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News 12/12/17

December 12, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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An AMA survey of 1,300 physicians finds that 83 percent have experienced a cyberattack, with top types being phishing, malware/viruses, and inappropriate employee access. Other findings of interest:

  • Most practices experienced no more than four hours of downtime.
  • Top responses to an attack include notifying internal IT groups and employees, followed by implementing policies and procedures.
  • Nearly half of respondents have in-house security officials, which makes me wonder about the effectiveness of employee training and safeguards at the 83 percent referenced above.
  • Practices rely on cybersecurity training content developed by their health IT vendors.
  • Physicians believe their cybersecurity confidence would most be enhanced by cyber hygiene tips and easily understood HIPAA training.

Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Announcements and Implementations

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The Medical Society of New Jersey launches a statewide HIE dubbed OneHealth New Jersey. The society relied on Kammco Health Solutions to develop and implement the new HIE. Kammco has helped with similar efforts in Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and South Carolina.

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The Morag Consulting Group updates its Solismed clinic management system to include a patient portal, secure messaging, and e-prescribing capabilities from Weno Exchange.

The New York eHealth Collaborative, managing organization for the Statewide Health Information Network for New York, taps HealthEC to develop and implement its MIPS registry and reporting service.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL, RCM-focused Infinity Behavioral Health Services buys Kingston, NY-based competitor Health Assets Management.

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Clinicient acquires Austin, TX-based patient engagement company Keet. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Portland-based Clinicient will integrate Keet’s platform, which includes digital care plans and secure messaging, with its EHR, PM, and billing technology for outpatient rehab providers.

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Atlanta-based physician scheduling software company QGenda acquires competitor Tangier for an undisclosed sum. Tangier’s assets will bring software for urgent care providers to QGenda’s enterprise-focused product line.


People

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After 13 years as HealthlinkNY president and CEO, Christina Galanis will step down at the end of the year to become president of Womba, a consumer-focused health data aggregator based in Queens, NY. HealthlinkNY SVP Staci Romeo will assume the role of interim executive director.


Government and Politics

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The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Group becomes the first military healthcare facility in Ohio to join a civilian HIE. The medical group, which serves 58,000 patients, began phasing in Ohio Health Information Partnership capabilities in 2015.


Other

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If you want a good laugh: A British GP takes lighthearted issue with the children’s program Peppa Pig and its depiction of easy (and often unnecessary) access to general practitioners – a portrayal she believes might be giving youngsters unrealistic healthcare expectations. She chides Dr. Brown Bear for caving in to the medicinal requests of an ailing three year-old piglet, and making a home visit – in an ambulance – after Pedro the pony coughs three times. She also finds evidence of physician burnout: “His disregard for confidentiality, parental consent, record keeping, and his self prescribing indicate that the burden of demand from his patient population is affecting his health,” she writes. “He is no longer able to offer the level of service his patients have come to expect.”


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News 12/11/17

December 11, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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21st Century Oncology again finds itself in hot water: The chain of treatment centers faces a lawsuit that claims the company illegally paid bonuses to physicians who referred patients to testing labs owned by the company. The lawsuit, recently unsealed, was filed last year by former 21st Century Oncology Interim VP of Financial Planning Matthew Moore, who after comparing physician salaries and bonuses with billings, found an $8.7 million discrepancy.

The Fort Myers, FL-based company, which has agreed to settle for $26 million, hasn’t had much positive press of late. It filed for bankruptcy six months ago, and suffered a 2016 data breach that exposed over 2 million records and led to 13 federal class action lawsuits.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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This past weekend saw my neck of the woods inundated with up to 13 inches of pretty/destructive snow. My neighborhood in particular saw nine-plus inches, multiple trees (and fences) felled, and power outages that crossed the 24-hour mark. It’s certainly the first time in my living memory that I can recall getting this much snow in December, and it’s definitely made me aware of the emergency supplies I need to have on hand for severe weather events. Friends in northern climes, what items do you make sure to have on hand during winter storms? I couldn’t help but marvel that we were dealing with such unexpected wintry conditions while folks in California were dealing with devastating wild fires.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Announcements and Implementations

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Solutionreach announces SR Schedule, which allows physician practices to offer the patients easy self-scheduling.

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Rennova Health’s Medical Mime subsidiary updates its M2Select EHR to offer practice staff and behavioral healthcare providers more efficient management of patient forms.

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Bedford, MA-based Progress launches a HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based platform for health app development and EHR integration.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Eye care physician services organization EyeSouth Partners adds Georgia Ophthalmology Associates to its network of 30 providers working at 20 locations across Georgia. Backed by private equity firm Shore Capital Partners, EyeSouth provides affiliated practices with working capital, operating strategy and resources, and IT expertise.


