This week's highlights: The CMS finalized its list of participants for its new payment model for emergency care, Facebook will be announcing a new COVID-19 vaccination tool, and a new survey shows that the majority of healthcare and life sciences executives want to see their organizations more aggressively adopt AI technology.
• The House approved the final version of President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Wednesday, handing the new president a significant legislative victory as he works to stabilize an economy still struggling to rebound from the pandemic.
• Lawmakers and government agencies are exploring greater protections for healthcare workers amid outcry over pandemic-related safety concerns. In January, President Biden issued an executive order asking the agency to consider an Emergency Temporary Standard, including with respect to mask wearing if necessary, and issue one by Monday if required, a move opposed by the hospital lobby.
• The family that owns OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma agreed to pay roughly $4.28 billion to resolve lawsuits accusing it of helping to fuel the opioid epidemic. The payment from members of the Sackler family is part of a larger restructuring plan filed Monday night in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y., that is intended to get Purdue out of chapter 11.
• AI-powered cancer pathology diagnostics vendor Ibex Medical Analytics raises $38 million in a Series B funding round, increasing its total to $52 million.
• Emergency medical services-focused telemedicine company DocGo will merge with Motion Acquisition Corp. to become a publicly traded company with a $1.1 billion valuation.
• SailPoint Technologies announced its intent to acquire ERP Maestro, a SaaS governance, risk and compliance (GRC) solution. SailPoint will unite identity security with ERP Maestro’s Separation-of-Duty (SoD) controls monitoring for an organization’s most critical applications, such as SAP.
• University of Washington researchers develop an Alexa skill that can detect heart rhythm problems in people who sit within two feet of a smart speaker during a telehealth visit. They are also looking at whether the same technology could detect sleep apnea in the home.
• A new platform called Dr. B is looking to curb vaccine waste by connecting eligible patients to providers with extra vaccine doses. Patients are matched up with providers in their area and must respond to Dr. B in order to claim the dose.
• Facebook announced that the company is launching new COVID-19 vaccination tool that helps users find where they can get vaccinated and opening times.
• Blueberry Pediatrics launches in six states with a membership-based telemedicine service that offers, for $18 a month, unlimited care for every child in a member’s household.
• At least ten different hacking groups are using a recently discovered flaw in Microsoft Corp's mail server software to break in to targets around the world, cybersecurity company ESET said in a blog post on Wednesday.
• Researchers at Zscaler warn of an ongoing phishing campaign targeting executives with fake voicemail notifications. More than half of the phishing emails have targeted organizations’ vice presidents or managing directors. The objective is to steal these victims’ login credentials.
• Six-hundred clinics, hospital and healthcare organizations were attacked by 92 individual ransomware attacks, affecting 18 million patient records in 2020. The costs of these attacks are almost $21 billion, a Comparitech study found.
• Microsoft addressed the fallout from the zero-day attacks against on-prem Exchange Server installations this week with the release of a one-click mitigation tool to help businesses contain the damage. It has been combined with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to automatically detect and mitigate the issue.
• Denmark and Norway have temporarily halted use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as a precaution, after Danish reports of some people having blood clots after vaccination and one death.
• The Leapfrog Group is introducing two new sets of questions for its 2021 surveys of hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers to assess whether facilities practice ethical billing and track and address care disparities that affect patient experience and outcomes.
• HIMSS opens registration for HIMSS21. The full in-person conference costs $895 at the early bird rate, which includes the digital program, while digital-only registration costs $395. The HIMSS21 exhibitor list shows 416 companies, 69 of them first-time exhibitors.
• CHIME has announced the keynotes and agenda for the CHIME21 Spring Forum from April 13th to 15th.
• The majority of healthcare and life sciences executives (82%) want to see their organizations more aggressively adopt AI technology, according to a new survey from KPMG.
• A study by Spyglass Consulting based on a survey conducted last year among senior hospital executives finds leaders are moving quickly to modernize their mobile communications systems, which span a range of smartphone capabilities and clinical communications and collaboration (CCC) solutions, in order to improve care delivery, operational efficiency, and staff satisfaction.
• CEOs are increasingly feeling very confident about economic growth as organizations recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of over 5,000 CEOs found.
• Black Book Research has released its 2021 rankings of EHR and revenue cycle management software vendors based on a survey of 1,802 clinicians, administrators, IT personnel and financial staff.
• Moderna has given the first doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to children under the age of 12, including babies as young as 6 months, the pharmaceutical company announced The study is slated to enroll 6,750 healthy kids in the U.S. and Canada and is the latest effort to include children in the global vaccination campaign.