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Morning Headlines 8/24/17

August 23, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Funding For Local Public Health: A Renewed Path For Critical Infrastructure

Former National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, MD and George Washington University Health Policy Professor Jeffrey Levi, PhD co-author a Health Affairs article calling for increased spending on public health initiatives.

Presence Health Signs Letter of Intent with Ascension to Join AMITA Health

Ascension Health announces plans to acquire fellow Catholic health system Presence Health (IL).

Henry Ford Hospital CEO Announces Retirement

Henry Ford Hospital CEO John Popovich announces that he will retire at the end of the second quarter 2018, closing out a 40 year career at the hospital.

Medicare to divulge when a doc’s patient is in an ACO

CMS is updating the Medicare website to allow patients to identify their primary care provider so that doctors participating in ACOs will be assigned to their own patients.

Morning Headlines 8/23/17

August 22, 2017 Headlines No Comments

CliniComp Sues Gov’t Over Cerner’s VA Contract

CliniComp files a bid protest against the VA for awarding a no-bid contract to Cerner that will replace its own installations within the VA.

$417 Million Awarded in Suit Tying Johnson’s Baby Powder to Cancer

Johnson & Johnson is ordered to pay $417 million in damages to a woman who successfully argued that baby powder caused her ovarian cancer.

Rush orders up $18M+ fraud lawsuit vs vendor that installed allegedly defective patient monitoring system

Rush University Medical System (IL) sues Draeger after installing its $18 million patient monitoring system to find that it did not perform at the level promised.

Q&A with CEO Ken Comée on what’s next for CareCloud and healthcare IT

Ambulatory EHR vendor CareCloud’s CEO Ken Comée says in an interview with a local paper that going public is part of his plans for the company, explaining “My competitors are 20- and 30-year-old technologies, and I have the best damn platform in the space.”

Morning Headlines 8/22/17

August 21, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Q&A with Rucker: Giving patients modern access to their health data

In an interview with Modern Healthcare, National Coordinator for Health IT discusses information blocking, the future of API-based interoperability, and the role patients will play in getting data where it needs to be.

Community Health Systems investor calls for replacing CEO Wayne Smith

ASL Strategic Value Fund, an investor in CHS, calls for the ouster of CEO Wayne Smith, arguing that the $7.6 billion acquisition of HMA was poorly executed and directly led to a downward spiral in CHS stock prices.

Pharmacy and medical practice accused of using San Diego Marines in $67 million healthcare fraud

A doctors office in Tennessee and a pharmacy in Utah have been implicated in a scheme to defraud Tricare, the insurance provider for the military, of $67 million by generating fraudulent prescriptions for expensive compound medications.

Innovation is the future of health care

Hackensack Meridian Health (NJ) is launching a $25 million incubator program to spinoff healthcare technology companies.

Morning Headlines 8/21/17

August 20, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

The Appointment Ends. Now the Patient Is Listening.

The New York Times covers the growing trend of patients recording their own medical appointments so that they can revisit the conversation in the future.

Trends in Laboratory Information Systems

A small survey of laboratory managers and directors find that 60 percent are currently looking to replace their existing LIS.

Bedside portal at WellStar reduces patient anxiety, lowers costs

A local paper covers the WellStar (GA) implementation of Epic MyChart across its hospitals.

MCMC may sell visiting health services

Mid-Columbia Medical Center (OR) is considering options for its unprofitable home health agency, which it says is difficult to improve because it runs a different EHR than the hospital, making care coordination cumbersome. The hospital is on Epic, and migrating the agency to Epic would reportedly cost $750,000.

Morning Headlines 8/17/17

August 16, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Docs, Hospitals Respond to CMS Retreat on Bundled Payments

CMS announces plans to eliminate several Obama-era bundled payment programs designed to test the impact of bundling some cardiac and orthopedic health services payments.

Healthcare data breaches caused by hacks are on the rise

Cyberattack-related data breaches at healthcare organizations have increased 162 percent so far in 2017, according to data from OCR.

Questions About The FDA’s New Framework For Digital Health

Health Affairs analyzes the FDA’s new Digital Health Innovation Plan.

