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Morning Headlines 10/13/17

October 12, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

Outcome Health, a hot $5 billion startup, reportedly misled its advertisers

Outcome Health, a Chicago-based healthcare startup, reportedly raised a $500 million funding round on a $5 billion valuation that was based on misleading performance metrics and falsified growth data. The company creates patient education videos intermixed with pharmaceutical ads to be played in doctor’s office waiting rooms.

Trump begins Obamacare dismantling with executive order

President Trump signs an executive order that will create new, non-ACA regulated purchasing options for individuals shopping for health insurance plans. Advocates say sidestepping the ACA marketplaces will free payers to offer lower priced plans that do not comply with ACA protections, while critics say the move is aimed at gutting the ACA individual marketplaces of the younger, healthier demographic needed to sustain a market.

#CHC17 Day 4 Recap

At its annual user conference, Cerner’s President Zane Burke announces that CommonWell services will remain free to Cerner clients for an additional three years, through 2020. The network now holds 60 million patient records.

Doctors Feel Excluded from Health Care Value Efforts

A Harvard Business Review article by two Bain & Company’s healthcare partners argues that providers are not eager to embrace alternative payment models because they have been routinely excluded from the decision-making process.

Morning Headlines 10/12/17

October 11, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Trump announces Hargan as new acting HHS secretary

Eric Hargan, a Chicago-based lawyer, Bush administration HHS staffer, and member of President Trump’s transition team, has been named acting HHS secretary.

Get Ready for a Showdown! – The Secure API Server Showdown Challenge

ONC announces a FHIR-based development challenge, asking experts to deploy FHIR servers using best practice security standards. The challenge aims to “identify unknown security vulnerabilities in the way open source FHIR servers are implemented.”

Deloitte hack hit server containing emails from across US government

The Guardian reports that a hacker has compromised a Deloitte server containing email data from 350 clients, including the NIH, the State Department, the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense.

Former Cleveland Clinic Innovations executive pleads guilty to $2.7 million fraud against hospital system

Gary Fingerhut, the former executive director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, pleads guilty to fraud charges stemming and will serve between three and five years in prison.

Morning Headlines 10/11/17

October 10, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Express Scripts to Buy Medical Gatekeeper for $3.6 Billion

Express Scripts announces that it will acquire EviCore Healthcare, a company that preapproves scans and other costly medical tests for health plans, for $3.6 billion.

How the EMR Is Increasing Innovation and Creativity in Health Care

An HBR article argues that ” just as the cell phone, originally designed as a mobile communication device, has been adapted to an unimagined array of additional functions, the EMR is serving as a platform for innovation and creativity.”

King George Hospital staff hail new iPad system making patient care safer and more efficient

In England, King George Hospital is reporting significant time savings and process improvements stemming from the implementation of System C’s Vitalpac, an iPad-based vital signs documentation system.

eClinicalWorks Announces the Support of Patient Access to Physician Notes Through OpenNotes

eClinicalWorks supports OpenNotes by pushing provider documentation directly to its patient portal.

Morning Headlines 10/10/17

October 9, 2017 Headlines No Comments

CNBC’s Christine Farr reports that Amazon is in the final stages of planning its move into the healthcare space, and is considering selling prescription drugs as an entry point. The tech giant is expected to make a decision on its next steps by Thanksgiving.

Governor Brown Announces Precision Medicine Advisory Committee

California Governor Edmund Brown Jr. announces the formation of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Precision Medicine. The committee will advise the governor on  the use of data-driven tools and analysis to help the State improve health and health care.

Trump to Sign Order Easing Health Plan Rules, Official Says

The Wall Street Journal reports that President Trump will sign an executive order this week rolling back health insurance regulations governing ACA’s individual marketplaces.

Federal prosecutors launch investigation of prominent surgeon who double-booked operations

Federal prosecutors are investigating Lenox Hill Hospital’s (NY) Chairman of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at for simultaneously running operating rooms on hundreds of occasions, a practice patients did not know about.

Morning Headlines 10/9/17

October 8, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

eClinicalWorks Announces Strong Sales Growth

eClinicalWorks reports $130 million in Q3 revenue and the addition of 3,750 new providers. It claims to now be “the second most widely used EHR in the country.”

