ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * January 4, 2022

>>> Paul Leon is Founder, CEO and President of Illumination Foundation (IF), a non-profit 501(c)(3), which provides targeted, interdisciplinary services for the most vulnerable homeless adults and children in order to disrupt the cycle of homelessness. More than 55,000 people are homeless in Southern California each year. IF works daily to help homeless individuals in these areas: emergency housing, healthcare, children, post-hospital, and need help. Its Street2Home initiative uses innovative programs, integrated care, and unique partnerships to help homeless clients find lasting stability. In addition to leading IF, Paul pioneered IF's Recuperative Care Program, now the country's largest program, to manage the discharge of homeless patients from hospitals. Paul has been recognized for IF's work with the PIMCO Leadership Circle Award and the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award. He was named one of ten AARP Well-Being Champions from across the country, an award launched by AARP Public Policy Institute to "recognize those championing change across America in the areas of health and well-being." Paul, as a Public Health Nurse with the County of Orange Health Care Agency, spearheaded a unique program to bring health access and wrap-around services to the underserved homeless population in Orange County. He was instrumental in the conception and development of the Comprehensive Health Assessment Team for the homeless (CHAT-H) and the Mobile Unit Teams (MUT), which bring targeted services to the underserved at the individual, family, community, and systems levels of practice. On a national level, Paul has served as a speaker and consultant for pioneering innovative funding methods for recuperative care with the Health Resources and Services Administration across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. Paul has joined the ABL-Health Orange County Round Table.

>>> Bonnie Preston is Acting Regional Director of US Health & Human Services - Region 9, representing HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in CA, NV, AZ, HI and the US Affiliated Islands of the Pacific, in support of the mission to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans. And, once the president appoints a new RD, Bonnie will remain the Executive Officer for HHS, Region 9. Bonnie has over 25 years of experience in public health and healthcare at the local, state, and federal levels. She joined her office in 2012 to help implement the Affordable Care Act; ever since then, she has worked closely with government and private sector partners in California, Hawaii, island territories and freely associated states to achieve more equitable, higher quality, coordinated healthcare and public health services. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Unaccompanied Children emergencies in Region 9, Bonnie has been particularly involved in connecting state and community-based partners to Federal COVID-19 resources for testing, contact tracing, vaccinations and treatments. She has played an instrumental role in the development and operation of all three Region 9 Emergency Intake Sites in California, which together have reunited over 12,000 children with families or other sponsors. Bonnie earned her AB degree in Political Science from UC Berkeley, and her MSPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bonnie has joined the ABL-Health San Francisco Round Table.

  • 1/05 - Orange County ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: The Implications of COVID's Latest Variant/s - Featured Member Presenter: Uri Blackman, CEO of GIDEON Informatics Inc.

  • 1/11 - Silicon Valley ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: Using Incremental Improvements to Achieve a Remarkable 2022 - Featured Guest Presenter: Dionne Mejer, Founder & CEO of Inside Sales by Design

  • 1/12 - San Francisco ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: What Do Healthcare Employees Want? - Featured Guest Presenter: Terri Convey, Covered California's Director of Outreach & Sales for individuals and Small Businesses

  • 1/20 - Oakland ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: Where Does Health in Alameda Go from Here? - Featured Member Presenter: Debi Stebbins, Exec Director, City of Alameda Health Care District

  • 1/21 - Los Angeles ZOOM Table - Discussion Topic: The Implications of COVID's Latest Variant/s - Featured Member Presenter: Uri Blackman, CEO of GIDEON Informatics Inc.

