This week's highlights: a new act introduced by lawmakers called the Public Health Emergency Privacy Act, an upcoming telehealth video solution from Zocdoc, and 23andMe is trying to recruit COVID-19 patients to help them find genetic correlations.
• The CMS proposed a payment increase for hospitals administering CAR-T therapy treatments in response to criticism that CAR-T costs aren't sustainable for hospitals, STAT reported.
• Lawmakers introduce the Public Health Emergency Privacy Act, which would require individuals to opt in and that data collected for pandemic efforts be deleted afterward, and would prohibit using the data for purposes outside of public health.
• Routine vaccinations for young children in the U.S. dropped after a national emergency was declared March 13th, potentially exposing vulnerable individuals to measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published May 18th.
• The CMS will require hospitals to adopt the Hybrid Hospital-Wide 30-Day Readmission measure by 2023. That measure, a hybrid of electronic health record data and claims data for inpatients 65 or older who have Medicare as their payer, must then be publicly reported on Hospital Compare by 2025.
• Over the past month, Fitch Ratings has revised its nonprofit hospital sector outlook from stable to negative. Data released Tuesday from health cost nonprofit FAIR Health show how steep declines have been for larger hospitals in particular.
• America's Health Insurance Plans Board of Directors is encouraging health insurers to implement grace periods that would extend approvals for approved surgeries and procedures prior to the national emergency declaration on March 13th. These are for surgeries and procedures that were pre-authorized and approved but subsequently postponed due to COVID-19.
• At least 10 health systems have received $200 million or more in federal COVID-19 relief as of this week.
• Zocdoc, the popular online directory of healthcare providers, is launching a new tool that connects patients to doctors, partnering with Twilio to offer Zocdoc Video Service (ZVS), a HIPAA-compliant telehealth video solution that will be free to use not just for consumers, but for doctors too.
• Microsoft and UnitedHealth Group offer their self-developed ProtectWell coronavirus symptom screening app, which they will use for their own employees, to all U.S. companies at no charge.
• Moderna reports that the coronavirus vaccine it is developing has raised antibodies in the eight patients who are receiving it, with levels comparable to those seen in recovered COVID-19 patients.
• Access to ARCHER, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the United Kingdom, was suspended this week following a cyberattack.
• A vulnerability related to pairing in Bluetooth Basic Rate / Enhanced Data Rate (BR/EDR) connections could be exploited to impersonate a previously paired device, researchers have discovered.
• VMware informed customers on Tuesday that it has patched a high-severity remote code execution vulnerability in its Cloud Director product.
• Registration is now open for the MEDITECH virtual 2020 Nurse Forum scheduled for June 17th to 19
• 23andMe enlists hospitals to help it recruit patients for a study of severely ill COVID-19 patients. The consumer genetics testing company hopes to find genetic correlations that could explain why some patients become sicker than others.
• A study finds that just 4.4% of the population of France, which was hit hard by COVID-19 with 27,000 deaths, has been infected, making it unlikely that countries can reach herd immunity to avoid a second wave of infection as social restrictions are eased.
• Telehealth is more in demand than ever during the coronavirus crisis, and a new report from Frost & Sullivan suggests its uptake will increase by 64.3% nationwide this year, given the disruptions of COVID-19.
• Governor Charlie Baker is allowing some businesses in Massachusetts to reopen under a new plan revealed Monday that includes hair salons, barbershops, construction, manufacturing and places of worship. The stay at home advisory now becomes a safer at home advisory.
• Navin, Haffty & Associates published its May newsletter which includes MEDITECH news and client updates and a summary of regulatory updates associated with the current pandemic.