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Weekender 1/22/21

January 22, 2021 Weekender 2 Comments


Weekly News Recap

  • Micky Tripathi is named National Coordinator.
  • The co-founder of The COVID Tracking Project says that the recently implemented HHS Protect COVID hospital status database is working well and urges the Biden administration to continue its use.
  • Philips announces plans to acquire medical device integration vendor Capsule Technologies for $635 million in cash.
  • ONC says it will invest $20 million in vaccine-related interoperability projects.
  • An appeals court vacates MD Anderson’s $4.3 million civil money penalty for losing three unencrypted mobile devices that contained the PHI of 35,000 patients, challenging HHS’s ongoing interpretation of HIPAA requirements and its method of setting penalty amounts.
  • Cerner replaces its chief client and services officer and chief legal officer and hires a CFO.

Best Reader Comments

I’ve been arguing with my health law friends that HHS and the conservative compliance lawyer mindset were wrong viewing HIPAA violations a some form of strict liability. I feel vindicated for now since I think the Fifth Circuit got this correct. 1. The technical requirements are met by simply not being negligent. You have implemented encryption? you make reasonable efforts to encrypt the data? Good enough. Perfection isn’t required. Doing more isn’t required. 2. Disclosure is an affirmative action, not merely just loss. It’s active. It’s participative. This construction fits nicely inside the framework. It also addresses the risk of loss to nation-state actors or those who are intent on stealing data. That’s not a punishable “disclosure” that’s a theft. 3. And I realize that HHS updated its penalty guidance, but this makes it very clear: outside some intentional acts, the penalties aren’t business-ending penalties. Yay for reasonableness of courts. (HIPAA Relieved)

The concept that that would not be considered a breach is mind boggling. I fully support the capriciousness but it shouldn’t be allowed to be pushed down to the staff level. In 2017 we all knew that we had to dictate it from an IT organization. (Jeremy)

Cerner Chairman and CEO Brent Shafer may wish to check out his own uCern “ideas” space to get a sense of how his peeps are doing on “strengthening relationships, delivering on promises, innovating faster, and executing on strategies.” There are loads of ideas that are no-brainers and/or have had significant support for many (5+) years, yet are not yet implemented or have been rejected as not on the road map. Other ideas point out serious safety risks, but are said to be working as designed (WAD), although they would be better termed WAHD (working as horribly designed). (CernerClient)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits


You as an HIStalk reader provided Ms. S’s elementary school class in Mississippi with 30 sets of individual, high-quality headphones in responding to her Donors Choose teacher grant request. She explains why she needed them: “Each year, I’ve bought headphones for my students completely out of pocket. The headphones which I get are usually a cheaper brand, which don’t tend to last long. I am so thankful for your support on this project! My students absolutely loved opening up the box and finding the beautiful headphones inside! Thank you for believing in us, and thank you for supporting our cause.”


California’s UCI Health will spend more than $1 billion to build 144-bed UCI Medical Center Irvine-Newport. That is $7 million per bed.


The state of Colorado dismantles a temporary COVID-19 hospital that was built in April 2020 inside Denver’s Colorado Convention Center, which the state leased for $60,000 per day for a year. None of its 2,000 beds were ever occupied.


A St. Louis TV station profiles 65-year-old pulmonologist Steven Brown, MD, who monitors 100 ICU patients per night – most of them on ventilators with COVID – from his living room as a physician with Mercy’s Virtual Care Center. He says it is hard to watch patients die remotely, in one case seeing four patients expire in a single hour.


A husband and wife who had been married for 70 years die together and within minutes of each other of COVID-19 in Riverside Methodist Hospital (OH), three days before their appointment to receive COVID-19 vaccine on would have been the husband’s 90th birthday. The family said in their obituary, “We are devastated to lose them both at the same time. But, we are blessed that they walked together, hand in hand, through the Gates of Heaven into Eternity, never having to face ‘Until Death Do Us Part.’”

A 29-year-old nurse who inspired her hospital co-workers by singing “Amazing Grace” after a 12-hour shift caring for COVID-19 patients – captured by a colleague in a video that went viral – sings it again in scrubs at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool to President-elect Biden and a national TV audience in the National COVID-19 Memorial. Lorie Marie Key, RN works for St. Mary Mercy Livonia Hospital (MI).


Acclaimed rapper-songwriter Lazarus encourages his fans to get COVID-19 vaccine, a recommendation that carries extra credibility because his other job is as Kamran Rashid Khan, DO, a Las Vegas family medicine physician.

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. That ideas thing isn’t just a Cerner problem. The last five years on Epic’s ideas site there has been this simple thing people want to do with flowsheets that they just won’t implement.

  2. “A husband and wife who had been married for 70 years die together …”

    I find these stories, they always get me. Right in the heart!

    My own parents, they were married 61 years. Mom survived Dad by about 2 years. I miss them daily.

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