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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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Houston health systems were able to access medical records thanks to a robust IT infrastructure, EHR adoption and HIE agreements. These health systems set up makeshift virtual clinics in evacuation centers across Houston, allowing providers to connect to medical records, order medications and input patient data.  Read More

•  Specialists oversee the care of the most costly and sickest patients in the nation and therefore are increasingly responsible for driving the value-based care model. Some suggested strategies to deliver more effective care and consumer engagement, which may become requirements in the future, include having specialty practices invest in insight platforms and advanced analytics. These technologies are not yet widely adopted in health care but are important in the future success of delivering value-based care.  Read More

•  Medicare patients beware: you can be hospitalized for several days, can undergo exams and tests, and can receive medications without ever officially being admitted to the hospital. What does that mean for you as a patient? This technically means you're "under observation" and considered an outpatient versus an inpatient, which may deny coverage for subsequent nursing home care.  Read More

•  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Wednesday its first approval of a cell-based gene therapy in the U.S. The treatment, known as CAR-T cell therapy, will involve removing immune system T cells from each patient and genetically modifying the cells in the lab to attack and kill leukemia cells.  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: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  A new technique called "genome cloaking" allows researchers to access specific gene mutations while still keeping the patient's private genetic information protected. Researchers from Stanford University developed this method, which uses cryptography to hide genetic information, to protect patients' privacy while doctors perform genetic analyses.  Read More

•  While wearables remain a popular tech purchase, actual ongoing user engagement and evidence proving the health benefits still continues to be a challenge. Researchers are still trying to find ways to integrate wearables into health care, specifically with patient care.  Read More

•  Johnson & Johnson paid $417 million in damages to Eva Echeverria of East Lost Angeles, who developed ovarian cancer after using the company's baby powder product for decades. Numerous studies have linked talcum powder use with ovarian cancer but the findings have not been consistent. This may be the largest award so far among lawsuits tying ovarian cancer to talcum powder.  Read More

•  Didn't heed the protective eye-cover warnings during Monday's Great American Eclipse? Chances are, your quick glances may not have caused permanent, long-term damage to your eyes. However, it takes at least 12 hours before knowing if anything has happened. If your vision seems blurry or you're seeing spots, make an appointment with your optometrist to further assess any damage to your eyes.  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: Stuart Bradford

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a 90-day reporting rule for meaningful use of electronic health records. Going into effect October 1, 2017, CMS will allow a 90-day reporting period, which previously was a one-year requirement.  Read More

•  Applying "design thinking" to hospitals, in which the innovations come from employees working in the field as opposed to administrators, helps designers tackle many challenges with fresh solutions, saving both dollars and lives. Design thinking is useful for when a service, for example, is fundamentally broken. It allows for creative problem solving and is paramount to the improvement of patient care.  Read More

•  According to a study published on Wednesday, a team of scientists successfully edited genes in human embryos to repair a common and serious disease-causing mutation. For the first time, scientists were able to produce apparently healthy embryos as a result of this gene-editing technique.  Read More

•  Jerome Adams, M.D. has been confirmed as surgeon general by a Senate committee. Adams, alongside four others who have been confirmed for positions within the Department of Health and Human Services, will now go before the full Senate for confirmation. If confirmed by the full senate, Dr. Adams will replace recently dismissed Vivek Murthy.  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: Fierce Healthcare

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  On Thursday night, Republican Senators failed to pass the "skinny" bill, which would have said goodbye to ACA's "individual mandate." The mandate required that nearly every American have insurance or pay a penalty and was one of Obamacare's least popular provisions. Insurers, doctors, consumer advocates, and health policy experts agreed that this repeal would have wrecked the individual market.  Read More

•  Amidst the rumors that Apple is in talks with health care organizations to explore the realm of health records, reports that Amazon is considering developing an EHR platform are stirring. Amazon has reportedly started a secret lab in Seattle, its headquarters, and has a crew working on health care applications for Amazon devices.  Read More

•  How up-to-date are you on health care news? Take this fun, online quiz by The New York Times to find out!  Read More

•  While there has been significant progress in research surrounding sports-related head injuries, there is little data on women as most research participants tend to be male athletes.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently began to require scientists to include female animals in brain injury studies.  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: Takao Someya/University of Tokyo

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is working on new strategies to enroll more children in longitudinal studies that are part of their precision medicine cohort program. The All of Us Research Program aims to conduct genomic research and responsibly engage children in the decades-long studies.  Read More

