QWay Health presents the weekly US Healthcare News Bulletin to bring you the latest happenings in the Healthcare industry. We cover the news on health, technology, mergers, and financial management. Take a quick look to follow up! Keep visiting this space.

HEALTH

  • A patient is currently hospitalized in Dallas with a confirmed diagnosis of Monkeypox.
  • The Texas Department of State Health Services and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported the findings to be true as of July 15th, 2021.
  • The patient, a US resident, had traveled back to the States from Lagos, Nigeria, from where the disease might have originated.
  • Monkeypox, although it belongs to the family of smallpox, causes a much milder illness.
  • According to the CDC, the risk of the spread of Monkeypox through respiratory droplets is significantly low due to the mandate of using masks during air travel.
  • Symptoms of Havana syndrome have been reported by around 200 US citizens, most of whom are federal employees in the military department or their relatives.
  • In 2016, diplomats at the US Embassy of Cuba first reported the symptoms, which are termed as “Havana Syndrome.”
  • However, the National Academies of Sciences had said that there is no such documentation in the medical literature so far that can support the investigation.
  • The symptoms mainly include dizziness, unclear vision, and unsteady movement after hearing a deafening sound.
  • Affected individuals have also reported feeling severe pressure in their heads. The subsequent study had found pulsed radiofrequency, which could lead to brain injuries.
  • With Covid-19 cases again taking an upward curve in all states, the USA has reported over 30 new lambda variant cases of the virus in the past few weeks.
  • Medical Director of Houston Methodist Diagnostic Microbiology, Dr. Wesley, said that there are no conclusive studies yet on the contagiousness of the lambda variant of Covid-19, especially compared to the delta one.
  • So far, the USA has reported around 800 cases of lambda variant Covid-19.
  • According to the latest findings, wearing a mask and getting vaccinated are the only ways to contain the spread of the virus.
  • How the lambda variant will affect the vaccine efficacy is still unknown, though there are no reasons for suspicion so far.

TECHNOLOGY

  • StopRansomware.gov was launched in collaboration with the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, and several other federal agencies.
  • Keeping a view of the latest statistics, many businesses, including the hospital sector, recorded a 300% increase in the amount paid as ransom to hackers in 2020, as compared to 2019.
  • The reported amount recorded to as high as USD 350 Million, though authorities believe that several such attacks on small-scale businesses are going unreported.
  • This accessible portal targets to provide resources on how to handle such a ransomware attack.
  • The resources will cover details on how to scale up cybersecurity, how to respond to an attack, and how these incidents can be reported.
  • Large health systems in the USA like Kaiser Permanente, Cleveland Clinic, Providence, Mayo Clinic, and Ascension are actively funding digital start-ups.
  • The funding amounted to USD 14.7 Billion in the first six months of 2021 only, surpassing the total funding amount raised in the whole of 2020.
  • Chief Innovation and Strategy Officers from these top health systems are stressing the need for automation to reduce the stress on the already overwhelmed infrastructure while also improving the precision.
  • Clinical decision support tools and telemedicine were some of the top-funded areas.
  • The authorities have revealed that though patients are yet to accept these tools full-fledged, they are optimistic about the results in the long run.

MERGERS/ACQUISITIONS

  • The two health networks- Maimonides Medical Center and New York Community Hospital are set to merge to form a local health system.
  • The new health system is going to be functional in the Brooklyn borough.
  • The state approved the merger, the agreement of which had started back in 2018.
  • While Maimonides has a 711-bed facility, the New York Community Hospital has a 134-bed facility.
  • Ken Gibbs, president, and CEO of Maimonides Medical Center, cited the common culture of the two hospitals as the reason for the deal’s success.
  • Braden Health, the hospital network giant, has closed the deal to acquire the Decatur County General Hospital.
  • The hospital in Parsons, Tennessee, had closed down temporarily in the first quarter of 2020.
  • The deal got approved by the Decatur County Commission on July 19th, 2021.
  • With Braden Health investing around USD 2 Million in the hospital, services are expected to resume soon.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

  • Following the newly announced guidelines of the Department of Labor, health insurers have to cover preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) at no additional cost.
  • The PrEP is a particular drug therapy used to prevent HIV infection.
  • The PrEP can be generic or branded. The insurance companies will have the flexibility to choose between the two. But they must cover the charges of at least one.
  • A recent study by PatientRightsAdvocate.org found that only 6% of all the health systems in the USA complied with the price disclosure rule issued by CMS.
  • The rule came into effect from January 1st, 2021, with an aim to make healthcare prices more accessible to the public.
  • This will help the patients to make more informed decisions regarding their healthcare procedures.
  • The study found that some hospitals did not publish negotiated rates while some did not come out with the payer-specific negotiated charges.
  • According to the rule, the hospitals are supposed to publish all this information on their web portals to promote a more consumer-friendly manner.

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