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Morning Headlines 8/4/17

August 4, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Allscripts to acquire McKesson’s Enterprise Information Solutions business

Allscripts will acquire McKesson’s Enterprise Information Solutions health IT business for $185 million cash, planning to offer Paragon to small hospitals while continuing to market Allscripts Sunrise to larger health systems.

Remarks by President Trump at Department of Veterans Affairs Telehealth Event

The VA will expand its telemedicine program, already the country’s largest, with VA Video Connect.

Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program Requirements for Eligible Hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals, and Eligible Professionals;

CMS will allow hospitals to submit only one quarter of data for 2018 incentive payments and will allow using 2014, 2015, or a combination of CEHRT to satisfy requirements for CY 2018.

Morning Headlines 8/3/17

August 2, 2017 Headlines 14 Comments

Cancer moonshot head recounts exchange with Epic’s Faulkner

Politico reports that Epic CEO Judy Faulkner told Vice-President Joe Biden at a private January 2017 Cancer Moonshot meeting, “Why do you want your medical records? They’re a thousand pages, of which you understand 10,” to which Biden responded, “None of your business. If I need to, I’ll find someone to explain them to me and, by the way, I will understand a lot more than you think I do.”

Merck Announces Second-Quarter 2017 Financial Results

The pharmaceutical giant says its June 27 malware attack continues to disrupt its manufacturing operations, possibly leading to shipment delays for some drug products, and says the company is not yet able to quantify the financial impact of the NotPetya-caused event. 

What Could Happen If The Administration Stops Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments To Insurers?

Tim Jost’s Health Affairs blog lays out the scenarios that could result if President Trump follows through on his threat to order the federal government to stop making cost-sharing reduction payments as a challenged law requires, dismissing the President’s contention that the payments represent a bailout to insurers.

Google Is Matching Your Offline Buying With Its Online Ads, but It Isn’t Sharing How

The Electronic Privacy Information Center complains to the Federal Trade Commission that Google is using secret methods to match a user’s in-store credit card purchases with their Google ad clicks, allowing it to sell ads based on how they perform in motivating offline sales.

Scientists successfully used CRISPR to fix a mutation that causes disease. This is huge.

OHSU researchers describe in a journal article how they corrected an inherited genetic disorder that causes heart problems using CRISPR, although they stopped short of implanting the embryos in a woman’s uterus. Some experts suggest moving forward with clinical trials, while others urge measuring societal perception to avoid charges of creating “designer babies.”

Morning Headlines 8/2/17

August 1, 2017 Headlines No Comments

athenahealth Announces Strategic Initiatives to Drive Increased Levels of Profitable Growth and Enhance Shareholder Value

Athenahealth, under pressure from an activist investor, will target $100 million in cost saving and remove Jonathan Bush’s president and board chair titles in recruiting replacements, leaving him as CEO.

Outside Of Washington, There Is A New Vital Center In Health Care Reform

A Health Affairs blog post describes the changing opinions of the Affordable Care Act of a regularly polled panel, finding that they are frustrated with Democrats for not delivering on their promise of affordability but are also alarmed with the repeal efforts of Republicans.

Fees for Certification and Finances of Medical Specialty Boards

A JAMA research letter questions the high certification and renewal fees physicians pay to members of the American Board of Medical Specialties that have seen their income and assets swell from that income.

Quality Systems’ (QSII) CEO Rusty Frantz on Q1 2018 Results

NextGen’s parent company reports results that beat Wall Street expectations, its receipt of a Civil Investigative Demands letter from the Department of Justice, and its planned acquisition of analytics vendor EagleDream Health.

Morning Headlines 8/1/17

July 31, 2017 Headlines No Comments

White House panel urges Trump to declare state of emergency over opioid crisis

A White House commission addressing the opioid epidemic recommends that President Trump declare a federal state of emergency.

Republicans ignore Trump’s Obamacare taunts

Senate Republicans say they won’t try to repeal the Affordable Care Act despite the President’s tweets declaring that they should address no other pressing issues until they pass a healthcare bill.

