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Morning Headlines 11/10/17

November 9, 2017 Headlines 5 Comments

Judge rules protestor couldn’t compete for Vista replacement

A VA source tells FCW that the upcoming Cerner contract will be signed sometime in November, and will cost the VA a total of $10 billion.

If Gov. Greitens is so committed to fighting opioid abuse, where’s his program?

In Missouri, a local paper questions the integrity of local public officials who will not confirm or deny whether the state has launched its cobbled-together PDMP.

HHS Names Patient Matching Algorithm Challenge Winners

ONC announces Vynca as the winner of its Patient Matching Algorithm Challenge, selecting the winning submission from over 140 competing teams.

AnMed Health Medical Center laying off workers in Anderson

AnMed Health (SC) lays off 94 employees and eliminates another 65 open positions to reduce costs following lower patient volumes, reduced revenue, and costs associated with its Epic implementation.

Morning Headlines 11/9/17

November 8, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Repealing the Individual Health Insurance Mandate: An Updated Estimate

The CBO estimates that if the GOP repeals the ACA individual mandate as part of its planned tax overhaul, it would lower the federal deficit by $338 billion over the next ten years, making room for tax cuts in other areas. Eliminating the mandate is expected to increase the uninsured rate by four million people in 2019 and 13 million in 2027.

America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety

In its annual report on quality, The Joint Commission notes that in 470 hospitals submitted eCQM data in 2017, up from 34 in 2016. The report predicts that more than 2,000 hospitals will submit eCQM data in 2018.

Major investors sue Outcome Health, alleging firm committed fraud to secure $487.5M investment

Chicago-based healthcare unicorn Outcome Health is sued by a group of early investors, including the investment arms of Goldman Sachs and Google, over allegations of fraud. The company and its founders are being accused of falsifying its financial performance data during its most recent fundraising round.

Cleveland Clinic plots $20 million children’s center

The Cleveland Clinic will spend $20 million remodeling its four-story Taussig Cancer Center into a 120,000-square-foot children’s center. The new center is expected to be completed by fall 2018.

Morning Headlines 11/8/17

November 7, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Saint Anthony Hospital sues ratings agency Leapfrog, said knowingly used incorrect info to lower grade

Saint Anthony Hospital (IL) sues the Leapfrog Group, claiming defamation after the Leapfrog Group lowered the hospital’s patient safety score in recently published report.

Surescripts Transforms Prescription Decision Process Between Physicians and Patients

Surescripts announces that it will work with Allscripts, Aprima, Cerner, Epic, GE Healthcare, and Practice Fusion to present patient-specific prescription drug authorization and pricing information to providers in real-time at the point of care.

CVS adds next-day prescription delivery as threat of Amazon competition looms

In response to a perceived threat from Amazon, CVS announces next-day delivery for prescription drugs.

Regulators hear arguments for new medical records system

Officials from the University of Vermont Health Network (VT) is requesting $150 million in state funding to implement Epic across its four hospitals and all of its outpatient practices.


Morning Headlines 11/7/17

November 6, 2017 Headlines No Comments

NHS now lets you talk to a doctor through a video call

The NHS launches GP at Hand, a telehealth service offering UK citizens remote access to an NHS physician within two hours, rather than waiting three weeks for an in person appointment. GP at Hand is available 24 hours a day, and providers are authorized to write prescriptions and schedule follow up appointments within the NHS as needed.

Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2018

Ransomware and other cybersecurity threats tops ECRI Institute’s list of top 10 health technology hazards for 2018.

Adding device codes to insurance claims could save lives and billions in taxpayer dollars

In an op-ed published in The Hill, leaders from the Pew Charitable Trust offer support for mandating unique device identifiers for medical devices.

More hospitals earning Medicare bonuses under value-based purchasing

New ACO data released by CMS Friday shows that the percent of hospitals that have earned a performance bonus in 2018 climbed to 57 percent, up from 55 percent last year. The total number of ACO participants declined from 2,955 in 2017 to 2,808 in 2018.

Morning Headlines 11/6/17

November 5, 2017 Headlines No Comments

UPMC says $2B project to build 3 hospitals will put it in ‘a class virtually onto itself’

Pittsburgh-based UPMC will spend $2 billion to build three new technology-focused specialty hospitals that it hopes will position it to become the “Amazon of health care.”

Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (MDRX) Q3 2017 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

On its Q3 earnings call, Allscripts President Richard Poulton notes that the company has passed $2 billion in annual revenue, making it the second largest public health IT vendor.

Lawmakers look to keep close tabs on VA’s health record switch

A bipartisan group of congressman from the House Committee on Veterans Affairs introduces legislation requiring the VA to hand over documentation detailing how it intends to implement its Cerner EHR. Chairman Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) called the bill “essential legislation that will give Congress additional tools to carry out effective oversight of this challenging undertaking.”

