ABL HEALTHCARE ONLINE
ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * May 5, 2020
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!

>>> Rama Penta is the West Coast Senior Manager of Technology Prospecting at Bayer, since July 2019. He has been with Bayer since 2014, including as Digital Health (G4A) Business Development Senior Manager, in San Francisco, and as Consumer Health - Global Technology Product Innovation Senior Manager, in Whippany, New Jersey. Rama is a proven R&D and product innovation technologist with 20 years of pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare experience. He is driven to find novel ways to make lives better - specifically to make wellness more accessible, resulting in the addition of years to life (increasing lifespans), and adding life to years (increasing healthspans). Rama does this, first, by identifying novel lifesaving and life-enhancing digital health solutions and digital therapeutics (products + services + business models), fulfilling unmet health and wellness needs. Secondly, by getting these products into people's hands better, faster, cheaper - by optimizing underlying business processes (from ideation to commercialization), which serendipitously improves the bottom line. Prior to Bayer, Rama worked for Merck, in New Jersey, for 14+ years, holding positions in Consumer Care - R&D Technology & Strategy Realization, and in Corporate IT and Research Labs IT. Rama has joined the Silicon Valley Round Table.

>>> Robin Raff is Founder, CEO and Chief Strategist of Pulse Healthcare Marketing, Inc. , a rapidly growing healthcare marketing firm where she has launched and grown multiple new healthcare brands using data-driven multi-channel strategies. Robin works with her clients to develop impactful marketing strategy and then oversees her team's flawless execution of creative, media, and data analytics. Robin has 30+ years of marketing experience on both the ad agency and client side working on many world-class brands. Her ability to successfully launch new brands, products, and services is built on a foundation of data analysis combined with deep customer and market insights. Current clients include Providence Health & Services, Stay Smartcare, Medimaps, Community Psychiatry, and Bindex. Previously, Robin was Director of Medicare Marketing at Kaiser Permanente for five years, where she led the $40 million national data-driven multi-media Medicare campaigns across their seven regions. Other healthcare clients served by Robin's expertise over the years include Blue Shield of California, UnitedHealthcare, Oticon Hearing, GE Financial Assurance LTC, California Department of Health Services, HeartMath, Essilor, Resolution Health (acquired by Wellpoint), Group Health, and DestinationRx.com. Returning to ABL, Robin has re-joined the Bay Area Round Table.

UPCOMING ABL HEALTHCARE
ROUND TABLES
    In May, ABL will hold its Round Tables via ZOOM to ensure Social Distancing for our Members. See your Round Table invitation for participation instructions, and the ABL.org Members Only website for all the Healthcare Round Table invitation specifics.

  • 5/06 - Orange County Round Table
  • 5/12 - Silicon Valley Round Table
  • 5/13 - San Francisco Round Table
  • 5/15 - Los Angeles Round Table
  • 5/21 - East Bay/Oakland Round Table
  • Explore Membership in ABL's Executive Round Tables >>>

What's It Gonna Take for the U.S.
to Reopen for Business?

by Mimi Grant

Testing for COVID-19 remains one of the biggest obstacles in reopening the U.S. economy and returning to a pre-COVID life or at least a "new normal." Our country's COVID-19 expert, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN April 28 that the country needs about 3 million tests per week. (That was the day after government officials announced the U.S. should have the capacity to test 2 million people per week by the end of May, while according to The Hill, in the prior two weeks an average less than 1.5 million tests per week had been conducted.)

Dr. Fauci went on to tell CNN he hopes that by the end of May or beginning of June, everyone who needs a COVID-19 test will be able to receive one. But, that doesn't mean that everyone will get one.

Let's do the math: according to the UN, the U.S. has a population over 331 million. So far, according to Worldometers.info, as of May 4th, 7,462,597 people in the U.S. had been tested for COVID - or 2.3% of the population. We have about four more weeks till the end of May. So even if we accelerate testing to 3 million tests a week, and get 12 million more people tested, with roughly 30 million tested, we'll still have 300 million more tests to go. At 3 million tests a week, it will take us nearly two years to get everyone tested.

So, based on those stats, we better get used to sheltering in place, as we await a vaccine. BUT, what could change that painful trajectory? More tests!

