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News 1/26/24

January 25, 2024 News No Comments

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Humana shares dropped 16% on Thursday as the health insurer issued full-year earnings guidance that was half of Wall Street’s expectations.

The company, which primarily sells Medicare Advantage insurance, said that its medical expenses have soared as patients return to hospitals to undergo pandemic-delayed procedures such as hip replacements. It warned that the trend is not related to respiratory conditions and thus is likely to continue.

Shares in other insurers such as UnitedHealth Group and CVS Health also slid on the news as investors became concerned about increased medical costs in their Medicare Advantage business.

The company reports Q4 results: revenue up 18%, adjusted EPS –$0.11 versus $1.97, beating revenue estimates but falling short on earnings.

HUM shares are down 29% in the past 12 months versus the S&P 500’s 22% gain, valuing the company at $44 billion.


Reader Comments

From Copy Cat: “Re: Dana-Farber research cheating. When did it become OK to replace ‘cheating, plagiarism, and lying’ with ‘data falsification’ or ‘inadequate citation?’ Any chance us non-academic elites would get a similar reprieve after falsifying resumes or dissertations?” I’m far from an expert since I’ve co-authored only a few articles in peer-reviewed journals and my contribution was incidental, but I’m guessing it relates to intent and extent (did they do it intentionally for some personal benefit and did it affect the article’s conclusions). Sometimes it’s a gray area, such as when authors publish on a topic without citing the seminal work of a pioneering researcher that they most certainly have read even if not used directly. The Dana-Farber researchers appear to have faked scientific graphics, although whether they did so to prove an incorrect conclusion or because of some logistical reason wasn’t stated (but is being investigated). The conclusion is that it’s better to do your own double-checking of citations instead of letting some cheap seats observer catch your misbehavior, whether inappropriate or not and even if it sneaks by peer reviewers.

From Conference Escalator: “Re: HIMSS24. The exhibitor count seems pretty low.” My interest level isn’t high, but since you asked, I scrolled and counted about 650 exhibitors, compared to maybe 1,200 to 1,500 before COVID and the emergence of competing conferences. But on the bright side, the exhibit hall will probably have carpeted aisles this year.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

A reader asked about expressing years of work experience on LinkedIn while avoiding ageism. My initial reaction is that LinkedIn content doesn’t matter since at best it will get you an interview where you might face age discrimination anyway. Still, you have to avoid being shut out by recruiters and HR people who perform the initial screening, and there’s little effort required to make a better first impression. My conclusions (and it would be great to hear from recruiters who use LinkedIn to find or vet job candidates):

  1. Use a professional, contemporary headshot from years ago, or doctor your photo to look younger. Nobody will feel offended or duped. You could omit the headshot entirely like a resume, but I assume most employers are like me in finding it creepy if someone intentionally leaves out a photo.
  2. List only work experience going back a few years or a couple of jobs. Nobody cares before then.
  3. Highlight (or obtain, if necessary) technical skills that prove that you keep up as well as younger people. Take a quick course in ChatGPT, Excel, Python, or sales prospecting software to prove that you stay current. Likewise, remove obsolete credentials and irrelevant accomplishments, especially those that go back to the college years.
  4. Punch up the summary to emphasize accomplishment rather than elapsed time, especially if you can back up your achievements with numbers.
  5. Emphasize your ability to work with a team, mentor, and expend extra effort.
  6. Have a younger executive review your profile and resume to make sure that you are using modern terms and aren’t listing experience that is actually detrimental to finding a job.
  7. Ask for LinkedIn recommendations.
  8. Publish occasional LinkedIn articles ongoing, not just when you are suddenly facing a job search.

Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present or promote your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Mercy Hospital – Iowa City and Altera Digital Health settle their contract dispute that stood in the way of the bankrupt hospital’s acquisition by University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. The hospital’s contract with Altera will be dissolved and Mercy won’t pay any amount owed, although it will pay $6 million as unsecured debt. Altera will sign a new contract with UIHC so that the hospital can keep using Sunrise with vendor support as required by the acquisition.


Sales

  • The State of Pennsylvania launches PA Navigate, a Findhelp-powered online tool that connects state residents with community-based organizations, county and state agencies, and healthcare providers to address basic needs.
  • NorthStar Care Community and Hospice of Michigan will expand their use of Netsmart’s CareFabric platform, including the MyUnity EHR for hospice, home care, and palliative care.

People

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Clearsense hires Jason Rose, MHSA (AdhereHealth) as CEO and board member. He replaces founder Gene Scheurer, who will remain on the board.

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Ochsner Health promotes Amy Trainor, RN, MHSA to SVP/CIO.

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Emory Healthcare names Nitu Kashyap, MD (Yale New Haven Health) as chief health informatics officer.

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Stacy Sand, MS (Healthwise) joins Get Well as VP of marketing communications.


Announcements and Implementations

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Blue Spark Technologies, which offers the TempTraq Bluetooth-enabled temperature monitoring patch, launches VitalTraq, which uses a “selfie scan” that is taken with a smart phone’s camera to report heart rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure, and respiratory rate.

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Black Book Research publishes the 2024 “State of the Global Health Information Technology Industry” report, which analyzes the response of 19,000 global health IT customers to rate 109 vendors on 18 key performance indicators. The 655-page research report can be downloaded instantly at no cost.

Fortified Health Security publishes its “2024 Horizon Report” on cybersecurity.


Government and Politics

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A federal court denies the motion of Erlanger Health to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses the hospital of allowing surgeons to bill for overlapping surgeries that they didn’t perform and allowing residents and interns to perform procedures without proper oversight if patients lacked insurance. The lawsuit was brought by two orthopedic surgeons and Erlanger’s former CIO, Stephen Adams, MD. It claims that the health system allowed surgeons to share their Epic login information with unlicensed staff to make entries under their names, and when the privacy offer was overwhelmed with lists of inappropriate chart access, Erlanger limited the number of events that would be reported because of the risk involved. The lawsuit also claims that the death of a child who was placed under anesthesia for a MRI was initially blamed on an Epic flaw, but audit logs indicated that the CRNA left the room to complete charts and the CRNA student who remained then made a fatal medication ordering error.

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U.S. News & World Report sues the city attorney of San Francisco, who has issued two subpoenas seeking information about the criteria it uses to create its “Best Hospitals” list, the possibility that high-ranking hospitals pay for the privilege, and that its rankings encourage hospitals to invest in specialties instead of primary care. The publication says the attorney is harassing it because he doesn’t agree with its rankings.

HHS publishes voluntary Cybersecurity Performance Goals for healthcare.


Sponsor Updates

  • MRO earns Validated Data Stream designation in NCQA’s Data Aggregator Validation program.
  • Healthcare IT Leaders adds health industry veteran Mary Mirabelli to its board.
  • Surescripts customer Elation Health adopts the Surescripts Real-Time Prescription Benefit tool.
  • Florida Digestive Health Specialists adds Sunoh.ai virtual scribing capabilities to its EClinicalWorks EHR.
  • Health Data Movers releases a new episode of its “Quick Hits” podcast featuring Kunjan Divatia.
  • Emanate Health (CA) adds to its suite of Meditech solutions, implementing the company’s Smart Pump Infusion Integration with the Baxter Spectrum IQ infusion system.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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