August 15, 2022

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Wednesday, July 20, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

FBI Halts North Korean Hacking Effort Targeting US Hospitals

The FBI worked with the Justice Department, and not only did the effort disrupt ransomware attacks, but it also recovered ransom payments and cryptocurrency. Separately, a Mississippi hospital putting itself up for sale says it’s because of a lack of Medicaid expansion in the state.

AP:
US Disrupts North Korean Hackers That Targeted Hospitals

The FBI and Justice Department recently disrupted the activities of a hacking group that was sponsored by the North Korean government and that targeted U.S. hospitals with ransomware, ultimately recovering half a million dollars in ransom payments and cryptocurrency, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Tuesday. (Tucker, 7/19)

In news on Medicare and Medicaid matters —

AP:
Hospital System Says It’s Hurt By Lack Of Medicaid Expansion

A county-owned Mississippi hospital system that wants to put itself up for sale says one of its main financial challenges is the decision by the state’s elected officials not to extend Medicaid to provide insurance coverage for the working poor. (Wagster Pettus, 7/19)

Stat:
Medicare Offers Perks For Rural Hospitals To Convert To A New Provider Type

Medicare is tacking on financial perks for rural hospitals that convert to its new provider category. So far, reception’s been mixed. (Bannow, 7/20)

Modern Healthcare:
Puerto Rico Forecasts Effects Of High Medicare Advantage Enrollment 

Medicare Advantage enrollment expands each year, with 2.3 million new people covered in 2022. As the program grows, however, its payment system could need a significant reboot. (Goldman, 7/19)

On financial matters in the industry —

AP:
US Health Insurers Raise Rates To Match Increase In Usage

Health insurers in individual marketplaces across 13 states and Washington D.C. will raise rates an average of 10% next year, according to a review of rate filings by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s a big increase after premiums remained virtually flat for several years during the pandemic as insurers seek to recoup costs for more people using their policies, combined with record-high inflation that is driving up prices for virtually everything, including health care. (Beam, 7/19)

Modern Healthcare:
Health Systems Face ‘Perfect Storm’ Of Financial Challenges

Inpatient admissions and emergency department visits are still well below pre-pandemic levels—and patients who are coming into the hospital are staying longer, driving up costs. (Kacik, 7/19)

In news on health care workers —

CIDRAP:
Survey: COVID + Childcare Woes = Burnout In Health Workers

Stress from inconsistent, unavailable, or unaffordable childcare amid the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with an 80% higher chance of burnout among US healthcare workers (HCWs), leading to anxiety, depression, and an intention to reduce work hours or leave the job, suggests a survey-based modeling study published yesterday in JAMA Network Open. (Van Beusekom, 7/19)

Axios:
Health Reform May Be Making Gender Wage Gaps Worse For Female Docs

It’s no secret that gender pay disparities are a problem in medicine, but it turns out reforms to how we pay doctors — specifically in primary care — could make the problem worse. (Reed, 7/20)

Modern Healthcare:
Nursing Home Staffing Rule Could Cost $10B A Year, AHCA Says

President Joe Biden’s proposal to mandate staffing levels at nursing homes would require providers to hire 187,000 new nurses at a cost of up to $10 billion a year, and displace nearly 1 in 5 residents, according to a report the American Health Care Association released Tuesday. (Christ, 7/19)

Also —

Chicago Tribune:
Endotronix Will Relocate Headquarters To Naperville

Endotronix, a digital health and medical technology company, plans to relocate its headquarters to an 80,000-square-foot office in Naperville, from its current location in Lisle. (Schencker, 7/19)

AP:
Police Officer Suspended After Handcuffing EMT At Hospital

The suspension was announced by city police Monday, a week after EMT Lekia Smith was handcuffed at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. Security video obtained by WHEC-TV shows the investigator backing Smith, a Black woman, into a corner as she stood beside a patient on a stretcher. He grabs her arm, cuffs her hands behind her back and takes her outside. (Hill, 7/19)