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    Industry News Update 11/5/21

    November 2021 | Mike Murphy, Director of Business and Industry Analytics

    News and Events, Industry Trends

    This week's highlights:  Medicare penalized 2,499 hospitals for high rates of readmissions within thirty days, or 47% of all facilities, For-profit hospital system LifePoint Health and rehab and long-term care operator Kindred Healthcare plan to launch a new healthcare company, called ScionHealth & a security bug in the health app Docket exposed the private information of residents vaccinated against COVID-19 in New Jersey and Utah. 


     

    Regulatory, Legislative, and Legal News

    • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission posted updated guidelines this week addressing questions about federal law and religious objections to COVID-19 vaccination mandates.
    • Medicare penalized 2,499 hospitals for high rates of readmissions within thirty days, or 47% of all facilities. The average penalty is a 0.64% reduction in payment for each Medicare patient stay from the start of this month through September 2022.
    • The White House unveiled several key healthcare changes as part of its broader $1.75 trillion domestic spending package, including lower ACA premiums, tax credits for uninsured residents of states that have not expanded Medicaid and the addition of hearing benefits to Medicare coverage.
     

    Financial and Investment News

    • For-profit hospital system LifePoint Health and rehab and long-term care operator Kindred Healthcare plan to launch a new healthcare company, called ScionHealth, comprised of Kindred's 61 long-term acute care hospitals and 18 of LifePoint's community hospitals once their merger is complete.
    • Digital health company Truepill scored $142 million in Series D financing from existing investors Initialized Capital and TI Platform Management. This brings its total funding to $256 million and its valuation to $1.6 billion.
    • Digital musculoskeletal (MSK) health company Hinge Health has raised $400 million in a Series E funding round led by Tiger Global and Coatue Management. Alkeon and Whale Rock also put in a $200 million secondary investment to acquire ownership in Hinge.
     

    New Products and Services

    • Intel introduced a new, faster family of processor chips for personal computers and said that the supercomputer it is helping the U.S. government to build will reach double previously expected speeds.
    • More Medicare Advantage plans will offer supplemental benefits that address social determinants of health such as meals, nutrition and transportation at $0 premium, according to analysis by Avalere Health. For 2022, meal delivery was the most common benefit, with 68% of plans offering the benefit. The second most popular was transportation services with 39% of plans including the benefit.
    • Aetna has launched a provider network aiming to connect members with therapies for genetic diseases, dubbed the Gene-based, Cellular, and Other Innovative Therapies network.
     

    Privacy and Security

    • Overexposed data, loose PHI access controls, and unsecured passwords are common practices at healthcare organizations, posing serious data security risks according to research conducted by Varonis.
    • A security bug in the health app Docket exposed the private information of residents vaccinated against COVID-19 in New Jersey and Utah, where the app received endorsements from state officials. The bug, now fixed, allowed access to other people's vaccination records.
    • Security researchers find an unsecured database containing nearly 900 million patient records that belong to Deep6.ai, whose platform queries EHRs to match patients to clinical trials.
     

    Other News

    • In keeping with expanded COVID-19 vaccine booster shot recommendations from the CDC and its partners, MEDITECH is sharing updated guidance  to help healthcare organizations with their rollouts of Moderna and Janssen.
    • The American Telemedicine Association, through an organized advisory group, recently released a report that lays out a framework of nine elements to be used to advance health equity.
    • The American Medical Association Center for Health Equity and the Association of American Medical Colleges have jointly released a new health equity guide for physicians and healthcare professionals.

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