  • Explore Membership in ABL's Executive Round Tables >>>
Click on Headlines to Read Articles
Alvaka Networks Named a Top Workplace + Provides Updated Info on Cyber Breach Insurance

Alvaka Networks has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2021 honor by The Orange County Register, based on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey of 15 culture drivers that are critical to the success of any organization.
Also, CEO Oli Thordarson comments on his recent article on the changing landscape for cyber breach insurance: "2020 and 2021 have seen some insurance companies paying $0.78 of every dollar on claims. The industry is responding with strict new guidelines and reduced coverages in order to get insurance, assuming your carrier still offers it. Read on to find out the attestations to which you must apply your personal signature in 2022 - What to Expect from Your Cyber Breach Insurance Policy."
And, read Oli's article - Is Your Business More Likely to Burn Down, or Get Hit with a Cyber Attack? (Oli Thordarson, OC)

Angle Health Partners with Doctor On Demand

Angle Health will offer its members virtual urgent care and behavioral health services through a partnership with Included Health and its Doctor On Demand offering. As such, Angle Health members in Utah have seamless access to virtual care services seven days a week, 24 hours a day. (Andy Leeka, LA)

Biospectal to Debut Biodisc and Launch OptiBP for iOS Public Beta at CES 2022

Biospectal announces the debut of Biodisc™, a stand-alone, sleekly designed, all-in-one, blood pressure monitoring device at CES 2022. Biodisc allows users to measure their vital signs via their fingertip - quickly, accurately and without the hassle of a traditional blood pressure cuff. It's a tech-free device that works together with the Biospectal OptiBP app and extends the reach of Biospectal's blood pressure monitoring platform.
Also at CES 2022, Biospectal plans to announce the public beta launch of OptiBP for iOS, which will be available in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.
Meanwhile, read Three Steps To Overcoming One Of Modern Healthcare's Biggest Battles, by Eliott Jones, CEO of Biospectal. (Eliott Jones, SV)

Choice in Aging's Aging in Place Campus Project Makes Progress

Choice in Aging (CiA) announced that the Pleasant Hill Planning Commission unanimously recommended to approve CiA's request for several important permits for its Aging in Place Campus project. The final step is the Pleasant Hill City Council hearing in January.
And, recent episodes of CiA's "Dishing with Debbie" video series include:
>> Live at the Bedford Center - see firsthand what goes on behind the scenes and meet the beloved participants and amazing staff that make every day special.
>> Guests Leslie G. Moldow and Soo Im, architects at Perkins Eastman, provide an update on CiA's Aging in Place Campus.
Meanwhile, on January 29 CiA will hold its 47th Annual Crab Feed. (Debbie Toth, OAK)

Cigna Examines the Biggest Healthcare Trends of 2022 & Their Impact on Employers

Cigna has published The 4 Biggest Health Care Trends of 2022 and How They Impact America's Employers, which discusses: 1) Behavioral Health Care: More Need, More Availability, and More of a Focus for U.S. Employers; 2) Working Toward Health Equity: The Role Employers Play; 3) Drug Costs Continue to Spark Concern for Employers; and 4) Virtual Care Provides Ease, Flexibility, and Can Help Foster a Healthy Workforce. (Chris De Rosa, OC)

ECLAT Provides Details on FY 2022 Coding Updates

In "FY 2022 Coding Updates: Determining the Principal Diagnosis" Webinar Roundup Blog, ECLAT recaps its end-of-year webinar and shares how ECLAT's coding team can smooth the transition to these updates that affect reimbursements and compliance.
And, watch the entire webinar replay here and get prepared for 2022 coding updates. (Gabe Stein, LA)

Elemeno Wins Innovation of the Year + Partners with Community Medical Centers

The American College of Emergency Physicians has named Elemeno Health the 2021 Emergency Medicine Innovation of the Year.
And, Elemeno and Community Medical Centers, a leading healthcare provider in the California's Central Valley, have partnered to support hospital staff with just-in-time best practices, building upon the successful deployment of Elemeno in their emergency department.
Plus, read The Gap Between What Institutions Know, And What Frontline Caregivers Do, by Arup Roy-Burman, MD, CEO of Elemeno. (Arup Roy-Burman, MD, OAK)

Illumination Foundation to Present "Solutions to Address Health Equity" on Feb. 3

On February 3, the Illumination Foundation will present Together We Can: Solutions to Address Health Equity, at The Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. The event will bring together speakers and panelists from governmental agencies, non-profits, for-profits, healthcare providers, private foundations, and educational institutions to drive solution-driven conversations around inequity and inequality in housing, healthcare, workforce, and education. (Paul Leon, OC)

