthcare advocacy. The business folded almost immediately once he quit to run (badly) for the presidency.
- How could CHT owe vendors money? Membership refunds? Or maybe the value of services not yet rendered?
- Thanks to immediately available electronic images of the bankruptcy filing, you can learn Newt’s home address and read a list of the CHT staff members getting stiffed, like the recently hired project assistant who left her Dress Barn sales job to work there.
- There weren’t many employees left by the time the bow slipped beneath the waves since most were apparently smart enough to have abandoned ship as soon as Captain Newt sailed off in his political life raft.
- The most surprising aspect: why doesn’t Newt pump a few dollars into CHT to keep his seat warm since he’ll be needing a job shortly? That one seemed to have compensated him very well. Maybe political jab-taking had tainted the CHT name and his involvement to the point it was more of a liability than an asset.
From 1Sign: “Re: Dell. After the Wyse acquisition, Dell is in discussion with Imprivata to complete their Mobile Clinical Computing solution. Imprivata is the last major SSO vendor not acquired and the Board is pressuring the leadership team.” Unverified.
From Rommel: “Re: shakeup coming at [vendor name deleted.] One executive gone in some manner, just the beginning. Q1 numbers are way off and the CEO is on the hot seat and may be clipped shortly.” Unverified, so I’m not comfortable naming the company. I would say the mood there probably is tense, though.
From Boston: “Re: Partners HealthCare. Enterprise-wide EMR decision has been postponed until later in the spring, probably June.” Unverified.
From K-Federal: “Re: [practice EMR vendor name deleted.] Heard from two reliable sources that it’s on the block to either Greenway or Allscripts.” Unverified, so again I’ll omit names. We snooped around a little and nobody’s talking, which may or may not mean anything. Supposedly a significant investor in the company may be selling some of its stake, but maybe there’s more to the story.
From Loquacious: “Re: Vitera. Lee Horner is no longer listed as SVP of sales and marketing on their site. Is he still there?” His LinkedIn profile says he’s still there, although I’ve found that people often forget to keep those current when they change jobs.
From WildcatWell: “Re: HITECH incentives. If an EHR vendor offers their system as ‘free’ and a subscriber then demonstrates MU and pockets $44K, that’s not a cost-offsetting incentive, it is stealing from taxpayers. Where is the taxpayer outrage? Is anyone policing this stuff?” HITECH doesn’t require a provider to spend one penny to collect their check. Meaningful Use money is not a rebate or subsidy – it’s just free money from generous taxpayers helping subsidize some high-earning professionals and organizations. Practices or hospitals that are running systems they bought years ago get a surprise windfall, although they might have to use those systems more intensely to qualify. Enjoy that thought as you send in your tax form and as you watch the national debt rise from $16 trillion to who knows where as politicians bribe us with our own taxpayer dollars not to touch our Medicare, welfare, and social security. In the likely event that elected officials won’t suddenly grown spines, you just may get to see Greece-style fiscal meltdown and near-anarchy first hand without the pesky jet lag.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
The latest and greatest from HIStalk Practice: CMS extends the deadline for EP Meaningful Use eligibility appeals. CareCloud’s Albert Santalo says the new JOBS bill may help his company go public sooner. E-prescribing payments jumped 83% and PQRS grew 65% between 2009 and 2010. Medical schools teach students how to stay connected with patients while using HIT. Dr. Gregg ponders whether the clinical narrative is really dying. Julie McGovern of Practice Wise offers some great tips for successful EMR implementations and their ongoing success. None of these goodies can be found on HIStalk, so make sure you are receiving and reading your HIStalk Practice. Thanks for stopping by.
On HIStalk Mobile, Dr. Travis covers incubator Healthbox’s investor day.
Listening: Mew, brilliant, dreamy alt rock (or is it progressive?) from Denmark that’s reminiscent of Muse or Sigur Ros. If you like complex, almost orchestral music like early Genesis or Yes minus the overwrought excesses, they’ll hook you right in. Amazing stuff that you can feel smugly superior having discovered when nobody else has heard of them. And sometimes people ask what series I like on Netflix, so here’s what I’m watching at the moment: Frasier, Peep Show, and The Killing. Since I have 60 minutes of free time at most per day and that’s only if I sleep less than six hours, those will take awhile to finish.
On the Jobs Board: Soarian Clinical and Financial Go-Live Support, Epic and Cerner Resources, NextGen Go-Live Support. On Healthcare IT Jobs: Manager IS Enterprise Systems, Epic Principal Trainers, Technical Project Manager.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
TriZetto will build its new $40 million headquarters building in the Denver area, giving it space to house up to 750 jobs over the next five years.
