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Morning Headlines 10/3/17

October 2, 2017 Headlines No Comments

US Emergency Department Visits For Firearm-Related Injuries, 2006–14

Health Affairs publishes findings from an aptly-timed study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine that aimed to quantify the clinical and financial burden of firearm-related injuries. Researchers concluded that in the US, firearm-related injuries claim 36,000 lives and account for a financial burden of approximately $2.8 billion, annually.

Iasis Healthcare’s sale closes, CEO Whitmer departs

Steward Health Care (MA) completes its $2 billion acquisition of 16-hospital Iasis Healthcare, expanding Steward’s network to include 36 hospitals spread across 10 states.

Three US scientists win Nobel Prize for uncovering inner workings of the biological clock

The 2017 Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash, of Brandeis University, and Michael Young, of Rockefeller University, for their discoveries of the underpinnings of the circadian rhythms that help organisms adapt to our 24-hour days.

Authority of Health Care Providers To Practice Telehealth

The VA proposes a rule that would allow employed VA providers to offer telehealth services to veterans across state lines.

Morning Headlines 10/2/17

October 1, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Trump’s breaking point with Price

HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD resigns amid public outrage over his use of taxpayer funded private jets for personal travel.  Don Wright, MD and assistant secretary for HHS, will serve as acting secretary until a permanent replacement is named.

VA close to awarding Cerner contract for new EHR

VA Secretary David Shulkin notifies Congress of his intent to award a no-bid contract to Cerner within 30 days as part of the VA’s modernization roadmap.

US jury cuts damages in TCS-Epic trade secrets lawsuit

A Wisconsin court cuts the damages awarded to Epic in its trade secrets suit against India-based Tata Consultancy Services rom $940 million to $420 million, citing a Wisconsin law limiting punitive damages to twice the compensatory damages.

Temple University Health System: Financial Summary

Temple University Health System (PA) reports a $22 million year-over-year decline in net income, despite recording a $68 million increase in net patient services revenue over the same period. Temple attributes the decline in net income to its Epic implementation at Temple University Hospital.

Morning Headlines 9/29/17

September 28, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Epic advances its health-centric app store

Years in the making, Epic launches its App Orchard app store, where customers can shop for third-party apps that integrate with Epic’s EHR.

#BeThere: What More Can Be Done To Prevent Veteran Suicide

A VA OIG report on preventing veteran suicides finds that the DoD is still not sharing attempted suicide information on service members transitioning out of the armed services with the VA from its DOD Suicide Event Report system, despite a 2014 federal mandate that it do so.

Certified Health IT Developers and Editions Reported by Hospitals Participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program

CMS releases the latest MU attestation numbers by vendor, showing that Epic has edged ahead of Cerner, with Meditech trailing closely behind the two.

U.S. brings new charges over Tenet Healthcare fraud scheme

Two former Tenet executives are facing conspiracy and wire fraud charges in Georgia. The indictment says that from 2000 to 2013, the executives engaged in a scheme to pay over $12 million in bribes to clinics in Georgia and South Carolina so that providers there would refer pregnant patients to Tenet hospitals to deliver their babies. Tenet billed $400 million to the Georgia and South Carolina Medicaid programs as a result of these referrals.

Morning Headlines 9/28/17

September 27, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Senate Republicans Say They Will Not Vote on Health Bill

Senate Republicans will not bring the Graham-Cassidy bill to vote, ending what might be the GOP’s final opportunity to repeal ACA.

VA running out of money for Choice program

Despite receiving $2.1 billion in emergency funding, the Trump administration says the Veterans Choice healthcare program may run out of money as early as December.

Former IBM Watson Health employee on AI: The truth needs to come out

A former IBM Watson employee remembers his time working on Watson, saying, “There’s a lot of money in marketing and there are a lot of ads on TV but I don’t actually see the products. Anytime anyone would want to see a product roadmap or wanted to see what the future is or when it was coming out, we never really got that timeline.”

Increasing Telehealth Access in Medicare Act

A CBO estimate on costs associated with expanding Medicare telehealth coverage concludes that “enactment of this provision would reduce direct spending by $80 million over the 2018-2027 period.”

Morning Headlines 9/27/17

September 26, 2017 Headlines No Comments

FDA selects participants for new digital health software precertification pilot program

The FDA announces the vendors it has selected to participate in its new digital health software precertification pilot program: Apple, Fitbit, Johnson & Johnson, Pear Therapeutics, Phosphorus, Roche, Samsung, Tidepool, and Verily.