Kaiser Permanente Tops LEED Healthcare Facility Rankings

The U.S. Green Building Council recently identified Kaiser Permanente as the top healthcare organization in the world for its number of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified buildings, and number one in the U.S. in terms of LEED-certified healthcare square footage, with 6.9 million square feet. Of Kaiser's 65 LEED-certified buildings, 10 have achieved the highest possible LEED Platinum level. (Marcos Vasconcelos, OAK)

King & Spalding Webinar to Address Drug & Device Advertising, FDA Enforcement

On January 25, King & Spalding will present a webinar - 2021 Year in Review for Drug and Device Advertising and Promotion - Lessons Learned From FDA Enforcement Letters and Other Key Developments. Panelists will discuss: 2021 drug and device advertising and promotion enforcement overview; Regulatory agendas, priorities and research initiatives; and Predictions for what may be expected in 2022. (Marcia Augsburger, JD, SF)

KMD Architects Spotlights Its Recent Projects

KMD Architects has put together KMD 2021 Highlights, which spotlights completed projects, such as Kaiser Permanente Berkeley Medical Office Building, EvergreenHealth Lee Johnson Family ICU, John Muir Health Brentwood Outpatient Center, North Sound Residential Treatment Center, and Hawaii State Hospital Forensic Facility. It also features projects under construction, including CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center Acute Care Services Replacement Hospital, and UCSF Medical Center LPPHC Relocation, as well as "on the boards" projects, such as John Muir Health Lafayette Lane MOB, CHA Hollywood Presbyterian New MOB, and Lummi Nation Health & Wellness Center. (Rob Matthew, SF)

Life Adjustment Team Describes Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy

In her recent article - What Is Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy?, Cynthia Sampson, COO of Life Adjustment Team (LAT), notes that ERP is a form of behavioral therapy that subjects people to situations and stimuli that trigger their obsessions, fears, or anxieties, while helping the person develop coping strategies for the resulting distress. Ultimately, ERP aims to liberate people from obsessive patterns and compulsive behaviors, allowing them to live better, healthier lives. Cynthia discusses how ERP works and who it's appropriate for.
Meanwhile, other recent LAT articles include: The Stigma Around Taking Mental Health Breaks and How to Know When You Should Seek Help for Mental Health. (Cynthia Sampson, LA)

LigoLab Discusses LIS Upgrades & OSHA Employer Testing Requirements

LigoLab CEO Suren Avunjian shares some of the keys that all lab managers should consider when upgrading their lab's information system in a recent article in Medical Laboratory Observer magazine.
Also, read LigoLab's article - Market Differentiation and Unmatched Customer Service: Two Major Reasons Why You Should Consider LigoLab for Your LIS Upgrade.
Meanwhile, in TestDirectly: A Simple and Complete Solution for Labs Preparing for OSHA Employer Testing Requirements, LigoLab announces that its TestDirectly Direct-to-Consumer Portal can help labs prepare for what's expected to be a large increase in COVID-19 testing in 2022. The demand is expected to go up once new OSHA requirements take effect. (Suren Avunjian, LA)

Mazzetti CEO Shares Key Takeaways from World Hospital Congress

Walt Vernon, CEO of Mazzetti, recently published an article on the Pharma Boardroom website - Agility, Responsiveness, & Resilience: Five Takeaways from the 44th World Hospital Congress, in which he discusses several consistent, key themes: New ways of working; Continued emergence of technology; Commitment to climate action; Overriding need for effective leadership; and Commitment to community. Walt was delighted to be able to participate in the International Hospital Federation community in Barcelona at its conference in November. (Walt Vernon, JD, SF)

MedWand Solutions to Showcase the Evolution of Telemedicine at CES 2022 + Announces Advisory Board in Support of Market Launch

MedWand Solutions is showcasing the latest developments of its award-winning product at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), January 5-8, in Las Vegas. MedWand will also announce that it's now able to host FDA-approved AI (Anomaly Indication) algorithms through its cloud-based and scalable VirtualCare software platform. This capability further advances the science of telemedicine by enabling low-cost screening for life-threatening conditions that might be missed by primary providers unfamiliar with the symptoms.
Meanwhile, MedWand announced the launch of its newly formed strategic committee of trusted advisors, comprised of distinguished healthcare and industry leaders who will focus on shaping and guiding the strategy and go-to-market priorities of MedWand, working closely with the leadership team. The advisors are: Thomas Leffler, Transitioning CEO, Entrepreneur, Investor; Bob Kelley, CEO, ABL Organization; Bob Funari, Executive Chairman, Patient Care America; and Shan Padda, CEO, Entrepreneur and Investor. MedWand has submitted for 510(k) clearance by the FDA and is expected to be available for sale in multiple countries in early 2022. (Bob Rose, OC)