So, how many tests do we really need to reopen? CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF MIMI'S BLOG

[Photo Caption & Credit: An antibody test for COVID-19 is now available through QuestDirect, which is Quest Diagnostics' consumer-initiated testing business. (Pixabay) (Fiercehealthcare.com, 4/28/20)]

 
Click on Headlines to Read Articles
ABL HEALTHCARE MEMBER NEWS
EXPANDED ARTICLES
ABL HEALTHCARE MEMBER NEWS
COVID Emergency Response Hospital, Mazzetti & VivaLnk Implement Game-Changing Technology

The Mazzetti article, "Game-Changing" COVID Technology in a Convention Center & Beyond, describes how Mazzetti CEO Walt Vernon and his staff, along with Andy Leeka, Chief Executive Director of the COVID Emergency Response Hospital, located in the L.A. Convention Center (aka LACC Relief Hospital), and Jiang Li, Ph.D., CEO of VivaLnk, have teamed to implement VivaLnk's reusable wireless monitoring patch in the emergency hospital. The patch continuously monitors patient body temperature, sending data via Bluetooth to the respective hospital nurse station for monitoring and responding accordingly. The multi-patient monitoring application alerts staff based on trends and thresholds, identifying the patient and bed. VivaLnk's technology was deployed for COVID-19 patient monitoring in China at 18 different hospitals, impacting over 2,000 patients. "It's a game changer, especially during this pandemic," said Stacey Gerlich, Captain of the L.A. Fire Department. "Constant monitoring, no cross-contamination because you don't have to touch the patient, no wasting of supplies (PPE), and no disturbing the patient at 2:00 in the morning to take their temperature." (Andy Leeka, Los Angeles, & Walt Vernon, JD, Bay Area)

Alphascript is Compounding Hand Sanitizer for Patients and Employees

The FDA has issued guidance that allows pharmacies to prepare (compound) hand sanitizer for consumer use, so Alphascript is now compounding hand sanitizer in addition to the medications it prepares for a variety of chronic, complex conditions. Its hand sanitizers comply with WHO-based formulas to ensure maximum efficacy. Alphascript recently began shipping complimentary bottles in patient packages and will continue this service for as long as they are able while the pandemic persists. (Rus Zukin, Silicon Valley)

Alvaka Networks' Essential Steps For a Ransomware Recovery

In What to Expect During a Ransomware Recovery, Alvaka Networks describes what should be your essential steps to follow in a ransomware recovery situation. The steps include: engage a lawyer; determine what your insurance covers; determine if it's necessary to gather forensic information; consider hiring a ransomware negotiator; decide whether or not you will pay the ransom - based on the extent of the damage, value of the lost data, likelihood of a recovery without paying, and other variables; execute the plan with great vigor, speed and tenacity; and create and implement a new cybersecurity plan. (Oli Thordarson, Orange County)

Anthem Blue Cross Supports Pandemic Resources & Offers Virtual Dental Care

Anthem Blue Cross recently announced $200,000 in new donations to United Way and Feeding America; funds will be cascaded to food banks, shelters, and other resource centers across California that are helping struggling individuals and families access necessities amid the current pandemic. These latest contributions are part of a $4 million commitment recently made by Anthem Blue Cross and its Foundation to support COVID-19 relief efforts across the state; approximately $1.5 million is already in use. Also, Anthem and TeleDentists have launched a virtual dental care program providing convenient access to dental care 24/7/365 in the event of an emergency, with virtual exams covered at 100%, with no deductibles, copays, paperwork or claims to file through June 30, 2020. (David Pryor, MD, Los Angeles)

Axene Launches COVID-19 Planning Resource Model

Axene Health Partners has released its AHP COVID-19 Planning Resource Model, developed to help those in the real-world position of projecting demand for hospital resources. Currently in use by the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, the Model is available for license to healthcare professionals immediately. Meanwhile, Axene's recent blog articles include: "Data, Data, Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink"; "Coping During the Coronavirus Pandemic"; "Financial Risk Preparation: The COVID-19 Pandemic and 'Unknown Unknowns'"; "The Cost of COVID-19"; and "Health Care Provider Pinch: COVID-19's Impact on Provider Revenues." . (John Price, Bay Area)