West Suffolk Hospital patient records checked after discharge letter software error

In England, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust stops using Cerner-generated patient discharge letters after a software bug leads to incorrect medication reconciliation information making its way into the letters.

112 Degrees With No Water: Puerto Rican Hospitals Battle Life And Death Daily

NPR profiles the three-quarters of Puerto Rico’s hospitals that remain on emergency power.

PatientKeeper Charge-Note Reconciliation

PatientKeeper announces reconciliation tools to help hospitals find unclaimed inpatient professional fee charges. The company estimates that hospitals typically fail to charge for 10 to 15 percent of their inpatient professional fee charges.

Morning Headlines 10/6/17

October 5, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Atos acquires 3 key healthcare consulting companies in the US

France-based Atos acquires three US health IT consulting firms: Pursuit Healthcare Advisors, Conduent’s Healthcare Provider Consulting business, and Conduent’s Breakaway Group business.

IBM to Congress: Watson will transform health care, so keep your hands off our supercomputer

IBM is actively lobbying Congress to minimize regulatory oversight of artificial intelligence.

HCH replacing Electronic Health Records system

Hiawatha Hospital Association announces plans to migrate from McKesson Paragon to Athenahealth for its hospital EHR.

Willis-Knighton Health System statement: Board supports CEO James Elrod

Willis-Knighton Health System (LA) Chief Cardiologist Michael G. Futrell, MD resigns following a failed vote of no confidence in the hospital’s 52-years-long CEO James Elrod. The board voted to keep the embattled CEO in place, despite criticism that he has shown “resistance to changing with the times and refusal to upgrade the hospital system’s information systems.”

Morning Headlines 10/5/17

October 4, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Scott Gottlieb rocketed to the top of FDA. He may keep rising

STAT reports that FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who has earned bipartisan praise of his work thus far, may replace Tom Price as secretary of HHS.

Warren, Hatch, Whitehouse, Baldwin, Cassidy Request that GAO Consider Steps for Federal Agencies to Improve Patient Matching in Upcoming Report

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) write a bipartisan letter to the GAO outlining topics they would like addressed in the 21st Century Cures Act-mandated report on improving patient matching.

In digital health’s biggest year of funding, women CEOs emerge as Q3 2017 winners

Rock Health publishes its Q3 2017 digital health funding report. 2017 has been a record-breaking year for startup investments, with Q3 funding raising $1.2 billion, bringing the year-to-date total to $4.7 billion.

In Puerto Rico, Health Concerns Grow Amid Lack of Clean Water, Medical Care

The Wall Street Journal covers worsening conditions in Puerto Rico as the healthcare delivery network on the island struggles to return to operations.

Morning Headlines 10/4/17

October 3, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Argument analysis: An epic day for employers in arbitration case?

Epic’s Supreme Court case is split over whether employers should be able to force employees to sign arbitration clauses as a condition of employment.

Progress In Interoperability: Measuring US Hospitals’ Engagement In Sharing Patient Data

A Health Affairs study of EHR interoperability data from broken down into the sub-domains of finding, sending, receiving, and integrating electronic patient information, concludes that at the end of 2015 only 29.7 percent of acute care hospitals are engaged in all four domains.

2017 HIMSS Congressional Asks

HIMSS asks Congress to elevate the role of HHS CISO to that of the CIO, expand telehealth services, and increase funding needed to implement the 21st Century Cures Act.

Announcing Cityblock: Bringing a new approach to urban health, one block at a time

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs unveils Cityblock Health, a neighborhood-level approach to improving care coordination for Medicaid beneficiaries through technology.

Morning Headlines 10/3/17

October 2, 2017 Headlines No Comments

US Emergency Department Visits For Firearm-Related Injuries, 2006–14

Health Affairs publishes findings from an aptly-timed study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine that aimed to quantify the clinical and financial burden of firearm-related injuries. Researchers concluded that in the US, firearm-related injuries claim 36,000 lives and account for a financial burden of approximately $2.8 billion, annually.

Iasis Healthcare’s sale closes, CEO Whitmer departs

Steward Health Care (MA) completes its $2 billion acquisition of 16-hospital Iasis Healthcare, expanding Steward’s network to include 36 hospitals spread across 10 states.

