This week's highlights: a laser-driven particle accelerator developed by a team at Stanford University and a survey indicating challenges within independent practices. Click on the links below to read the full news articles.
• A federal appeals court earlier this week upheld the HHS' methodology for running the Affordable Care Act risk-adjustment program, which will hurt small insurers that have argued the program is flawed and favors larger companies with more claims experience.
• Both the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) submitted comments to the CMS regarding the agency’s proposed changes to the Stark physician referral law, and its proposals to changes in the anti-kickback statute and the self-referral rule.
• EHR vendors have consistently exaggerated EHRs’ abilities in order to receive millions in government subsidies, according to an investigation by Fortune and Kaiser Health News.
• New York-based startup Ride Health closed a $6.2 million seed funding round led by Activate Venture Partners. The company helps hospitals coordinate patient transportation, whether that’s hailing a ride from a non-emergency medical transportation company or rideshare services like Uber.
• Hospital operator HCA now has acquired a majority stake in the parent company of Galen College of Nursing, one of the largest private nursing school operators, the chain said Tuesday.
• Pear Therapeutics acquired two technologies for pain treatment on Monday from Firsthand Technology. They involve using virtual reality headsets to reduce both acute and chronic pain.
• The American Medical Association issued an online checklist for the transition to fundamental changes in evaluation and management (E/M) services, a medical coding process in support of medical billing which practicing healthcare providers must use to be reimbursed by Medicare, state Medicaid programs or private insurance.
• A team at Stanford University developed a laser-driven particle accelerator that fits on a tiny silicon chip. It could one day be used to provide ultra-targeted cancer radiation treatment.
• Withings has unveiled its latest smartwatch dubbed ScanWatch, which will include an ECG and Sp02 sensor. The watch comes with a PPG sensor, which will continuously monitor the user's heart rate and alert users if there is an irregularity.
• The potential cost of ransomware in the United States last year was over $7.5 billion, according to a recent report from the cybersecurity firm Emisoft that attempted to estimate the impact of incidents.
• Cisco informed customers Thursday that it has released software updates for its Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) product to address several critical and high-severity vulnerabilities.
• Based on a survey of nearly 800 independent practice providers in the U.S., the Kareo State of the Independent Practice Industry Report revealed that reducing the impact of administrative tasks to free up provider time is a challenge for virtually every independent practice.
• Hospital consolidation is associated with poorer patient experiences and doesn't improve care, according to a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, refuting a common provider justification for increasing mergers and acquisitions.
• For the first time in 35 years, U.S. hospitals delivered fewer outpatient visits in 2018 than in the prior year as the competition to provide such care continues to intensify.
• Thirty-three percent of MEDITECH customers earned an “A” from The Leapfrog Group for meeting rigorous safety standards.
• Nurses top Gallup’s annual list of most honest and ethical professions by far, with doctors coming it at #3, pharmacists at #4, and dentists at #5.