Baltimore-based Evergreen Health to be liquidated

Baltimore-based HMO Evergreen Health, launched by a former city health commissioner, will be liquidated after investors withdraw their bids to acquire the company.

Spare America a do-over on health care. Seize the bipartisan moment.

Former CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt says in a USA Today opinion piece that Americans should hold President Trump accountable for his threats to cut off Affordable Care Act insurance subsidy payments to low-income citizens and instead demand bipartisan healthcare support. 

Morning Headlines 7/31/17

July 30, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan Donate $10M to Advance Health Using Big Data

The donation will fund the launch of UCSF’s Institute for Computational Health Sciences, which will perform analytics-powered drug discovery using a combined EHR dataset from all five UC system medical centers.

Cerner (CERN) Q2 2017 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

Cerner says it will name a new CEO soon and acknowledges that it will serve as prime contractor in the VA project for which the contract is being negotiated.

Doctors use this software during patient visits. Now Big Pharma is tapping it to sell their drugs

Doctors in Canada question whether EHR vendor Telus Health should sell drug companies the chance to have their patient discount coupons pop up in their workflow.

Morning Headlines 7/28/17

July 27, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

FDA Announces New Steps to Empower Consumers and Advance Digital Healthcare

The FDA announces a new digital health certification process for software developers that will focus on certifying the vendor, rather than the software product itself.

Senate Health Care Vote: Disarray Over Narrow Repeal Measure

Four GOP Senators refuse to vote for a “skinny” ACA repeal bill without ironclad assurances that it will be followed with a comprehensive replacement bill. Lindsay Graham (R- SC) explains, “The skinny bill as policy is a disaster. The skinny bill as a replacement for Obamacare is a fraud.” Final votes on the bill are scheduled for Friday.

ECMC spent nearly $10 million recovering from massive cyberattack

Erie County Medical Center refused to pay a $30,000 ransom demanded by hackers earlier this year, but ultimately spent $10 million restoring its network following the attack.

Eye on Oversight – Electronic Health Records

HHS OIG publishes a video addressing the eClinicalWorks fraud settlement.

Amazon has a secret health tech team called 1492 working on medical records, virtual doc visits

Amazon has a sunkworks lab called 1492 that is reportedly focusing on health IT projects.

Morning Headlines 7/27/17

July 26, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Veterans Affairs secretary: VA health care will not be privatized on our watch

VA Secretary David Shulkin publishes an op-ed explaining that, while the VA will begin expanding access to private care for veterans, there is no intention of fully privatizing the VA health system.

Proposed Interoperability Standards Measurement Framework Public Comments

AMIA responds to ONC’s Interoperability Measurement Framework, calling for a framework that supports automated measures reporting, and that targets high-value interoperability use cases.

At Mid-Year, U.S. Data Breaches Increase at Record Pace

A mid-year report on US data breaches finds a 29 percent cross-industry increase in breaches, with 63 percent of breaches involving hacking, nine percent involving  lost or stolen equipment, and seven percent involving accidental Internet exposure.

Yelp adds C-section rates and other stats for all baby delivery hospitals in California

Yelp is working with state and non-profit organizations in California to begin incorporating maternity care metrics, such as C-section rates, into its platform, noting that C-section rates for low-risk mothers varies from 10 to 70 percent, depending on the hospital.

Morning Headlines 7/26/17

July 25, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Hospital stocks pounded on repeal vote, HCA disappointment

CHS shares plunged 10 percent, Tenet shares dropped 7.5 percent, and HCA shares fell 4.5 percent following a Senate vote to begin debate on repealing, but not replacing, the Affordable Care Act.

CHIME to Administer Healthcare’s Most Wired Hospital Survey

CHIME has been tapped by AHA to begin conducting the annual “Healthcare’s Most Wired” hospitals survey.

Meritus to invest $100M in electronic health records

Meritus Health (MD) will implement Epic across its health system at an estimated total project cost of $100 million and an anticipated Summer 2018 go-live.