People

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Relapse prevention technology company Chess Mobile Health rebrands to Chess Health and names Hans Morefield (Experian Health) CEO. Former CEO Chris Wilkins will transition to an advisory role as the company expands its offerings to include analytics and benchmarking.


Government and Politics

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HHS announces the three winning teams of its first opioid-focused code-a-thon, each of which received $10,000. The winning Opioid Prescriber Awareness Tool may be of the most interest to physicians. Developed as part of the competition’s usage track, it provides visual representations of physician prescribing patterns for a given area – particularly useful for referring physicians who want to avoid sending their patients to colleagues who may be a little too quick to write an opioid script.


Telemedicine

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The Community Health & Wellness Center of Greater Torrington (CT) will use a $1 million loan from New York-based Primary Care Development Corp. to expand its use of telemedicine, particularly for pain management patients; to hire additional staff, and add more educational programs. The center’s spending plans are part of an overall initiative to integrate behavioral health with primary care services.


Research and Innovation

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A new MGMA poll finds that 83 percent of 409 respondents have implemented stricter opioid prescription protocols, primarily as a result of increases in opioid abuse, regulatory changes, and new guidelines. It would be interesting to find out if there’s any correlation between physicians who have tightened up protocols and their level of access to/utilization of a PDMP.


Other

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A Malwarebytes report deems hackers to be modern-day mafioso, categorizing them into four groups – hackers-for-hire, ideological hackers, state-sponsored hackers, and traditional gangs. (I can’t quite wrap my head around the cyber version of a Jets versus Sharks showdown.) The “new cyber mafia,” as the report calls the perpetrators, helped cyberattacks increase 23 percent over 2016. Ransomware attacks increased by 62 percent for the first 10 months of the year.

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A trip to the gas station turns into an unexpected labor of love for obstetrician Javier Soto, MD. On his way to deliver a baby at nearby Rockledge Regional Medical Center (FL), Soto was waylaid in the parking lot by a frantic father-to-be whose wife was already in labor. Soto delivered the baby in the car using scissors, food prep gloves from the gas station, and the father’s shoelace. He then followed the new family to Rockledge for follow-up, and to deliver the initial reason for his trip.


Sponsor Updates

  • Nordic releases a new podcast, “Consolidating your EHR after a merger or acquisition.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 12/7/17

December 7, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Mecklenburg County officials in North Carolina begin restoring data from backup servers after being hit with a ransomware attack likely perpetrated by hackers from Iran or the Ukraine. The attack spread to 48 of the county’s 500 servers after an employee clicked on a malicious link in an email. Officials did not pay the requested $23,000 in bitcoin. They are focusing initial restoration efforts on HHS, courts, and Land Use and Environmental Services data.

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In discussing the breach at a news conference, county manager Dena Diorio explained that, “It was going to take almost as long to fix the system after paying the ransom as it does to fix it ourselves. And there was no guarantee that paying the criminals was a sure fix.”


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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New York City-based patient billing startup Cedar raises $13 million in a Series A funding round with participation from Founders Fund, Thrive Capital, Martin Ventures, and SV Angel.


Announcements and Implementations

Gunjan Raina, MD opens an MDVIP practice in Baton Rouge, LA. The concierge practice management company now has 25 locations in Louisiana.


People

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Echo Health Ventures adds Patrick Conway, MD (Blue Cross NC) to its Board of Directors.


Government and Politics

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Nevada health officials explain the state’s forthcoming opioid prescription law to 200 physicians. Set to take effect on January 1, the law will require physicians to register with the state’s PDMP and conduct mental health evaluations before issuing opioid prescriptions, which can initially only last for up to 14 days. Some in the audience were concerned that patients would bypass PCPs in favor of pain management providers, which are already overwhelmed.

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The FDA issues draft guidance for clinical and patient decision-support software.

West Virginia State Medical Association President Brad Henry, MD wants benzodiazepines added to the list of drugs physicians must check the state’s PDMP for before issuing prescriptions. Physicians are only required to check for chronic pain medications, though drugs like Xanax and Valium often show up in toxicology reports related to  fatal opioid overdoses. The state ranks first in the nation for number of benzo prescriptions – a situation Henry believes would be ameliorated with the PDMP revamp.


Telemedicine

Teladoc turns its attention from Texas to North Dakota, where the North Dakota Board of Medicine is considering a rule that would require the equivalent of an in-person visit for a patient’s first telemedicine appointment. Equivalents would include video conferencing or an initial in-person visit with an NP or PA. Teladoc opposes such a rule, which would preclude the use of phone calls.

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In Alaska, Capstone Clinic opens a telemedicine clinic and kiosk service in downtown Anchorage’s 5th Avenue Mall that will connect shoppers with its physicians at its East Anchorage facility.

A new study shows that telemedicine tops the list of technologies most likely to positively impact the workers’ compensation industry. AI, mobile tech, wearables, and chatbots followed at significantly lower percentages.