Mission Hospice Opens Satellite Office in South Bay

San Mateo-based Mission Hospice recently opened a satellite office in San Jose - easily accessible and providing staff with a place to pick up supplies, work between visits, hold meetings, and offer community events and support groups. This enhances Mission's ability to serve patients and families throughout the Peninsula and South Bay. (Dolores Miller, SF)

Nelson Hardiman Comments on COVID Mandates & Genetic Information Privacy Act

Harry Nelson of Nelson Hardiman recently appeared on ABC 10 News San Diego to discuss the California indoor mask mandate and the workplace.
And, Harry has published recent Client Alerts:
>> COVID Confusion Clarity: Federal CMS, OSHA, and CAL/OSHA Vaccination Mandates; and
>> Genetic Information Privacy Act: What Do Genomics Companies (and Everyone Else) Need to Know?
Also, Harry is quoted in a recent Forbes article - Predicting The Course And Impact Of The Covid Crisis In The New Year. (Harry Nelson, JD, LA)

OneLegacy CEO Chairs the Donate Life Rose Parade Float

OneLegacy CEO Tom Mone, who is also Chairman of the Donate Life Rose Parade Float committee, participated in the recent unveiling of the 2022 Donate Life Rose Parade Float, entitled "Courage to Hope." The float included more than a dozen float riders who are organ, eye and tissue recipients; 5 walkers who are living donors or organ recipients; and 35 floragraphs, portraits-in-petals that memorialize the deceased donors who gave the precious gift of life to complete strangers. The float also featured a lion holding a book that represents the knowledge that donor families and grateful recipients share when they say yes to donation. (Tom Mone, LA)

Parentis Health Shares Video of Celebration of Life Event

This short video highlights Parentis Health's recent Annual Celebration of Life event, which honors and remembers those who touched Parentis staff lives so greatly in the time they cared for them, during their time with Parentis Health Hospice services, and/or during their stay at Parentis's Verona Court residential facilities. This event offers families, caretakers, nurses and doctors the opportunity to gather and reflect, share stories, laugh, cry, and heal. (Tarek El Nabli, OC)

PRODEO Writes About Brain Health Market: Investment, Operations & Governance

Mark Heinemeyer, CEO of PRODEO, co-authored a recent article in STAT - Preventing market failure in brain health: Moving toward fixes in investment, operations, and governance. An excerpt: "The existing workforce of health care providers cannot keep up with this brain health epidemic, and existing approaches to care are woefully inadequate. Screening is rarely implemented. Diagnosis is often subjective. Treatment is largely trial and error. Brain health technologies are key to addressing the global brain health crisis. These technologies span the "omics," digital therapeutics, artificial intelligence, robotics, and devices. They aim to improve the entire spectrum of care from prevention to screening, diagnosis, treatment, and continuing care. They can facilitate scale and equity (think apps and telehealth) along with personalization (think genetics)." (Mark Heinemeyer, OC)

Satellite Healthcare Unveils Kidney Care Connection - New Center Concept

Satellite Healthcare has published a short video - Kidney Care Connection, in 90 seconds - heralding its entirely new center concept focused on delivering exceptional care for people at the start of dialysis. "It's another innovation that transforms kidney care, and another first for Satellite Healthcare and it's coming to Mountain View, California in 2022."
And, this 24-minute video features host Christopher Springmann, joined by Dr. Brigitte Schiller, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Satellite, and Dr. Wael Hussein, MD, Satellite's VP of R&D, who discuss Kidney Care Connection. (Bernadette Vincent, OAK, & Jim Glafkides, SV)