CSC, trying to minimize the billions worth of damage it took from the NPfIT fiasco in England, now says it will use the knowledge it gained there to launch iSoft in the United States. A freelance journalist writing for ComputerWeekly doesn’t mince words in expressing his thoughts:
But from whence had its chutzpah come? Not only had CSC still not satisfied its NHS contract, it hadn’t even finished writing the software. Initial roll-out was due in 2007. Complete delivery was due this year. Hains told Wall Street CSC was now at last ready to roll out phase one but for a contractual settlement with the UK’s coalition government. But this was okay. Because CSC had a plan. This was not a plan for the reparation of 10 years of time and money the NHS has wasted on CSC. Nor was it a plan to recompense for the opportunity cost the NHS incurred while CSC dawdled over its clinicians’ request for better patient information. It was a plan to get its own finances in order, negotiate a firm settlement with the NHS and dazzle Wall Street with a come-back launch into what is tipped to be one of the few global growth markets: healthcare IT. Wall Street analysts privileged with the opportunity to ask Hains about this glorious transformation neglected to get his estimation of the value the British public subsidy had added to his corporation’s healthcare business in the last 10 years. British tax payers are due a share of this tremulous global growth machine, no?
Jefferson Radiology (CT) will implement TeraMedica’s Evercore Smartstore DICOM module at 11 regional imaging facilities.
Lutheran Medical Center (NY) will deploy PatientKeeper charge capture software.
Jean Schat, former of Curaspan Health Group, joins PerfectServe as a VP of sales.
South Dakota-based FQHC Horizon Health Care promotes Gin Wingen to director of clinical informatics.
Announcements and Implementations
The statewide ConnectVirginia HIE goes live with DIRECT messaging, free to registered providers through April 1, 2013.
Hurley Medical Center (MI) goes live on its $40 million Epic system.
Allscripts releases Wand, a native iPad app that extends functionality of its Professional and Enterprise EHR solutions.
OTTR Chronic Care Solutions launches OTTRbmt, a patient management system for bone marrow transplant centers that manage patients long term.
In Iowa, University of Iowa Health Care and Mercy Medical Center of Cedar Rapids announce plans to collaborate, including creating an Medicare ACO. UI Health Care, which has been live on Epic for more than three years, will help Mercy with its Epic implementation when it gets underway this summer. The organizations say they will use Epic to share information once Mercy is live.
Government and Politics
Members of the HIT Policy Committee express concern about several aspects of the proposed Stage 2 MU regulations. Specific issues:
- Requiring 10% of patients to receive secure electronic messages is too high.
- Public health agencies are not ready to receive electronic data.
- Communities with one dominant EHR vendor may make it difficult for providers to electronically exchange 10% of transition care summaries to other organizations on a different platform.
- Too many of the measures require EPs to collect data.
AHRQ is conducting a study about its offerings and is interested in talking to high-level professionals who either (a) develop health IT tools for patients, or (b) work for organizations that select those tools (hospitals, practices, health plans, government purchasers, etc.) They’re doing 90-minute interviews from mid-April through mid-May. Participants will be compensated for their time. If you’re interested, contact Jonathan Wald MD, MPH, director of patient-centered technologies the Center for the Advancement of Health IT for non-profit RTI International, which is working with AHRQ.
A new KLAS report says that Cerner, Meditech, and Siemens are the only HIT vendors that provide their solutions to all world regions. Most purchasing activity is centered in Asia, the Middle East, and the UK. Few sites outside of North America are doing deep clinical adoption, largely due to economic and governmental challenges.
Weird News Andy wants to know if this is where we’re going. In the UK, a surgical practice drops an 83-year-old patient they had been treating for 30 years because of “green travelling issues” that make it “advisable to register at surgeries nearer to where they live.” The distance from her house to the office that raised the carbon footprint concerns: two miles. The woman thinks she was sent packing because she complained about a doctor.
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital (IL) settles for $8.25 million in a lawsuit brought against it after the death of a 40-day-old premature baby in 2010, caused by a pharmacy technician who incorrectly entered a post-op order into the IV compounder that overdosed the baby on 60 times the intended amount of sodium chloride. The hospital admitted that the compounder had the capability to issue automated warnings about potential entry errors, but they were turned off.
