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Monday Morning Update 9/14/20

September 12, 2020 News 4 Comments

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Kaiser Permanente launches Virtual Plus, a virtual-forward health plan for members in six Washington counties to get care for their non-urgent issues via phone, online chat, video, or email.

KP says it is conducting 65% of appointments virtually versus 20% prior to the pandemic, which led it to create the plan.

Members will be attended to by the same doctors and clinicians that work in KP locations, who will have their EHR data available. The patient may be asked to complete an in-person visit for follow-up.

Members will also have access to KP’s pharmacists through online or video visits, with delivery of 30-day supplies of medications within 1-2 days.

Kaiser Permanente says Virtual Plus will be its most affordable health plan. Individual visits are covered at no charge.

Virtual visits are available only when the patient is within Washington due to laws that prevent doctors from providing care across state lines. Members can receive in-person care while traveling out of state at any KP location, in-network urgent care, or CVS MinuteClinic in states in which KP doesn’t operate. Referrals to the in-person option are not required, but patients will have a cost depending on their plan’s benefits.

Virtual Plus will be available beginning January 1, 2021 pending state approval.

Reader Comments


From Publicly Anonymous: “Re: volunteering for COVID vaccine trials. I received a typo-laden email, ostensibly from AstraZeneca’s research partner, and dismissed it as spam. I was contact the next day by phone to set up an appointment. The consent forms seem legitimate and the study location is my former PCP. I’m not sure if this is spam or if the intentional typos are to recruit less-educated people.” Investor-backed, North Carolina-based research services vendor Javara Research (or is that “Reserach?”) is legit, but this is certainly an embarrassingly poorly edited email if it really did come from them. Information in the email seems the same as that of a Javara Facebook post that is recruiting volunteers for the same study, so I’m pretty sure it’s the real thing. Let’s hope that the rigor of their science exceeds that of their editing.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Most poll respondents would not be comfortable working for a company that regularly fires adequate performers in seeking to replace them with stars.

New poll to your right or here: What is your recent experience with virtual conferences? They probably aren’t going away any time soon, so feel free to add your comments about the features you like or would recommend to make them more valuable.

I received only a few responses to hanging out your health IT marketing/PR shingle, so either few have done it or they’re reluctant to talk about their experience.


Welcome (back) to HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Meditech, which took a short, understandable break while focusing on the COVID-19 needs of their clients and employees. The company has been an EHR leader for over 50 years, and I’ve never seen anything like the reinvention and reinvigoration that came from (or that led to) development of its web-based Expanse EHR, which also offers a mobile experience, virtual assistant, and virtual care, all with a no-capital subscription pricing model. The company’s leadership team (of which six of 14 members are women) have all worked their way up through the ranks, with a quick eyeballing of the exec team roster showing that those with the shortest company tenure have still been there for 30 years. Thanks to Meditech for supporting HIStalk since 2016.

I found a new YouTube video overview of Meditech Expanse.


September 17 (Thursday) 1 ET. “ICD-10-CM 2021 Updates and Regulatory Readiness.“ Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, VP of global clinical services, IMO; Theresa Rihanek, MHA, RHIA, mapping manager, IMO; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO. IMO’s top coding professionals and thought leaders will review additions, deletions, and other revisions to the 2020 ICD-10-CM code set that will be critical in coding accurately for proper reimbursement.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Venture-backed national radiology practice Radiology Partners will acquire competitor Mednax Radiology Solutions for $885 million, increasing its radiologist count to 2,400. The transaction includes Virtual Radiologic, which Mednax acquired for $500 million in 2015. Radiology Partners raised $700 million a year ago and said it would likely pursue acquisitions. It has raised $2.4 billion in total.


  • Atlantic Health System standardizes on storage-as-a-service supplier Pure Storage, which it originally selected as a scalable foundation for Epic.



Greenway Health hires Pratap Sarker, MBA (Conduent) to the newly created position of president.

Announcements and Implementations


Cerner will integrate AxiaMed’s patient payment solution with Millennium and other products.

Elsevier announces the US launch of PatientPass, a cloud-based personalized patient education platform that is listed in Epic App Orchard.


Southern Ohio Medical Center goes live on Meditech.


A cardiac magnetic resonance imaging study of 26 Ohio State athletes who are recovering from COVID-19 infection finds that 15% seem to have myocarditis and another 31% have findings that suggest myocardial injury.

Contact tracing finds that 12 children who were infected with COVID-19 in Utah child care facilities spread it to at least 12 of 46 adult contacts outside the facility.


UC San Diego and UC San Francisco will pilot the use of the Google/Apple Exposure Notification smartphone app to see if student volunteers who receive notifications will self-isolate more quickly.

