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Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Who will be replacing Tom Price as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS)? Alex Azar, former pharmaceutical executive at Eli Lilly and former HHS general counsel and deputy secretary, is the President's nomination for the next head of HHS. Some major goals Azar will be tasked with, if confirmed, is the lowering of drug prices and implementing deregulation.  Read More

•  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first drug with a sensor that transmits data to a smartphone app, notifying whether someone has taken it. The tiny sensor is about the size of a grain of sand and is embedded into the pill, serving as a digital ingestion tracking system.  The sensor will detect and record the date and time the pill was ingested.  Read More

•  In the first 11 days of Healthcare.gov's open enrollment period, signups totaled nearly 1.5 million. Some experts suggest that with the push for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal, the heightened visibility of the health care law is actually driving the increase in signups for the ACA exchange plans.  Read More

•  Scientists have found that a rare genetic mutation in Amish people living in a rural part of Indiana actually protects them from Type 2 diabetes and provides life-extending benefits.  The new findings could lead to new therapies for chronic diseases.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Recent data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services revealed that providers who stuck with accountable care organization (ACO) models are starting to see success in savings. One shining example is the ACO for NYC Health + Hospitals. They have reduced costs to Medicare by more than $31 million, generated $14 million in shared savings payments, and are providing other organizations with lessons in fostering leadership in ACOs.  Read More

•  Skin on fruits and veggies don't always form an impermeable barrier when it comes to pesticides.  Depending on the pesticide, it can either sit on the outer peel or can be designed to absorb into the tissue of the fruit or vegetable to keep out bugs that penetrate the skin. Do your research when it comes to deciding which fruits and veggies are necessary to buy organic!  Read More

•  On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis of the current individual health insurance mandate. According to the report, getting rid of this requirement, which states that everyone in the country should have health insurance coverage, would save the government $338 billion over the next decade. However, the savings would come at the expense of more than 13 million individuals who will no longer have insurance coverage by 2027.  Read More

•  The National Institutes of Health's (NIH) All of Us Research Program will be using Fitbit devices for a longitudinal study aiming to collect data and gain insight on the characteristics of more than a million Americans.  The data being collected for this one-year study includes physical activity, heart rate, sleep, and other health outcomes.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: GJLP, CNRI, via Science Source

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced that the agency will roll out a new "Meaningful Measures" initiative. This initiative will streamline quality measures and move away from fee-for-service models, allowing providers themselves to assess core issues surrounding high-quality care and the improvement of patient outcomes.  Read More

•  A new study recently found that stent procedures, most often used to relieve chest pain in patients who have blocked arteries, are virtually useless to many of them. The findings raise questions about how often stents should be used, if at all, to treat chest pain.  Read More

•  The future of personalized patient care is not in the hands of an EHR but that of apps. It's no secret that many EHRs lack usability and data integration functionality, which could eventually lead to their demise. EHRs aren't designed for treating patients. The problem is that EHR vendors have to engineer their products in a way that meets the government's criteria for meaningful use but at the expense of usable, exciting software. Early-adopter hospitals are already working on building their own apps to transform the future of personalized care.  Read More

•  On Wednesday, former President Barack Obama took to twitter to urge people to shop for Affordable Care Act health insurance. He encourages people to log on to the federal insurance exchange and sign up for coverage for next year.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Healthcare IT News via YouTube

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  On Wednesday, an advisory panel to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the use of Shingrix, a new shingles vaccine manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. For the last decade, only one shingles vaccine has been available on the market. The head of the CDC still has yet to formally endorse the recommendation.  Read More

•  Genome sequencing is a technology that's becoming more mainstream and genomics expert J. Craig Venter is using that technology to help patients find out about any potentially fatal illnesses before symptoms come to light. However, many physicians are opposed to the exam as it may turn up false positives.  Read More

•  On Thursday, the President declared a public health emergency to deal with the opioid crisis. Agency and department heads are directed to use all appropriate emergency authorities to reduce the more than 140 deaths a day caused by the opioid epidemic.  Read More

•  Smaller practices are beginning to expand their offerings to include telemedicine services, in part to maintain patients that might otherwise go to outside telemedicine providers. Embracing telemedicine programs is also a way to attract patients from a broader region.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Alden Chadwick/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The Veterans Coordinated Access and Rewarding Experiences Act, or CARE act, would make it easier to share patient records between the VA and outside providers. The proposal hopes to continue to improve the veteran experience by building a high-performance network and address health IT problems.  Read More

•  On Wednesday, the F.D.A. approved the second gene-altering treatment that reboots a patient's own immune cells to kill cancer. The approval, however, is not without controversy. The side effects can be life-threatening and in some cases fatal. The treatment is currently available only at centers where doctors and nurses have been trained in providing this specific treatment.  Read More

•  At this year's Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) conference, two experts presented their advice on benchmarking. Benchmarking can help physician practices compare themselves to their competitors, evaluate their performance, and identify areas of strengths and weaknesses.  Read More

•  People with diabetes struggle with a lifelong challenge to maintain their blood sugar levels. However, new emerging diabetes technology may ease that blood testing process, some even avoiding the dreaded finger prick.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Ben Edwards/The Image Bank, via Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Researchers at the American Cancer Society predict there will be a quarter-million new cases of breast cancer in the U.S. in 2017. Women living in the U.S. have a one in eight chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer over their lifetime. However, death rates from breast cancer have declined 39 percent from 1989 through 2015, largely as a result of early diagnosis and advanced treatments.  Read More