I’ve seen this several times recently at work. Someone who is offsite “attends” a meeting remotely by getting someone to conference them in on speakerphone. Everybody in the room forgets that person is on, and when the meeting is over, everybody walks out (more like “sprints” if the meeting was soul-sucking, as is often the case.) The person on the line, who has muted their phone in order to sleep or mow the lawn or whatever, finally pipes up, only to realize that a new group has taken over the conference room.
Adam Gale posts on KLAS’s blog about a Cerner turnaround that has moved them up the KLAS rankings from seventh to second in the past four years. He credits a new leader or two at Cerner, but I’ll offer my more cynical analysis: they didn’t have a choice unless they wanted to hand the keys to Neal’s soccer team over to Judy Faulkner, because Epic was tearing them a new one.
- CTG Health Solutions announces an extension of its stock repurchase plan.
- Practice Fusion announces plans to add drug formulary and clinical messaging functionality to its EHR.
- Elsevier releases its 2012 spring eLearning schedule, which includes a revised ICD-10 Readiness Assessment tool.
- Premier Healthcare Alliance adds MedPlus to its ambulatory EMR software agreement portfolio.
- Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services (HI), a FQHC, selects the e-MDs EHR suite for its 13 providers.
- Memorial Health System (CO) realizes a $2 million savings within three months of joining the MedAssets GPO.
- Mike Mistretta, CIO of MedCentral Health System (OH) details how his hospital’s use of SIS in the OR has provided data to control costs and improve efficiencies.
- Bill systems vendor AdvancedMD integrates its product with RaomSoft’s RIS/PACS.
- Aspen Advisors releases a case study on its work helping Akron General Health System (OH) develop an ICD-10 project management office.
EPtalk by Dr. Jayne
It’s all about the data. Studies indicating a decline in hospitalizations and deaths from pneumonia over time may not be due to better care, but rather a change in coding practices. Investigators propose that the coded diagnosis of pneumonia often took a back seat to sepsis or respiratory failure. As one who stalks the hospital floors, I know this to be true. We’ve been increasingly pushed to put more significant diagnoses first in our problem lists and discussions to indicate more complexity and support higher reimbursement. I wonder how the data would skew under the constraints of ICD-10?
It’s all about the audience. A recent study in the International Journal of Medical Informatics finds that EHR medication alerts are geared around how pharmacists think rather than prescribers – typically physicians and nurse practitioners. Alert fatigue is a constant danger and the authors recommend that alerts should leverage patient labs, balance the strengths of automation with human cognition, and support both pharmacist and non-pharmacist prescribers. My favorite of their recommendations: reduce alerts that contradict broadly accepted clinical practices. I hope this initiative succeeds, although I might be at risk for missing the lovely alerts that warn me that the diabetes medication I’m prescribing “might lower blood sugar.”
It’s all about perception. The New York Times publishes a piece about dressing for success. When subjects were told white coats they donned belonged to doctors, their attentiveness increased. When they were told the coats belonged to painters, no improvement was noted. The new phenomenon is being called enclothed cognition (the effects of clothing on cognitive processes.)
Speaking of dressing for success, one colleague shared news that her employer (a prominent health system) recently changed the dress code for physicians in response to patient satisfaction surveys. Previously recommending that neckties be avoided due to infection concerns, they have reversed course to now require them for male physicians because of a patient marketing survey that indicated that physicians with ties were viewed more favorably. Female physicians are not allowed to wear dresses without stockings or hosiery – no bare legs. I wonder what’s next – will they put nurses back in caps?
Being a patient and also a family member of patients myself, I take particular offense at one of their new rules – requiring surgeons to change into street clothes before they speak to a family after surgery. Nobody wants to be confronted with bloody scrubs (a true rarity) but I for one don’t want them wasting time changing clothes to come out and talk to me in the operating room waiting area. Just put on a cover gown or a white coat and come tell me what happened and how my loved one is doing.
Speaking of scrubs, Nurse TECH Talk launches its Most Bodacious Scrubs Contest. Entrants must join HITR and submit a picture of a bodacious scrub top to be in the running for the $100 gift card prize. I’ve got a crazy one that I’ll post just for fun if I can find it – on a transplant mission a few years ago it somehow made it into my bag because it was simply too strange to be believed. Think Nurse Chapel on the original Star Trek.
I’m happy to be surrounded by smart people and Weird News Andy is one of them, educating me on Wickard v. Filburn as the depression-era case responsible for Justice Breyer’s comments on growing wheat and its relationship to interstate commerce regulations. He also cites that decision as “a stretch worthy of Mrs. Incredible,” which made my day. Jonathan H. also commented that the home marijuana growing comment related to another precedent. Some happy Googling reveals that case to be Gonzales v. Raich.