Traffic congestion likely as Epic Systems Corp. customer conference brings thousands to area

A local paper covers the kickoff of Epic’s annual users conference.

Gem looks to CDC and European giant Tieto to take blockchain into healthcare

Blockchain software developer Gem has been selected to work with the CDC to standup a 27-person blockchain application development team.

Morning Headlines 9/26/17

September 25, 2017 Headlines No Comments

3 GOP Senators Oppose Graham-Cassidy, Effectively Blocking Health Care Bill

The Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal bill appears to be dead as three GOP Senators come out as firm ‘no’ votes. Senators Susan Collins (R- ME), John McCain (R-AZ), and  Rand Paul (R-KY) have all come out against the bill.

Guest Commentary: Value-based care’s success hinges on attention to social determinants

Former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and former National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD co-author an article in Modern Healthcare urging leaders and legislators working to overhaul the US healthcare delivery system not to overlook the social determinants that are associated with poor population health.

Microsoft launches new healthcare division based on artificial intelligence software

In England, Microsoft is following in Google’s footsteps as it launches an AI business unit focused on developing tools to alert providers of undetected patient problems.

Pfizer spends billions to develop new drugs. It’s not satisfied. So it’s launching a startup

Pfizer launches a six-person startup tasked with pursuing drug research that Pfizer is too busy to complete. The startup, called SpringWorks Therapeutics, has raised $103 million in early investments and will focus on pushing four Pfizer invented therapies through the remainder of their development cycles and into the market.

 

Morning Headlines 9/25/17

September 24, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

Tom Price to halt taxpayer-funded travel on private jets

HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD confirms that he will no longer charter taxpayer-funded private jets to travel for business, explaining “We’ve heard the criticism. We’ve heard the concerns. We take that very seriously and have taken it to heart.” A recent Politico investigation found that Price has spent $400,000 chartering private jets since May.

Plan to shut Obamacare site during open enrollment draws critics

The Trump administration will shut down Healthcare.gov for 12 hours every Sunday and overnight on the first day of open enrollment during the upcoming enrollment period, claiming the outages are for routine maintenance. The decision has drawn criticism from consumer advocates that say the administration is intentionally undermining the exchanges.

Kaiser Permanente CEO: Health Care Must Mean More Than Coverage

Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson, MD writes a TIME article discussing the path the US took to arrive at employer-based health insurance coverage as the standard, the role CMS and ACA play in expanding coverage beyond the working class, and the way that technology will be used to deliver care in the future. In his summary, he explains “Delivering better health for all means transforming an industry so when someone needs health care, it is delivered in a 21st century way that combines technology with the personal touch.”

 

Morning Headlines 9/22/17

September 21, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Certification Program Updates to Support Efficiency & Reduce Burden

ONC eases EHR Certification requirements for vendors in an effort to reduce regulatory burden on health IT developers. First, ONC has revised certification test procedures so that vendors can “self declare” that their products meet 30 of 55 certification criteria. Second, ONC plans to exercise “enforcement discretion” when it comes to conducting randomized surveillance of health IT products.

Letter to HHS Secretary Thomas Price, MD

Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) send a letter to HHS Secretary Thomas Price asking for an update on HHS plan to address cyberthreats to the healthcare sector after learning that the “NotPetya” malware attack is causing lingering delays in availability of certain Merck products.

VA CIO Rob Thomas retiring from government

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ acting CIO, Rob Thomas, will retire from government service in October. VA Interim Deputy Secretary Scott Blackburn will replace him.

VA Removes Former D.C. Medical Center Director

The VA has fired the medical director of the D.C. Medical Center for sending sensitive VA information from his work email to unsecured private email accounts.

Morning Headlines 9/21/17

September 20, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Medicare and Medicaid Need Innovation

CMS Administrator Seema Verma says in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the agency will pivot its Innovation Center to offer providers new ways of delivering care, noting that value-based programs have resulted in market consolidation and reduced competition.

Cleveland Clinic CIO talks innovation, patient engagement and BYOD

In an interview with MedCity News, Cleveland Clinic CIO Ed Marx discusses his views on BYOD, and the various apps used by patients and clinicians at the Clinic.