Express Scripts to limit opioids, concerning doctors

Pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts intends to limit the number and strength of opioid drugs prescribed to first-time users as part of a broad effort to curb the opioid epidemic.

Morning Headlines 8/16/17

August 15, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

The Effects of Terminating Payments for Cost-Sharing Reductions

The Congressional Budget Office issues a report forecasting the financial impact that halting federal payment of cost-sharing subsidies to insurers selling plans on public exchanges will have, concluding that premiums would climb 20 percent in the first year, and continue to raise slightly more in years later.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to Lead New Pediatric Data Resource Center for Research in Childhood Cancer and Structural Birth Defects

The NIH is funding a big data project led by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Center for Data Driven Discovery to discover causes of pediatric cancer and structural birth defects.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust selects Allscripts to enhance care and clinical engagement

In England, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust has selected Allscripts Sunrise EHR.

Physicians Healthsource, Inc. v. Allscripts-Misy’s Healthcare Solutions, Inc.

A physician practice, described by an obviously annoyed presiding judge as “a professional class-action plaintiff”, has filed a class action lawsuit against Allscripts for sending junk faxes without opt out instructions.

Morning Headlines 8/15/17

August 14, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Google Verily Unit Acquires Senosis Health

Verily, Alphabet’s life sciences business, acquires Senosis Health, a smartphone-based medical condition monitoring app. Financial terms were undisclosed.

MIT Medical Selects Cerner’s Integrated Health Care Technology for Care of Students, Faculty and Staff

MIT Medical, which serves MIT students, faculty and family members, selects Cerner as its next EHR.

Coverage For Mental Health Via Telemedicine Soars At U.S. Employers

56 percent of US employers plan to offer telehealth-based behavioral health services in 2018, more than doubling availability compared to 2017 rates.

Morning Headlines 8/14/17

August 14, 2017 Headlines No Comments

As losses mount, Soon-Shiong’s NantHealth to lay off dozens, reduce headcount by 300

NantHealth announces a fresh round of layoffs following its poor Q2 results. Some of the affected employees are being re-assigned to Allscripts as part of previously announced product acquisitions.

ONC’s Rucker hones agency mission around 21st Century Cures Act

Speaking at the Allscripts Client Experience conference, National Coordinator for Health IT Don Rucker, MD discusses the need to give consumers more control of healthcare spending, explaining “We know how to do pay-for-value as consumers when we’re spending our own money. If there’s anything Americans are good at, it’s knowing how to shop.”

Distributed Ledger Technology in Healthcare: Update from the Delaware Blockchain Initiative

The Medical Society of Delaware is working with blockchain technology company Symbiont to develop a blockchain-based solution to address the challenge prior authorization requirements pose.

Morning Headlines 8/11/17

August 10, 2017 Headlines No Comments

NantHealth Files An 8-K Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement

Allscripts trades its 15 million shares in NantHealth stock for the company’s provider and patient engagement solutions,

Remote Workers Vulnerable In Disputes With Company, Say Employees

Remote transcriptionists working for Nuance are claiming that managers offered them incentives and overtime pay in exchange help working through the transcription backlog that accrued during the company’s malware-related downtime, but Nuance later refused to pay, claiming that the incentives were only approved for a small handful of highly-impacted teams.

Trump: ‘The opioid crisis is an emergency’

President Trump declares the opioid crisis a national emergency, a designation that will offer states and federal agencies more resources to combat the epidemic.

NHS England CCIO Keith McNeil resigns

Keith McNeil, chief clinical information officer for NHS England, has resigned after 13 months in the role. He will return to Australia, working as the CMIO at Queensland Health

Morning Headlines 8/10/17

August 9, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Jonathan Linkous Departs ATA After 24 Years As CEO

American Telemedicine Association CEO Jonathan Linkous resigns after 24 years leading the organization. ATA COO Sabrina Smith, MD is filling in as interim CEO until a new CEO is hired.

A Big KO to Germs: Robot Enhances Hospital Safety by Killing Infection-Causing Microbes

Saint Peter’s University Hospital (NJ) is piloting an ultraviolet wave-emitting robot to reduce hospital acquired infections in its facility.

