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News 12/5/18

December 5, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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The New York State Dept. of Health files administrative charges against former CCS Oncology CEO and Chief Medical Director Won Sam Yi, MD over the deaths of six patients. The department contends that Wu’s role in the deaths stemmed from gross negligence and incompetence, and a failure to adequately maintain their medical records. The chain of oncology practices, a CureMD EHR customer since 2015, closed in April after filing for bankruptcy.


Webinars

December 6 (Thursday) 11 ET. “Make the Most of Azure DevOps in Healthcare.” Sponsor: CitiusTech. Presenter: Harshal Sawant, practice lead for DevOps and mobile, CitiusTech. Enterprise IT teams are moving from large-scale, project-based system implementations to a continuously evolving and collaborative process that includes both development and business teams. This webinar will review healthcare DevOps trends and customer stories, describe key factors in implementing a DevOps practice, describe how to assess Azure DevOps, and lay out the steps needed to create an Azure DevOps execution plan.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


People

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Lynn Westphal, MD (Stanford Medical School) joins tech-heavy women’s clinic Kindbody as CMO of reproductive endocrinology.

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Privia Health names Mark Foulke (Cigna-HealthSpring) EVP of transformational, value-based care.

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The Georgia Health Information Network hires Pam Matthews (SHIEC) as executive operating officer.

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Patagonia Health promotes Don Sargent to VP of customer experience.


Announcements and Implementations

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Aprima announces EHR integration capabilities with SE Healthcare’s data analytics.

KAMMCO develops an opioid/controlled substances dashboard to give its HIE participants deeper insight into patient prescriptions that have been written and filled. KAMMCO has partnered with state medical societies to develop HIEs in seven states.

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Alaska Maritime Physicians implements DrChrono’s mobile EHR to bolster its telemedicine services between patients at sea and its clinic in Anchorage.

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California-based IPA Nivano Physicians selects analytics and population health software from Qualmetrix.

Nextech Systems adds Red Spot Interactive’s patient acquisition and retention software to its EHR and practice management technology for specialty practices.

In California, the San Joaquin Community HIE selects Act.md’s care coordination technology as part of its Whole Person Care pilot program for Medicaid patients. The program will bring together primary and behavioral healthcare providers, social services, and other community partners to care for beneficiaries who use the most healthcare services but have the poorest outcomes.


Telemedicine

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Enzyme Health raises $1.7 million in a seed funding round led by Silverton Partners. The Austin, TX-based startup has developed an online marketplace to match clinicians with job openings at telemedicine companies and brick-and-mortar facilities.


Research and Innovation

Of 2,300 surveyed patients, University of Michigan researchers find that only one third used a patient portal in 2017. Those who didn’t were typically not offered access to a portal, male, over 65, on Medicaid, and lacking a college education. Of those that did use a portal, 95 percent were offered access, proving the proverbial point that you can’t use what you don’t know exists. Of those that didn’t use a portal, most cited a desire to speak directly with their provider, or had no need to access one as opposed to technological barriers, leading researchers to conclude that portal use seems to be more about awareness and comfort levels than computer know-how.


Other

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The local paper profiles Reach Out and Read, a nonprofit started 30 years ago by pediatricians to encourage their peers to get books into the hands of patients. Chad Rogers, MD, co-founder of the organization’s Arkansas branch, says that it’s an evidence-based model that helps improve brain development and better prepares kids for kindergarten. Board member Martha Hiett agrees: “There are all kinds of positives with this program, including the interaction between the pediatrician and the family. We’re sometimes more apt to follow doctor’s orders, and that interactivity encourages and promotes it even more.”


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD publishes a new guide, “In or Out-source Your Value-Based Care Revenue Cycle Management.”
  • Aprima announces EHR integration with SE Healthcare’s Physician Empowerment Suite software.
  • EClinicalWorks publishes a podcast titled “Strengthening Patient Engagement in Illinois.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 12/3/18

December 3, 2018 News No Comments

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AMA publishes its first look at telemedicine utilization amongst 3,500 physicians. Key findings include:

  • Fifteen percent of physicians report using telemedicine as part of their practice, while 11 percent have used it for consults with colleagues.
  • Radiologists, psychiatrists, and cardiologists were the greatest users by specialty for patient interactions.
  • Video conferencing was the most preferred method.
  • Perhaps most relevant to physician practices is the fact that MDs in such organizations had a lower rate of usage than did their employed counterparts, suggesting that cost of implementation may be hindering smaller practices from adopting the technology.