•  While tech companies are working hard to help target the opioid crisis, tech can also be seen as a separator. For example, the lack of interoperability and the challenge in changing antiquated provider workflows can stand in the way of opioid prescription management.  Read More

•  It has been a devastating week of wildfires in California's wine country region. The effects of the fires have also extended into the surrounding Bay Area, creating a layer of air pollution that has not been this unhealthy since 1999 and can be compared to high pollution days in China. Officials recommend minimizing outdoor activities and even leaving the region until air quality improves.  Read More

•  On Thursday, the President signed an executive order that aims to revamp health insurance markets in the U.S. While the order itself does not implement any policies, it does seek to direct federal agencies to draft regulations.  However, health care experts and insurers have been vocal about the potential impact and consequences the executive order may bring.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image:  Healthcare IT News

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  On Monday, Health Affairs published research indicating that less than 30% of health system EHRs are fully interoperable, and fewer than 20% of them actually use the data transferred from another provider. Hospitals are urged to demand better interoperability, especially when it comes to discussions about bundled payments.  Read More

•  Bisphenol A, or BPA, is prevalent in many household plastic products, such as food storage containers and water bottles as well as the inside lining of many metal cans, which prevents the leaching of aluminum taste into food or drink. Manufacturers are not required to disclose the use of BPA in their products. Consumption of BPA may be cause for health concerns down the line, so take precautions and do your research!  Read More

•  Internet of Things medical devices are prime targets for cybercriminals. It is imperative for health care systems to take these 5 steps to prevent hackers from gaining access to health information. First, security systems should segment their networks. Second, health care execs should think beyond just network security and consider building security into applications. Third, hospitals must implement authorization protocols. Fourth, health care CIOs should always assess risk and improvement. And lastly, organizations should always monitor device behavior.  Read More

•  A gene therapy milestone had been reached for the first time as doctors were able to hold off a fatal degenerative brain disease, predominantly diagnosed in young boys, with the use of a disabled form of HIV.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: ThinkStock

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new figures on vaccination rates, showing that the influenza vaccination rate has plateaued over the past few seasons. Although the efficacy rate of the vaccine is under 50%, it is still estimated to have prevented more than 5.4 million flu cases and 86,000 hospitalizations last season. Government health officials are urging health care providers to promote the flu vaccine among their patients.  Read More

•  The bipartisan bill, Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017, was unanimously passed by the Senate. The bill will expand telehealth access for chronically ill Medicare patients by building broader telehealth benefits into Medicare Advantage plans and expanding the use of virtual care for stroke and dialysis patients.  Read More

•  Senate Republicans have postponed plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act due to insufficient votes for the latest health law overhaul bill. The Graham-Cassidy bill would have taken money provided under the Affordable Care Act for insurance subsidies and the expansion of Medicaid and sent it to states in the form of block grants.  Read More

•  The FDA has selected nine digital health companies to participate in a new pre-certification pilot program. The agency hopes to identify ways that pre-certified companies could potentially submit less information to the FDA than is currently required before marketing a new digital health tool as part of a formal program. The companies selected are: Apple, Fitbit, Johnson & Johnson, Pear Therapeutics, Phosphorus, Roche, Samsung, Tidepool, and Verily.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Courtesy of The Francis Crick Institute

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT recently announced two big changes to the meaningful use certification program. The first gives EHR makers the ability to self-declare compliance. The second provides more discretion around randomized surveillance of certified health IT products. These changes are designed to reduce burden on the health care industry.  Read More

•  For the first time, researchers have been able to modify a key gene in human embryo DNA which gives crucial insight into embryo development. This work may someday lead to new techniques that can help infertile couples have children or treat incurable diseases with embryonic stem cells.  Read More

•  In order to earn a small positive adjustment from Medicare, doctors and practices need to begin collecting data no later than Oct. 2 to fully participate in MIPS, or the Merit-based Incentive Payment System's 90-day reporting period. The government has even made it easier for doctors to avoid a payment penalty based on 2017 reporting by allowing them to pick one measure for one patient, at the very minimum.  Read More

•  After a series of failed Senate votes in July, one repeal-and-replace plan for the Affordable Care Act remains. The proposal turns control of the health care markets over to the states. So, rather than funding Medicaid and subsidies directly, that money goes to the state to develop any health care system it wants.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Sixteen people have died and 421 sickened in San Diego County between last November through September as a result of a Hepatitis A outbreak. About 65% of the infections occurred among the homeless or illicit drug user population. Hepatitis A is typically spread by ingestion of contaminated food or water and in rare cases, transmitted person-to-person through fecal-oral route.  Read More

•  Two neighborhoods in Houston have reported contaminated floodwaters containing bacteria and toxins that sicken people. The results of the testing found that the water contained Escherichia coli at a level more than four times the amount that is considered safe. Residents must take precautions to return safely to their homes.  Read More

•  A new bipartisan bill would build telehealth coverage into Medicare Advantage plans. This bill would encourage the use of telehealth technology to improve health care for seniors, particularly for those in rural parts of the country.  Read More

•  Eight elderly residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood, Florida, died after a transformer that drove its air conditioning unit broke down, leaving residents vulnerable to the unforgiving heat and humidity. Health officials suspended the nursing home indefinitely and have moved 158 residents from the center to nearby facilities.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.