This week's highlights: Health Net is disbursing millions of dollars to California healthcare providers so that they can expand telehealth programs, the FDA grants its first authorization of a CRISPR-based test for COVID-19, and FBI cybersecurity experts believe Chinese hackers are trying to steal research associated with a coronavirus vaccine.
• The SBA issued new guidance on the PPP loan program for employees refusing to return to work. The new information from the SBA says that businesses have to 'make a good faith' effort to bring employees back and communicate they may lose their unemployment standings if the employee does refuse.
• The HHS publishes a list of the 142,000 healthcare providers that received money from the $50 billion HRSA Provider Relief Fund, in which money was paid based on their Medicare net patient revenue. The median payment was $9,600, the average $142,000.
• The HHS has extended the deadline for hospitals and other healthcare providers to attest to receipt of payments from the emergency relief fund created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
• Cambridge biotech company Moderna says it’s received a big boost from the FDA to fast track its development of a potential coronavirus vaccine. Moderna is now in the second phase of its study, which was approved last week. Phase 3 of the research is scheduled to start in the early summer.
• Across-the-board growth spurred CVS Health to beat Wall Street expectations for both earnings and revenue in the first quarter. Revenue of $66.8 billion in the period ended March 31st was up 8.3% from the same period last year, driving the health giant to a profit of $2 billion, up 41% year over year.
• Health Net is disbursing millions of dollars to California healthcare providers to expand telehealth programs for Medicaid recipients during the Coronavirus pandemic.
• Transplant surgeries are being resumed by many teaching hospitals in Southeast Michigan, including Henry Ford and University of Michigan.
• Penn State Health St. Joseph is offering a curbside chest X-ray service to patients who suspect they may have contracted COVID-19, according to a May 4th announcement on the medical center’s website. The curbside X-ray process takes about 10 minutes and does not require an appointment.
• The FDA granted its first emergency authorization for a CRISPR-based test for COVID-19, developed by Sherlock Biosciences, designed to turn results around in about an hour compared to the four to six hours needed for other molecular diagnostics.
• All MEDITECH platforms now have the ability to access EHR data via Health Records on iPhone® with MEDITECH MAGIC and Client/Server customers joining their Expanse and 6.0 counterparts.
• Google has unveiled software capable of scanning handwriting and turning it into chunks of digital text. Users of the search engine's Google Lens app simply need to copy the text and paste it into a document to complete the transition to screen.
• Some state officials are weighing whether house arrest monitoring technology , including ankle bracelets or location-tracking apps, could be used to enforce quarantines imposed on coronavirus carriers. But, it is unclear if they can impose electronic monitoring without an offense or a court order.
• The FBI and cybersecurity experts believe Chinese hackers are trying to steal research on developing a vaccine against coronavirus.
• India is forcing people to use its COVID app, unlike any other democracy. Millions of Indians have no choice but to download the country’s tracking technology if they want to keep their jobs or avoid reprisals. Government employees are required to use it, while major private employers and landlords are mandating it as well.
• The NIH launches a study to determine whether the low number of reported COVID-19 cases in children is due to natural immunity or infection without symptoms.
• In the UK, NHS and researchers analyze the de-identified records of 17.4 million adults using the OpenSAFELY analytics platform. They found that COVID-19 patients are more likely to die if they are of Asian or black ethnic origin, poor, male, or have uncontrolled diabetes or severe asthma.
• A new KLAS report looks at how inpatient EHR vendors are using AI. Epic is the only vendor with a significant number of live sites, with over 100 customers using its Cognitive Computing Platform for predicting readmissions, patient risk, mortality, ED, at-home fall risk, sepsis, hospital-acquired disease and patient deterioration.
• The healthcare industry lost 4 million jobs in April, but that doesn't even come close to the losses in other sectors. Hardest hit was leisure and hospitality, which shed 7.7 million jobs in April, mostly in food services and drinking places.
• The Indianapolis business paper profiles startup Olio, whose mobile app is used by nursing homes to alert hospitals that a patient they have transferred there needs assessment or treatment, potentially avoiding an automatic trip to the ED.