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News 9/18/17

September 18, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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HRSA gives $200 million to 1,178 healthcare centers to help them expand mental health and substance abuse services. The agency has earmarked the funds for hiring and training staff, and leveraging health IT. HRSA Spokesman Martin Kramer says the health IT funding will go towards projects like adding behavioral health data to a center’s EHR, improving connections with PDMPs, building staff training modules, and adding telemedicine services.

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In addition, HRSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Telehealth Network Grant Program will give $670,000 to three organizations for the expansion of substance abuse treatment services in rural areas. Another $2,500,000 from the Rural Health Opioid Program will be made available to 10 recipients for similar access-expansion initiatives.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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HIStalk sponsors, you’ve got about a week left to submit your MGMA details for inclusion in our annual must-see vendor’s guide. Companies that are walking the show floor instead of exhibiting are also welcome to submit their information. The online guide will publish a few days before the conference kicks off at the Anaheim Convention Center in California on October 8.


Webinars

September 28 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Leverage the Psychology of Waiting to Boost Patient Satisfaction.” Sponsored by: DocuTap. Presenter: Mike Burke, founder and CEO, Clockwise.MD. Did you know that the experience of waiting is determined less by the overall length of the wait and more by the patient’s perception of the wait? In the world of on-demand healthcare where waiting is generally expected, giving patients more ways to control their wait time can be an effective way to attract new customers—and keep them. In this webinar, attendees will learn how to increase patient satisfaction by giving patients control over their own waiting process. (Hint: it’s not as scary as it sounds!)

October 19 (Thursday) 12:00 ET. “Understanding Enterprise Health Clouds with Forrester: What can they do for you, and how do you choose the right one?” Sponsored by: Salesforce. Presenters: Joshua Newman, MD CMO, Salesforce; and Kate McCarthy, senior analyst, Forrester. McCarthy will demystify industry solutions while offering insights from her recent Forrester report on enterprise health clouds. Newman and customers from leading healthcare organizations will share insights on how they drive efficiencies, manage patient and member journeys, and connect the entire healthcare ecosystem on the Salesforce platform.

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


People

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Sean Cavanaugh (CMS) joins Aledade as chief administrative officer.

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Former Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews joins Teladoc’s Board of Directors.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Summit Health Management takes Bend Medical Clinic (OR) under its wing in an effort to help the clinic keep its doors open while maintaining its independence. The clinic has faced an uncertain financial future since a switch from Allscripts to Epic two years ago drained its cash reserves, resulting in 100 layoffs.

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Practice Insight receives an undisclosed amount of venture funding from Yukon Partners. The Houston-based company provides RCM services and software to providers, payers, and resellers.


Government and Politics

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HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD puts in an appearance during the final leg of the Athenahealth MDP 2017 tour. Price assured the audience that Meaningful Use will evolve to help physicians provide the right care rather than inundate them with meaningless tasks.


Telemedicine

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TelaCare adds access to optometrists, alternative and sports medicine providers, pharmacists, dentists, and dieticians to its primary care and behavioral health services for consumers.

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Telehealthcare will take on the HeadTrainer brand name after acquiring the athlete-focused technology and cognitive training business. HeadTrainer’s flagship app helps athletes of every skill level improve cognitive skills using sports-themed games and tips from high-performing athletes. Telehealthcare executive Bob Finigan will assume the role of HeadTrainer chairman and CEO from Derek Cahill, who has resigned.

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Let’s Talk Counseling offers its virtual counseling software free of charge to providers treating patients in areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The company is also looking for providers in Florida and Texas to join their disaster relief team.

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A HealthMine survey of 500 Medicare beneficiaries reveals a disconnect when it comes to telemedicine services that could be so beneficial to those looking to age in place or those residing in nursing homes: Nearly 60 percent of respondents are unsure if their plans offer telemedicine, and 31 percent are sure their plans don’t. When it comes to communication with their health plans, nearly half prefer to be contacted by phone, followed by digital methods, and snail mail. It looks like prompting seniors to use telemedicine may need to first involve an old-fashioned phone conversation.


Research and Innovation

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Physicians looking to purchase new EHR and PM software cite their current systems’ lack of features, inefficiency, and lack of automation as top reasons for wanting to make a switch. Surprisingly, 23 percent of respondents were considering their first EHR/PM purchase. The most sought-after features include billing, charting, and lab integration. Naturally, time and budget are the top barriers to following through with purchasing decisions.

University of Michigan researchers find that implementing EHR-based screening prompts at primary care clinics increased screening rates for the hepatitis C virus in adults between 51 and 69 from 7.6 percent to 72 percent, and helped facilitate referrals for specialty care for all newly diagnosed patients.