Webinars

December 5 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Tapping Into the Potential of Natural Language Processing in Healthcare.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenters: Wendy Chapman, PhD, chair of the department of biomedical informatics, University of Utah School of Medicine; Mike Dow, senior director of product development, Health Catalyst. This webinar will provide an NLP primer, sharing principle-driven stories so you can get going with NLP whether you are just beginning or considering processes, tools, or how to build support with key leadership. Dr. Chapman’s teams have demonstrated phenotyping for precision medicine, quality improvement, and decision support, while Mr. Dow’s group helps organizations realize statistical insight by incorporating text notes along with discrete data analysis. Join us to better understand the potential of NLP through existing applications, the challenges of making NLP a real and scalable solution, and the concrete actions you can take to use NLP for the good of your organization.

December 6 (Thursday) 11 ET. “Make the Most of Azure DevOps in Healthcare.” Sponsor: CitiusTech. Presenter: Harshal Sawant, practice lead for DevOps and mobile, CitiusTech. Enterprise IT teams are moving from large-scale, project-based system implementations to a continuously evolving and collaborative process that includes both development and business teams. This webinar will review healthcare DevOps trends and customer stories, describe key factors in implementing a DevOps practice, describe how to assess Azure DevOps, and lay out the steps needed to create an Azure DevOps execution plan.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Announcements and Implementations

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The Acacia Network of six FQHCs in New York City goes live on Clearwave’s patient check-in and insurance verification technology.

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The Colorado-based Community Care Alliance will offer its clinically integrated network of rural providers population health management software from The Garage.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Cedars-Sinai Accelerator graduate MedPilot wraps up a seed funding round of $1.7 million with help from the health system, Hudson River Capital Partners, Valley Growth Ventures, and Techstars. The startup, which has developed patient billing and engagement software, will use the funding for new hires and product development.


Telemedicine

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Telemedicine doctors point out that while working from home can be a plus, especially when it comes to avoiding burnout, they sometimes miss the opportunities for curbside consults: “That flexibility just isn’t there in a traditional brick-and-mortar practice,” says Doctor on Demand provider Heather Hawthorne, MD, who adds that it can be a bit isolating, too. “If you talk to physicians in other settings, a big part of taking care of patients is (talking to) your colleague like, ‘Hey, I don’t know what this rash is,’ and you’ll ask the doctor in the next exam room. It’s kind of isolated here. I don’t have that.” Physicians have increased their availability for virtual visits, either moonlighting or moving into telemedicine full time. The AAFP reports that 20 percent of their members consulted via telemedicine in 2017, a steady increase from 15 percent three years prior.


Research and Innovation

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After surveying 4,500 patients, researchers find that between 60 and 80 percent of them admit to not sharing information with their physicians that could be clinically relevant, such as how often they exercise and details about their diet. A third also admit to not speaking up when they disagree with a care recommendation or don’t understand a physician’s instructions. Survey respondents cited a fear of being embarrassed, and being judged about their habits as reasons why they don’t tell their doctors all. To make matters worse, one researcher points out that, “We also have to consider the interesting limitation that survey participants might have withheld information about what they withheld, which would mean that our study has underestimated how prevalent this phenomenon is.”


Other

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The local paper profiles the work Highgate Medical Group in New York is doing to add behavioral healthcare to its primary care services. David Pawlowski, MD has said integration of the two services has been key, including making sure mental health and social service consults are documented in the patient’s EHR so that the entire care team is on the same page.

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Residents of a retired physician’s home in California essentially take thousands of her medical records hostage after finding them spilling out of boxes in a storage area in the garage. Believing the privacy of the patients to be more important than the physician’s legal right to the records, the couple boxed them up, put them in a rented storage unit, and filed a complaint with HHS. The agency has told the couple, who have since moved out of the home, to return the records – a directive they have ignored thus far. The physician has filed a police report claiming they were stolen.