Savi Group Explores Telemedicine & Medical Billing

In The Continuing Benefits of Telemedicine, Savi Group notes that although the benefits of telemedicine are many, ambivalence about payment options could impede progress and usage moving forward. There still needs to be a resolution on how to handle different reimbursement scenarios and value-based payment models. That being said, telemedicine is proven to be both efficient and highly useful as a way to extend access to healthcare.
And, in Key Skills Medical Billing Experts Bring to the Table, Savi Group highlights some of the most important skills its team keeps sharpened in order to stay ahead of the industry and provide the most helpful information possible to its clients. (Sumit Mahendru, OC)

Wipfli Webinars to Address Hospital Price Transparency & Home Health Value-Based Purchasing

Upcoming webinars from Wipfli include:
>> Hospital Price Transparency: Unpacking the common pitfalls, on January 11; and
>> Driving Success in Home Health Value Based Purchasing, on January 20.
And, recent Wipfli articles include:
>> Are you ready for your HITRUST validated assessment?; and
>> Understanding the 2022 payroll changes. (Jeff Johnson & John Dao, OAK)

Eckert & Ziegler Partners with CanProbe & University Health Network + Gets Approvals in Brazil & Japan

Eckert & Ziegler (EZ) has partnered with the Canadian Molecular Imaging Probe Consortium (CanProbe), a leader in the advancement and commercialization of novel radiopharmaceuticals to better serve patients, and with the University Health Network, Canada's largest health research organization affiliated with the University of Toronto. The partnership involves clinical research to further advance PentixaPharm's Ga-68 radiodiagnostic tracer PENTIXAFOR in its detection of different tumor entities and other diseases.
Meanwhile, EZ Radiopharma GmbH received approval for its pharmaceutical 68Ge/68Ga generator GalliaPharm from the Brazilian health authority ANVISA. It also received Clinical Trial Notification that a joint clinical study with Novartis Pharma K.K. (Japan) was accepted by the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency for 68Ga-PSMA-11, an investigational radioligand imaging agent and 177Lu-PSMA-617, an investigational radioligand therapy in metastatic prostate cancer. (Frank Yeager, ABL-Tech SGV)

Intellect Provides Webinar on Building a Covid-19 Daily Health Screening Mobile App

Intellect is making its recent webinar available on-demand: How to Build a COVID-19 Daily Health Screening Mobile App with Intellect's No-Code Compliance Platform. In the webinar, watch a demo on how MedBio, a full-service medical contract manufacturer, uses a COVID-19 web and mobile app to keep their business going during the pandemic. You will also learn more about: >> Why build a COVID-19 web and mobile app for tracking COVID-19 data; >> How simple it is for employees to submit their health status daily; >> What features Managers and HR can leverage for keeping employees safe; and >> What are the benefits of COVID-19 app for employees and employers. (Romeo Elias, ABL-Tech WLA)

Tanner Research CEO to Present Virtual Nutrition Science Workshops

On the evenings of January 13 (click here) and February 9 (click here), John Tanner, Ph.D., of Tanner Research, will present his free Nutrition Science Virtual Workshop, via Zoom, where he will relay to participants the scientific information they need to avoid heart disease and other leading killers with a proper diet. The group will discuss strategies for change and John will field questions, plus give a free book to participants. (John Tanner, Ph.D., ABL-Tech SGV)

COVID-19 U.S. & Global Numbers; In California, San Francisco Now Has 3rd Highest Transmission Rate

The U.S. has recorded more than 55 million confirmed COVID-19 cases - or one for every six people in the country - and more than 826,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 291 million cases and 5.4 million deaths. More than 205.8 million Americans - 62% - are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2022/01/03/covid-hospitalizations-cases-vaccinations-cdc/9074761002/)
Meanwhile, San Francisco now has the third-highest coronavirus transmission rate in California, with a daily average case rate of about 104 per 100,000 residents. The county recorded a seven-day average of 896 cases per day on Dec. 30, the most recent available data. That is more than double the previous peak of 388 cases, a seven-day average recorded on Jan. 12 last year. (https://www.sfchronicle.com/health/article/San-Francisco-now-has-3rd-highest-COVID-16746841.php)

Back to School in LA - With Tests; Meanwhile Anyone in LA County Can Get a Free Test If...