To Foster Information Exchange, Revise HIPAA And HITECH

Niam Yaraghi, a fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation, argues in a Health Affairs article that HITECH and HIPAA are as much at fault for the nation’s EHR interoperability problems as the vendors and providers that are being blamed.

Senate girds for final Obamacare repeal vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) will introduce the Graham-Cassidy bill for a vote by next week. The vote will likely be the GOP’s final opportunity to repeal ACA.

Morning Headlines 9/20/17

September 20, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Kaiser IT union members march for higher pay at company headquarters in Oakland

Kaiser Health union members are picketing in front of the company’s downtown Oakland headquarters, demanding better pay for a group of IT desktop support staff. The employees are making an average of $72,000 per year, which Kaiser executives say is typical for the local market, but union members disagree and are seeking considerably higher rates.

Some tax-exempt hospitals are lax at providing charity care and accountability

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) publishes an opinion piece in STAT highlighting recent reports of not-for-profit hospitals refusing charity care under all but the most extreme cases.

Health care giant HCA may be in the mix for Tenet, analysts say

The Dallas News cites unnamed analysts in an article claiming that HCA is a frontrunner to acquire some of Tenet Healthcare’s hospitals.

Health Benefits In 2017: Stable Coverage, Workers Faced Considerable Variation In Costs

A Kaiser Family Foundation study finds that employer-sponsored insurance plans rose four percent for single coverage, to $6,690, and three percent for family coverage, to $18,764.

Morning Headlines 9/19/17

September 18, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Solon man charged with defrauding the Cleveland Clinic out of $2.7 million

Gary Fingerhut, former executive director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, is charged with conspiracy to defraud the Cleveland Clinic out of $2.7 million. Fingerhut and an unnamed accomplice opened a shell company that Cleveland Clinic Innovations hired to develop medical charting software. The shell company was paid $2.7 million in total, but delivered no goods or services in return. Investigators found that $469,000 was funneled directly back to Fingerhut.

Transition to electronic records

The local paper on Joint Base Lewis-McChord (WA) covers the upcoming Cerner go-live at Madigan Army Medical Center, the first large, multi-branch hospital to go live under MHS Genesis.

Health Information Technology is Helping Treat and Manage HIV for Patients and Providers

On National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, ONC CMO Thomas Mason, MD discusses various health IT projects that are improving care delivery for HIV patients.

The race is on as Senate factions vie to either fix or replace the ACA

Modern Healthcare covers several last minute efforts to repeal and replace ACA prior to September 30, when reconciliation rules, which allow passage of the bill with a simple majority vote, will expire.

Morning Headlines 9/18/17

September 17, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Second review launched into IHealth

In Canada, British Colombia’s Health Minister Adrian Dix, launches an independent review of Island Health’s $178 million Cerner Millennium implementation. Island Health has faced fierce resistance from its providers over complaints that Cerner is difficult to use and a risk to patient safety.

I’m the perfect person to price shop for an operation. But the process went terribly

A Massachusetts physician and price transparency researcher recounts the difficulties she had when trying to compare prices for a procedure her daughter was having.

Indiana, Reeling From Opioid Crisis, Arms Officials With Data

Indiana partners with SAP to create a database and dashboards displaying the state’s information on “drug arrests, drug seizures, death records, pharmacy robberies, overdose-related ambulance calls, and the use of naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug.”

Ask Mayo Clinic online offers symptom assessment through Epic’s MyChart

Epic will integrate Mayo Clinic’s online symptom checker into its MyChart app.

Morning Headlines 9/15/17

September 14, 2017 Headlines 3 Comments

Navicure and ZirMed Announce Plans to Merge

In a deal rumored to be worth $750 million, Navicure and ZirMed agree to merge their RCM capabilities, operating under both brand names in the near term.

Investors Put 23andMe Valuation at $1.75 Billion 

Consumer genetic testing and research company 23andMe raises $250 million in a round led by new investor Sequoia Capital, bringing its total funding to near $500 million.

Epic Announces “Worldwide Interoperability”

Epic will give MyChart users the ability to share data with any provider with Internet access, even those without EHRs.

Black Book Announces Top RCM Software & Technology Companies

Black Book releases findings from its latest hospital executive survey on RCM software, technology, and outsourcing.