Other

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Columbus Physical Medicine Center (GA) becomes the first practice in its area to accept Bitcoin. “After the stock market meltdown of ’08-09, I have witnessed suffering from hundreds of families that lost jobs, retirement savings, and even their homes due to greedy government backed bankers and HMO’s alike,” says head chiropractor Eric Codner. “Using Bitcoin for your purchases returns power to the consumer by allowing payment through a decentralized currency that cannot be manipulated by any bank or government.”


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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Population Health Management Weekly Wrap Up 9/17/17

September 17, 2017 News No Comments

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Healthcare data and analytics company Cota hires Andrew Norden, MD (IBM Watson Health) as CMO and Thomas Gallucci (Cain Brothers) as CFO.

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Equality Health names Shar Najafi (Southwest Behavioral and Health Services) SVP of behavioral health and Tomás León (AHA) SVP of marketing and strategy.

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ONC publishes a report on how public health agencies could better use existing HIEs to collect information from providers. Two goals emerge in the report: the need to better streamline the number of connections and related costs for providers, HIEs, and public health agencies to share health data; and support providers in their attempts to meet public health requirements for Meaningful Use. ONC respondents don’t consider health IT developers to be a barrier to integrating public health information systems with HIEs, though there is “high frustration” with reporting that information via EHRs.

UL EHS Sustainability will add US Preventive Medicine’s wellness programs, including health coaching and management, to its Pure environmental sustainability, health, and safety software for the employee health and occupational medicine markets.

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KeyCare, an offshoot of the New Jersey Primary Care Association, will implement I2I Population Health’s population health management technology and services across its network of 16 community health centers.

Boston Medical Center’s Housing Prescriptions as Health Care program will utilize Act.md’s care coordination technology as part of its efforts to connect families in need with housing, social, legal, and healthcare services.

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Virtual Health integrates Wellth’s incentive-based disease management app with its population health and care management technology for managed care organizations.


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 9/14/17

September 14, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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RCM technology and services companies Navicure and ZirMed announce plans to merge. The combined company, which will operate under both brands in the near-term, will maintain their current offices in Georgia, Illinois, and Kentucky.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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HIStalk sponsors, submit your MGMA details for inclusion in our annual must-see vendor’s guide. Companies that are walking the show floor instead of exhibiting are also welcome to submit their information. The online guide will publish a few days before the conference kicks off at the Anaheim Convention Center in California on October 8.

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The City of Anaheim is unfortunately experiencing what appears to be record levels of homeless, particularly in encampments along the Santa Ana River (a portion of which runs near the Anaheim Convention Center), and is subsequently grappling with how to compassionately and safely deal with the problem. City councilors declared a state of emergency earlier this week, giving them the ability to place additional law enforcement in the area, which houses over 400 homeless people. They hope the police presence will encourage those folks to clear out of the area. Where they will go is anyone’s guess.


Webinars

September 28 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Leverage the Psychology of Waiting to Boost Patient Satisfaction.” Sponsored by: DocuTap. Presenter: Mike Burke, founder and CEO, Clockwise.MD. Did you know that the experience of waiting is determined less by the overall length of the wait and more by the patient’s perception of the wait? In the world of on-demand healthcare where waiting is generally expected, giving patients more ways to control their wait time can be an effective way to attract new customers—and keep them. In this webinar, attendees will learn how to increase patient satisfaction by giving patients control over their own waiting process. (Hint: it’s not as scary as it sounds!)

October 19 (Thursday) 12:00 ET. “Understanding Enterprise Health Clouds with Forrester: What can they do for you, and how do you choose the right one?” Sponsored by: Salesforce. Presenters: Joshua Newman, MD CMO, Salesforce; and Kate McCarthy, senior analyst, Forrester. McCarthy will demystify industry solutions while offering insights from her recent Forrester report on enterprise health clouds. Newman and customers from leading healthcare organizations will share insights on how they drive efficiencies, manage patient and member journeys, and connect the entire healthcare ecosystem on the Salesforce platform.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Pear Therapeutics receives FDA clearance for its Reset app for the outpatient treatment of substance use disorder. The agency’s approval marks the first time such an app, which includes patient- and provider-facing technology, has been cleared for SUD. The company is working on similar technology for other behavioral health issues related to post-surgical pain, anxiety, depression, and opioid use.


Announcements and Implementations

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Electronic prior authorization software vendor CoverMyMeds will develop e-referral technology for specialty medications.

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Respiratory healthcare management IT vendor Somnocare develops a chronic care management module for pulmonologists and sleep specialists.

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The Pitt County Health Dept. in North Carolina allocates $238,000 to implement Epic later this year. Director John Morrow, MD is especially excited about the benefits that will come from being able to exchange health data with other Epic customers in the area. “We can look at UNC-Chapel Hill, Wake Forest and even in hospitals in California,” he said. “It really gives us a huge advantage in accessing information. The agency walked through and looked at our work flow, patient flow, how patients are registered and all of our equipment. We know we will have to replace some of our computers.”