LA Unified School District orders COVID tests for all students and staff before classes resume on January 11. (https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-01-03/la-unified-mandatory-covid-testing-before-school-resumes-omicron-surge)
Meanwhile, anyone in LA County can get a free test, if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to the virus. The L.A. County Home Test Collection program is FedEx'ing all county residents an at-home nasal swab kit at no cost. After sample collection, the test can be shipped to Flugent Genetics lab also via FedEx, with results relayed within two days. (https://ktla.com/news/local-news/l-a-county-offering-free-at-home-covid-test-kits/)

Former NY Governor Cuomo Cleared of Nursing Home Deaths

The Manhattan District Attorney's office will not file criminal charges in connection with the handling of coronavirus deaths in New York nursing homes during the tenure of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/cuomo-charged-covid-nursing-home-deaths-manhattan-da/story?id=82055278)

"Mandates in the Golden State: Don't Get Distracted by National Mandate Mayhem"

Nelson Hardiman has published a Client Alert regarding Mandates in California. It includes: "guidance on the national vaccination mandates, including the Healthcare Workers' Mandate issued by CMS, and the 100-Employee Mandate issued by OSHA. After some rapid back-and-forth decisions on the federal circuit, the Supreme Court will hear challenges to both mandates on January 7." Nelson Hardiman continues: "However, we recommend that California businesses and healthcare facilities remain focused on compliance with state mandates. Generally, the scope of California's Covid-19 mandates is on parity with the federal rulings, if not more comprehensive. In addition, California is one of 22 states that has its own OSHA program (CAL/OSHA). As such, whenever a new federal OSHA regulation is passed, California has a 30-day grace period to establish an identical plan, or to adopt something similar that will be 'at least as effective.' What does this mean?

"First, California healthcare personnel are already required to get vaccinations. This was mandated for employees at general acute care hospitals as well as other healthcare workers. All of whom must get booster shots by February 1, 2022. So, whether or not the Supreme Court approves the federal healthcare workers vaccine mandate, the Court's decision will have limited impact on California healthcare. In regards to the 100-Employee mandate … if that is approved as well, CAL/OSHA will have 30 days to decide to adopt or adapt the mandate for California businesses. The CAL/OSHA board is scheduled to meet January 20, 2022.

"In the meantime, the state mandate for all non-healthcare employers goes into effect on January 14, 2022. By then, California employers, irrespective of their size, will need "to establish, implement, and maintain an effective written Covid-19 Prevention Program. The State has conveniently provided a fillable model program for employers [access it as a download near the end of Nelson Hardiman's Client Alert]." (https://www.nelsonhardiman.com/client-alert-mandates-in-the-golden-state-do-not-get-distracted-by-national-mandate-mayhem/)

CMS Releases Guidance on Healthcare Worker Vaccination Mandate

CMS has released guidance and survey procedures for the 25 states where its COVID-19 vaccination mandate for healthcare workers is not currently blocked. The guidance, released Dec. 28 to state survey agency directors, outlines enforcement action thresholds that CMS said will help surveyors in assessing compliance. According to the guidance, facilities are compliant if, by Jan. 27, they have established policies and procedures for ensuring that eligible staff are vaccinated, and all staff have received at least one dose, have a pending request for an exemption, have been granted a qualifying exemption, or have been identified as having a temporary delay as recommended by the CDC. By Feb. 28, eligible staff must have completed the vaccination series, have been granted an exemption or have been identified as having a temporary delay as recommended by the CDC. Facilities that fail to maintain full compliance by March 30 may be subject to enforcement action, with termination of participation from the Medicare and Medicaid programs as a final and last resort. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/workforce/cms-releases-guidance-on-healthcare-worker-vaccination-mandate.html)

CDC Shortens Recommended Covid-19 Isolation and Quarantine Time

The CDC recently shortened the recommended times that people should isolate when they've tested positive for Covid-19 from 10 days to five days if they don't have symptoms - and if they wear a mask around others for at least five more days. The CDC also shortened the recommended time for people to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus to a similar five days if they are vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated and boosted may not need to quarantine at all, the CDC said. People whose symptoms are getting better may also leave their homes after five days so long as their symptoms are improving, the CDC said. People who have a fever should stay home until the fever clears up, the CDC added. (https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/27/health/cdc-covid-quarantine-isolation-shortened-recommendation/index.html)