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If author Bill Bryson were a physician, he might come up with something like this: English GP Philip Evans finds fame with his first book, a compilation of quirky tales from his practice, travels, and observations over the years. A few snippets:

  • From a village newsletter: “Low self-esteem support group will meet Thursday at 7 p.m., please use the back door.”
  • Noticed at a cricket match in Dubai: “The dress code is very simple. Just keep your clothes on.”
  • In a letter to The Times: “Researchers found that the least spread of bacteria from surgeons occurred if they were naked and lightly oiled.”

Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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News 11/28/18

November 28, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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CMS and ONC release 74 pages’ worth of recommendations on reducing regulatory and administrative burdens caused by health IT and EHRs. Based on stakeholder feedback and listening sessions conducted over the last year, the draft strategy focuses on three main goals:

  • Reducing EHR documentation time and effort.
  • Reducing the time and effort needed to meet regulatory reporting requirements.
  • Improving EHR functionality and ease of use.

Comments are due January 28.


Webinars

December 5 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Tapping Into the Potential of Natural Language Processing in Healthcare.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenters: Wendy Chapman, PhD, chair of the department of biomedical informatics, University of Utah School of Medicine; Mike Dow, senior director of product development, Health Catalyst. This webinar will provide an NLP primer, sharing principle-driven stories so you can get going with NLP whether you are just beginning or considering processes, tools, or how to build support with key leadership. Dr. Chapman’s teams have demonstrated phenotyping for precision medicine, quality improvement, and decision support, while Mr. Dow’s group helps organizations realize statistical insight by incorporating text notes along with discrete data analysis. Join us to better understand the potential of NLP through existing applications, the challenges of making NLP a real and scalable solution, and the concrete actions you can take to use NLP for the good of your organization.

December 6 (Thursday) 11 ET. “Make the Most of Azure DevOps in Healthcare.” Sponsor: CitiusTech. Presenter: Harshal Sawant, practice lead for DevOps and mobile, CitiusTech. Enterprise IT teams are moving from large-scale, project-based system implementations to a continuously evolving and collaborative process that includes both development and business teams. This webinar will review healthcare DevOps trends and customer stories, describe key factors in implementing a DevOps practice, describe how to assess Azure DevOps, and lay out the steps needed to create an Azure DevOps execution plan.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Announcements and Implementations

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services taps into Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway to connect provider EHRs and pharmacy management systems with the state’s Controlled Substances Reporting System. Users will also have access to the company’s NarxCare patient risk score tool. 


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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UnitedHealth Group will acquire The Polyclinic, a Seattle-based physicians group founded over 100 years ago, via its OptumHealth subsidiary. Polyclinic CEO Lloyd David cited a lack of funding and resources for new technologies as one of the reasons behind the clinic’s decision to put itself up for sale. “We just realized a couple of years ago,” he said, “doing our strategic plan, that it was going to take more capital than we have, than the doctors have, to finance what is ahead both in terms of growth and in terms of innovation.” The clinic implemented Epic nine years ago through a software-sharing agreement with Swedish Medical Center.


Telemedicine

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Global Partnership for Telehealth adds remote patient monitoring software and hardware from Cloud Dx to its line of managed telemedicine services.

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InSight Telepsychiatry secures funding from Harbour Point Capital through a recapitalization. The company, which has been around since 1999, offers virtual mental health services to consumers, community-based providers, and emergency departments.


Research and Innovation

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New research finds telemedicine utilization by commercially insured patients has grown over the last 12 years, but not by much (though there was a significant uptick last year in direct-to-consumer visits as a result of more payer-friendly reimbursement policies). Most virtual visits were initiated by patients living in metro areas for mental health and primary care services. It will be interesting to see if (and when) federal efforts to expand telemedicine services for Medicare beneficiaries result in increased access for patients living in rural areas where, some would argue, they are most needed. (Hat tip to Politico for digging behind the pay wall.)


Other

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While this article highlights physician burnout at hospitals, it also offers a peek into the effects on independent physicians. A few highlights:

  • Independent group Atrius Health (MA) has taken to diverting unnecessary emails away from physicians to lower-level staffers as part of an effort to eliminate 1.5 million “clicks.”
  • It takes 32 clicks to order and record one patient’s flu shot at the internal medicine practice of Christine Sinsky, MD, a number made more onerous at practices where only the physician is permitted to enter the order.