Helix’s Bold Plan to Be Your One Stop Personal Genomics Shop

Helix, a spinoff company of market-leading genetic sequencing vendor Illumina, launches a platform offering consumers genome sequencing and medical insights delivered through an app store that will securely store a user’s sequenced DNA information and transmit it to third-party app developers through an API.

Morning Headlines 7/25/17

July 24, 2017 Headlines No Comments

KKR to buy WebMD in $2.8 billion deal

Private equity firm KKR & Co will buy WebMD Health Corp for $66.50 per share, a premium of 20.5 percent to WebMD’s Friday closing, for a total of $2.6 billion.

Atul Gawande on Priorities, Big and Small

In a wide-ranging interview, Atul Gawande, MD discusses the limits of artificial intelligence, CRISPR, and what is missing from medical education, of which notes that the medical profession “has exceeded the capabilities of any individual to manage the volume of knowledge and skill required. So we are now delivering as groups of people. And knowing how to be an effective group, how to solve problems when your group is not being effective, and to enable that capability.”

Molina to lay off 10% of its workforce

Medicaid health plan Molina Healthcare plans to lay off 1,400 employees, representing 10 percent of its workforce, to offset losses incurred by its ACA exchange business.

Morning Headlines 7/24/17

July 23, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Nuance Provides Update on Malware Incident and Business Impact

Nuance lowers its forecasted Q3 revenue by $15 million, citing its ongoing cyberattack related network outages.

athenahealth’s (ATHN) CEO Jonathan Bush on Q2 2017 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

In its earnings call, Athenahealth CEO Jon Bush provides an update on its CFO search, saying, "we’ve initiated a search to identify a permanent CFO and are focused on individuals who can serve as a strong partner to the senior team and to me. And who will bring demonstrated record of operating discipline and value creating capital allocation."

Expanding his medical empire is good for Patrick Soon-Shiong. But is it good for patients?

STAT continues its ongoing investigative reporting of Patrick Soon-Shoing’s business dealings, this time questioning the ethics of his acquisition of six California hospitals.

Morning Headlines 7/21/17

July 20, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Athenahealth, Inc. Reports Second Quarter Fiscal Year 2017 Results

Athenahealth reports Q2 results: revenue climbed 15 percent compared to the same quarter last year, reaching $301 million. Adjusted EPS $0.51 vs. $0.34, beating expectations for both.

Fit for 2020 – Report from the NHS Digital Capability Review

England’s NHS Digital publishes a report outlining its plan to meet its lofty 2020 goals.

Team Trump Used Obamacare Money to Run PR Effort Against It

An investigative report finds that HHS is using taxpayer funding that was supposed to be spent on marketing campaigns to boost ACA enrollment on a series of “viral videos” about individuals that claim to have been harmed by ACA.

Morning Headlines 7/20/17

July 19, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

The US Digital Service Report to Congress: July 2017

In its report to Congress, the US Digital Service provides details on the work it is doing with CMS to develop APIs that “will reduce the cost and burden of participating in CMS programs by enabling the market to build software that interacts directly with Medicare systems and data.”

Trump administration to continue paying cost sharing reductions

The White House announces that it will continue paying cost sharing subsidies to help consumers afford coverage on exchanges through the month of July, but that the subsidies’ status is “undetermined beyond that.”

Trump Demands That Senators Find a Way to Replace Obamacare

One day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged that the newest ACA repeal and replace bill did not have the votes to pass, GOP senators are now pursuing a repeal-only version of the bill that the CBO estimates will increase the number of people without health insurance by 17 million in 2018.

Electronic Health Records Are Stressing Doctors Out

KQED covers the frustrations clinicians are having with EHRs, including increased administrative burden and ongoing interoperability shortcomings.

Morning Headlines 7/19/17

July 18, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Glass: We’ve All Been Busy

Google revives its Google Glass business with a focus on enterprise sales, rather than consumer applications.

Cleveland Clinic names CIO

Ed Marx, former CIO of University Hospitals(TX) and EVP at the Advisory Board Company, is named the new CIO of Cleveland Clinic.