Walgreens, CVS sued over claims co-pays were clawed back

Both Walgreens and CVS are being sued in California for letting customers pay deductibles on prescriptions covered by their insurance that were significantly higher than the actual cash price of the medication. The customers argue that they should have been informed that buying the medications outright was less expensive than paying the co-pay negotiated by their insurer.

Campaign to taint courtroom foe costs Saxton post at OHA

Oregon Health Authority director Lynne Saxton is fired after an OHA plan designed to damage the reputation of a Portland health care organization was made public.

Morning Headlines 8/9/17

August 8, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Epic Move: UC San Diego Health Transitions to Cloud Technology

UC San Diego Health announces that it will transition away from traditional data centers and move its EHR to an Epic-hosted cloud environment.

Evolent Health (EVH) Posts Q2 Loss as Expected, Revenues Top

Evolent Health shares fall 17 percent Tuesday, after reporting a Q2 loss and announcing that it was considering a second IPO, in which it hoped to raise $175 million.

Offering A Price Transparency Tool Did Not Reduce Overall Spending Among California Public Employees And Retirees

A Health Affairs study measuring the impact of offering health services price transparency tools to employees, finds that, “only 12 percent of employees who were offered the tool used it in the first fifteen months after it was introduced, and use of the tool was not associated with lower prices for lab tests or office visits.”

The Man Who Wrote Those Password Rules Has a New Tip: N3v$r M1^d!

Former NIST employee and author of a specification establishing best practices for password security admits that mixed-case passwords that contain special characters are not nearly as secure as longer, phrase-based passwords that are easy to remember but hard to programmatically hack.

Morning Headlines 8/8/17

August 7, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Internet-based EHRs gaining some customers but still a small segment

Modern Healthcare reports that cloud-based EHRs are increasing in popularity due to a perceived advantage in staffing and cybersecurity.

Anthem takes harder line on ER visits

In an effort to reduce unnecessary ER visits, Anthem warns its customers that it may start denying non-emergency ER services, leaving patients with the bill.

A shift in the fitness wearables market spells trouble for Fitbit

Fitbit’s share of the wearables market dropped from 27 to 16 percent in the last year, as Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer Xiaomi continues to expand its marketshare.

Tenet Reports Results for the Second Quarter Ended June 30, 2017

Tenet Healthcare Corporation reports Q2 results: revenue dropped 1.4 percent to $4.8 billion, resulting in an overall net loss of $56 million. Adjusted EPS –$0.17 vs. $0.40. Tenet also lowered its forecasted annual revenue, citing low patient volumes, which sent stock prices down 10 percent in afterhours trading Monday.

Morning Headlines 8/7/17

August 6, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Allscripts announces second quarter 2017 results

Allscripts reports Q2 results: revenue increased 10 percent to $426 million, adjusted EPS -$0.85 vs. $0.05. The company announced it would write off $145 million of its $200 million investment in NantHealth, due to NantHealth’s poor stock performance.

Siemens, DHS warn of “low skill” exploits against CT and PET Scanners

Siemens warns customers of four software vulnerabilities in its molecular imaging systems that would allow hackers to gain remote control of the systems.

WannaCry hero Marcus Hutchins could face 40 years in US prison

The cybersecurity expert that stopped the WannaCry global cyberattack has been arrested in the US, where authorities say he helped create and sell malicious software that targeted bank accounts. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

‘Pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli found guilty of 3 of 8 charges, including securities fraud

Martin Shkreli has been found guilty of defrauding investors of his two hedge funds and paying them back with stock and cash that he stole from his biotech company, Retrophin.

Morning Headlines 8/4/17

August 4, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Allscripts to acquire McKesson’s Enterprise Information Solutions business

Allscripts will acquire McKesson’s Enterprise Information Solutions health IT business for $185 million cash, planning to offer Paragon to small hospitals while continuing to market Allscripts Sunrise to larger health systems.

Remarks by President Trump at Department of Veterans Affairs Telehealth Event

The VA will expand its telemedicine program, already the country’s largest, with VA Video Connect.

Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program Requirements for Eligible Hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals, and Eligible Professionals;

CMS will allow hospitals to submit only one quarter of data for 2018 incentive payments and will allow using 2014, 2015, or a combination of CEHRT to satisfy requirements for CY 2018.

Morning Headlines 8/3/17

August 2, 2017 Headlines 14 Comments

Cancer moonshot head recounts exchange with Epic’s Faulkner

Politico reports that Epic CEO Judy Faulkner told Vice-President Joe Biden at a private January 2017 Cancer Moonshot meeting, “Why do you want your medical records? They’re a thousand pages, of which you understand 10,” to which Biden responded, “None of your business. If I need to, I’ll find someone to explain them to me and, by the way, I will understand a lot more than you think I do.”

Merck Announces Second-Quarter 2017 Financial Results

The pharmaceutical giant says its June 27 malware attack continues to disrupt its manufacturing operations, possibly leading to shipment delays for some drug products, and says the company is not yet able to quantify the financial impact of the NotPetya-caused event. 

What Could Happen If The Administration Stops Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments To Insurers?

Tim Jost’s Health Affairs blog lays out the scenarios that could result if President Trump follows through on his threat to order the federal government to stop making cost-sharing reduction payments as a challenged law requires, dismissing the President’s contention that the payments represent a bailout to insurers.

Google Is Matching Your Offline Buying With Its Online Ads, but It Isn’t Sharing How

The Electronic Privacy Information Center complains to the Federal Trade Commission that Google is using secret methods to match a user’s in-store credit card purchases with their Google ad clicks, allowing it to sell ads based on how they perform in motivating offline sales.

Scientists successfully used CRISPR to fix a mutation that causes disease. This is huge.

OHSU researchers describe in a journal article how they corrected an inherited genetic disorder that causes heart problems using CRISPR, although they stopped short of implanting the embryos in a woman’s uterus. Some experts suggest moving forward with clinical trials, while others urge measuring societal perception to avoid charges of creating “designer babies.”

Morning Headlines 8/2/17

August 1, 2017 Headlines No Comments

athenahealth Announces Strategic Initiatives to Drive Increased Levels of Profitable Growth and Enhance Shareholder Value

Athenahealth, under pressure from an activist investor, will target $100 million in cost saving and remove Jonathan Bush’s president and board chair titles in recruiting replacements, leaving him as CEO.

Outside Of Washington, There Is A New Vital Center In Health Care Reform

A Health Affairs blog post describes the changing opinions of the Affordable Care Act of a regularly polled panel, finding that they are frustrated with Democrats for not delivering on their promise of affordability but are also alarmed with the repeal efforts of Republicans.

Fees for Certification and Finances of Medical Specialty Boards

A JAMA research letter questions the high certification and renewal fees physicians pay to members of the American Board of Medical Specialties that have seen their income and assets swell from that income.

Quality Systems’ (QSII) CEO Rusty Frantz on Q1 2018 Results

NextGen’s parent company reports results that beat Wall Street expectations, its receipt of a Civil Investigative Demands letter from the Department of Justice, and its planned acquisition of analytics vendor EagleDream Health.

Morning Headlines 8/1/17

July 31, 2017 Headlines No Comments

White House panel urges Trump to declare state of emergency over opioid crisis

A White House commission addressing the opioid epidemic recommends that President Trump declare a federal state of emergency.

Republicans ignore Trump’s Obamacare taunts

Senate Republicans say they won’t try to repeal the Affordable Care Act despite the President’s tweets declaring that they should address no other pressing issues until they pass a healthcare bill.

Baltimore-based Evergreen Health to be liquidated

Baltimore-based HMO Evergreen Health, launched by a former city health commissioner, will be liquidated after investors withdraw their bids to acquire the company.

Spare America a do-over on health care. Seize the bipartisan moment.

Former CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt says in a USA Today opinion piece that Americans should hold President Trump accountable for his threats to cut off Affordable Care Act insurance subsidy payments to low-income citizens and instead demand bipartisan healthcare support. 

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