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Monday Morning Update 8/15/16

August 14, 2016 News 4 Comments

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Bon Secours Health System (VA) notifies 665,000 patients that their information was freely discoverable on the Internet due to a mistake made by Phoenix-based revenue cycle optimization vendor R-C Healthcare Management.

Reader Comments


From Skip O’Frenia: “Re: KLAS. A colleague of mine got this email a while back when he spoke with KLAS. Is KLAS so desperate for input that they have to bribe participants with dinner?” It also offers to pair up respondents with vendor executives, which would seem to be a no-no if you’re claiming impartiality and transparency. I’m really uncomfortable with the way KLAS – as a vendor – friendlies up to the other vendors that provide its profit in ways that provider participants don’t see. I’m also recalling that I challenged the KLAS folks in an interview years ago to submit their survey and analysis process for independent verification of statistical validity and that hasn’t happened.

From Nice Threads: “Re: balance billing. I don’t remember seeing this on HIStalk.” A Virginia judge takes exception with a for-profit hospital that made a heart attack patient sign a financial responsibility agreement in the ED. The hospital billed $111,000 for a two-day stay and stent surgery. His insurance covered only $27,000 since the ambulance took him to a hospital that was not in his insurance network, so the hospital demanded that the patient pay the non-discounted difference based on its charge master prices. The judge said the contract was not binding, the hospital’s refusal to disclose its CDM pricing made them guilty of withholding a crucial contract element, and that a hospital willing to accept an insurance company’s payment in full should not then go after the patient for even more money. The judge ruled that the patient owed only another $500 to cover the value of the care he received. His attorney says it’s the first time balance billing has been challenged in court and his firm will go after other hospitals since secret CDM rates are just bargaining chips used to extract payment from individual patients.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Two-thirds of poll respondents expect hospital and medical practice consolidation to harm rather than help cost and quality. New poll to your right or here: what is your reaction when reading about the expensive campuses of Cerner and Epic? (or any other vendor with comparable offices, assuming of course there are others).

Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH steps down as National Coordinator to focus full time on her job as HHS Assistant Secretary for Health, with Principal Deputy National Coordinator Vindell Washington, MD taking over as National Coordinator.
  • CPSI announces poor quarterly results, acknowledging during the earnings call that Cerner’s hosting services has made it a small-hospital competitor but discounting Athenahealth’s claims of growing small-hospital inpatient momentum.
  • Apple publishes several healthcare-related patents as CEO Tim Cook makes unspecific but firm commitments to expand the company’s healthcare offerings.
  • Press Ganey sells itself to a Swedish private equity firm for $2.35 billion.
  • The FDA issues draft guidance on when medical device manufacturers must file for new 510(k) approval, specifically excluding security-related software updates.
  • Newkirk Products, which prints customer ID cards for several insurance companies, announces that hackers breached its systems and thus exposed the information of 3.3 cardholders.


August 24 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Surviving the OCR Cybersecurity & Privacy Pre-Audit: Are You Truly Prepared?” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenter: John Gomez, CEO, Sensato. Many healthcare organizations are not prepared for an OCR pre-audit of their privacy and security policies. This webinar will provide a roadmap, tools, and tactics that will help balance policies and budgets in adopting an OCR-friendly strategy that will allow passing with flying colors.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.

Our “summer doldrums” webinar services sale ends Labor Day, September 5. Thanks to the several companies who have signed up for the always-busy fall webinar season.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Analytics vendor Innovaccer, which offers products for healthcare and other segments, raises $15.6 million in a Series A funding round.

Cerner Chairman and CEO Neal Patterson cashes in stock options going all the way back to 1995, collecting $50 million and netting $27 million after costs and taxes. Experts say holding options for longer than 10 years is almost unheard of and Cerner doesn’t offer options with that long of a term now, but that arrangement back in the 1990s was apparently intended to keep Patterson on board. President Zane Burke also sold shares worth $10 million last week.


Brian Moyer (Gaffey Healthcare) is named CEO of the Nashville Technology Council.


Jess Jacobs, patient advocate and director of innovation labs at Aetna, died Saturday.