Politically connected cancer mogul faces questions over his genetic tests

Healthcare billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD falls under suspicion for exaggerating the success of his GPS Cancer genetic test sales on a call with investors.

Morning Headlines 11/3/17

November 2, 2017 Headlines 3 Comments

Allscripts announces third quarter 2017 results

Allscripts reports Q3 results: revenue increased 15 percent to $449 million, adjusted EPS –$0.16 vs. –$0.06.

Leidos Holdings, Inc. Reports Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2017 Results

Leidos reports Q3 results: revenue up 34 percent to $2.5 billion, adjusted EPS $0.95 vs. $1.25, beating on earnings but missing on revenue.

CPSI Welcomes Back Two Returning Community Hospitals

Seiling Municipal Hospital (OK) and El Campo Memorial Hospital (TX) both announce that they will return to CPSI after contracting with unnamed CPSI competitors. Seiling Municipal Hospital was recently profiled by Athenahealth as strong users of its cloud-based acute care EHR.

Hospitals sue CMS over 340B drug changes

AHA and two other hospital lobbying groups sue CMS after the agency published a final rule that will drastically cut funding for the 340B discount drug program. The program was originally introduced to help underfunded hospitals buy drugs for low-income patients, but hospitals have monetized the program to maximize their profits.

Morning Headlines 11/2/17

November 1, 2017 Headlines 3 Comments

CMS Releases Medicare Shared Savings Program 2016 Results

Former National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, MD analyzes the recently released MSSP performance data, concluding that population health-driven savings increase with time, and noting that ACOs appear to consistently outperform fee-for-service organizations on quality measures.

Community Health Systems, Inc. Announces Third Quarter 2017 Results with Net Operating Revenues of $3.666 Billion

Community Health Systems (TN) reports Q3 results: revenue fell 16 percent to $3.7 billion, EPS -$0.96 vs. -$0.69, missing on both. Share prices fell seven percent in after hours trading.

Here are the final recommendations of the White House opioid commission

The White House Opioid Commission publishes its final report on combating the opioid epidemic. The report makes 56 recommendations, including expanded use of block grants to fund state-level initiatives, a mandate that HHS establish prescriber guidelines and educational materials covering the use of opioids in pain management, mandated deployment of state-level PDMPs, bolstered prosecution and criminal penalties, and a media blitz aimed at informing the public of treatment options. The commission also recommends that “CMS remove pain survey questions entirely on patient satisfaction surveys, so that providers are never incentivized for offering opioids.”

Google Is Backing an Eclectic Group of Startups That Use AI in Health Care

Alphabet startup incubatorLaunchpad Studio announces its first class of companies, all of which are startups using AI to tackle healthcare problems.

Morning Headlines 11/1/17

October 31, 2017 Headlines No Comments

The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Advancing Care Information

CMS updates its MIPS information blocking requirements to specify that providers must attest they have not disabled EHR interoperability functions, or intentionally implemented their EHR in a way that limits data exchange, and that they respond to data requests from patients and providers quickly.


Meditech reports Q3 results: revenue grew 9.8 percent to $122 million, EPS $0.47 vs. $0.68. Product revenue jumped 50 percent while service revenue dropped by three percent.

MCH sees major issues with medical record system conversion

The April 1 Cerner go-live at Medical Center Health System (TX) leads to billing delays that have pushed administrators to hire outside help to reduce accounts receivable prior to the end of the hospital’s FY.

10 percent revived by Narcan in Mass. died within year, study says

Researchers in Massachusetts find that one in 10 residents who were revived from an opioid overdose by Narcan went on to die within a year because their underlying substance-use disorder went untreated. The studies lead author says that hospitals should be referring patients to outpatient rehabilitation treatment centers and immediately prescribing Suboxone or Methadone, but few do.

Morning Headlines 10/31/17

October 30, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Hearing Amazon’s Footsteps, the Health Care Industry Shudders

The New York Times explores the industry’s reaction to news that Amazon is quietly building a healthcare business unit. The article points out that Amazon has already secured wholesale pharmacy licenses in 12 states, and argues that the recent effort by CVS to acquire Aetna is, in part, a response to new pressure in the pharmacy market from Amazon.

Technology for a Healthier Future: Modernization, Machine Learning, and Moonshots

Alphabet’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt will deliver the opening keynote speech of HIMSS18. He presides over various healthcare-focused business units within Alphabet, and serves on the boards of the Mayo Clinic and the Broad Institute.

CMS proposed rule opens door to skimpier health plans, higher patient costs

CMS publishes a proposed rule aimed at stabilizing ACA marketplaces that will give states the authority to define the minimum essential health benefits a plan must cover. Advocates hope the change will lure insurers back to the marketplaces and result more affordable plans for consumers.

