QWay Healthcare brings you the weekly news updates from the American healthcare industry. Glance through to see what you might have missed:

Health

Michigan had USA’s first spill-over Covid-19 case in 2020

  • Four people in Michigan infected with Covid-19 in 2020 might have been the first spill-over case of animal to human Covid-19 transfer in the USA.
  • The story broke after several people closely linked with mink farms were infected with Covid-19 in Michigan.
  • It has now come to light that the viral mutations of Covid-19 found in the minks were also found in those humans.
  • Similar spill-over cases have also been reported in Canada and other parts of Michigan. However, the CDC has not yet urged mink farm owners to check up on the animals actively.
  • CDC, on the other hand, has directed state officials to keep an eye on the chances of spill-over cases from wildlife animals during human interaction.

Hepatitis outbreaks among children concern doctors

  • Sudden hepatitis outbreaks throughout parts of Europe and Alabama in the USA have concerned doctors in those areas.
  • Though no deaths have been reported till now, the children are severely sick, leading to concerns regarding the outbreak’s nature.
  • The affected children were under ten years old and had been experiencing extreme gastrointestinal discomfort. They have also shown signs of liver damage.
  • Though the source has not yet been confirmed, the affected children in Alabama and the UK have tested positive for adenovirus.
  • CDC is working closely with the Alabama Department of Public Health to resolve the matter.

Technology

CDC launches new disease forecasting center 

  • In an attempt to improve disease management practices and help effective decision making, the CDC has found the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA).
  • The new center will be focusing on improving the disease forecast system with the help of advanced data analytics models.
  • CDC is optimistic that this new model will help them support both leaders and the general public at federal, state, and local levels. In particular, the forecasting system for infectious diseases will be highly beneficial for individual decision-making and public information.
  • The organization will be building this forecasting center with the values of prediction, information, and innovation. The team at CDC believes that they will be better equipped to manage a healthcare crisis with the help of these scientific predictions.
  • “This new center is an example of how we are modernizing the ways we prepare for and respond to public health threats. I am proud of the work that has come out of this group thus far and eager to see continued innovation in the use of data, modeling, and analytics to improve outbreak responses,” said Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, director at CDC, in their press release.

Is mRNA the latest disruptor in healthcare IT?

  • According to the latest news reports from Harvard Business Review, mRNA technology could be the biggest disruptor in shaping the future of IT innovation in healthcare.
  • In recent years, mRNA technology has proven its mettle in the fight against Covid-19 and vaccine generations.
  • International researchers feel that taking mRNA to a common platform, where several tech giants could share technology to build a stable core, could bring the next biggest thing to the pharmaceutical industry.
  • It is also notable that pharmaceutical giants like BioNTech and Moderna have already shared their technology with fellow companies to build more towards that platform.
  • “We think there are 10 or 20 different cell types to which we can deliver mRNA. … Once you have the delivery, then you can do lots of different drugs because RNA is information,” explained Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel.

Business

Children’s Hospital New Orleans expansion one of the most significant economic developments

  • Children’s Hospital New Orleans opens its doors after a massive expansion involving an investment of $300 Million.
  • The campus now boasts world-class facilities, with 230,000 square feet of new clinical care space, 57,000 square foot pediatric surgery center, and 35,000 square foot cardiac intensive care unit.
  • The management has taken special care to make the place more welcoming and hospitable to the children, with several facilities to assist the guardians of those children.
  • The campus now also has a dedicated 51-bed behavioral health center for taking care of mental health issues, specifically for children and adolescents.
  • “I think the investment in this campus is one of New Orleans’ great economic development stories of the last few years,” said Jonathan Brouk, the chief operating officer for Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

Trinity Health acquires all of MercyOne Health System

  • Trinity Health has finalized a deal with CommonSpirit Health to acquire all of the latter’s shares of MercyOne Health System.
  • Once the transaction is finalized by the summer of this year, MercyOne Health System will make its shift to Trinity Health’s operations.
  • Employing over 20,000 people, MercyOne Health System spreads its operations across 16 medical centers, 420 care sites, and 27 affiliate organizations.
  • The decision came after both Trinity Health and CommonSpirit Health decided that having a sole parent company would be in the best interest of the communities that MercyOne serves.
  • “This agreement creates a fully integrated MercyOne to care for more people in a unified way,” said Mike Slubowski, president and CEO of Trinity Health.

Medical Billing

Doubt clearance on price transparency regulations with FAQs

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a list of FAQs to clear the doubts about implementing the price transparency rule.
  • According to the law, insurers and health plans to disclose their in-network provider rates, out-of-network allowed amounts, negotiated rates, and historical net prices for covered prescription drugs in separate machine-readable files.
  • Last year, the CMS announced that it would implement the rule till July 1, 2022. The FAQs come at a time to help concerned parties get rid of doubts.
  • The FAQs have mentioned alternative methodologies for reimbursement purposes when they cannot assign exact dollar amounts to the services.
  • In these cases, formula, variables, methods, or other information regarding the rate derivation methods can be helpful.

Medicare Advantage more beneficial than Fee-for-service for seniors

  • A new study from Better Medicare Alliance shows that senior insurance holders spend up to $2000 on out-of-pocket costs and premiums when enrolled in Medicare Advantage rather than fee-for-service.
  • However, the rate of savings differs from $1000 to $2000, based on the race and ethnicities of the beneficiaries.
  • 20% of the Fee-for-service seniors face cost burdens. The percentage drops to 13% for Medicare Advantage holders.
  • At the same time, over 95% of beneficiaries both from Medicare Advantage and Fee-for-service reported that they were satisfied with their service.
  • The pools of patients taken for the study between Medicare Advantage and Fee-for-service all had chronic conditions and similar clinical issues.

Watch 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:

4 Michiganders were likely 1st US mink-to-human COVID spillover cases (freep.com)

Mysterious hepatitis outbreak sickens young children in Europe as CDC probes cases in Alabama | Science | AAAS

CDC Launches New Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC

Will mRNA Technology Companies Spawn Innovation Ecosystems? (hbr.org)

Children’s Hospital New Orleans innovates pediatric healthcare with world-class facility and top experts | Sponsored: Children’s Hospital New Orleans | nola.com

Trinity to become sole owner of MercyOne, acquire CommonSpirit’s share (beckershospitalreview.com)

FAQS About Affordable Care Act Implementation Part 53 (cms.gov)

BMA-Medicare-Advantage-Cost-Protections-Data-Brief_FIN.pdf (bettermedicarealliance.org)