Bayer Partners with Population Health Research Institute on COVID-19 Treatments

Bayer recently announced that its Canadian organization, Bayer Inc., is partnering with the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) in launching a major clinical research program aimed at identifying potential treatments against COVID-19. Two studies will evaluate the safety and efficacy of different combination therapies including Bayer's chloroquine and interferon beta-1b. Also, Bayer has announced it will donate approximately eight million chloroquine tablets for COVID-19 treatment in Germany and one million in Italy. In addition, Bayer said it will give approximately €1 million each to France, Brazil, and Spain. (Rama Penta, Silicon Valley)

Blue Shield of California Provides Details on Financial Support Options to Healthcare Providers in Response to COVID-19 Crisis

As part of a $200+ million commitment to support healthcare providers and hospitals facing financial pressures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Shield of California has announced additional details on four programs available to qualifying network providers. Hospitals, medical groups, IPAs, and independent physicians that are currently part of Blue Shield of California's provider network are eligible to apply for these programs. (Greg Buchert, MD, Orange County)

Choice in Aging Distributes PPE to Residential Care Facilities

Choice in Aging (CiA) recently partnered with Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa, Solano and Alameda, and Contra Costa County Emergency Operations Center to provide PPE to Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly in Contra Costa County, distributing supplies to 150+ facilities. Meanwhile, Dishing with Debbie, CiA's weekly Facebook Live series, is now being held on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. Pacific. (Debbie Toth, Bay Area)

Cigna Supports Social Connections for Seniors During the Pandemic & Accelerates COVID-19 Research

Cigna is launching a pilot program to increase social connectivity among its Medicare Advantage (MA) customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cigna is reaching out proactively to many of its Medicare customers to monitor their general health and well-being as well as daily needs during COVID-19, including food, housing and transportation. Customers will be able to opt-in to receive follow-up calls from the same Cigna representative to help cultivate meaningful connections. Cigna will also leverage its comprehensive data and analytics to identify MA customers who may be at higher risk for health issues and complications for additional proactive outreach to help answer questions about COVID-19, conduct regular health checks and triage care to a medical professional, if necessary. The pilot program will initially reach 24,000 customers with plans for rapid expansion. Meanwhile, to accelerate research for a COVID-19 treatment, Cigna is providing medications to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to initiate a clinical trial that will evaluate antimalarial and antibiotic treatments for COVID-19. (Chris De Rosa, Orange County)

Covered California Sees Strong Consumer Interest in Healthcare Coverage During Pandemic

More than 84,000 people have signed up for coverage through Covered California since March 20, when the exchange announced a special-enrollment period in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pace of sign-ups during this five-week period has been more than 2.5 times the level that Covered California saw during the same period in 2019. The exchange is sending more than 11 million emails to consumers to help them understand their health care coverage options during this unprecedented time. In addition, Medi-Cal enrollment is open year-round for consumers who qualify. (Kathy Keeshen, JD, Bay Area)

Elemeno Health's App Implemented by Emergency Physicians, Multiple Hospitals & Public Health Dept

Elemeno Health is joining forces with the American College of Emergency Physicians to deploy Elemeno's free best-practices content-sharing app to help emergency department physicians and nurses throughout the U.S. to manage COVID-19. The app provides critical information and continuously updated COVID-19 practices essential to patient care and infection control. Each ED can add their own local workflows to give frontline teams department-specific support. Also, in the past few weeks, Elemeno has launched enterprise-wide for COVID team communication and point-of-care training at El Camino Hospital (both campuses), Marin General, and Sonoma Valley Hospital, as well as with Alameda County Public Health. (Arup Roy-Burman, MD, Bay Area, & Cecile Currier, Silicon Valley)

Hospice East Bay CEO Quoted in Article on Importance of Advanced Directives

The Mercury News' recent article, The COVID-19 talk families need to have now: Health care experts say all adults should think about their end-of-life wishes, reports that most people have not completed advanced directives, and that this is adding to the uncertainty in ERs overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. Frontline providers are "desperate" for any information so they make sure patients' care aligns with what they would want. The article quotes Cindy Hatton, CEO of Hospice East Bay: "For COVID-19 patients who won't recover, hospice care is an option and could allow people to avoid going to the hospital. Hospice workers also can arrange for patients to leave the hospital and die at home. One goal of hospice is to help COVID-19 patients stay in contact with loved ones as much as possible, whether it's by phone or FaceTime if they're in a nursing home or hospital, or by having two family members with them at home, while staying at a safe distance." (Cindy Hatton, Bay Area)

