QWay Healthcare presents the weekly updates from the American medical industry. Check out the latest events making it to the news:

Health

CDC releases data on Covid-19 management

  • In this last week, CDC has released a series of information and data on the status of Covid-19 in the USA.
  • According to the data, around 60% of the American population had already contracted Covid-19. 75% of children were a significant part of that population.
  • After a few weeks of rising concern regarding the diverse variants, CDC has seen a dip in omicron subvariant BA.2 for a second consecutive week.
  • Though it remains the dominant variant in the entire country, the percentage dipped from around 75% to 68% on April 23, 2022.
  • The CDC also took a moment to remind physicians that antibiotics and steroids are not necessary for patients infected with Covid-19 but no bacterial coinfection.

USPSTF suggests new guidelines for preventative low-dose aspirin

  • The US Preventive Services Task Force, an independent primary care and prevention medical panel, has recommended specific alterations to the low-dose aspirin use guidelines for different age groups.
  • The committee suggests that there need not be any daily use of low-dose aspirin in adults over 60 as a prevention against heart attacks.
  • In the case of adults aged 40 to 59 years, the organization suggests taking the regular low-dose aspirin for the population with a 10% cardiovascular disease risk.
  • However, the USPSTF strictly maintains that patients should consult with their respective doctors before altering any dose in their press release.
  • Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, president of the American Heart Association, said, “If you are already taking low-dose aspirin because you have had a heart attack, stroke or stenting or you have a history of AFib, continue to take it as directed by your physician. This new guidance about low-dose aspirin does not apply to your situation.”

Technology

Virtual Reality to manage chronic pain conditions at Cedars-Sinai

  • Cedars-Sinai physician Brennan Spiegel, MD, is leading a large research group to use virtual reality to treat chronic pain conditions.
  • He, along with his team, has set up a laboratory in their facility in LA, where they create virtual realities for the patients.
  • In this method, they set an active monitoring system on the patient’s different biometric data. It includes cognitive load, pupil dilation, and heart rate.
  • He had started the facility back in 2015 when he had received a grant of $1 million for further research in this budding field.
  • “All of its revolutionary potential tumbles out of its ability to compel a person’s brain and body to react to a different reality,” said Brennan Spiegel in his interview with the NYTimes.

Defense Health Agency sets up App Rating Inventory

  • The US Defense Health Agency has built a framework called the App Rating Inventory to rate the different healthcare applications.
  • With the plethora of health apps available in the market, the main aim of the framework is to help in clinical decision-making.
  • The new framework will evaluate the different health apps based on three basic parameters- content, evidence, and customizability.
  • The three parameters have different measures of value assigned to them, which sum up to be 28. Every parameter holds equal weightage in the calculation.
  • The study mentioned that apart from these measures, the clinicians should also consider patient preferences, resource allocation, clinical presentation, and technical knowledge.

Business

TriStar Greenview Regional plans to build an acute care hospital

  • The TriStar Greenview Regional has submitted a proposal to build a 72-bed acute care hospital in Kentucky.
  • The plan approximately amounts to be a $350 million project, spread over 30 acres of land.
  • The program reads that the construction might start in 2024 and is expected to be completed by 2027.
  • There will not be any change in bed number since the 72 beds will come from TriStar Greenview Regional, a subsidiary of HCA.
  • The new facility with a dedicated 24-hour emergency department will be called the TriStar Greenview Regional East Hospital.

Healthcare mergers slowing down in Q1 of 2022

  • The volume of healthcare mergers has fallen drastically in Q1 of 2022 compared to the last quarter of 2021.
  • According to the KPMG report, the healthcare deals decreased by a massive 34% in the first quarter of 2022.
  • Volume of strategic healthcare deals suffered a blow of 13% in Q1 of 2022 compared to Q4 of 2021.
  • The drop has been highest in the case of private equity investors, increasing interest rates being one of the most crucial reasons.
  • The report also read those smaller healthcare organizations are likely to see more mergers, closures, or bankruptcies.

Medical Billing

UnitedHealthcare issues pre-auth changes from June

  • UnitedHealthcare has announced that it will be rolling out specific changes in the prior authorization requirements from June onwards.
  • The prior authorization changes will be focused on outpatient radiation therapies, including proton beam therapy, image-guided radiation therapy, and special and associated radiation therapy services.
  • It will also cover selective internal radiation therapy, Yttrium 90, and implantable beta-emitting microspheres to treat malignant tumors.
  • Optum will be managing these pre-auth changes along with stereotactic body radiation therapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy.
  • Health plans like United Healthcare’s Medicare Advantage, Community Plan, and West Medicare Advantage will be affected.

Permanent telehealth expansion to cost $25 Bn

  • A recent report released by the committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said that permanent telehealth expansion would cost Medicare a whopping $25 Bn over ten years.
  • The study estimated this amount by keeping the factor of extension of use constant.
  • The study was prepared based on a Congressional Budget Office estimate regarding a five-month extension for telehealth services.
  • The report also focused on ways to extend benefits to the users while reasonably controlling the expenditure.
  • According to the report, “The occasional expiration of authorities will provide policymakers the opportunity to review research into telehealth’s impact on healthcare costs.”

Keep an eye out for this space for more such news on healthcare, financial management, and technology. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn for regular updates.

Sources:

HAN Archive – 00463 | Health Alert Network (HAN) (cdc.gov)

BA.2 case proportion falls for 2nd week, CDC data shows (beckershospitalreview.com)

Seroprevalence of Infection-Induced SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies — United States, September 2021–February 2022 | MMWR (cdc.gov)

Recommendation: Aspirin Use to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease: Preventive Medication | United States Preventive Services Taskforce (uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org)

Can Virtual Reality Help Ease Chronic Pain? – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

JMIR mHealth and uHealth – A Novel Method for Evaluating Mobile Apps (App Rating Inventory): Development Study

Greenview planning 72-bed hospital along Lovers Lane | News | bgdailynews.com

M&A in healthcare dwindled in Q1’22 (kpmg.us)

New radiation therapy prior authorization requirements | UHCprovider.com

Fiscal Considerations for the Future of Telehealth | Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (crfb.org)