March 3, 2021
SmartBrief for Health Care Leaders
A news roundup for health care executivesSIGN UP ⋅   SHARE
Top Story
America's Health Insurance Plans is leading a new initiative, which includes 13 insurers, to get 2 million older adults living in vulnerable communities a full COVID-19 vaccination in the next 100 days. The American Medical Association, American Nurses Association and American Pharmacists Association have asked health care professionals to improve race and ethnicity data collection related to COVID-19 vaccine administration to help increase vaccine access and acceptance in vulnerable communities.
Full Story: Politico (3/3),  Becker's Hospital Review (3/2) 
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The Health Care Leaders Poll
What is health care's biggest pandemic victory?
Welcome to the revival of the weekly Health Care Leaders Poll. This week, I'd like to start by asking what has been health care's biggest achievement in the pandemic so far. Feel free to consider the question overall or from the perspective of your organization and your role. Watch for your answers in Friday's edition and watch for a new poll question every Wednesday.
VoteSpeedy development of multiple new vaccines.
VoteRapid turn to virtual care.
VoteContinuing to provide care in a crisis.
VoteInnovation in infection control practices and personal protective equipment.
VoteDeveloping care and therapies that reduced the risk of death from a novel disease.
VoteSomething else.
Workplaces are changing, and so is technology
Workplace technology is rapidly changing because of the pandemic and the changing needs of companies and employees, say Moody's HR information systems adviser Tracie Upchurch and HRPlus Group CEO Bryan Otte.
Click here to read the full interview.
Health Care Leadership & Innovation
The Florida Community Health Network and Caduceus Capital Partners have created the Health System Innovation Council to provide guidance to digital health companies on new technology products. The Florida Community Health Network is Memorial Healthcare System's investment company.
Full Story: Becker's Hospital Review (3/2) 
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Analyzing the COVID-19 vaccine development process offers ideas for improvement for the next pandemic, according to Lawrence Gostin and Eric Friedman at Georgetown University. It is important to invest in identifying new health threats, provide more resources for vaccine development, apply lessons from COVID-19 to speed regulatory approvals, and make improvements to manufacturing and distribution capability, they write.
Full Story: Forbes (tiered subscription model) (3/2) 
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Legislation, Policy & Regulation
President Joe Biden announced updated projections for the US COVID-19 vaccine rollout, saying there would be sufficient doses to vaccinate every adult American by May 31, though it could take substantially longer for doses to be administered. Biden also announced a Defense Production Act deal under which Merck will assist in manufacturing Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, backed by $269 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.
Full Story: CNN (3/2),  BioPharma Dive (3/2) 
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The HHS Office of Inspector General has at least seven different national audits, evaluations or inspections of telemedicine services underway, and health care providers that began billing federal programs for telehealth or expanded telehealth billing since the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency can consider those claims subject to review, write Nathaniel Lacktman and Rachel Goodman with Foley & Lardner. The OIG's priorities are detailed in its Work Plan, and "now is a wise time to consider an internal operational review, particularly in light of the OIG's robust audits," Lacktman and Goodman write.
Full Story: The National Law Review (3/1) 
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A study published in JAMA Network Open found the Medicare Part D program could save almost $1 billion per year if generic drugs were consistently prescribed by clinicians instead of brand-name medications. The findings, based on Part D claims data from 2017, suggest the program could save an additional $700 million annually if Medicare recipients asked for lower-cost generic medicines instead of branded drugs.
Full Story: United Press International (3/2) 
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Trends & Technology
The 21st Century Cures Act gives HHS the authority to require, through guidance or the rulemaking process, that all COVID-19 testing orders and reports to public health agencies include standard patient data including a phone number, address and race, writes Ben Moscovitch, director of the health IT initiative at Pew Charitable Trusts. The act also give HHS the authority to mandate free access to application programming interfaces for public health reporting and expand the list of data required in EHRs, and through the HITECH Act, HHS can require functions in EHRs that support public health reporting.
Full Story: Health Affairs Blog (3/1) 
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Health care workers, patients and facilities around the world experienced more than 1,100 threats or acts of violence last year, according to a report from the University of California at Berkeley's Human Rights Center and Geneva-based Insecurity Insight. About 400 of the incidents appeared to be linked to the pandemic, many motivated by fear or frustration over the death of loved ones and uncertainties surrounding COVID-19.
Full Story: The Associated Press (3/2),  Becker's Hospital Review (3/3) 
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To me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.
Alice Paul,
suffragist, women's rights activist, leader of the National Woman's Party
March is Women's History Month
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