King & Spalding's May 8th Webinar to Cover How to Get Paid by Commercial, Managed Medicare & Medicaid Payers in the Months to Come

On May 8 and May 22, at 10:30 a.m. Pacific, King & Spalding (K&S) will present a two-part webinar series on key issues facing managed care executives and revenue cycle teams in the COVID-19 pandemic: COVID-19 - How to Get Paid by Commercial, Managed Medicare and Managed Medicaid Payers in the Months to Come. K&S Partner Marcia Augsburger will be among the speakers. Part 1 on May 8th will focus on issues involving reimbursement for COVID-related testing and treatment, along with reimbursement issues unique to Medicare Advantage and managed Medicaid payers, including coding and reimbursement for COVID patients. Part 2 on May 22nd will focus on reimbursement issues arising from changes to policies by commercial payers, including fully insured state-regulated payers, and self-funded employer-sponsored benefit plans under ERISA. Both sessions will address strategies for improving payment for telehealth services, and the issues being raised by states beginning to lift moratoriums on scheduled and elective procedures. (Marcia Augsburger, JD, Bay Area, & Travis Jackson, JD)

KMD Architects Participates in New Mt. Zion Hospital Unit for Respiratory Illnesses

UCSF Health recently opened 13 acute- and critical-care beds at its Mount Zion hospital as the first phase of a new, 53-bed respiratory isolation unit that will serve as UCSF Health's primary site for caring for patients with novel coronavirus disease. KMD Architect's healthcare facility planners shared that they are "proud to have served a small but important role in making this happen." (Rob Matthew, Bay Area)

LigoLab is Creating Nationwide Lab Network to Balance COVID-19 Testing Capacity

On May 12, at 10 a.m., LigoLab Information Systems will present Fireside Chat: COVID-19 Testing Insights and Practical Guidance for Partner Labs, "a conversation focused on the exchanging of ideas and winning strategies during the pandemic. LigoLab will unveil TestDirectly, its direct-to-consumer portal supporting drive-through workflow and B2B testing, built to help future-proof your lab." Meanwhile, LigoLab is encouraging labs that are looking to start processing COVID-19 tests to reach out to them for help with setup, instrument integration, FDA approval, collection kits, expertise, direct-to-consumer portal, and volume. "We are uniting labs nationwide by organizing logistics and creating a network to help with the load balancing of testing capacity. This month our partner labs in Illinois and Washington joined forces and began sharing testing capabilities, and we are here to empower your lab, too." (Suren Avunjian, Los Angeles)

Nelson Hardiman Examines Operating / Reopening Your Business & Resuming Elective Surgeries Amid COVID-19

Recent publications from Nelson Hardiman (NH) include: ADA, Worker's Comp, General Liability, and OSHA - Key Operational Issues to Consider in Operating or Reopening Your Business, which outlines major issues to monitor as we move through the next six months, and Elective Surgeries Resume in California, which examines the "Roadmap for Resuming Elective Surgery after the COVID-19 Pandemic," developed by the American College of Surgeons, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, and the American Hospital Association. (Harry Nelson, JD, Los Angeles)

SafeRide Health's YouTube Channel Provides New Demo Videos

Check out SafeRide Health's YouTube channel, where recent videos include: "Introduction to the Health Plan Portal in the SafeRide platform"; "Introduction to the Booking Portal in the SafeRide Health platform"; "Stand out from the Medicare Advantage crowd with a technology-forward NEMT benefit (webinar replay)"; and more. (Robbins Schrader, Los Angeles)