More recently, the CDC is now considering adding a testing component to the isolation guidance amid criticism from health officials, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC News on Jan. 2. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/public-health/cdc-considering-revision-to-isolation-guidance-for-asymptomatic-people-dr-fauci-says.html)

Also, the state of California announced that it will shorten its Covid quarantine and isolation times in keeping with the new CDC guidelines. (https://www.sfchronicle.com/health/article/California-to-shorten-COVID-quarantine-isolation-16732796.php)

FDA Expands Use of Pfizer Vaccine, OKs Boosters for Kids 12-15; Israel OKs 4th Vaccine Dose

The FDA authorized Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 booster shots for 12- to 15-year-olds on January 3. The agency also shortened the length of time between the completion of a primary vaccination series and receiving a Pfizer booster dose from six months to five months for everyone 12 and older, and authorized a third dose for certain immunocompromised children 5 to 11, such as solid organ transplant recipients. Nearly 66% of Americans 5 and older had been fully vaccinated as of Dec. 30. Meanwhile, about 36% of adults 18 and older had received their booster, CDC data shows. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/pharmacy/fda-expands-use-of-pfizer-vaccine-oks-boosters-for-kids-12-15.html)

In other vaccine news, Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced that Israel would offer a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine to medical workers and people age 60 and above, making it the first country to broadly roll out an additional booster. (https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/middleeast/100000008143010/israel-covid-vaccine-booster.html)

Rhode Island Defends Using COVID-Positive Staff Over Unvaccinated Healthcare Workers

The Rhode Island Department of Health stands by the decision to allow COVID positive health care workers to return to their jobs instead of rehiring unvaccinated workers who were terminated because of their inoculation status. Updated quarantine and isolation guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health allows employees to continue working at hospitals and nursing homes without restrictions if the facility is so short-staffed it's a safety hazard for patients and residents. The updated guidance sparked some criticism after health care workers were placed on unpaid leave for not getting vaccinated, with critics questioning if lifting the mandate would be a better solution to staffing shortages. (https://www.newsweek.com/rhode-island-defends-using-covid-positive-staff-over-unvaccinated-health-care-workers-1664985)

CMS Reverses Approval of Work Requirements and Premiums for Georgia Medicaid

On December 23, 2021, CMS announced that it was rescinding its prior approval of the Georgia Pathways to Coverage demonstration project, which would have required Georgia residents to work as a condition of Medicaid eligibility and allowed the state to charge premiums to a larger class of individuals than permitted under the Medicaid statute. These proposals could have gone into effect as early as next week had CMS not withdrawn its prior approval. The Georgia Pathways to Coverage demonstration project would have required adults within a certain percentage of the federal poverty level to work at least 80 hours each month to qualify for Medicaid. In addition, the demonstration would have required Medicaid beneficiaries earning between 50% and 100% of the federal poverty level to pay monthly premiums. (King & Spalding Health Headlines: https://kslawemail.com/128/8605/pages/art2.asp?sid=d87dea48-3519-428f-9ee0-e21bd005b92e)

Terminally Ill Patients are Finally Allowed Marijuana in California Hospitals

On September 28, 2021, California Governor Newsom approved Senate Bill 311, better known as "Ryan's Law." The legislation requires hospitals and certain health facilities to allow terminally ill patients to use medical cannabis, subject to certain restrictions. Nelson Hardiman has published a Client Alert that details: What Health Facilities Must Know and Required Actions.
In summary, affected hospitals and healthcare facilities must: >> Establish written guidelines for the use of medical cannabis on their premises. >> Provide the patient with a "locked container" to secure the cannabis, to ensure the safety of others. >> Obtain a copy of patient's marijuana identification card or a letter from attending physician stating patient's need for medicinal cannabis. >> Include the use of medicinal cannabis in patient's medical records. >> Prohibit smoking or vaping as methods of use. Read the entire Client Alert.