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KeyCare, an offshoot of the New Jersey Primary Care Association, will implement I2I Population Health’s population health management technology and services across its network of 16 community health centers.


People

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Dan Watanapongse (Sterigenics International) joins Intelligent Medical Objects as EVP and CFO.


Telemedicine

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Parents of students in the Austin Independent School District in Texas push back after the school system attempts to make up for a lack of school nurses with telemedicine services and additional health assistants. Seton Healthcare Family, which provides healthcare staff to the school system, will bring in 33 additional RNS to alleviate parental concerns over a lack of qualified, in-person caregiving. 


Other

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The local paper profiles Canadian physician Errol Billinkoff, MD a family physician turned full-time vasectomy specialist who has made a name for himself through his use of humor to ensure patients are completely at ease during their 10-minute procedures. From wacky sculptures in the waiting room, to episodes of Home Improvement and Seinfeld airing in the exam room, Billinkoff has found a good laugh to be part of a successful outcome. “It’s always much easier to do when a patient is relaxed,” Billinkoff says, “but when there’s some anxiety there, it’s my job to help relax them, so distraction and humor are as effective as an anesthetic.”

Breachin’ it old school: Fernando Rios steals over 1,000 paper medical records from a New Jersey medical practice’s storage facility in an attempt to sell the patient information. Rios was ultimately apprehended and charged with burglary, identify theft, and trafficking in personally identifying information.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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5 Questions With Carlos Menendez, MD Medical Director, Family Health Services of Darke County

September 14, 2017 5 Questions With No Comments

Carlos Menendez, MD is medical director of Family Health Services of Darke County in Greenville, OH, and the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians’ 2017 Family Physician of the Year. Nearly 200 FHS employees care for 10,000 patients each month across four facilities. The organization is looking at replacing its E-MDs EHR, which it uses for primary and behavioral healthcare, to EClinicalWorks due to difficulty extracting data for reporting requirements as an FQHC. That data extraction difficulty has led FHS to postpone its attestation plans for stage 2 of Meaningful Use. “We anticipate catching up with Meaningful Use after our new EHR is up and running,” says Menendez. “The new system will help solve this [data extraction] problem,” he adds. “EClinicalWorks also offers modules for behavioral health staff, dental, and eye care providers, thus allowing our entire center to work with a single software system. We hope to transition to the new system by first quarter of 2018.”

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How have you seen the role of community health centers change during your time as a practicing physician – particularly in rural communities?

Community health centers have been able to considerably expand access to healthcare, largely as a result of the Affordable Care Act. We were able to convert to an EHR, add dental services, and upgrade our physical plant. Similar expansions have occurred across the country. As a result, our health centers are seeing more patients and providing more services.

The opioid epidemic and physician burnout seem to be the two biggest issues facing physicians. How is your organization dealing with the epidemic?

Unfortunately Darke County has not been spared from the opioid epidemic. We have established an Addiction Recovery Team, headed by Laurie White to help our center deal with this problem. Anna Hatic, DO serves as the physician champion and clinical leader for this team. They meet regularly with other community organizations. They have helped update our procedures and protocols. We have been administering Vivitrol and hope to soon offer Suboxone as a treatment option. Their most valuable contribution has been the education of our clinical staff.

Is burnout a hot topic in the physician’s lounge? What are your thoughts on technology as a contributing factor?

Burnout is not only a topic that has been discussed, but has also been identified as an area of priority. We have a burnout team headed by Sherry Adkins, MD. They have been able to assess the severity of this problem at our center and provide education and support to battle it. Technology and the time it takes to keep up with entries in the EHR has been the main factor causing burn out. Our hope is that changing to a new system will have a positive impact.

How have you seen healthcare technology help improve access and outcomes during your time at FHS?

Psychiatry has been a significant need for our patients. In 2016, we hired Keith Ashbaugh, MD. Prior to hiring him, we were able to provide psychiatry services through videoconferencing. In addition, patients are able to now reach their clinicians through our patient portal. Our pharmacy’s portal is also widely used by Family Health patients. We are also capable of sending notifications via text messages.

Is FHS participating in any coordinated care initiatives right now?

Our office has hired an RN, Jane Urlage, who is our first chronic disease manager. She has been working on protocols for chronic care management CCM. As we explored CCM software options with a representative from CliniSync, an Ohio-based regional IT initiative, we found eClinicalWorks has a very workable CCM feature, so we are looking forward to seeing this in action after we make our transition.

Bonus question: What type of healthcare technology would you like to see FHS implement in the near future? What’s on your wish list?

I hope more patients take advantage of our patient portal so that we can communicate electronically. In the future, we hope to allow patients to schedule their own visits through our portal. I look forward to the day when we can offer the option of virtual visits to a patient in their home or wherever they may be through their laptop or phone.