Santa Cruz Surgery Center CEO Spotlighted for Serving in the COVID-19 Battle

Santa Clara University Magazine's recent article - These Two Alums Are In It Together, While Staying Apart - spotlights "Lisa Cooper '90 and Quentin Cooper J.D. '97 MBA '98 [who] are juggling their large family, marriage, and busy careers while Lisa shelters in place alone to continue working in health care." An excerpt: "Lisa, CEO of Santa Cruz Surgery Center, says when six Bay Area counties officially ordered residents to shelter in place on March 16, 'I gotta tell you, my initial instincts were to send an email to the board of directors saying I'd come in to the center after hours. But that wasn't sitting right. I wanted to be there to help.' And since there was a possibility of her interacting with ill patients and then becoming a carrier of coronavirus, she rented a place away from her family to keep them safe." That left Quentin, a practicing lawyer, working from home with their six kids. Another excerpt: "Lisa's surgery center is not a hospital, so the number of surgeries there have dropped to only urgent cases. Lisa has been working to help local hospitals in their efforts to combat COVID-19. In mid-April, for example, 'We had 130 medical professionals come to our parking lot to do drive-by testing for antibodies to the virus,' she says. Her clinic has also been volunteered as an alternative site to house coronavirus patients in case hospitals become overwhelmed." (Lisa Cooper, Silicon Valley)

SAVI Group Identifies Promising Technologies Changing Healthcare

In 5 Promising Technologies Changing Healthcare Today, SAVI Group highlights some promising areas to pay attention to as we move further into 2020 and beyond. In summary, they are: telehealth's tremendous growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic; outsourcing of revenue management operations; 3D printing making it possible for low-income or war-torn areas to gain access to low-cost, customized prosthetics and medical equipment, as well as doctors-in-training practicing on 3D-printed human parts; robots' tremendous help in making minimally invasive surgeries safer and faster; and healthcare systems and networks using Internet of Things to lower project delivery times and costs. (Sumit Mahendru, Orange County)

Servicon Systems Shares "Anatomy of an Outbreak"

Stacey Wong of Servicon Systems, Inc. shares this recent Health Care Advisory Board publication - Anatomy of an Outbreak: Part 6 - which "highlights really great info on the COVID impacts to healthcare today and in the future." (Stacey Wong, Los Angeles)

SimpleTherapy Offers Free, Unlimited Access to Digital Musculoskeletal Program

As social distancing has become the current norm, people with a musculoskeletal (MSK) disorder may find that access to in-person physical therapy is challenging and, in many cases, not possible. As such, SimpleTherapy has taken action to ensure that everyone has access to quality, evidence-based exercise therapy regimens to manage their MSK condition from the comfort of home. Through July 1, 2020, SimpleTherapy is providing unlimited access to their digital musculoskeletal program for you and your employees at no cost and without any obligation. More information. (Arpit Khemka, Silicon Valley)

Wipfli Named a Registered Salesforce Consulting Partner

Wipfli has become a Salesforce registered partner, meaning it can provide end-to-end Salesforce implementation and AppExchange cloud solutions. Partner status affirms Wipfli's ability to deliver successful customer implementations, including custom configurations and workflows, across the Salesforce ecosystem. Meanwhile, recent articles from Wipfli include Payroll tax credits available due to COVID-19 and COVID-19 and CMS reimbursement for graduate medical education. (Jeff Johnson and Steve Rousso, Bay Area; Tony Taddey, L.A.; Larry Blitz, Silicon Valley)

TECH MEMBERS' HEALTHCARE NEWS
DarioHealth Teams with Vitality Group & Endorsed by UK's ORCHA

DarioHealth Corp. has partnered with Vitality Group, a global health and wellness company, in which Vitality will integrate Dario's digital therapeutics for chronic conditions into its current wellness solution platform and co-market the Dario solution to Vitality's existing client base. Meanwhile, DarioHealth announced an endorsement from U.K.-based ORCHA, highlighting Dario's Diabetes Management Application as being suitable and safe for children and young people. ORCHA is part of NHS England's National Innovation Accelerator program and supports many NHS and local government organizations to drive the uptake of digital health among their populations. (Rick Anderson, West Los Angeles Technology)

Eckert & Ziegler Gets CE Approval for Innovative Irradiation Applicators Using 3D Printing

Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG has received CE approval for the world's first applicators manufactured by 3D printing and designed for the treatment of gynecological tumors. Made of biocompatible and sterile plastic, the attachments extend the range of applications of conventional applicators. They are now also suitable for targeted, needle-assisted brachytherapy using high-dose-rate afterloading and can significantly increase the three-year survival rate of cancer patients. (Frank Yeager, Monrovia Technology )

