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December 29, 2020 News 1 Comment

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A federal appeals court upholds hospital price transparency rules that will go into effect Friday.

The court rejected a lawsuit that was brought by the American Hospital Association to keep hospital-insurer negotiated rates secret.

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Hospitals must post their standard charges on a public-facing website, both as a machine-readable file of all hospital charges and a consumer-friendly display of 300 “shoppable services.” Both must include the discounted cash price, payer-specific negotiated charges, and de-identified minimum and maximum negotiated charges.

HHS says it will monitor and enforce the requirements starting Friday, and non-compliant hospitals can be issued a warning notice, required to develop a corrective action plan, or have a civil monetary penalty imposed.


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Sales

  • Syracuse Orthopedic Associates chooses Emerge’s platform to create dashboards using structured and scanned data from its Allscripts TouchWorks EHR.

People

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Kaleb Huhl, MBA (Curaspan) joins Olio as VP of sales.

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HIMSS hires Julius Bogdan, MBA, MGM (SCL Health) as VP/GM of analytics for North America.


Government and Politics

The Defense Health Agency awards Cherokee Nation Operational Solutions a one-year, $42 million contract to support DoD’s MHS Genesis rollout of Cerner.


COVID-19

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US hospitals reported 124,696 COVID-19 inpatients on Tuesday, another record high.

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CDC reports that 2.1 million Americans have received their first of two COVID-19 vaccine shots, far short of Operation Warp Speed’s goal of 20 million vaccinated citizens by December 31. California was allocated 1.7 million doses, of which it has received 438,000 and administered just 70,000. HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in October that 100 million doses would be available by December 31, but the actual number is at 11.5 million. States have received minimal money and help from the federal government to address the “last mile” of getting injections into arms, and some state health departments see their role as making sure hospitals and clinics get vaccine doses and figure out on their own how to get them administered. HHS disputed the vaccination numbers in a tweet storm Tuesday following exasperated tweets from Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, dean of Brown School of Public Health, saying that data reporting is lagging and that it will ship 20 million first doses by Friday and hold another 20 million for the second round of injections.

Hospitals in England report record hospitalizations even with aggressive mitigation measures in place, as a more contagious coronavirus variant has also pushed case counts to record levels. The first known US case of the mutated virus was discovered Tuesday in Colorado.

Russia admits that 186,000 of its citizens have died of COVID-19, triple the number that has been officially reported, based on excessive death counts. The country has been criticized for counting only deaths in which an autopsy confirms that the virus was the main cause. The new estimate places Russia behind only the US (335,000) and Brazil (192,000) in coronavirus deaths.

TSA screened 1.3 million air travelers on Sunday, the highest count since the pandemic began and the sixth day in the past 10 that traveler volume exceeded 1 million.

Five LA-area hospitals declare internal disasters, including implementing patient diversion, due to overloaded patient room oxygen pipes that are pumping the high volumes – up to 10 times the normal flow – that COVID-19 patients require.

The Atlantic interviews 30 experts about how the pandemic’s second year could play out in 2021:

  • Understaffed public health departments will need to get people vaccinated despite low budgets, lack of a national strategy, and rampant disinformation that may increase the significant percentage of vaccine-hesitant people even more.
  • The uneven deployment of vaccines due to states that are working from their own priority rules and resource availability could delay herd immunity and introduce risk in traveling between areas with high and low immunity levels.
  • The vaccine’s impact could be blunted if states relax mitigation measures or if those people who have been vaccinated mistakenly believe those practices no longer apply to them.
  • The questions of how long immunity lasts and whether the vaccine will protect against mutated strains will begin to be answered, but could trigger another cycle of urgent vaccine development and deployment.
  • A weakened healthcare system and its depleted clinician ranks will be difficult to restore to normal levels given the years of study that are required and the US’s anti-immigration policies, making it even harder for aging people, those with chronic diseases, those with mental health needs, and a new population of COVID long-haulers to find care.
  • The country will need to learn from its mistakes in many ways — including preparing for the next pandemic, funding public health, and addressing social determinants that go beyond vaccine availability –- in a divisive environment where consensus is unattainable on even identifying the problems, much less their potential solutions.

Advocate Aurora Health throws out 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine after an employee removes it from the pharmacy refrigerator to get something else, then forgets to put it back within the allowed 12-hour post-refrigeration window. Meanwhile, eight home care workers in Germany are given entire vials of five vaccine doses as a single shot due to human error.


Other

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Concord Hospital (NH) will acquire bankrupt two-hospital LRGHealthcare (NH) for $30 million. LRGHealthcare blames its financial woes on excessive investment in inpatient services as demand was shifting to outpatient as well as its “massively expensive” EHR, on which it was spending 9% of total organizational revenue each year to run its two hospitals that have a combined 162 licensed beds. The Concord paper reports that LRGH runs Cerner, paying $342,000 per month as its 75% share in a services agreement with Speare Memorial Hospital. Concord Hospital also runs Cerner.

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Michele Kang, MPPM, founder and CEO of health and human services software vendor Cognosante, buys a stake in the Washington Spirit professional women’s soccer team.


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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Getting the sinking feeling that this vaccine rollout will be yet one more logistical and leadership failure in this long year’s unbelievable string of them.







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