•  This week, the GOP's repeal-and-delay measure lacked the votes to move forward after three Republican senators opposed the plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could only afford to lose two votes on this bill. The White House said in a statement on Tuesday that it would back whichever strategy results in repealing the ACA.  Read More

•  Scientists have developed a new, wearable sensor that can monitor your body's activities. The sensor is lightweight, thin and flexible. It resembles that of a henna tattoo and can monitor vital signs over a long period of time. Researchers hope that it can monitor a patient's vital signs without any discomfort.  Read More

•  With financial incentives and penalizations in place to reduce hospital readmissions, the readmission rate declined 20 percent since its inception in 2012 under the Affordable Care Act.  Such a decline led some researchers to be concerned about unintended consequences, such as more deaths as patients are kept out of the hospital. In a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, no evidence was found that the reduction in hospital readmissions resulted in more deaths.  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:  Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  On Thursday, the Senate released revisions to the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The new bill makes some significant changes from the last BCRA draft but also leaves some major parts from the original proposal intact.  Some of the changes include allowing insurance premiums to be paid for using health savings accounts, more money going towards the opioid epidemic, keeping Obamacare taxes, allowing insurers to offer non-Obamacare-qualified plans and more stabilization money for high-risk customers. Proposals to cut Medicaid spending and allowing states to opt out of key parts of Obamacare remain unchanged.  Read More

•  On Tuesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that it has approved the waiver that will allow Alaska to continue its reinsurance program. The Alaska Reinsurance Program was created by the state to rescue its struggling ACA exchange and stabilize its individual marketplace. It is predicted that the reinsurance program will lower premiums by 20% and provide an additional 1,400 people with coverage.  Read More

•  You may re-think that second helping of mac and cheese when you realize what dangerous chemicals are lurking in that coveted powdered cheese mix.  Phthalates can disrupt male hormones like testosterone and have been linked to genital birth defects and behavioral problems. These chemicals were previously banned from children's toys a decade ago but may be present in high concentrations in mac and cheese powder mixes.  Read More

•  Emerging research has found that heart disease threatens women long-term who develop hypertension or diabetes during pregnancy. Women who had complications during pregnancy or labor are advised to alert their primary care physicians and screen annually for high blood pressure.  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:  Philby Illustration/Ikon Images/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  A new study reports that an increased risk of early death can be tied to proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are sold as common over-the-counter heartburn medication.  These PPIs have been linked to serious side effects associated with premature death.  Read More

•  The President's nomination for the next surgeon general is Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D. Adams has helped lead the charge in dealing with the state's opioid epidemic. His nomination must still be confirmed by the Senate but if appointed, he will serve a four-year term, replacing Vivek Murthy, M.D., who was fired in April.  Read More

•  If the current proposed health care bill becomes a law, it is predicted that 15 million fewer people would have Medicaid coverage by 2026. Some states have already begun to look for ways to tighten eligibility, with availability only for those who truly need it.  Read More

•  The Department of Health and Human Services is awarding $15 million for the families of Flint, Michigan affected by lead exposure. These earmarked funds will help residents who are experiencing health issues linked to the community's tainted water supply.  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: Oscar Gronner

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  As the number of accountable care organizations (ACOs) continue to grow this year, their success depends on how well they align with new payment models as well as off-loading some of the administrative burdens from providers. Balancing multiple advanced payment models at a time can be a challenge but is important for providers to experiment with these models and gain adequate knowledge of how they work for the benefit of their organizations.  Read More

•  The Black Plague killed a third of Europe's population 700 years ago. Today, the plague periodically re-emerges but can be treated with common antibiotics. Yersinia pestis, a flea-dwelling bacterium, is the cause of what was once known as the Black Death for the dark patches caused by bleeding under the skin. The most recent cases were reported in New Mexico, two of them this week.  Read More

•  The GOP has decided to delay the vote on their health care bill until after the July 4 holiday. At this point, Republicans are short on votes that are needed to pass the bill. Five Senate Republicans oppose the bill primarily because it defunds Planned Parenthood and cuts Medicaid funding.  Read More

•  We've all experienced that sudden jolt of crippling stomach pain or nausea at one point in our lives. Our immediate reaction is to blame the last thing we ate or drank. "It had to be the sushi," or "I knew that egg looked a little funny".  To help truly pinpoint the source of the unpleasant ailment, figuring out the correct time frame of consumption and considering the CDC's list of foods that are more likely to be contaminated are useful strategies in finding the culprit that finds us bed-ridden for a day or two.  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.