Get Visible Offers Significant Cost Savings on Masks & Sanitizers

ABL Members can significantly reduce their costs on masks and sanitizers by aggregating orders with Jason Ciment, CEO of Get Visible, whose agency manages NextDayScience.com, a supplier of consumables to labs and healthcare companies. Visit nextdayscience.com/blog/masks-sanitizer.htm and contact Jason directly at jason@getvisible.com. (Jason Ciment, West Los Angeles Technology)

PCIHIPAA Offers Cyber Security & Compliance Program for 90-Days-Free

PCIHIPAA is currently offering 90-days free of its OfficeSafe Cyber Security & Compliance Program, along with three free tools - a network security scan and risk assessment, certified HIPAA officer training, and telehealth and remote work guidance. Also, download PCIHIPPA's free report, 10 Steps to "Practical" HIPAA Compliance. (Jeff Broudy, West Los Angeles Technology )

Pegasus One on: Implementing a Telehealth System in 2 Weeks

In Implement a Telehealth System in Just Two Weeks, Pegasus One describes how it can create and install a fully functional telehealth system within two weeks, with all the components and functions of an enterprise-grade system, at a much lower price. Pegasus One adopts a plug-and-play strategy, integrating proven off-the-shelf solutions, that can be quickly customized to its clients' needs, delivering a final product that's well built and easy to use. (Tushar Puri, Orange County Technology)

The Joy Factory Provides its HIMSS20 Virtual Tour

In this video - The Joy Factory HIMSS20 Virtual Tour - Discover Health-Grade Tablet, Case & Mounting Solutions - The Joy Factory shows and describes its line of device cases that are compatible with the most commonly used sanitization products, and are also made with The Joy Factory's antimicrobial solutions, which are IP68 certified (impervious to dust and water). In the virtual tour, The Joy Factory also talks about its line of kiosks that enable self-service patient check-in/out and data collection, as well as its patient language interpretation solutions. (Sampson Yang, Orange County Technology, & Miranda Su, Monrovia Technology)

HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY NEWS & TRENDS
CMS, HHS & COVID-19
CMS Issues New Round of Waivers and Rule Changes in Response to COVID-19

Last week, CMS issued a new round of regulatory waivers and rule changes in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, including its Interim Final Rule with comment period, CMS-5531-IFC. The key changes relax certain regulatory requirements and aim to expand services - including telehealth and testing services, expand workforce and capacity, and otherwise loosen certain rules to give Medicare providers flexibility during the public health emergency. CMS has also made significant changes to its Shared Savings Program for Accountable Care Organizations. The new temporary measures build on the other waivers and rules announced on March 30 and April 10, 2020. The changes and waivers apply immediately without an application process. (Read: King & Spalding Health Headlines, 5/4/20)

CMS Suspends Advance Payment Program

CMS has suspended advance Medicare payments to Part B suppliers, including physicians, other medical professionals, and durable medical equipment suppliers, and is reevaluating accelerated payments to hospitals. CMS announced the changes April 26, two days after President Trump signed a COVID-19 relief package that includes $75 billion for hospitals. The funding is in addition to the $100 billion fund for hospitals included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. CMS expanded the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program to a broader group of healthcare providers in late March to help offset the financial damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the funds made available through the COVID-19 relief packages, CMS stopped accepting new applications from Part B suppliers for the Advance Payment Program on April 26 and is reevaluating all pending and new applications for accelerated payments to hospitals. Since expanding the AAP Program in March, CMS has distributed $100 billion in advance and accelerated payments to healthcare providers and suppliers, the agency said. The advance and accelerated payments are loans that must be repaid, while funding provided under the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act are grants that do not require repayment. (Read Article: Becker's CFO Report, 4/27/20)

CMS Permits Independent Freestanding EDs to Participate in Medicare & Medicaid

On April 21, 2020, CMS announced that it will allow licensed independent freestanding emergency departments (IFEDs) to participate in Medicare and Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic. IEFDs may participate by: (1) becoming affiliated with a Medicare/Medicaid-certified hospital under the temporary-expansion Section 1135 emergency waiver; (2) participating in Medicaid under the clinic benefit if permitted by the State; or (3) enrolling temporarily as a Medicare/Medicaid-certified hospital to provide hospital services. CMS has also outlined the steps for processing attestations for licensed IFEDs to enroll as hospitals during the COVID-19 public health emergency in the memorandum. (Read: CMS Announcement, 4/21/20)

