Hancock Health (IN) pays a hacker’s demanded four bitcoin in ransom – worth $55,000 at the time of payment — to regain access to its systems. The health system’s CEO says it made business sense to pay the hacker instead of taking weeks to recover its systems.
Once paid, the hackers restored the hijacked files within two hours, allowing the health system to bring its systems back up Monday after four days’ of downtime.
Hancock Health says the hacker penetrated its systems via its remote access portal — using the login credentials of one of the health system’s vendors — to manually deploy the SamSam ransomware. That same malware took down Erie County Medical Center (NY) in May 2017 and Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (CA) in early 2016, both of which also paid the ransom.
Hancock Health did not mention the attack on its website or social media until after it had recovered its systems, with the announcement saying nothing about paying ransom. The explanation is ironically positioned on its website right above the hospital’s press release touting its award for “Most Wired.”
From Watcher of the Skies: “Re: tax reform’s pass-through provision. I’m wondering if more health IT consultants are setting up shop as independent contractors rather than consulting firm employees?” Readers, please weigh in. The tax bill slashed corporate tax rates from a maximum of 39 percent to a flat 21 percent. Congress then added the pass-through tax to provide similar benefits to small businesses such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, and S-corporations, giving high earners who pay individual tax rates of up to nearly 40 percent an incentive to pass that income through a lower-taxed business entity they control.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
You can join my Rolodex if you’re willing to provide occasional reaction to news items and to give me ideas about things I should write about. I won’t spam you and I’ll use whatever method of communication you prefer. Example: suppose the VA announces something about Cerner – I would go to my Rolodex to see who might knowledgably comment (anonymously or not) for my write-up. Thanks.
January 24 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET: “Location, Location, Location: How to Deploy RTLS Asset Management for Capital Savings.” Sponsor: Versus Technology. Presenter: Doug Duvall, solution architect, Versus Technology. Misplaced or sub-optimally deployed medical equipment delays patient care and hampers safety-mandated preventive maintenance. It also forces hospitals to buy more equipment despite an average utilization that may be as low as 30 percent, misdirecting precious capital dollars that could be better spent on more strategic projects. A real-time locating system (RTLS) cannot only track asset location, but also help ensure that equipment is properly distributed to the right place at the right time. This webinar will provide insight into the evaluation, selection, and benefits of an RTLS-powered asset management solution.
February 13 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Beyond Sliding Scale: Closing the Gap Between Current and Optimal Glycemic Management Practices.” Sponsor: Monarch Medical Technologies. Presenter: Laurel Fuqua, BSN, MSN, EVP/chief clinical officer, Monarch Medical Technologies. The glycemic management practices of many hospitals and physician staff differ from what is overwhelmingly recommended by experts and relevant specialty societies. As a result, they are missing an opportunity to improve the quality, safety, and cost of care for their patients with diabetes and hyperglycemia, which commonly represent more than 25 percent of their inpatient population. Hospitals that transition from sliding-scale insulin regimens to consistent use of basal / bolus / correction protocols are seeing reductions in hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, and costs. Making this shift more effective and efficient is the use of computerized insulin-dosing algorithms that can support dedicated staff using a systematic approach.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Nordic acquires the revenue cycle transformation practice of The Claro Group. which says it will refocus on its core businesses of disputes, claims, and investigations.
Mon Health (WV) hires Mark Gilliam (Owensboro Health) as CIO.
Sam Adams (Image Stream Medical) joins Patientco as chief growth officer.
FormFast hires Art Nicholas (NoteSwift) as chief revenue officer.
Announcements and Implementations
EHNAC releases its 2018 accreditation criteria for electronic data exchange.
In China, Amcare Women’s & Children’s Hospital’s Wanliu Campus goes live on InterSystems TrakCare.
Government and Politics
Politico says the DoD is placing its MHS Genesis Cerner project on hold for eight weeks because of a large number of open problem tickets and doctor complaints about poor workflows that those doctors say were copied directly from fellow Cerner customer Intermountain Healthcare. I don’t understand Politico’s statement, however, that further installations won’t go forward until fall – the DoD’s project plan had already called for no further implementation beyond the four initial sites until late 2018 pending completion of the required independent review of cost and suitability.