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“Libraries are so much more than just books:” Health Affairs highlights a library in rural Hundred, West Virginia that allows patrons to check out bikes, helmets, horns, and baby trailers. Director Tina McBee hopes bike access will help the community tackle its high obesity rate. The town is one of a dozen across the country now offering the perk.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicomp Systems publishes an e-book titled “Interoperability and the Quest to Solve Healthcare’s Seemingly Unsolvable Problem.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

Get HIStalk Practice updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

News 11/26/18

November 26, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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Managed care company Beacon Health Options creates a new subsidiary, Beacon Care Services, to spearhead the launch of mental health clinics in retail settings. The company opened its first clinic in a Texas-based Walmart Care Clinic earlier this month, and plans to open additional clinics in areas that are underserved and/or in rural locations. Virtual consults will be available to patients if clinic personnel need additional help. Beacon Health President and CEO Russell Petrella says the decision to open a clinic in a place like Walmart is part of the company’s goal to mainstream behavioral health, offering easy access to services in a familiar environment.


Webinars

December 5 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Tapping Into the Potential of Natural Language Processing in Healthcare.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenters: Wendy Chapman, PhD, chair of the department of biomedical informatics, University of Utah School of Medicine; Mike Dow, senior director of product development, Health Catalyst. This webinar will provide an NLP primer, sharing principle-driven stories so you can get going with NLP whether you are just beginning or considering processes, tools, or how to build support with key leadership. Dr. Chapman’s teams have demonstrated phenotyping for precision medicine, quality improvement, and decision support, while Mr. Dow’s group helps organizations realize statistical insight by incorporating text notes along with discrete data analysis. Join us to better understand the potential of NLP through existing applications, the challenges of making NLP a real and scalable solution, and the concrete actions you can take to use NLP for the good of your organization.

December 6 (Thursday) 11 ET. “Make the Most of Azure DevOps in Healthcare.” Sponsor: CitiusTech. Presenter: Harshal Sawant, practice lead for DevOps and mobile, CitiusTech. Enterprise IT teams are moving from large-scale, project-based system implementations to a continuously evolving and collaborative process that includes both development and business teams. This webinar will review healthcare DevOps trends and customer stories, describe key factors in implementing a DevOps practice, describe how to assess Azure DevOps, and lay out the steps needed to create an Azure DevOps execution plan.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Announcements and Implementations

Project ECHO extends its telementoring services to primary care physicians in Washington, DC and Baltimore who care for diabetic patients. The program will offer participating providers educational sessions on how to manage complex diabetes cases and establish team-based care review meetings. George Washington School of Medicine students will also take part in preparation for opening their own independent practices after graduation.


Government and Politics

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Governor Steve Bullock and the Montana Healthcare Foundation allocate $5 million to a behavioral health program that will improve access and outcomes for pregnant and postpartum women suffering from mental health issues and substance abuse. Funding from the Perinatal Behavioral Health Initiative will help eligible practices develop care coordination teams; foster peer support; and offer screening, intervention, and referral to additional treatment and social services, including the state’s First Year’s Initiative for young families. It seems likely that the program will encourage the use of telemedicine, given that Montana has just over 2,100 physicians providing direct care to just over 1 million residents, many of whom live in rural areas.

HHS OCR fines Allergy Associates of Hartford (CT) $125,000 after an AA physician improperly shared PHI with a television reporter in 2015, despite being warned not to do so by practice management. OCR Director Roger Severino points out what apparently wasn’t obvious to the offending MD: “When a patient complains about a medical practice, doctors cannot respond by disclosing private patient information to the media.”


Telemedicine

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Wyoming’s Labor, Health, and Social Services Committee hears from local providers advocating for expanded telemedicine funding beyond the currently allotted $40,000. Urologist and virtual visit advocate Lisa Finkelstein, DO told the committee (via Skype, no less), that educating physicians on the increasingly favorable reimbursement policies of public and private payers is almost just as pertinent as financing. “What we need is help,” Finkelstein told the committee. “Whether it’s in the form of marketing or advertising. Again, getting the buy-in from the providers is really what we need … This is the last mile. To answer your questions, a lot of these [reimbursement] barriers have been taken down. Not enough providers know this. That’s where we’re falling short.”


Other

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DizzyDoctor announces GA of an app that can in real time document vertigo-related symptoms and upload them to the company’s website for diagnosis. Designer Ian Purcell, MD says the company’s eye-tracking algorithm will be eventually be used to help diagnose other conditions.