HHS Publishes Additional Terms & Conditions for Provider Relief Fund & FFCRA Payments

HHS has published additional Terms and Conditions associated with the acceptance of payments made from the $100 Billion Provider Relief Fund established pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economics Security Act (the CARES Act), as well as payments made for COVID-19 testing of uninsured individuals made pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The published Terms and Conditions apply to the initial $30 Billion general distribution based on net patient revenue that was made beginning April 10; the additional $20 Billion allocated to the general distribution and made beginning April 24; reimbursement from the Relief Fund for COVID-related treatment of the uninsured; and FFCRA payments for testing of uninsured individuals. (Read: King & Spalding Health Headlines, 5/4/20)

CALIFORNIA & COVID-19
California Green Lights Hospitals to Resume Scheduled Surgeries That Are "Essential"

On April 22, 2020, California Governor Newsom announced that scheduled surgeries can resume at hospitals around the State. In making the announcement, the Governor noted that the focus was on "delayed surgeries" for "essential" care, "such as heart valve replacements, angioplasty and tumor removals, and key preventive care services, such as colonoscopies." He explained that hospitals and local agencies have to work together in making a determination to resume operations, including whether the hospital had implemented appropriate testing and contact-testing protocols, sufficient hospital capacity, while ensuring the safety and health of healthcare workers and patients. Governor Newsom explained that the Department of Health and Human Services had concluded that the State's medical facilities had expanded enough to handle any future surges of new coronavirus patients. Officials determined that hospitals and other healthcare facilities could restart medical procedures based on the increased bed capacity, as well as flattening trend lines in admissions for COVID-19, State Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. (Read: King & Spalding Health Headlines, 4/27/20)

As California's Lawmakers Reconvene, Not Everyone Agrees On COVID-Only Agenda

California legislators resumed their work Monday after more than a month off. While the coronavirus pandemic has shifted the state's priorities, many lawmakers say they still intend to push non-COVID healthcare bills to tax soda, ban vape flavors, and more. (Read Article: California Healthline, 5/4/20)

California Doesn't Disclose Coronavirus Deaths at Nursing Homes

As deaths from the coronavirus rise, topping 1,500 across California, families are left in the dark about how many of those occur in the nursing homes, where their ill parents and others they love remain isolated, because the state Department of Public Health has so far declined to say. In Santa Clara County, which does disclose the data, nearly 30% of all coronavirus deaths have occurred in nursing homes. Now, advocates for residents say the lack of data on nursing home deaths hides how widespread and deadly the virus is in those settings, and withholds critical information from people who have to decide whether to move into a facility or remain in one. (Read Article: San Francisco Chronicle, 4/24/20)

MEANWHILE, The Number of Nursing Homes with Publicly Reported Cases of Coronavirus Soars: As the number of nursing homes publicly reporting cases of COVID-19 doubled recently, with more than 1 in 6 facilities nationwide now acknowledging infections among residents or staff, a Washington Post analysis of state and federal data found. The rise is driven in part by newly released information about previous novel coronavirus infections from states including Michigan, Maryland, Kentucky, and South Carolina. Some states have not yet publicly released the names of affected nursing homes. In five states - Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Georgia, and New Jersey - the virus has struck a majority of nursing homes, the data shows. In New Jersey, second only to New York in total number of confirmed coronavirus cases, health officials have reported infections at 80% of the state's homes. (Read Article: Washington Post, 4/29/20)

California Lifts Ban on Plastic Bags Amid Virus Concerns

Retailers in California can once again hand out free single-use plastic bags under an executive order announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the latest turn away from reusable bags amid the coronavirus outbreak. The order permits stores to provide customers with disposable plastic bags for the next 60 days. "It is critical to protect the public health and safety and minimize the risk of Covid-19 exposure for workers engaged in essential activities, such as those handling reusable grocery bags," it states. (Read Article: New York Times, 4/24/20)

PREPARING FOR A NEW NORMAL
King & Spalding Provides Tools for Resuming & Continuing Work in "New Normal"

King & Spalding recognizes that healthcare organizations now must navigate the challenge of both resuming and continuing work in the context of the ever-changing "new normal." To help address this challenge, the K&S Coronavirus Business Recovery Task Force has created a tool for healthcare organizations to assess and strengthen their recovery response. Access the COVID-19 Recovery Response Assessment for Healthcare Organizations. Access the Coronavirus Business Recovery - Return to Work Hub.