Morning Headlines 9/14/17

September 13, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Tenet Healthcare Is Exploring Options Including a Possible Sale of the Company

Tenet Healthcare shares climbed 13 percent following a Wall Street Journal report suggesting it is considering a sale of the company. Tenet shares are down 72 percent in the last three years and face ongoing activist investor pressures.

Connecting Public Health Information Systems and Health Information Exchange Organizations

ONC publishes a report on how public health agencies could better use existing health information exchanges to collect information from providers.

Martin Shkreli’s bail revoked, he heads to jail after Facebook post on Clinton

Former pharmacy CEO Martin Shkreli is heading to jail after having his bail revoked over inflammatory online posts about Hillary Clinton. Shkreli was awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of securities fraud.

Impact of Scribes on Physician Satisfaction, Patient Satisfaction, and Charting Efficiency: A Randomized Controlled Trial

A study published in the Annals of Family Medicine finds that  the use of scribes improved all aspects of physician satisfaction, including overall satisfaction, having enough face time with patients, time spent charting, chart quality and accuracy. Scribes had no effect on patient satisfaction and increased the proportion of charts that were closed within 48 hours.

Morning Headlines 9/13/17

September 12, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Alleged Equifax hackers demand $2.6 million Bitcoin ransom

Equifax, which suffered a cyberattack that exposed 143 million social security numbers, is reportedly being asked to pay a $2.6 million ransom to prevent the stolen data from being deleted.

Tom Frieden’s New Venture Combines 2 Disparate Health Threats

Former CDC Director Tom Frieden announces that he has accepted a new job leading Resolve, a global health initiative backed with a $225 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The organization will work to prevent heart disease and stroke, and to increase worldwide preparedness for fighting epidemics.

Scripps and proton center part ways

Scripps Health announces that it will part ways from the now bankrupt California Proton Therapy Center. The treatment center began offering proton-based cancer treatment options in February 2014 in partnership with Scripps, but filed for bankruptcy in March 2017, noting in its filing that Scripps management was to blame for its lack of earnings.

Tim Cook on How Apple Champions the Environment, Education, and Health Care

In an interview with Fortune ahead of the iPhone 8 release, Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the company’s future in healthcare, explaining “the focus has been on making products that can get reimbursed through the insurance companies, through Medicare, or through Medicaid. And so in some ways we bring a totally fresh view into this and say, ‘Forget all of that. What will help people?’”

Morning Headlines 9/12/17

September 11, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Online physician ratings fail to predict actual performance on measures of quality, value, and peer review

An analysis of online consumer ratings of physician finds no association between a physician’s average consumer score and their specialty-specific quality scores.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt maps out the NHS’s digital future

In England, Health secretary Jeremy Hunt outlines his vision for how digital health will improve care delivery within the NHS.

Fitbit and Dexcom to Develop Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Experience for People Living with Diabetes

Fitbit announces a partnership with continuous glucose monitor vendor DexCom that will bring real-time glucose reading results to Fitbit’s next generation activity tracker.

Data hack at Children’s Hospital may have affected more than 3,000 families

Children’s Hospital Colorado reports that a hacker has gained access to an employee email, resulting in the unauthorized exposure of 3,400 patient’s personal health information.

Morning Headlines 9/11/17

September 10, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Electronic Health Record Adoption and Interoperability among US Skilled Nursing Facilities in 2016

An ONC report on interoperability at Skilled Nursing Facilities finds that 64 percent use EHRs, and 62 percent have interoperable networks in place that ensures electronic information is available from outside sources.

Departing Novartis CEO Sets His Eyes On Silicon Valley

In a Forbes interview, departing Novartis Chief Executive Officer Joe Jimenez expands on his desire to return to Silicon Valley, saying “How are we going to pay for the innovation that’s coming? The only way is to get rid of the inefficiency in the system. That’s where I see digital technology starting to have a significant impact.”

MDLIVE Offers Free Virtual Care Services to Individuals Impacted by Hurricane Irma

MDLive will offer free telehealth visits to evacuees displaced by Hurricane Irma, as it did with Hurricane Harvey.

Red Cross launches first U.S. drone program for disasters

The American Red Cross will use a drone to assess damage and deliver aid in Houston following Hurricane Harvey.

Botox Maker Allergan’s CEO Defends Selling Drug Patents to Native American Tribe to Thwart Rivals

Allegran sells a key drug patent to the New York-based Mohawk tribe, leveraging its unique legal status to keep generic alternatives out of the marketplace.

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