Gallup finds that 2017’s 1.3 percent increase in the number of uninsured Americans is the largest single-year jump since it starting tracking the number in 2008. The number, now at 12.2 percent, peaked at nearly 18 percent in January 2014 just before the ACA’s individual mandate and Medicare expansion took effect. Subgroups with the highest rate of uninsured include Hispanics, people in households with incomes under $36,000, and those aged 26-34. The percentage of people who bought their own insurance plans – such as through exchanges – dropped 1 percentage point in the past year, the first time that number has gone down since the ACA was enacted.
The CEO of Fairview Health Services (MN) tells a healthcare CEO panel that Epic is an “impediment to innovation” and calls for customers to “march on Madison.” The Twin Cities business paper quotes James Hereford as saying,
I will submit that one of the biggest impediments to innovation in healthcare is Epic, because the way that Epic thinks about their [intellectual property] and the IP of others that develop on that platform. There are literally billions of dollars in the Silicon Valley chasing innovation in healthcare, and yet Epic has architected an organization that has its belief that all good ideas are from Madison, Wisconsin. And on the off chance that one of us think of a good idea, it’s still owned by Madison, Wisconsin … There is an opportunity for us to go to Epic and say, look, you have to open up this platform. It’s for our benefit in terms of having an innovative platform where all these bright, amazing entrepreneurs can actually have access to what is essentially 80 percent of the US population that is cared for within an Epic environment. I would love for us to get together to see how we march on Madison.
Amazon posts a job for HIPAA Compliance Lead for “a new initiative,” listing among its preferred qualifications experience with FDA’s medical device approval process.
Coalinga State Hospital (CA) – a 1,500-bed, state-run psychiatric hospital for repeat sexual offenders who are receiving extended treatment — goes on lockdown when inmates riot following the hospital’s ban on electronic devices that can play media from sources other than commercially produced CDs and DVDs.
Fans watching the dramatic finish of Sunday’s Saints-Vikings football playoff game say their Apple Watches warned them they might be having heart attacks. Previous studies have proven that rabid fans, especially those with coronary artery disease, are more likely to have heart attacks when game intensity hikes their pulse rates by as much as 100 percent. Maybe people who are bored by watching sports should tune them in to lower their pulse and BP as they nod off in front of the TV.
- Audacious Inquiry will exhibit at the DVHIMSS Winter Symposium January 18 in Philadelphia.
- Besler and Culbert Healthcare Solutions will exhibit at the MA/RI HFMA Revenue Cycle Conference January 18-19 in Foxborough, MA.
- Iatric Systems will exhibit at the HCCA Charlotte Regional Conference January 19 in North Carolina.
- InstaMed will exhibit at the MA/RI Chapter HFMA Revenue Cycle Conference January 18-19 in Foxborough, MA.
- 2017 Brings Strong Momentum and Growth for MEDITECH (Meditech)
- The Two-Pronged Approach towards Effective Healthcare Recruiting and EHR Adoption (Leidos Health)
- The Case for Continuous Clinical Surveillance (Bernoulli)
- 6 Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2018 (Datica)
- Blockchain Healthcare: Patient Medical Records, Health Data, and More (CareSync)
- Bridging Population Health Management and Clinical Interoperability (Casenet)
- Joint Commission: Citing of Hand Hygiene Noncompliance (CenTrak)
- Why AI by Any Name is Sweet for Radiology (Change Healthcare)
- New Year’s Resolution (CTG)
- Wellness in the Workplace (Direct Consulting Associates)
- Healthcare Consolidation: What to Watch for in 2018 (Dimensional Insight)
- “They have their little phones!” (EClinicalWorks)
- 3 Key Planning Steps to a Smooth IT Transition (Hayes Management Consulting)
- Prepare and Prevent Common Due Diligence Issues in Health IT Transactions: Human Resources Considerations (Healthcare Growth Partners)
- TEFCA in a Nutshell (Impact Advisors)
- Imprivata’s cloud-based products achieve SOC 2 certification (Imprivata)
- Five Guideposts for Transforming Healthcare Systems – Part II: Centralize Governance (Ingenious Med)
- SEO for Doctors (Influence Health)
- From Barefoot to Broad-Based: How Information Management is Changing Care in China (InterSystems)