QWay Healthcare brings you the weekly news of the events in the US medical industry. Go through our news bulletin to stay updated.

HEALTH

  • A child in Texas died of a rare fatal infection of N. Fowleri, which is thought to have been present in the splash pad of a park in Arlington.
  • According to the reports of Tarrant County Public Health, the water quality of the splash pad was not consistently monitored in the last month.
  • The CDC has confirmed the presence of the amoeba in the water of the splash pad after samples were withdrawn from the site.
  • Records had also revealed that the chlorination levels were below the acceptable level when the monitoring was done after the child’s visit.
  • According to the CDC, though rare, inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water can lead to a fatal infection, which is thought to have happened in this case.
  • The CDC and FDA jointly conducted the National Youth Tobacco Survey to highlight the growing popularity of e-cigarettes among the youth, especially school-goers.
  • Over 11% of high school students reported that they use e-cigarettes. The report finds that almost 2 million high school goers are using the device.
    Approximately 25% of this population uses e-cigarettes on a regular basis.
  • Among middle school students, around 2.8% of the population reported the use of e-cigarettes, while 85% of all teens reported that they use flavored vapes.
  • These findings suggest the fact that the device has held on to its popularity among this age group. However, the report cannot be compared to the previous year’s report due to the pandemic.

TECHNOLOGY

  • American Medical Association’s technology wing company Health2047 has launched its latest spin-off company called RecoverX to support physicians in the clinical decision-making process.
  • The AI-based system supports providers in about 30 specialties while tracking and analyzing the data charts in real-time.
  • RecoverX will take into account the clinical health records, patient communication, and any test results to arrive at advanced insights on the patient’s health.
  • Real-time data monitoring with instant voice transcription support and one-click actions are some of the advanced features of this platform.
  • BMJ Best Practice will support RecoverX in its development and updates by providing a repository of updated information on research and expert opinions.
  • Intermountain Healthcare, SSM Health, and Presbyterian Healthcare Services launched a new digital tool marketplace called Graphite Health.
  • The new data platform will help in deploying tools into their systems without any complication, which is set to boost the interoperability goal.
  • The most difficult hurdle about implementing a digital revolution in healthcare is complicated rules and the absence of transparent data-sharing tools.
  • Graphite Health will help the healthcare systems to bypass the delay and improve the patient clinical outcomes with better-integrated technology.
  • The platform has also taken due steps to maintain the highest standards of privacy and protection, according to Ries Robinson, MD, CEO of Graphite Health and chief innovation adviser at Presbyterian Healthcare Services.

BUSINESS

  • After a delay of three years following the intent to merge, two Philadelphia-based healthcare giants Jefferson Health and Einstein Healthcare, have finalized their merger deal.
  • The merger will result in the formation of an integrated 18-hospital system along with 50 outpatient care centers.
  • The merger had faced legal opposition from the Pennsylvania attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission, citing fair competition issues.
  • However, the appellate court cleared the merger for integration early in February 2021.
  • “Einstein and the new Jefferson together represent an opportunity for the Philadelphia region to creatively construct a reimagining of healthcare, education, discovery, equity and innovation that will have national and international reverberations,” said Stephen Klasko MD, president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health.
  • Governor of New York Kathy Hochulon has signed a telehealth executive order in the state to combat the growing staffing shortages in the health systems.
  • The healthcare systems have been reeling under a severe shortage of staff since the early days of the pandemic.
  • Now the situation has become even more difficult to handle with the return of elective care into the medical ecosystem.
  • The order passed in New York will allow healthcare providers outside of New York to treat patients in the state. However, the physicians from any such country must be cleared by the Department of Health first.
  • Nurses and other essential ancillary healthcare providers from outside the state of New York will also be able to engage with patients in the state.

MEDICAL BILLING

  • The open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage Plan 2022 starts on October 15, 2021. Payer networks have started revealing their plan details ahead of schedule.
  • UnitedHealthcare, one of the largest offering the Medicare Advantage plans, is set to expand even further in more than 250 new counties.
  • UnitedHealthcare holds 94% of the total population enrolled in the Medicare Advantage plans, closely followed by Aetna, Cigna, and Anthem.
  • Aetna, in its 2022 plan, includes an increased number of $0 premium plans. 84% of Medicare-eligible beneficiaries can access Aetna and its different plans.
  • In a huge leap, Cigna has increased its foothold in Medicare Advantage plans by 80% since 2019. However, Centene held the position for the largest expansion in 2022.
  • With the expansion of the Affordable Care Act in Missouri, over 250,000 residents will become eligible for the state’s Medicaid plan.
  • According to the recent announcement by the CMS, the state’s Medicaid program will receive a funding of almost $1 Billion in the coming two years.
  • The reports from the last few months indicate that MO HealthNet, Missouri’s Medicaid program, has received pouring applications from all over the state.
  • The expansion of the Affordable Care Act will help the state move towards its goal of health equity and access to care.
  • Twelve states are still left to expand their respective Medicaid programs, according to the latest figures.

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