Leadership change at OSF • New HIPAA guidance on abortion • Duckworth wants …

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OSF VENTURES ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP TRANSITION: The founding executive of OSF HealthCare’s investment arm, Stan Lynall, is transitioning into retirement, with Mayank Taneja poised to assume leadership of OSF Ventures.

Lynall will continue working on OSF Ventures’ portfolio management on a part-time basis. Taneja was named vice president of venture investments on June 26.

Part of the Peoria-based 15-hospital system, OSF Ventures was formed in 2015 and focuses on Series A and Series B rounds for startups with digital solutions, tech-enabled services and medical technology, including medical devices, diagnostics and therapeutics, the system said in a statement. It has direct investment in 28 companies, $250 million in assets across three funds, and has invested in two health care venture capital funds: Ascension Ventures and LRV Health. 

Before joining the OSF Ventures team, Taneja worked with the usability services team at OSF, supporting health care startups pilot their technologies and performed human factor studies for FDA submission. Prior to joining OSF HealthCare, Taneja worked at Zimmer in its post market risk surveillance division as part of the Zimmer Leadership Program. He also practiced internal medicine for four years in New Delhi, India.

OSF Ventures is also embarking on investments using its third, and largest, fund of $100 million, retaining a focus on meditech and innovative workflow solutions.

“As we consider new investments, we must realize we’re in an era of fewer providers having to serve a growing number of patients,” Taneja said in the statement. “So it’ll be critically important we invest in ways to streamline processes, prioritize patient needs and find ways to help people help themselves manage chronic conditions and stay healthier.”

HHS ISSUES HIPPA GUIDANCE AFTER ABORTION RULING: Providers shouldn’t cite the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act as a reason to disclose a patient’s abortion plan to law enforcement, the Health & Human Services Department said last week, Crain’s sister publication Modern Healthcare reports.

Under HIPAA, health care providers are allowed to disclose—including to law enforcement—a patient’s medical information if they believe it’s needed to prevent or lessen a “serious and imminent threat” to health or safety.

HHS previously said it defers to providers to determine what constitutes such a threat, but a disclosure must be “consistent with applicable law and standards of ethical conduct.”

In guidance released Wednesday, HHS said a patient’s plan to get a legal abortion does not qualify as a serious or imminent threat. Providers are advised not to tell law enforcement about a patient’s intention to receive an abortion in a state where abortion is legal by citing that standard, even if the provider and patient are based in a state that bans abortion.

Disclosing such information to law enforcement would be “inconsistent” with ethical standards from medical groups including the American Medical Association and American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, and could compromise the “integrity of the patient–physician relationship,” HHS wrote in its guidance.

The AMA, which has previously raised concern over mobile apps collecting health data, voiced support for HHS’s HIPAA guidance.

“That medical information was previously being siphoned off and monetized was always a concern,” AMA President Dr. Jack Resneck Jr. said in a statement. “Now, it’s a legal threat as zealous prosecutors can track patients and access their medical records to determine what medical services were provided.”

DUCKWORTH URGES SENATE LEADERSHIP TO EXTEND ACA SUBSIDIES: U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., was one of 13 Senate Democrats to urge leadership to make the Affordable Care Act’s enhanced premium tax credits permanent. The credits are otherwise set to expire at the end of the year.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the lawmakers said the move should come during the upcoming reconciliation legislation.
 
“Americans deserve a stable health care market that provides access to high-quality care coverage for all, and American Rescue Plan Act’s enhanced premium tax credits must be extended to ensure that we can maintain our progress on closing the coverage gap,” the letter stated. “Failure to do so will leave millions with increased costs for vital health insurance, undoing Democrats’ progress in ensuring that every American has access to affordable, meaningful coverage.”

A record 14.5 million Americans signed up for ACA marketplace plans, with 13 million of those people receiving subsidies that helped low- and middle-income individuals and families purchase previously unaffordable coverage, the statement said. The Rescue Plan subsidies also eliminated premiums for those making 150% of the federal poverty level and guaranteed comprehensive coverage costs no more than 8.5% of a family’s income, the statement said.

JOINT COMMISSION WANTS TO WORK WITH HOSPITALS ON EMISSION-REDUCTION PLANS: Oakbrook Terrace-based hospital accreditor the Joint Commission says it wants to act as repository for sustainability best practices to share among the health care organizations as they work to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
 
Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, the new president and CEO of the Joint Commission said in a statement that climate change is among his top strategic priorities. The Oakbrook Terrace-based hospital accreditor will support the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and health care organizations’ efforts to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint, the statement said.

“Our mission is to continuously improve health care for the public, and we cannot fulfill that without addressing climate change,” Perlin said. “As the largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care, it is vital that we take a leadership role and work with health care organizations nationally and internationally to reduce the carbon footprint.”

