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Monday Morning Update 6/17/24

June 16, 2024 News No Comments

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Ascension restores EHR access across its organization, although it once again warns patients that it is still back-entering data that was collected manually since the May 8 ransomware attack.

Remediation of other systems continues, with no timeline provided.

Reader Comments

From Talkin’ Yankees: “Re: arrested executives of Done. What about the investors who funded their company?” Just about any local doctor could pocket lots of cash by writing prescriptions for whatever the customer / patient wants, even if it’s not good for them. Few doctors are willing to sell such prescription-writing services directly, and even those who might be tempted tread lightly because their customers and pharmacies are local and word gets around quickly. Investors flocked to Adderall slingers like Done and Cerebral, which were basically invisible behind websites and mailed prescriptions going all over the US. Both companies raised hundreds of millions of dollars from dozens of investors and weren’t about to let medical ethics stand in their way of scaling to keep those investors happy. I would not be opposed to holding board members equally accountable as executives, although investors who have less day-to-day involvement might rightly claim they didn’t know (and probably didn’t want to know). The fact that no Theranos board members are sharing a country club cell with Elizabeth Holmes suggests long odds of that happening.

From Big Red Zero: “Re: Oracle Health. Feinberg says the contract extension is a testament to its progress in delivering a world-class EHR to the VA.” Company cheerleaders David Feinberg and Seema Verma had to put a positive spin on the 11-month extension. They conveniently didn’t note that Congress was so frustrated with Oracle and the VA that it insisted on one-year extensions instead of the original five as contained in the original, no-bid contract. At least Oracle must have met whatever requirements were needed to earn the renewal and can justifiably celebrate not getting fired, for now anyway. The VA doesn’t really have a backup plan other than to re-implement VistA, which they claim is not only unsustainable, but more expensive than Oracle Health.

From PE Pauper: “Re: private equity buying hospitals and medical practices. Some members of Congress are trying to make laws to limit the damage they can do.” That’s well and good if it passes with teeth in it (unlikely in our political environment), but meanwhile, the cliché of blaming the game rather than the player rules:

  • PE firms break no laws when they load hospitals with unsustainable debt, sell the real estate they sit on Hahnemann-style to immediately get their money back, slash costs dangerously, and then either close the doors or file bankruptcy hoping for a bailout. Like much of corporate America, all of this is unethical, but not necessarily illegal. It’s a bad healthcare system if the only thing propping it up is the assumption of pure intentions.
  • So-called “non-profit” health systems aren’t much better given aggressive business practices, closing of unprofitable but vital services, and stashing piles of cash offshore. Not to mention suing patients into bankruptcy.
  • Nobody notices the inefficiency or indifference of hospital bureaucracy until they move into the patient or caregiver role. Otherwise, more people would be storming the hospital castle with torches and pitchforks.
  • I know to avoid a Chinese buffet that has a long track record of near-failing sanitation scores, but I don’t have that same information or choices when it comes to hospitals. The building is architecturally precious, the lobby has a piano and cabinets full of crystal awards, and they sell sushi in the cafeteria, so it must be a good place to obtain life-or-death care. Once I’m in a bed, the chances of transferring elsewhere are low.
  • Health systems are politically untouchable due to aggressive lobbying and large community employment, so legislators would need to spank  PE firms directly without hitting hospitals with friendly fire.
  • Like it or not, the health system that we have have allowed to develop – one that would not be accepted by any other developed country — will be run by interchangeable corporate suits who call the shots of what happens during your most vulnerable, painful, and life-altering moments. Whether they work for PE, insurers, or regional /national health systems won’t make much difference.  

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Oracle EVP Ken Glueck wrote that “everyone in the industry” understands that Epic’s Judy Faulkner is the biggest obstacle to interoperability, a premise with which 78% of poll respondents disagree. See their comments

New poll to your right or here: Are government penalties effective in getting health systems to improve their cybersecurity practices? I would likely vote no since the business impact far exceeds any added-on penalty that the government might impose after the fact. But of course that begs an alternative question – what would provide that encouragement given that cybersecurity awareness is probably already adequate? Where did Ascension fall short, or is it simply impossible to protect against ransomware attacks like theirs?