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Business Insider runs a fairly fluffy piece on Forward, a membership-based primary care company that has added a New York location to its four facilities in California. Founder Adrian Aoun (a former Google executive instrumental in the launch of Alphabet’s Sidewalk City Labs) seems a firm believer in automated care, blaming labor costs for the dismal state of today’s healthcare system and boasting that much of the company’s services take place via its app. “If you build a healthcare system on the foundation of technology,” Aoun says, “you can scale it to billions of people. We want to build the world’s biggest healthcare system. We’re planning on launching more and more services until one day we’re able to perform open heart surgery.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Healthwise will exhibit at the NextGen Patient Experience November 27-29 in San Diego.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

Get HIStalk Practice updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

News 11/21/18

November 21, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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A survey of 300 physicians who have worked in the field for more than four years finds that those who are employed by hospitals experience higher levels of burnout than those who work in independent practices. Seventy-two percent of EPs report lower empathy for patients versus 57 percent of independent MDs. Physicians in all employment categories listed the increased demand for data reporting as the biggest detriment to the joy they previously found in practicing medicine.


Webinars

December 5 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Tapping Into the Potential of Natural Language Processing in Healthcare.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenters: Wendy Chapman, PhD, chair of the department of biomedical informatics, University of Utah School of Medicine; Mike Dow, senior director of product development, Health Catalyst. This webinar will provide an NLP primer, sharing principle-driven stories so you can get going with NLP whether you are just beginning or considering processes, tools, or how to build support with key leadership. Dr. Chapman’s teams have demonstrated phenotyping for precision medicine, quality improvement, and decision support, while Mr. Dow’s group helps organizations realize statistical insight by incorporating text notes along with discrete data analysis. Join us to better understand the potential of NLP through existing applications, the challenges of making NLP a real and scalable solution, and the concrete actions you can take to use NLP for the good of your organization.

December 6 (Thursday) 11 ET. “Make the Most of Azure DevOps in Healthcare.” Sponsora few organizations across the country are demonstrating success using advanced technology tied to intuitive processes and procedures.: CitiusTech. Presenter: Harshal Sawant, practice lead for DevOps and mobile, CitiusTech. Enterprise IT teams are moving from large-scale, project-based system implementations to a continuously evolving and collaborative process that includes both development and business teams. This webinar will review healthcare DevOps trends and customer stories, describe key factors in implementing a DevOps practice, describe how to assess Azure DevOps, and lay out the steps needed to create an Azure DevOps execution plan.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Announcements and Implementations

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Updox adds secure patient texting and group messaging features to its healthcare CRM software.

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Healthcare website and app development vendor Medical Web Experts announces GA of its new MWE Cloud hosting service.


Other

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A Health Affairs blog bemoans the state of primary care, citing a workforce shortage, low pay, burnout, regulatory-induced IT burdens, lack of resources, and fee-for-service payment models that masquerade behind a value-based care façade as reasons for its precarious state. The authors say that public and private efforts to move to VBC business models actually make things worse:

“All of these solutions rest on, but do not fundamentally alter, fee-for-service compensation, imposing additional administrative burdens on practices and providers that serve mostly to distract from patient care. Moreover, many of the so-called “quality metrics” have not been validated and often promote overtreatment while being antithetical to shared decision making and individualized care. None of these solutions has been shown to bolster primary care, enhance patient satisfaction, improve quality, or meaningfully reduce costs.”

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This article highlights the lurch many patients are left in when their lab work is sent to out-of-network facilities, leaving them with a bill for services not covered by insurance. “I didn’t ask where they were sending tumor samples to,” says Allison Ritchie, who was left with a $600 pathology bill from an out-of-network lab. “It wasn’t a question that was at the forefront of my mind,” she adds. “It isn’t necessarily the doctor’s responsibility to look out for me. But at the same time, whose is it?” 

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Time publishes an interesting profile of Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, a magazine editor and writer who waged a 36-year campaign to have Thanksgiving declared a federal holiday. As a result of her efforts, President Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring “a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise” in 1863, though it would be another 60-plus years until President Roosevelt made the fourth Thursday in November a bona fide federal holiday. Fun facts: Historians have called Hale a “crusader urging the admission of women to the practice of medicine, more thorough female education, [and] foreign missions.”


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