Announcements and Implementations

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The US Navy recognizes the IT departments of Naval Hospital Bremerton (WA) and Naval Hospital Oak Harbor (WA) for their preliminary work in preparing infrastructure for the implementation of MHS Genesis, the Department of Defense’s Cerner EHR project.

Health engagement solutions vendor StayWell chooses Validic for integration of digital health services and apps.

Privacy and Security


Athens Orthopedic Clinic (GA), which refused to pay the extortion demands of hacker The Dark Overlord after the records of 200,000 of its patients were stolen, says it can’t afford to provide free credit monitoring for those patients. The clinic’s CEO said in a statement, “We truly regret that we are unable to do so, as we are not able spend the many millions of dollars it would cost us to pay for credit monitoring for nearly 200,000 patients and keep Athens Orthopedic as a viable business. I recognize and am truly sorry for the position this puts our patients in.” The clinic also states that the breach occurred when the hacker used the log-in credentials of an unnamed HIM contractor.

From DataBreaches.net:

  • Valley Anesthesia and Pain Consultants (AZ) notifies nearly 900,000 patients plus all present and former employees that its systems were breached by a hacker.
  • Three breaches by The Dark Overlord are published by HHS, although with different counts of the individuals whose information was compromised. The practices and patient counts are Midwest Orthopedic Pain and Spine (29,000), Athens Orthopedic Clinic (201,000), and Prosthetic & Orthotic Care, Inc. (23,000).
  • A medical practice in England is fined $52,000 for giving information about a female patient to her estranged partner.



Fitbit drops support for synching its fitness tracking data with MIcrosoft HealthVault. I had forgotten that HealthVault even exists and maybe Microsoft did too since its most recent app update was in January 2016. 


Partners HealthCare (MA) loses $33 million in its most recent quarter, fueled by $24 million in costs to prepare for a nurses’ strike that was averted, expenses of its $1.2 billion Epic project, moving employees to a new headquarters building, and losses in its insurance arm.

Here’s Part 2 of the “Rating the Ratings” series from Vince and Elise. It contains a nice nod to the pioneering market analysis businesses created by Sheldon Dorenfest and Ron Johnson all the way through touching on KLAS and Black Book.

I had to read Weird News Andy’s headline carefully to get his pun: “The quality? Fair.” Scientists modify a $40 cotton candy machine they got from Target to create artificial capillaries, possibly paving the way to one day creating artificial organs on a 3-D printer.

Sponsor Updates

  • Tierpoint will exhibit at the 2016 Tech Coast Conference August 17 in Jacksonville, FL.

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. So sad to hear the world has lost Jess Jacobs. I worked with her on a committee about 3 years ago and she was a delightful person to know. Jess brought a “but where can we go with healthcare?” posivite energy to every conversation. I will miss her.

  2. Regarding the poll for Epic and Cerner HQ… I have been to both. Cerner’s is highly functional and not lavish at all. Epic is over the top. But no one is being forced to buy either, so to become an Epic customer then complain about the campus is like blaming the hearse on the way to your own funeral (all apologies to Jack White).

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Reader Comments

  • MiroslavB: Great insights - Thanks Ed !...
  • SteveS: I’d like to hear more from Ed about his perspective on the current state of “Professional Organizations” – in te...
  • Brian Too: Nice to hear from a small hospital for a change. We hear lots from the large players and consolidation has meant that b...
  • Sam Lawrence: Except in this case, coding = medical billing, not development. Though the same warning may be true...
  • BeenThere: Partners will find the savings from their cuts of coders as fools gold. There are a lot of hidden costs running an outs...
  • JC: If there is not there can be. VistA has a reference lab interface that can create the manifests/labeling and such as we...
  • Tom Cornwell: Great stuff from Dr. Jayne as usual. One small typo, last sentence of second-to-last paragraph: should be 'who's' not 'w...
  • HIT Observer: What I find most interesting here, is people defending their common practices rather than truly taking this as invaluabl...
  • Bob: There's no incentive for the provider to spend time doing a price comparison for the patient. Nor is it a good use of th...
  • Peppermint Patty: Veteran - can you clarify what was "fake "? Was something made up (definition of fake) or did you disagree with Vapo...

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