January 21, 2022
AHIP Health IT SmartBrief
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Some health insurance providers said virtual-first plans have major potential to improve health care accessibility and affordability as they allow members to utilize both in-person visits and virtual care. Some health insurers such as Cigna rolled out virtual-first plans built on their existing telehealth platforms, while others partnered with established telehealth providers such as Teladoc to launch these options.
Full Story: FierceHealthPayer (1/20) 
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Cybersecurity
CrowdStrike Executive Health Care Strategist Drex DeFord says the key to cybersecurity is understanding what an attack looks like and how cybercriminals gain access, elevate credentials and move laterally through a network, and IT teams need tools and tactics to shut down a cyberattack in less than an hour. CDW Healthcare Chief Technology Officer Tom Stafford says IT professionals should follow security threats, build deterrent chains and familiarize themselves with devices on their network, and they should keep senior executives and boards in the loop.
Full Story: HealthTech (1/13) 
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A recent Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) report found that disruptions caused by cyberattacks on the health care sector increase mortality risk and further strain resources already stretched thin by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many hospitals don't have cybersecurity professionals on staff, and the CISA's chief strategist Joshua Corman suggests they at least avoid using hard-coded maintenance passwords, unsupported software or remote administration tools with single-factor authentication.
Full Story: Health IT Security (1/13) 
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Technology Trends
Tampa General Hospital is using $1 million from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expand telehealth for urgent care triage, include more specialists in the hospital's virtual specialty consult program, and increase access to virtual primary care in low-income and underserved communities. Mercy health system is using $2.2 million in FCC funding to expand access to telehealth at rural facilities in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma through the purchase of more telemedicine carts and monitors and will expand virtual care in COVID-19 and critical care units.
Full Story: mHealth Intelligence (1/18) 
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Health care systems should establish a modern digital infrastructure, offer smarter virtual options to link patients with care teams and ensure patient data is secure, private and easy to access, writes CDW Vice President of Small Business Sales Mike Grisamore. These components of a durable digital health program are inextricably linked and will bolster health systems as value-based care becomes the industry standard, Grisamore writes.
Full Story: HealthTech (1/14) 
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Advancing Care with IT
Blue Shield of California announced that it has added the Ginger mental health platform to its Wellvolution behavioral health program. The move will allowing the insurer's members enrolled in the program to gain access to personalized, on-demand mental health services, including mental health coaching, psychiatry and video therapy sessions, through their smartphone.
Full Story: Becker's Hospital Review (1/20) 
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Aetna has signed a multiyear deal with mobile at-home health services provider DocGo. The deal will allow Aetna's 2.5 million commercial and Medicare Advantage members in New Jersey and New York to access DocGo's at-home care services including emergency care and episodic care.
Full Story: Becker's Payer Issues (1/18) 
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Government and Regulatory
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected RemoteICU's assertion that health care providers outside the US can bill Medicare for services provided through telehealth under emergency rules put in place for the COVID-19 public health emergency. The court said hospitals that use the company's services would have to file "a concrete claim" for Medicare reimbursement.
Full Story: mHealth Intelligence (1/19) 
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Health Insurance Exchanges
The federal open enrollment period for Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans closed Jan. 15, but some states have regular or special enrollment periods that extend beyond that date. Aetna's Paul Wingle highlights five types of clients who may qualify for an ACA plan but not realize it, including part-time workers, business owners with no employees, freelancers, gig workers and consultants.
Full Story: ThinkAdvisor (free registration) (1/14) 
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Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance exchanges included 15,638 plans for 2022, a 15% increase from offerings for the 2021 plan year, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation analysis. Senior policy adviser and report author Kathy Hempstead said insurer participation has grown most markedly in states that did not expand Medicaid eligibility, as insurers focus on areas with high numbers of uninsured Americans.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (1/19) 
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White papers and case studies submitted by our Affiliate Organizations (AOs) bring you the latest thinking on current topics in health care. This month's features include NationsBenefits on Medicare Advantage supplemental benefits.
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