See Which States Are Reopening and Which Are Still Shut Down

The New York Times is tracking when orders to stay at home are lifted in each state, as well as when broad reopenings are allowed in public spaces, such as restaurants, retail stores, salons, gyms, and houses of worship. In some cases, stay-at-home orders are lifting separately from restrictions on businesses. This page will be updated regularly. (Read Article: New York Times, updated regularly)

Can API Vendors Solve Healthcare's Data Woes?

A functioning healthcare system depends on caregivers having the right data at the right time to make the right decision about what course of treatment a patient needs. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 epidemic and the acceleration of the consumer adoption of telemedicine, along with the fragmentation of care to a number of different low-cost providers, access to a patient's medical records to get an accurate picture of their health becomes even more important. Now, new regulations are requiring that the developers of electronic health records can't obstruct interoperability and access by applications. Those new rules may unlock a wave of new digital services. (Read Article: TechCrunch, 4/28/20)

(MOSTLY) NOT ABOUT COVID-19
California to Widen Pipeline of Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

The University of California is launching a new program to provide psychiatric nurse practitioner certification online in just one year, conducted jointly by the nursing schools at UC San Francisco, UCLA and UC Davis. The program is expected to put 300 more mental health NPs into California communities, particularly rural ones, over the next five years. (Read Article: California Healthline, 4/30/20)

Supreme Court Rules HHS Must Pay $12 Billion to Insurers

On April 27, the Supreme Court ruled in Maine Community Health Options v. United States that the government must pay over $12 billion to individual and small group health insurers who had claimed losses under the Risk Corridors program established by Section 1342 of the Affordable Care Act. The Risk Corridors program created a temporary framework to compensate insurers for unexpectedly unprofitable plans during the ACA's first three years. (Read: King & Spalding Health Headlines, 5/4/20)

FDA-Cleared AI-Based Medical Triage Tool Now Free for Customers to Help Busy Radiology Dx Departments

Medical startup Nines, which has developed an AI-based triage tool that has received clearance from the FDA, is making that tool available for free to all until June 30 to help address the growing burden on radiology diagnostics departments as COVID-19 continues to reshape the healthcare landscape in the U.S. NinesAI is designed to identify possible emergent cases of intracranial hemorrhage and mass effect conditions in patients, helping radiologists prioritize cases to review for further study. NinesAI is a supplemental tool, providing an early signal that some CT scans merit further investigation by trained radiologists, but even that can help tremendously in decreasing workload and eliminating manual early steps that are time-consuming. (Read Article: TechCrunch, 4/30/20)

Digital Health Firm Analyzes Aggregated Data from Scales, Smartwatches & Sleep Monitoring Devices Regarding Users' Health Behavior While Locked-Down

A global study from French digital health company Withings has analyzed the physical activity, weight, sleep patterns, exercise rituals, temperature, night-time breathing disturbances, and heart rate irregularities of its users during the COVID-19 crisis. The Lockdown Lowdown study compares the behavior of users in countries including the US, UK, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and China, during the various points of their confinement procedures. The study was conducted by analyzing the anonymous aggregated data from more than two million users of Withings' connected scales, smart watches, sleep monitoring devices, and connected thermometers. (Read Article: MobiHealthNews, 5/1/20)

NEA-Backed Personal Genome Diagnostics Gets FDA Clearance for Cancer Diagnostic

Personal Genome Diagnostics, the venture-backed developer of a novel diagnostic kit for genomic profiling of different cancers in lab settings, has received FDA clearance for its PGDx elio tissue complete test. The test's approval is another step forward for precision therapies that rely on an understanding of the unique genomic profile of an individual patient's tumor, according to the company. The test detects single nucleotide variants and the small insertions and deletions known as indels. Single nucleotide variants, indels, and identifying characteristics like the tumor mutation burden can be used by physicians to determine how rapidly a disease like cancer progresses and can provide essential targets for precision therapies to individual tumors. The information doctors collect from these tests can also be used to help oncologists identify patients for clinical trials. The new diagnostics test cover 35 different tumor types. (Read Article: TechCrunch, 4/27/20)

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