Learn About the Latest in Healthcare and Healthcare IT by Reading this Week's Industry News Update
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• Illinois became the first state to require insurance companies to pay for EpiPens for children with severe allergies, and also passed a law that requires insurance companies to pay for office visits, testing and treatment for tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease.
• Hospitals that care for a large share of Medicaid and uninsured patients stand to receive less funding from the federal government after the D.C. Circuit court reconfigured Medicaid disproportionate-share hospital reimbursement, and overturned a lower court ruling that rolled back a rule adopted by HHS.
• The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) plans to recommend screening all adults for illicit drug use, including inappropriate use of prescription drugs.
• There is another delay for implementation of the Appropriate Use Criteria for advanced diagnostic imaging that was initially passed in 2014. NPR reports that the delay will continue, with 2020 as a “testing” year where Medicare will not block inappropriate scans.
• VMware confirmed that it is in talks to acquire software development platform Pivotal Software, the service best known for commercializing the open-source Cloud Foundry platform.
• After much speculation and no small amount of controversy, Cloudflare, one of the companies that ensures that websites run smoothly on the Internet, has filed for its initial public offering.
• Developers of the Anura app claim its machine learning technology can accurately assess a user’s heart rate, stress level, body mass index, blood pressure, and risk for heart disease and attack from a 30-second selfie using transdermal optical imaging.
• Business Insider reports that consumer DNA testing and family history company Ancestry will follow the lead of competitor 23andMe in offering genomics and individualized medicine products and is now actively building out its health team.
• AT&T and T-Mobile have started rolling out cross-network call authentication services for their mobile subscribers and will now be able notify their customers if the call they're getting from the other carrier truly is from the number shown on screen or if it's a spoofed robocall.
• Google has published a paper explaining some of the AI work behind Project Euphonia’s more inclusive speech recognition capabilities. The goal is to make speech recognition capable of understanding people with non-standard speaking voices or impediments.
• Kaspersky has made some changes to the way its products check web pages for malicious activity after a researcher discovered an issue that could have been exploited to track users online.
• Microsoft is warning users of new BlueKeep-like, wormable RDS vulnerabilities that can be exploited by sending specially crafted requests to the targeted system via RDP. Exploitation of the vulnerabilities does not require any user interaction or authentication.
• A biometrics system used by banks, UK police and defense companies has suffered a major data breach, revealing the fingerprints of more than one million people as well as unencrypted passwords, facial recognition information and other personal data.
• The European Central Bank (ECB) shut down one of its websites on Thursday after it was hacked and infected with malicious software.
• A new study published this week in JAMA finds that long-term exposure to slightly elevated levels of air pollution can be linked to accelerated development of lung damage, even among people who have never smoked.
• To determine where Americans receive the best and worst health care, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 43 measures of cost, accessibility and outcome.
• Research released Monday confirms that “surprise” billing is on the rise among patients with private insurance.
• A recent study looked at referral patterns at Wake Forest School of Medicine and found that patients with rare genetic conditions might be more likely to refer themselves to an academic medical center based on information they find on the Internet.
• Doctors say most metrics provided by wearables like Apple Watch and Fitbit aren't helpful to them, resulting in a data dump they don’t know what to do with, and there is still the question of accuracy.
• Controversial blood transfusion startup Ambrosia shuts down for good after receiving an FDA warning that prompted it to close its operations in all but three states earlier this year.