Tuesday, June 14, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

Following Covid Problems, AMA To Fight Medical Disinformation

The American Medical Association voted to support a variety of efforts, including improving access to evidence-based data, mobilizing health care workers to fact-check social media claims. and giving licensing boards the authority to penalize providers who disseminate disinformation. Also: news on health care data breaches and unnecessary medical tests.

Modern Healthcare: 5 Things To Know From Day One Of The AMA’s Annual Meeting

The healthcare industry should combat disinformation through fact-checking, penalties and proactive engagement, doctors said at the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates meeting in Chicago Monday. The AMA governing body took positions on a range of topics including disinformation, obesity, the minimum wage, universal child care and payment rates. (Kacik, 6/13)

In news about patient data —

Modern Healthcare: 700K Patients Involved In Arizona Hospital Cybersecurity Incident

A ransomware attack at Yuma Regional Medical Center in April potentially involved 700,000 patients. The attack took place between April 21 and April 25 and affected the southwestern Arizona hospital’s internal systems, the hospital said Friday. In response, the hospital said it took its systems offline and launched an investigation into the incident. There have been at least 270 data breaches within healthcare this year, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights breach portal. The single large breach occurred in May, which involved 2 million Shields Health Care Group patients. (Berryman, 6/13)

Modern Healthcare: Oracle EHR Database Plan Prompts Skepticism From Health IT Experts

Oracle’s vision of creating a national database of patient medical records, while bold, overlooks long-standing industry challenges, health technology experts said. Larry Ellison, Oracle’s co-founder, chief technology officer and board chair, last week shared an ambitious plan to build a database that contains data from electronic health records systems at hospitals across the US Doctors would be able to access medical data with patients’ permission and public health officials would be given an anonymized view, he said. (Cohen, 6/13)

The Washington Post: Can Your Medical Records Be Used For Marketing? Yes, If You Agree To This

Your intimate health information may not be as private as you think if you don’t look carefully at the forms you sign at the doctor’s office. There’s a burgeoning business in harvesting our patient data to target us with ultra-personalized ads. Patients who think medical information should come from a doctor—rather than a pharmaceutical marketing department—might not like that. (Fowler, 6/13)

In other health care industry news —

The Boston Globe: Cuts To Maternal Health Services Ignite Protests

Amid chants for choice and justice, some 200 grandmothers, parents, and their sign-waving children rallied Monday outside Beverly Hospital to protest the impending closure of the facility’s North Shore Birth Center, the last operating, free-standing center in Eastern Massachusetts. The planned closure, slated for September, was announced last month by Beth Israel Lahey Health, which cited staffing shortages at the 42-year-old center. The loss has raised concerns about dwindling access to maternity services, particularly for low-income families and women of color. (Lazar, 6/13)

AP: Care Network To Make Changes After Trans Discrimination Case

A network of adult care facilities in Maine will adopt a nondiscrimination policy about the care of transgender people as part of a settlement with a woman who filed a human rights complaint against the company. Advocates described the agreement as a landmark settlement about elder care for transgender adults in the state. The settlement came three months after Maine’s human rights panel ruled in favor of the 79-year-old woman, Marie King, who complained she was denied a room by an assisted living facility because she is transgender. (Whittle, 6/13)

Modern Healthcare: FTC Asks For More Information On UnitedHealth’s $5.4B Deal For LHC Group

Federal regulators asked UnitedHealth Group and home healthcare provider LHC Group for additional information related to their proposed $5.4 billion deal, LHC disclosed in a Friday filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. UnitedHealth Group announced plans to purchase LHC Group in March. The healthcare giant plans to add LHC to its Optum healthcare services subsidiary, in a move to beef up its in-home care delivery. The deal was expected to close in the second half of 2022. (Tepper, 6/10)

Stat: Language Barriers Keep Parents From Asking Questions About Kids’ Care

Handoffs are one of the most dangerous times in a patient’s care: As one team of caregivers passes a case to the next shift, a clinician might neglect to jot down an important observation, forget to input an order for a test before heading home, or fail to realize that a medication ordered overnight never arrived by morning. But handoffs do not have to be so perilous, and patients and families themselves can provide a valuable safeguard against medical errors arising from these inevitable transition points. For children in particular, parents are the ones who notice when their infant’s formula was accidentally swapped, or whether their preschooler is still clutching her head in pain after it should have eased. It is with this expertise in mind that a group of physicians and researchers at 32 hospitals across the US and Canada are pushing to improve the handoff procedure and bring patients and families more into the process. But providers have to be thoughtful about how they do that — especially when caring for kids whose parents and families are not proficient in English. (Chen, 6/13)

NPR: When Routine Medical Tests Trigger A Cascade Of Unnecessary Care

Dr. Meredith Niess saw her patient was scared. He’d come to the Veterans Affairs clinic in Denver with a painful hernia near his stomach. Niess, a primary care resident, knew he needed surgery right away. But another doctor had already ordered a chest X-ray instead. The test results revealed a mass in the man’s lung. “This guy is sweating in his seat, [and] he’s not thinking about his hernia,” Niess said. “He’s thinking he’s got cancer.” … Niess understood something her patient didn’t. Decades of evidence showed the chest X-ray was unnecessary and the “mass” was probably a shadow or a cluster of blood vessels.These non-finding findings are so common that doctors have dubbed them “incidentalomas.”(Levi and Gorenstein, 6/13)

KHN: Preventive Care May Be Free, But Follow-Up Diagnostic Tests Can Bring Big Bills

When Cynthia Johnson learned she would owe $200 out-of-pocket for a diagnostic mammogram in Houston, she almost put off getting the test that told her she had breast cancer. “I thought, ‘I really don’t have this to spend, and it’s probably nothing,’” said Johnson, who works in educational assessment at a university. But she decided to go forward with the test because she could put the copay on a credit card. (Andrews, 6/14)

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