Gov. Eric Greitens orders prescription drug monitoring program for Missouri

The governor of Missouri signs an executive order mandating that a PDMP be implemented in the state, though the state representatives are questioning the validity of the order because the governor does not have the authority to allocate funding to pay for the project.

Mackenzie Health Launches First in Canada Epic End-to-End Electronic Medical Record

In Canada, Mackenzie Health goes live on Epic across its inpatient and outpatient locations, marking the first system-wide Canadian install for Epic.

City Hall In Your Borough: First Year of Electronic Medical Record System at Two Queens Hospitals Shows Improved Patient Experience

NYC Health+Hospitals calls its Epic implementation a success in a one-year retrospective review of the project.

Morning Headlines 7/18/17

July 17, 2017 Headlines 4 Comments

Emids Acquires Encore, Broadens Services to Healthcare Providers

Health IT service provider Emids acquires Encore Health Resources for an undisclosed sum.

Senate Letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) send a letter to CMS asking what steps have been taken to recover the EHR Incentive Program overpayments uncovered in a recent OIG investigation.

Taking the Next Step: Deploying a Single Integrated Record across Inpatient and Outpatient Settings at Naval Hospital Oak Harbor

Cerner and the DoD bring Naval Hospital Oak Harbor live on MHS Genesis, its first inpatient setting go-live.

Cerner hires former VA IT strategist for EHR team

Cerner hires former VA chief information strategy officer David Waltman to work on its federal team. During his time at the VA, Waltman worked on the VistA modernization project and DoD/VA interoperability efforts.

Morning Headlines 7/17/17

July 16, 2017 Headlines No Comments

athenahealth Announces Chief Financial Officer Transition

Athenahealth CFO Karl Stubelis resigns after just a year on the job, while current board member Jack Kane takes on the role of interim CFO. Discussing potential replacements, CEO Jon Bush says, “We intend to focus our CFO search on leaders who bring a record of operating discipline and value-creating capital allocation. I look forward to working closely with the athenahealth Board, especially Jack Kane and Tom Szkutak, former CFO of Amazon, to identify the best individual for the role.”

eClinicalWorks Settlement Reaction Survey

A small survey of providers’ opinions finds that 27 percent report a decrease in confidence in their own EHR vendor following the eClinicalWorks settlement announcement.

KVH in the process of making large-scale electronic medical record switch

A local paper covers Kittitas Valley Healthcare’s (WA) consolidation of various clinical IT systems on a single Cerner implementation.

Morning Headlines 7/14/17

July 13, 2017 Headlines 3 Comments

Opioids in Medicare Part D: Concerns about Extreme Use and Questionable Prescribing

An HHS OIG report finds that one in three Medicare Part D beneficiaries received a prescription opioid in 2016, while 90,000 beneficiaries were given extreme amounts of opioids, and 400 prescribers had questionable prescribing patterns.

HGP Releases its Mid-Year Health IT Market Review

Healthcare Growth Partners releases its midyear health IT market review.

Elizzbeth Holmes Just Put Theranos’s Palo Alto Headquarters Up For Rent

Theranos puts its 116,000 square foot Palo Alto headquarters office up for rent.

Mayo launches new $1.5 billion records system

Mayo Clinic brings its first facilities live on its $1.5 billion Epic installation.

Morning Headlines 7/13/17

July 12, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Improving the Health Records Request Process for Patients

ONC leverages human-centered design principles in its new report on making medical data easier for patients to access.

Enlisting Virtual Reality to Ease Real Pain

The Wall Street Journal profiles the work researchers are doing using VR to treat pain.

Humana And Oscar Partner To Sell Health Plans To Small Businesses

Health insurance startup Oscar Health partners with Humana to begin offering policies to small businesses.

House passes bipartisan FDA user fee bill

The House of Representatives passes legislation reauthorizing the FDA’s ability to collect user fees from drug and device makers, a process that funds much of the FDA’s operations. The Senate still needs to approve its own version, and the two need to be reconciled, before the current authorization expires in September.

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