The Joint Commission recently convened a group of health care organizations to learn about the steps they have taken to address their impact on the climate, the statement said. 

Ascension, the national health system with 15 hospitals in the Chicago area, joined the Healthcare Sector Climate Pledge, committing to reduce carbon emissions 50% by 2030. Craig Cordola, Ascension executive vice president and chief operating officer was on site at the White House, last week, along with other health care industry colleagues, to mark the occasion.

The Joint Commission, Ascension Illinois, Advocate Aurora Health, Rush University System for Health and CommonSpirit Health are the Chicago-area organizations who last week joined with other companies around the country in committing to reduce their emissions through the federal Health Sector Climate Pledge.

MOST KIDS DON’T SCORE WELL ON HEART HEALTH TEST: The first study to use the American Heart Association’s new “Life’s Essential 8” metrics and scoring algorithm to assess cardiovascular health (CVH) in adults and children finds that most children and adults score poorly, a statement from Anne & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago says.

Less than 30% of 2-19-year-olds had high CVH, according to a Lurie-led study published in Circulation. The numbers get worse as children get older: 56% of 2-5-year-old children had high CVH, compared with 33%of 6-11-year-olds and 14% of 12-19-year-olds. 

“We found that among U.S. children, scores were lowest for the diet metric, which is comparable to what we saw in adults,” senior author Dr. Amanda Marma Perak, said in the statement. Perak is a cardiologist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Individuals and families who improve their eating patterns can markedly improve their total cardiovascular health, even independent of weight change. In addition to families’ efforts to improve, we also need policy-level support for better diets, such as subsidies for fruit and vegetable production or making healthier foods more readily available and removing sugar-sweetened beverage options in schools.”

The updated CVH definition includes eight components—sleep duration, a newly added metric, plus refined versions of the original seven metrics including diet, physical activity, nicotine exposure, body mass index, blood lipids, blood glucose, and blood pressure. 

The study used data from the National Health & Nutrition Examination Surveys from 2013 to 2018 from among 13,521 adult and 9,888 child participants.

GE HEALTHCARE RECALLS VENTILATOR BATTERIES: GE Healthcare has recalled the backup batteries for its CARESCAPE R860 ventilator. 

The ventilator is intended to provide mechanical ventilation or breathing support to infants (neonatal), children (pediatric), and adult patients weighing 0.25 kg and above, the statement said. The backup batteries may run out before they are expected to and the ventilator could stop operation completely, GE Healthcare said in a statement.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has identified this as a Class I recall, the most serious type of recall. Use of these devices may cause serious injuries or death, the statement said. GE Healthcare’s Urgent Medical Device Correction letter to customers states that customers should perform a battery performance test immediately after receiving the device correction letter, every 3 months, before using if the device has been in storage for more than 3 months and use the ventilator when connected to AC power. The letter also said customers who must use the ventilator on battery-only power should have alternative ventilation available.

CMS WILL LOOK AT PAYROLL DATA TO INVESTIGATE STAFFING RULE COMPLIANCE: Nursing home surveyors will begin using payroll data to investigate noncompliance with staffing rules, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in guidance issued last week, Modern Healthcare reports.

The agency also states that long-term care facilities must employ at least a part-time infection prevention employee, elaborates on new arbitration requirements and more. The guidance takes effect Oct. 24.

The document is part of President Joe Biden’s crackdown on nursing home safety and quality. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected nursing home residents and employees: More than 155,000 have from the virus since the start of the pandemic, according to CMS data.

“CMS believes all people deserve to have access to quality health care and will continue working to improve the safety and quality of nursing home care,” a CMS news release says. “CMS will hold nursing homes accountable and make the quality of care and facility ownership more transparent so that potential residents and their loved ones can make informed decisions about care.”

Biden has repeatedly called for updated staffing policies for nursing homes and directed CMS to set minimum requirements in his State of the Union address this year.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

• Katy Palmer and Brad Perkins have been appointed senior vice presidents of health at mobile market research firm Reach3 Insights, marking the Chicago firm’s expansion into health care.

The new health practice will round out Reach3’s industry-specific insight teams, which currently include technology and media, CPG, retail, and financial services.

“Since launching Reach3 Insights just over 4 years ago, we’ve been amazed at client demand for our immersive mobile messaging-based insight solutions that enable companies to get closer to the context driving human behaviors,” said founder and CEO of Reach3, Matt Kleinschmit. “I am excited to have Katy and Brad on board so that we can now bring these same techniques to the health care industry as it undergoes massive digital transformation and becomes increasingly consumer-centric.”

Palmer has led health practices at Phoenix Marketing International and Escalent, and she holds a Ph.D. in immunology and infectious disease from Washington University in St. Louis.

Perkins held health care MR leadership positions within Phoenix Marketing International, Escalent and Quintiles Consulting.

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July 4, 2022 at 08:15AM

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