True interoperability – a quick and easy avenue to communicate with and access information from other health care providers – a specialist, a radiology center, hospital or emergent care center – is also on my wish list. Finally, I hope for all EHRs to find a way to make the data entry process easier so that clinicians and nursing staff can spend less time with their computers and more time with their patients.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

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News 9/13/17

September 13, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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AAFP appoints Michael Munger, MD (Saint Luke’s Physicians Group) president during its annual Family Medicine Experience conference. Munger, who spent his first 16 years in independent practice as an owner/member of an eight-physician family medicine group, will make “administrative complexity” a key talking point during his tenure. “Look at electronic health records,” he says by way of example. “[T]hey were promised to simplify practice, but many physicians will tell you that has not yet happened. Much of our members’ angst is tied to paperwork such as prior authorization requests from payers and that endless flow of forms that need attention. Family physicians are looking for relief from that overall burden and from tasks that hinder rather than help them with hands-on patient care. The AAFP recognizes their concerns and is working hard to make things better.”


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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HIStalk sponsors, submit your MGMA details for inclusion in our annual must-see vendor’s guide. Companies that are walking the show floor instead of exhibiting are also welcome to submit their information. The online guide will publish a few days before the conference kicks off in Anaheim, CA on October 8.


Webinars

September 28 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Leverage the Psychology of Waiting to Boost Patient Satisfaction.” Sponsored by: DocuTap. Presenter: Mike Burke, founder and CEO, Clockwise.MD. Did you know that the experience of waiting is determined less by the overall length of the wait and more by the patient’s perception of the wait? In the world of on-demand healthcare where waiting is generally expected, giving patients more ways to control their wait time can be an effective way to attract new customers—and keep them. In this webinar, attendees will learn how to increase patient satisfaction by giving patients control over their own waiting process. (Hint: it’s not as scary as it sounds!)

October 19 (Thursday) 12:00 ET. “Understanding Enterprise Health Clouds with Forrester: What can they do for you, and how do you choose the right one?” Sponsored by: Salesforce. Presenters: Joshua Newman, MD CMO, Salesforce; and Kate McCarthy, senior analyst, Forrester. McCarthy will demystify industry solutions while offering insights from her recent Forrester report on enterprise health clouds. Newman and customers from leading healthcare organizations will share insights on how they drive efficiencies, manage patient and member journeys, and connect the entire healthcare ecosystem on the Salesforce platform.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Digital health, wellness, and chronic care management services company Green Circle Health will open a sales and operations center in Memphis, TN. It plans to create 100 jobs at the new center by 2022. GCH founder Dinesh Sheth will return to his Memphis roots. He launched and sold off two software companies in the area before starting Pensacola Beach, FL-based GCH in 2015.

Paola, KS-based HealthSplash acquires DMERX/PMDRX, a patient assessment and documentation compliance technology company, for an undisclosed sum. HealthSplash offers physician practices wearables integration, patient portal technology, and compliance services.


People

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Healthcare Associates of Texas hires family physician Charles Powell, MD (St. Charles Parish Hospital) to take on the new role of EVP of Clinical Operations.


Telemedicine

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Elko Family Medical and Dental Center – part of a chain of Nevada Health Centers across the state – launches telemedicine services. Patients will connect with providers at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.


Government and Politics

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Newly confirmed US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD gets into the Twitter groove.


Research and Innovation

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Stanford researchers find an increase in physician satisfaction at the end of a one-year study that placed scribes with family medicine physicians for alternating weeks. That increased satisfaction encompassed face time with patients, time spent charting, and chart accuracy and quality. The scribes increased the number of charts closed within 48 hours. They had no impact on patient satisfaction.


Other

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Colorado State University’s Health and Medical Center introduces a nap pod as part of its new relaxation space for students who’ve pulled one too many all nighters. Reservations are encouraged though walk-ins are accepted. I would definitely have taken advantage of such a thing had it been offered on campus in The Classic City. A cat nap in between my shifts at the on-campus conference center and journalism classes would have made some of my 12 hour days a bit more bearable.

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I know several young ladies who will love this: Book lovers between four and eight years of age can expect to see Hidden Figures – a New York Times’ bestseller and Oscar-winning movie (one of my favorites, in fact) – released as a children’s book early next year.

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Google gets aggressive in its attempts to more thoroughly flesh out its Maps app with data related to accessibility – a feature the tech company has taken baby steps with regarding wheelchairs. The company will rely on its global network of 30 million Local Guides to contribute data on accessible entrances, bathrooms, seating, elevators, etc. when they submit location reviews.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks publishes new case studies featuring CityMD and EssenMED House Calls.
  • Aprima will exhibit at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition September 16-18 in Chicago.
  • Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at the 2017 IHA Leadership Summit September 13 in Lombard, IL.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at AAP 2017 September 16-18 in Chicago.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

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