Want to support what I do and gain company exposure in the process? Ask Lorre to sign you up as a new HIStalk sponsor – it takes one day, but you reap the benefit in 364 others by reaching my influential audience. Lorre can usually be persuaded to offer some first-year perks, which I pretend not to notice since I like the ego boost of bringing on new sponsors.

Today I learned that the term for the near-obsolete verbal practice of dropping the letter R in pronunciation is called a “non-rhotic” accent as practiced in the “pahk the cah” areas of New England, New York, and parts of the coastal South. Actors of the black-and-white era then latched onto the clearly phony “British Announcer Voice” to sound less regional and more sophisticated. Unrelated to R-dropping is R-adding, such as saying “warsh” instead of “wash.” Up next is the “Confederate A,” where people in parts of the deep South (and born-in-California actors trying to sound generically Southern) might pronounce “try” as “trah.”


June 26 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Population Risk Management in Action: Automating Clinical Workflows to Improve Medication Adherence.” Sponsor: DrFirst. Presenters: Colin Banas, MD, MHA, chief medical officer, DrFirst; Weston Blakeslee, PhD, VP of population health, DrFirst. What if you could measure and manage medication adherence in a way that would eliminate the burdens of medication history collection, patient identification, and prioritization? The presenters will describe how to use MedHx PRM’s new capabilities to harness the most complete medication history data on the market, benefit from near real-time medication data delivered within 24 hours, automatically build rosters of eligible patients, and identify gaps of care in seconds.

June 27 (Thursday) noon ET. “Snackable Summer Series, Session 1: The Intelligent Health Record.” Sponsor: Health Data Analytics Institute. This webinar will describe how HealthVision, HDAI’s Intelligent Health Management System, is transforming care across health systems and value-based care organizations. This 30-minute session will answer the question: what if you could see critical information from hundreds of EHR pages in a one-page patient chart and risk summary that serves the entire care team? We will tour the Spotlight, an easy-to-digest health profile and risk prediction tool. Session 2 will describe HDAI’s Intelligent Analytics solution, while Session 3 will tour HDAI’s Intelligent Workflow solution.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Amwell names co-founder, chairman, and co-CEO Ido Schoenberg, MD as sole CEO. Co-founder and former co-CEO, Roy Schoenberg, MD, MPH – his brother — will remain on the board. AMWL shares have lost 83% of their value in the past 12 months and are off 99% from their January 2021 high, when the company’s valuation was nearly $9 billion versus today’s $116 million.

Government and Politics

CDC warns people who have been getting Adderall from telehealth provider Done – whose executives were arrested last week on Adderall-related charges – should not resort to buying the drugs on the street as an alternative. CDC says that patients should ask their PCP about finding a new prescriber, noting that 7 of every 10 illicit pills that the DEA seizes contain a lethal dose of fentanyl.

Sponsor Updates


  • Medhost’s Cloud Team sorts donations from local grocery stores at Second Harvest, which then distributes them to communities in need.
  • For the second year in a row, Black Book Research survey-takers give InteliChart top marks for end-user satisfaction in the areas of patient engagement and consumer outreach solutions.
  • QGenda publishes a case study, “Banner Health Uses QGenda’s Workforce Management Platform to Improve Patient Access and Time Allocation.”
  • Redox releases a new Diagnosing Healthtech Podcast, “Overcoming challenges of delivering omnichannel healthcare at scale with Marcus Osborne.”
  • CereCore hires Zach Grieshop as AVP of client technical services and names Kim Waters as principal to its newly formed revenue cycle advisory.
  • RLDatix publishes a new resource, “The Joint Commission (JTC) Infection Prevention Updates July 1st – How RLDatix Compliance Solutions Can Help.”
  • Wolters Kluwer Health Executive Director of Continuing Education Karen Innocent, DNP, RN, joins the American Nurses Credentialing Center Commission on Accreditation in Nursing Continuing Professional Development.

Blog Posts


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