California First State to Require Health Insurance to Cover At-Home Tests for STIs

California has become the first state to require health insurance plans to cover at-home tests for sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, chlamydia and syphilis - which could help quell the STI epidemic that has raged nearly unchecked as public health departments have focused on COVID-19. (https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-01-02/sexually-transmitted-infections-california-pushes-at-home-tests?utm_id=45857&sfmc_id=486066)

Hospitals Still Not Fully Complying with Federal Price-Disclosure

A year after federal rules compelled hospitals to make healthcare prices public, some of the nation's biggest chains haven't done so, with no penalty so far from the Biden administration, according to a Wall Street Journal review of the $1 trillion U.S. hospital system. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/hospital-price-public-biden-11640882507)

FDA Releases Guidance for Remotely Acquiring Data in Clinical Investigations

The FDA has released a draft guidance focused on using digital health technologies to acquire data remotely from participants in clinical investigations of medical products, increasing opportunities for patients to participate in trials, particularly those who may not have been able to overcome geographic or transportation hurdles. "The Larger Trend": The FDA has released a handful of draft guidances and "guiding principles" over the past year aimed at offering clarity on medical devices. Arguably the most notable has been for its Content of Premarket Submissions for Device Software Functions, posted in November. The final version would replace its current guidance, which is now more than 16 years old. (https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/fda-releases-guidance-remotely-acquiring-data-clinical-investigations)

Record Number of Americans Sign Up for ACA Health Insurance

A record 13.6 million Americans have signed up for health coverage for 2022 on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, the Biden administration announced. President Biden's top health advisers credited the increased government subsidies, which lowered out-of-pocket costs, for the surge in enrollment. Some of the largest increases are in Florida, Texas, Georgia, and nine other states that have not expanded Medicaid under the ACA. The previous marketplace enrollment record was 12.7 million in 2016, the final year of President Barack Obama's administration. (https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2022/01/03/record-number-of-americans-sign-up-for-aca-health-insurance/)

CMS Approves CalAIM proposal to transform California’s Medi-Cal

On December 29, 2021, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced CMS’s approval of its California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) proposal. CalAIM’s launch on January 1, 2022 is part of a commitment to make Medi-Cal more equitable, coordinated, and person-centered. With federal approval of this proposal, CalAIM will shift Medi-Cal to a population health approach that prioritizes prevention and addresses social drivers of health. (King & Spalding Health Headlines: https://kslawemail.com/128/8615/pages/article2.asp?sid=fedebcf2-3948-4101-9361-49848451ece4)

City Of Hope to Buy Cancer Treatment Centers Of America for $390 Million in National Expansion Move

In a deal that combines two big providers of cancer treatment, City of Hope is purchasing Cancer Treatment Centers of America for $390 million to expand nationally beyond its southern California base. City of Hope said the acquisition expands "the portfolio, reach and impact of City of Hope's leading-edge cancer services and capabilities, including research and development, into more communities across the country." (https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2021/12/08/city-of-hope-to-buy-for-profit-cancer-treatment-centers-of-america-for-390-million/amp/)

Zoom Announces New Integration with Cerner EHR

Zoom Video Communications Inc. recently announced that it had launched an integration option with Cerner Corp.'s electronic health record platform. The initiative, currently available to beta customers, is aimed at facilitating easier access to telehealth from within Cerner's EHR. "With virtual care here to stay, providers must focus on delivering a seamless experience for telehealth visits - one that's easy, intuitive and frictionless for patients, and secure, trusted and simple from a clinical standpoint," wrote Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson in a post about the announcement. (https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/zoom-announces-new-integration-cerner-ehr)

Healthcare Worker Burnout Trending in "Alarming Direction" - Expert

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare worker burnout rates on average ranged from 30% to 50%. Now, burnout rates range from 40% to 70%. Nursing burnout is particularly alarming, with many nurses retiring early and younger nurses leaving the profession - there are turnover rates between 30% and 60% in new graduates. To address healthcare worker burnout, C-suite executives must make systemic changes such as lowering nurse-patient staffing ratios and optimizing electronic health records. (https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/clinical-care/expert-healthcare-worker-burnout-trending-alarming-direction)

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