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Weekender 3/27/20

March 27, 2020 Weekender No Comments

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Weekly News Recap

  • UC San Diego Health publishes a description of Epic enhancements it created to address COVID-19, including tools for screening, ordering, secure messaging, and support for video visits.
  • Scripps Research launches a wearables study that hopes to identify viral illnesses more quickly.
  • Several organizations form the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, a data-driven effort to address coronavirus challenges.
  • CMS offers exceptions and extensions for MIPS and MSSP.
  • HIMSS announces that it will not offer refunds or credits to exhibitors and sponsors of the cancelled HIMSS20.
  • The HCI Group begins hiring up to 600 people to staff its COVID-19 telephone triage service for hospitals.
  • Thoma Bravo calls off discussions related to selling Imprivata for up to $2 billion, citing market volatility.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with technology and healthcare startups to ask them for help in addressing coronavirus.

Best Reader Comments

New York hospital bed shortage? For over 40 years, the State of NY and many other states have beaten hospitals up via a payment system that pushed / punished them to close beds. (FLPoggio)

It’s always been understood that HIMSS was a vehicle for vendors to interact with prospects and clients. But they have aligned their focus on leveraging all HIMSS community members to realize the greatest revenue they can, and by way of their recent investments, they have continued to focus on media, conferences, and other marketing ventures, combined with their lucrative lobbying business. I believe that it is time for “reset” for HIMSS and even CHIME, which I was also a member of and also I’ve allowed my membership to lapse. The vendors provide the greatest percentage of revenue to HIMSS and they need to demand more. I believe this year provides vendors to determine if they are getting value out of HIMSS and I suggest they collaborate or work in a unified manner to make HIMSS serve them better. HIMSS needs you more than you need them. (HIMSS Insider)

I’m on a copious number of healthcare groups on Linkedin and it’s almost sickening how everyone is trying to get brand recognition from the crisis. Some have real things to offer, like a free year’s licensing to virtual visit module, but most seemed to be forced to use the crisis as a way of saying “we get it” and/or “we get it, and btw, think of us when you buy.” I understand. If I were a software exec at a virtual VP meeting, I would feel pressure to tell the marketing folks to come up with a C19 message and get it out there. Not so fast, though – everyone else is doing the same and you will look like a C19 make-money pile-on. (Dave S.)

One message I’d really like to get out is that a lot of us in healthcare, even administrative, do not have time for 30-60 minute webinars. So many people are working from home right now and have all the time in the world, so they aren’t realizing that many of us actually have LESS free time because we’re trying to navigate healthcare rules which are changing at least once daily. Please please please use your time to put together fact sheets with important information we can use, and make them as brief and to the point as possible. (A-M)


Watercooler Talk Tidbits

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Readers funded the Donors Choose project of Ms. B in Arizona, who asked for programmable robots for her gifted middle school class. She reports, “My students are being helped by the Ozobot coding robots because they have to use collaboration in tandem with critical thinking skills. The most exciting thing about the product is that they can code the robot to go on any path they can imagine. There is a lot of trial and error but it provides the students the opportunity to fail forward. The cool thing about this technology is it is accessible to all of my students, especially my girls. No one was intimidated by the idea of coding, instead they opened up the boxes and got down to work!”

Phelps Health (MO) asks Missouri University of Science and Technology to help address an expected shortage of caregiver masks and face shields. The few students remaining on campus set up a 3D printer farm that can run 24 hours per day. Students on the design team who worked since fall on now-cancelled design competition entries say they are energized to be performing positive, meaningful work.

Another shortage in New York: foster dogs, as applications from stay-at-home workers surge 10-fold. Rescue organizations are happy for the fostering help, but worry that joblessness will increase the number of pets that are surrendered.

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The FBI kills a Missouri extremist in a shoot-out that followed a sting operation in which the man hoped to buy a vehicle packed with explosives and use it to bomb a local hospital for treating patients with COVID-19, which he believed to be a Jewish plot.

A Kentucky hospital lays off 300 employees, 25% of its workforce, due to declines in non-COVID-19 business.

Airbnb hosts are evicting traveling healthcare workers in fearing they will bring the coronavirus into their homes. One Las Vegas landlord demanded that her ED nurse tenant vacate the premises within 24 hours as a “choice I’m making to protect myself,” then threatened to seize all of her belongings if she refused to leave. Healthcare workers in India, England, and Japan have reported being harassed and threatened, while hospitals in Australia warn nurses not to wear their scrubs in public after some were spat on or refused entry into stores.

A hospital nurse quits due to lack of personal protective equipment, warning that other frontline workers may resign after watching friends being put on ventilators or dying and then realizing they could be exposing their own families. Meanwhile, a Tennessee doctor says the state health department suggested using diapers and swimming goggles if PPE isn’t available.

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A California ICU doctor who treats COVID-19 patients moves into a tent in his garage to prevent exposing his family to coronavirus, urging everybody to stay home as he “voluntarily became homeless to protect my family.” 

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Time to dust off those orthopedist jokes. Hospital police officers arrest UConn Health orthopedic surgeon Cory Edgar, MD, PhD after he intentionally coughed on two other employers and was observed disregarding space and safety concerns. I note with wonderment that he holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s in molecular and cell biology.

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Bicycle companies rush to offer a replacement bicycle to an ICU doctor in England whose $2,000 Ribble bicycle was stolen from a locked area while he was treating COVID-19 patients. Dan Harvey says he will donate the bike to charity after the crisis ends and will put bike companies in touch with other staff members who don’t have transportation.

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An unidentified man thanks staff at Morristown Medical Center (NJ) for his wife’s treatment by holding a sign up to the ED’s back window. Nurses took a photo, but don’t know the identity of the man or his wife.


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