IBM Watson Health Teams Up With The CDC To Research Blockchain

The CDC will partner with IBM Watson to research blockchain-powered tools to improve secure health data sharing.


Morning Headlines 10/30/17

October 29, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Merck Announces Third-Quarter 2017 Financial Results

Merck reports a $135 million in lost Q3 sales and $175 million in additional costs associated to its recovery from the Petya ransomware attack.

Quality Systems, Inc. Reports Fiscal 2018 Second Quarter Results

QSII, parent company of NextGen, reports 2018 results: revenue grew four percent to $132.6 million, adjusted EPS $0.22 vs. $0.23, beating expectations for both.

Tenet Healthcare to lay off about 1,300 employees

Tenet Healthcare will lay off 1,300 employees, one percent of its total workforce, as business leaders look to cut costs by $150 million over the next year.

Health IT Investment on Record Pace through Q3

A Healthcare Growth Partners report on heath IT investments says that $8 billion has been invested globally in health IT startups through Q3 of 2017. The report says that investment activity is continuing to grow, despite a slowdown of M&A activity, noting “total capital invested globally in HIT has increased at an annual rate of 46% since 2011.”

Morning Headlines 10/27/17

October 26, 2017 Headlines No Comments

President Donald J. Trump is Taking Action on Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis

President Trump declares the opioid epidemic a “public health emergency”, but falls short of declaring a national emergency which would have unlocked immediate funding to help address the situation. Officials assured critics that the administration would be requesting additional funding to support expanded treatment efforts shortly.

How Health Care Providers Can Help End the Overprescription of Opioids

Harvard Business Review covers the opioid epidemic, calling for mandated use of PDMPs and improvements in their integration with EHRs.

Cerner’s busy earnings call: more government deals, stock falls hard, no CEO yet

Cerner reports Q3 results: revenue climbed eight percent to $1.28 billion, adjusted EPS $.52 vs. $0.49, missing on both. Shares fell eight percent in after-hours trading. On its earnings call, COO Michael Nill noted that a new CEO had not yet been identified, but offered some assurances, explaining that “The company is being run by a very solid team. The board is going to take their time and go through that process in a very careful manner.”

CVS Makes Blockbuster Aetna Bid

CVS is reportedly in talks to buy Aetna at a $66 billion valuation, sending share prices up 11 percent in after-hours trading.

Morning Headlines 10/26/17

October 25, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Cerner EHR implementation at VA to take ‘7 to 8 years’

VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD told the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs that the transition from VistA to Cerner will take seven to eight years, with the first go-live anticipated 18 months after contracts are signed.

CRISPR 2.0 Is Here, and It’s Way More Precise

Published in both Nature and Science, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard describe a new gene-editing technique that improves on CRISPR-Cas9. The new approach rearranges atoms within a DNA strand to repair mutated chemical bases, rather than cutting and replacing the problematic area of the DNA, resulting in a more precise editing tool that could one day treat a range of inherited diseases, some of which currently have no treatment options.

Judge rejects bid by 18 states to revive Obamacare subsidies

In San Francisco, US District Judge Vince Chhabria upholds President Trump’s executive order stopping cost-sharing subsidy payments to insurers.

Bipartisan health-care bill would reduce deficit by $4B over 10 years

The CBO says the bipartisan Alexander-Murray bill, designed to stabilize the ACA individual marketplaces, would reduce the deficit by nearly $4 billion over the next 10 years.

Morning Headlines 10/25/17

October 24, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Imprivata Acquires Identity and Access Management Business of Caradigm to Expand its Solutions

Imprivata expands its secure user access product line in acquiring Caradigm’s identify and access management business. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nuance Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against MModal

Nuance sues rival speech recognition vendor MModal, alleging that MModal products violate six Nuance patents related to speech recognition, computer-assisted physician documentation, and transcription technology.

UCSF Innovators Use EHRs to Track Hospital-Acquired Infection

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine conducted by the UCSF Health Informatics team analyzes the movements of 85,000 hospitalized patients seen over three years by mapping EHR patient location and timestamp data. This information was then compared with hospital acquired infection data in hopes of uncovering unknown transmission hotspots within the hospital. The team did identify that patients who entered a particular CT scanner used in the Emergency Department were more than twice as likely to become infected with C. Diff than the baseline patient population. As a result, ED staff were re-trained on how to properly sanitize the scanner.

Cleveland Clinic CEO sees ‘total restructuring’ ahead for health care business

At the Cleveland Clinic’s 15th annual Medical Innovation Summit, CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD predicts that the shift to value-based care will require a “total restructuring” of the healthcare industry, saying, “I think as we do that we’re going to see the quality improve, we’re going to see the cost come down, and hopefully that will allow us to look after more and more people across the United States. But this is an enormous transition we’ve been at it now nine years, and we’re just beginning to see the effects of this.”