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Miami-based EpicMD raises $3 million in Series A funding led by Sagemoore Capital.


Other

Physicians prepare to publish their observations of US embassy employees who may have been subject to sonic attacks while working in Cuba. Twenty four Americans reported hearing strange noises followed by unexplained illnesses like nausea, vertigo, loss of hearing or sight, or the inability to recall certain words. Physicians have found physical changes in the brains of those affected, and will likely continue to monitor them for the rest of their lives.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 12/6/17

December 6, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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UnitedHealth will acquire DaVita Medical Group in a deal worth $4.9 billion. The payer will add 300 clinics in six states to its 250 MedExpress urgent care centers and 200 ASCs, acquired in March from Surgical Care Affiliates for $2.3 billion. DMG assets will join the urgent care and surgery centers as part of UnitedHealth’s Optum business unit, which also focuses on consulting, data analytics, and pharmacy benefits.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Announcements and Implementations

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Modernizing Medicine will incorporate OptimizeRx’s prescription savings and resources into its EHR for specialists.

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CareDash.com upgrades its provider reviews with medical company payment details, and the amount and type of gifts given to physicians by medical device and pharmaceutical companies.

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Aprima adds voice recognition capabilities from DocBuddy to its EHR for easier documentation.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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PatientPay raises $6 million in a round led by Teaglach Family Office. The company has raised $18 million since launching in almost 10 years ago. Future growth plans include increasing staff by 85 percent and expanding its Raleigh, NC headquarters by the end of next year.

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HealthiPass raises $7.2 million in a Series A round led by FCA Venture Partners. The company, which has developed patient intake and transparent billing technology, will use the capital to hire more staff and expand into more specialties and distribution partnerships.

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In New York, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office announces an 878-count indictment covering three years of alleged fraud perpetrated by 20 people (including four physicians) and a dozen companies. It appears those involved paid patients between $30 and $40 to undergo unnecessary tests, which were then fraudulently billed to public and private payers to the tune of $146 million. Ringleader Kristina Mirbabayeva, aided by her husband and mother, purchased a $3.25 million apartment in downtown Brooklyn with her ill-gotten gains.


People

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Kevin Mehta (KPMG) joins Payformance as CTO.


Other

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Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor and seven-time Paralympic medalist Cheri Blauwet, MD pens a thoughtful essay in the New York Times on the challenges faced by medical school students and practicing physicians with disabilities.


Sponsor Updates


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News 12/5/17

December 5, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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An Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation finds that, since 2016, over 1,000 physicians have appeared before medical boards in all 50 states for improperly prescribing opioids, and another 150 have been to federal court on opioid drug charges. Reasons range from greed – George Bird, MD for example, pulled in $1 million for pre-signing prescriptions that his employees filled with hydrocodone for cash and carry service – to a “doctor knows best” attitude to blatant disregard for prescribing guidelines.

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“They feel they are above the law,” says John Niedermann, a special assistant in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office who has built a career on going after “doctors who deal.” “They have always been so highly respected and deferred to,” he adds. “I can say that, of the dozen or so doctors that I have convicted, whenever a jury returns a verdict of guilty they look absolutely stunned. I look at them and I’m like, you sat through this month-long trial. You heard all the testimony. How are you surprised by this? But they honestly, honestly think they are doing nothing wrong.”


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Announcements and Implementations

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CyberKnife Center of Miami selects email security services from Identillect.

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Worker compensation company One Call Care Management will offer eligible patients Trainer Rx’s digital physical therapy platform.

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At its first annual meeting, The Sequoia Project reports that 25,000 clinics, 580,000 providers, and 1,000 hospitals have connected through its Carequality interoperability framework since it was launched in July 2016. Nine vendors have implemented the framework, with another six expected to adopt it early next year.

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HASA implements cloud-based HIE functionality from RosettaHealth for more efficient health data exchange among its HIE participants in Texas.


People

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HintMD appoints Jay Burns, MD to its Board of Directors. The Pleasanton, CA-based company’s business focuses on membership-based patient engagement solutions for plastic surgeons and other aesthetic-focused providers.

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Greenway Health founder and Executive Chairman Tee Green joins blockchain-based PHR startup MintHealth’s Board of Directors.

WEDI adds Laurie Burckhardt (WPS Health Solutions), Crystal Ewing (ZirMed), and Laurie Woodrome (LabCorp) to its 2018 Board of Directors.


Government and Politics

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Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and CMS Administrator Seema Verma travel to the CDC in Atlanta to discuss the center’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. The CDC will no doubt be instrumental in helping HIS with its five-point strategy, which includes bolstering public health data reporting, collection, and analysis.


Telemedicine

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Zeriscope receives a patent for its mobile telemedicine examination kit. Zeriscope is the brainchild of Robert Adams, MD a professor of neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina and founder of its REACH Telestroke Network.


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