Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:
• Lahey Hospital and Medical Center has settled with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights for $850,000 due to potential HIPAA violations. The alleged privacy and security violations stemmed from the theft of a laptop computer in 2011 with unencrypted patient records. According to the Civil Rights Office's list of major breaches, the records of more than 154.1 million individuals have been exposed in 1,401 incidents since records started being kept in September 2009. Source
• Shareholders of Anthem and Cigna approved the $48 billion merger of the two health insurers this week, into what would be the nation’s largest health insurance company. Anthem’s acquisition of Cigna would create an insurance company with over 50 million health plan members. The merger still needs approval of federal regulators, and groups representing medical care providers like the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association have already urged the U.S. Justice Department to closely scrutinize the deal. Source
• A new analysis from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that in 2014, health care spending in the U.S. grew at a rate of 5.3 percent to $3.0 trillion, or $9,523 per person. Health care's share of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) also increased from 17.3 percent in 2013 to 17.5 percent in 2014. Economists speculate that the main factors responsible for the spending increase in 2014 are coverage expansion associated with the Affordable Care Act and faster growth in prescription drug spending. Source
On The Front Lines:
Apple increased its market share among pMD's charge capture physician users this week by 0.08 percent, growing its overall share to a dominant 90.51 percent. In Apple news, Samsung has agreed to pay Apple $548 million in damages following a 2012 decision that found that Samsung had violated key Apple patents. Apple first sued Samsung in 2011, saying Samsung had copied the look and feel of the iPhone in its own smartphones devices.
Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.