Morning Headlines 10/24/17

October 23, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Fetter Leaves Tenet Healthcare As CEO

Tenet CEO Trevor Fetter resigns after a two decade career at the health system. His last day will be March 15, 2018, or when a successor is named, whichever comes sooner. Tenet has been exploring strategic options recently, including the potential sale of parts of the company, and has been in the public eye over disagreements with investors over strategy, takeover rumors, and board-level resignations.

Olathe lawmaker’s job as a government strategist raises ethics questions

The Kansas City Star questions the whether a senior government strategist for Cerner should be simultaneously serving as the 15th district Kansas state representative.

Leidos Partnership for Defense Health Supports Advancement of Military Health System through Deployment of MHS GENESIS at Madigan Army Medical Center

Ft. Lewis, WA-based Madigan Army Medical Center goes live on Cerner, the fourth major installation of the DoD’s MHS GENESIS program.

Iowa withdrawing Obamacare alternative plan

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen announces that the state will withdraw its proposal to revamp policies governing its ACA marketplace for the 2017-2018 enrollment year, despite warnings that without the plan, up to 22,000 Iowans will drop out of the individual insurance market.


Morning Headlines 10/23/17

October 22, 2017 Headlines No Comments

athenahealth’s CEO Jonathan Bush on Q3 2017 Results

Athenahealth shares jump 8 percent on news of the company’s layoffs and cost reduction plan. In its earnings call, CEO Jonathan Bush attributes slow sales to “lackluster market conditions in the post-Meaningful Use era.”

FirstHealth Computer Network Threatened by Malware Virus

On Tuesday, a ransomware attack at FirstHealth of the Carolinas forces end users onto downtime procedures. Security analysts have identified the malware as a new form of the “WannaCry” virus.

Cleveland Clinic spinoff company executive arrested, charged with defrauding hospital out of $2.8 million

The former CTO of a Cleveland Clinic Innovations spinoff is arrested on fraud charges just nine days after the former director of Cleveland Clinic innovations Gary Fingerhut was arrested in connection with the same scheme.

Morning Headlines 10/20/17

October 19, 2017 Headlines No Comments

athenahealth Reports Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2017 Results

Athenahealth announces Q3 results: revenue climbed 10 percent to $304.6 million, adjusted EPS $0.56 vs. $0.60, beating earnings expectations but falling short on revenue. In response to activist investor pressure, the company announced a cost-savings program on Thursday that included layoffs for more than 500 of its staff members, amounting to nine percent of its workforce.

Utah audit finds legal violations in university’s deal with Patrick Soon-Shiong

A Utah legislative watchdog committee publishes an investigative report on the University of Utah concluding that it violated state procurement laws when it accepted Patrick Soon-Shiong’s $12 million donation, explaining that it had “allowed the donor’s specifications to steer the contract to his company, which we believe is a violation of Utah Administrative Code.”

JDRF Announces New Initiative to Pave Way for Open Protocol Automated Insulin Delivery Systems

JDFR, a charitable foundation focused on funding type 1 diabetes research, announces a new initiative that will work to establish open protocols for artificial pancreas technology.

IFHS Investigates Cybersecurity Breach Of Clinic’s Computer System

Unalaska’s Iliuliuk Family and Health Services clinic (AK) announces that a ransomware attack breached it servers in August. It does not specify whether it paid a ransom to restore access, but promises a detailed report on the breach will be made public in the coming weeks.

Morning Headlines 10/19/17

October 18, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Tom Marino, Drug Czar Nominee, Withdraws in Latest Setback for Trump’s Opioid Fight

A 60 Minutes and Washington Post investigative report exposes a multi-year effort by drug distributor lobbyists to push an industry-friendly bill through Congress that ultimately undercut the DEA’s drug distribution enforcement options at the height of the opioid epidemic. Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), President Trump’s Drug Czar nominee, withdrew his name from consideration after the report called him the “chief advocate of the law that hobbled the DEA.”

IBM shares up after earnings beat

IBM reports Q3 results: $19.15 billion in revenue and $3.3o adjusted EPS, beating analyst expectations on both, but marking its 22nd straight quarter without revenue growth. The company’s AI business unit brought in $4.4 billion in revenue, up 4 percent.

Virtual Therapists Help Veterans Open Up About PTSD

Wired covers the use of teletherapy in the treatment of PTSD among veterans.

White House says Trump opposes Senate’s bipartisan Obamacare deal

In a reversal, the White House now says it opposes the bipartisan deal drafted by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patrick Murray (D-WA) that would stabilize ACA marketplaces and restore the payment of cost-sharing subsidies.

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