Three US scientists win Nobel Prize for uncovering inner workings of the biological clock

The 2017 Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash, of Brandeis University, and Michael Young, of Rockefeller University, for their discoveries of the underpinnings of the circadian rhythms that help organisms adapt to our 24-hour days.

Authority of Health Care Providers To Practice Telehealth

The VA proposes a rule that would allow employed VA providers to offer telehealth services to veterans across state lines.

Morning Headlines 10/2/17

October 1, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Trump’s breaking point with Price

HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD resigns amid public outrage over his use of taxpayer funded private jets for personal travel.  Don Wright, MD and assistant secretary for HHS, will serve as acting secretary until a permanent replacement is named.

VA close to awarding Cerner contract for new EHR

VA Secretary David Shulkin notifies Congress of his intent to award a no-bid contract to Cerner within 30 days as part of the VA’s modernization roadmap.

US jury cuts damages in TCS-Epic trade secrets lawsuit

A Wisconsin court cuts the damages awarded to Epic in its trade secrets suit against India-based Tata Consultancy Services rom $940 million to $420 million, citing a Wisconsin law limiting punitive damages to twice the compensatory damages.

Temple University Health System: Financial Summary

Temple University Health System (PA) reports a $22 million year-over-year decline in net income, despite recording a $68 million increase in net patient services revenue over the same period. Temple attributes the decline in net income to its Epic implementation at Temple University Hospital.

Morning Headlines 9/29/17

September 28, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Epic advances its health-centric app store

Years in the making, Epic launches its App Orchard app store, where customers can shop for third-party apps that integrate with Epic’s EHR.

#BeThere: What More Can Be Done To Prevent Veteran Suicide

A VA OIG report on preventing veteran suicides finds that the DoD is still not sharing attempted suicide information on service members transitioning out of the armed services with the VA from its DOD Suicide Event Report system, despite a 2014 federal mandate that it do so.

Certified Health IT Developers and Editions Reported by Hospitals Participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program

CMS releases the latest MU attestation numbers by vendor, showing that Epic has edged ahead of Cerner, with Meditech trailing closely behind the two.

U.S. brings new charges over Tenet Healthcare fraud scheme

Two former Tenet executives are facing conspiracy and wire fraud charges in Georgia. The indictment says that from 2000 to 2013, the executives engaged in a scheme to pay over $12 million in bribes to clinics in Georgia and South Carolina so that providers there would refer pregnant patients to Tenet hospitals to deliver their babies. Tenet billed $400 million to the Georgia and South Carolina Medicaid programs as a result of these referrals.

Morning Headlines 9/28/17

September 27, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Senate Republicans Say They Will Not Vote on Health Bill

Senate Republicans will not bring the Graham-Cassidy bill to vote, ending what might be the GOP’s final opportunity to repeal ACA.

VA running out of money for Choice program

Despite receiving $2.1 billion in emergency funding, the Trump administration says the Veterans Choice healthcare program may run out of money as early as December.

Former IBM Watson Health employee on AI: The truth needs to come out

A former IBM Watson employee remembers his time working on Watson, saying, “There’s a lot of money in marketing and there are a lot of ads on TV but I don’t actually see the products. Anytime anyone would want to see a product roadmap or wanted to see what the future is or when it was coming out, we never really got that timeline.”

Increasing Telehealth Access in Medicare Act

A CBO estimate on costs associated with expanding Medicare telehealth coverage concludes that “enactment of this provision would reduce direct spending by $80 million over the 2018-2027 period.”

Morning Headlines 9/27/17

September 26, 2017 Headlines No Comments

FDA selects participants for new digital health software precertification pilot program

The FDA announces the vendors it has selected to participate in its new digital health software precertification pilot program: Apple, Fitbit, Johnson & Johnson, Pear Therapeutics, Phosphorus, Roche, Samsung, Tidepool, and Verily.

Traffic congestion likely as Epic Systems Corp. customer conference brings thousands to area

A local paper covers the kickoff of Epic’s annual users conference.

Gem looks to CDC and European giant Tieto to take blockchain into healthcare

Blockchain software developer Gem has been selected to work with the CDC to standup a 27-person blockchain application development team.