Politico reports that politically connected, non-medical HHS communications employees have demanded to be given control over CDC’s weekly public health journal to “ensure it is fair and balanced and complete” in matching White House statements. HHS officials claimed that CDC’s reporting of coronavirus spread in a Georgia overnight camp was intended to undermine the President’s push to return children to schools, to the point that the officials considered shutting down the publication. HHS spokesperson and former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo responded to media inquiries by claiming that his oversight is required because of “ulterior deep state motives in the bowels of the CDC.”

The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial of AstraZeneca resumes after one participant’s suspected adverse event was determined to present no risk to the others.

President Trump’s touting of convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19 has stifled the expected spike in demand as people recall his previous erroneous claims about the efficacy and safety of hydroxychloroquine. The American Red Cross says that demand has not increased even as federal taxpayers paid for a $340 million public relations campaign to encourage plasma donation.



Insurance claims analysis by the Health Care Cost Institute finds that non-urgent care dropped tremendously in April, which isn’t surprising, but people aren’t catching up with deferred preventive care such as mammograms, vaccinations, and colonoscopies as many assumed would happen with re-opening.

Several medical journals publish the first clinical trials guidelines for AI protocols and publication.

Sponsor Updates

  • OpenText opens registration, and announces the agenda and speakers for OpenText World, which will be hosted virtually October 26-29.
  • Redox releases a new podcast, “The State of Interoperability in 2020 with Redox’s Brendan Keeler.”
  • CareSignal’s remote patient monitoring technology has supported tens of thousands of patients with heart failure, COPD, diabetes, depression, and dozens of other conditions for a duration of more than 20,000 patient years.
  • CoverMyMeds, Health Catalyst, InterSystems, Premier, RxRevu, and SailPoint will sponsor HLTH VRTL October 12-16.
  • Spok publishes a new infographic, “Ray Baum’s Act and Kari’s Law.”
  • SymphonyRM, Intermountain Healthcare, and MDClone significantly enhance care for chronic kidney disease patients in early identification and engagement.
  • Harlem Consolidated School District will use donated space at Experity’s headquarters to store furniture so that it can build out socially distant classrooms on its campus.
  • Visage Imaging will present at the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine’s virtual conference, CMIMI20, September 13-14.
  • Chung Shan Medical University Hospital in Taiwan joins the TriNetX research network to streamline research and accelerate data analysis.
  • The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust in England reports an 84% improvement in care team response time after replacing pages with the Vocera smartphone app and hands-free communication badge.
  • WebPT becomes the Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation’s first At-Large Member and strategic partner.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health publishes a new report, “Nurse Executives: Driving Change in the Era of COVID-19.”
  • Zen Healthcare IT launches an educational video series on national trusted exchange networks.

Blog Posts

Sponsor Spotlight


Dina powers the future of home-based care. We are an AI-powered care coordination platform that can activate multiple home-based service providers, engage patients directly, and plug into remote monitoring devices. Dina helps professional and family caregivers capture rich data from the home, using artificial intelligence to recommend evidence-based, non-medical interventions. The platform creates a virtual experience for the healthcare team so they can communicate–and help patients and families stay connected–regardless of location.

(Sponsor Spotlight is free for HIStalk Platinum sponsors).


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

  1. “oversight is required because of “ulterior deep state motives in the bowels of the CDC.””

    I keep thinking that surely, at the very least, I’m done being surprised, and yet– sometimes the existential horror still feels new.

  2. Thank you Mr. Histalk for your continuing outstanding coverage of COVID-19. You surface more interesting articles than any other news source I follow and it helps me and my team do our jobs. Hats off to you!

  3. Re: Dina Spotlight
    I clicked through Dina’s spotlight and that triggered a chain of thoughts that I don’t have any answer to but perhaps the smart readers of HISTalk can help. Over the last few years, I have seen a lot of fancy AI driven, care-coordination tools, I have seen commercials from payers and health systems on how they are taking better care of their members and patients. But personally (for myself and for my family), I have not seen any improvement in how care is delivered to me. I have never ever received an individualized outreach from my insurance company (AI driven or not) or my provider regarding the risks that I may face. I still struggle on hard to navigate websites to find the right provider. I still fumble through 5 different patient portal accounts to keep track of my own data.

    Even during the last six months of COVID-19 crises, I have not received even a generic email of empathy from my current insurance provider (UMR/UnitedHealthcare). And I have received those from even my car dealer! Heck, I have been with them for the last three years or so, and they don’t even care that I don’t have a PCP assigned to me.

    Is the root cause of this complete lack of consumer care the fact that in the employer driven medical care insurance world, the only customer that insurers like UMR have to please is the benefits manager at the employer? And those benefits managers typically don’t seek feedback from employees on whether they are satisfied with the insurance options?

    Is my experience an exception or the norm?

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