VA OIG's cybersecurity audit finds vulnerabilities at Fla. VA provider | OCR appoints Noonan as acting deputy director for health information privacy | New bundled payments program has advantages over old model
February 13, 2018
News for professionals interested in health care information technology
A wireless network that was installed at the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Florida without proper coordination with the Veterans Affairs Office of Information and Technology exposes the provider to cybersecurity vulnerabilities that could have compromised other VA systems, according to a VA Office of Inspector General audit. VA OIG officials also found that the medical center's network was not separated from the VA network and had insufficient security controls according to VA policies.
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Timothy Noonan, who served as the HHS Office for Civil Rights' acting associate deputy director for regional operations and acting director for centralized case management operations at OCR's headquarters, was appointed the agency's acting deputy director for health information privacy. Noonan replaces Iliana Peters, who has joined the health care operations practice at a law firm.
Though the CMS canceled and scaled back mandatory bundled payment programs, the new voluntary BPCI Advanced model should attract physicians who are willing to take the steps needed to participate in the Advanced Alternative Payment Model program, says Tobin Lassen, chief knowledge officer with Global Healthcare Alliance. Medical practices that have already invested in the infrastructure needed to participate in the old models will not have wasted that investment, and the new bundles can alleviate some reporting burdens, among other advantages, Lassen says.
CMS will accept until June 29 proposals for measures related to the Medicare EHR incentive program, which may be included in rule-making for the 2019 calendar year. CMS says the proposed measures should use 2015 edition standards and certification criteria to build on the advanced use of certified EHR technology, increase the exchange and interoperability of health information, measure patient outcomes, emphasize patient safety and continue enhancing program effectiveness, efficiency and flexibility.
A letter the American Academy of Family Physicians sent to the CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT outlined policy changes that could reduce administrative burdens on physicians. "The AAFP maintains that the current regulatory framework with which primary care physicians must comply is daunting and often demoralizing," AAFP Board Chair John Meigs, M.D., said in the letter.
Researchers evaluated 349 type 2 diabetes patients and found that those who used Virta's remote monitoring app combined with nutritional ketosis reduced their average HbA1C from 7.6% to 6.3% and lost an average of 12% of their body weight at one year, compared with no changes among those who did not receive interventions. The findings in Diabetes Therapy are part of an ongoing five-year study.
The SensAheart device was developed in Israel to detect heart attacks experienced by patients as recently as an hour prior using blood samples taken by finger prick, providing results within about five minutes. The device, approximately the size of a USB stick, is available in Israel and Europe, and its inventor, Novamed founder and CEO Emil Katz, is working on bringing the device to the US market.
Researchers found that fetal MRI analysis with machine learning yielded 82% accuracy, 80% sensitivity and 84% specificity in identifying infants who need to undergo cerebrospinal fluid diversion after birth. The approach, described in JAMA Pediatrics, also had 91% accuracy, 75% sensitivity and 95% specificity in determining candidates for postnatal CSF diversion in a replicated cohort model.