Morning Headlines 9/26/17

September 25, 2017 Headlines No Comments

3 GOP Senators Oppose Graham-Cassidy, Effectively Blocking Health Care Bill

The Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal bill appears to be dead as three GOP Senators come out as firm ‘no’ votes. Senators Susan Collins (R- ME), John McCain (R-AZ), and  Rand Paul (R-KY) have all come out against the bill.

Guest Commentary: Value-based care’s success hinges on attention to social determinants

Former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and former National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD co-author an article in Modern Healthcare urging leaders and legislators working to overhaul the US healthcare delivery system not to overlook the social determinants that are associated with poor population health.

Microsoft launches new healthcare division based on artificial intelligence software

In England, Microsoft is following in Google’s footsteps as it launches an AI business unit focused on developing tools to alert providers of undetected patient problems.

Pfizer spends billions to develop new drugs. It’s not satisfied. So it’s launching a startup

Pfizer launches a six-person startup tasked with pursuing drug research that Pfizer is too busy to complete. The startup, called SpringWorks Therapeutics, has raised $103 million in early investments and will focus on pushing four Pfizer invented therapies through the remainder of their development cycles and into the market.

 

Morning Headlines 9/25/17

September 24, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

Tom Price to halt taxpayer-funded travel on private jets

HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD confirms that he will no longer charter taxpayer-funded private jets to travel for business, explaining “We’ve heard the criticism. We’ve heard the concerns. We take that very seriously and have taken it to heart.” A recent Politico investigation found that Price has spent $400,000 chartering private jets since May.

Plan to shut Obamacare site during open enrollment draws critics

The Trump administration will shut down Healthcare.gov for 12 hours every Sunday and overnight on the first day of open enrollment during the upcoming enrollment period, claiming the outages are for routine maintenance. The decision has drawn criticism from consumer advocates that say the administration is intentionally undermining the exchanges.

Kaiser Permanente CEO: Health Care Must Mean More Than Coverage

Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson, MD writes a TIME article discussing the path the US took to arrive at employer-based health insurance coverage as the standard, the role CMS and ACA play in expanding coverage beyond the working class, and the way that technology will be used to deliver care in the future. In his summary, he explains “Delivering better health for all means transforming an industry so when someone needs health care, it is delivered in a 21st century way that combines technology with the personal touch.”

 

Morning Headlines 9/22/17

September 21, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Certification Program Updates to Support Efficiency & Reduce Burden

ONC eases EHR Certification requirements for vendors in an effort to reduce regulatory burden on health IT developers. First, ONC has revised certification test procedures so that vendors can “self declare” that their products meet 30 of 55 certification criteria. Second, ONC plans to exercise “enforcement discretion” when it comes to conducting randomized surveillance of health IT products.

Letter to HHS Secretary Thomas Price, MD

Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) send a letter to HHS Secretary Thomas Price asking for an update on HHS plan to address cyberthreats to the healthcare sector after learning that the “NotPetya” malware attack is causing lingering delays in availability of certain Merck products.

VA CIO Rob Thomas retiring from government

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ acting CIO, Rob Thomas, will retire from government service in October. VA Interim Deputy Secretary Scott Blackburn will replace him.

VA Removes Former D.C. Medical Center Director

The VA has fired the medical director of the D.C. Medical Center for sending sensitive VA information from his work email to unsecured private email accounts.

Morning Headlines 9/21/17

September 20, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Medicare and Medicaid Need Innovation

CMS Administrator Seema Verma says in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the agency will pivot its Innovation Center to offer providers new ways of delivering care, noting that value-based programs have resulted in market consolidation and reduced competition.

Cleveland Clinic CIO talks innovation, patient engagement and BYOD

In an interview with MedCity News, Cleveland Clinic CIO Ed Marx discusses his views on BYOD, and the various apps used by patients and clinicians at the Clinic.

To Foster Information Exchange, Revise HIPAA And HITECH

Niam Yaraghi, a fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation, argues in a Health Affairs article that HITECH and HIPAA are as much at fault for the nation’s EHR interoperability problems as the vendors and providers that are being blamed.

Senate girds for final Obamacare repeal vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) will introduce the Graham-Cassidy bill for a vote by next week. The vote will likely be the GOP’s final opportunity to repeal ACA.

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