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Health Management Technology News
  July 29, 2014
In this issue:
  Surgeon General issues call to action to prevent
skin cancer

  Former healthcare provider gets 51 months for fraud

  Deal to improve veterans' healthcare costs $17B

  New York asks: Is housing healthcare?

  Polish healthcare industry to benefit from specialist health data management solution

  5 recent hospital transactions and partnerships

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Surgeon General issues call to action to prevent
skin cancer

Skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, is a major public health problem that requires immediate action, according to a new Call to Action released today by the U.S. Surgeon General.

Even though most skin cancers can be prevented, rates of skin cancer, including melanoma, are increasing in the United States. Nearly 5 million people in the U.S. are treated for skin cancer every year, at an average annual cost of $8.1 billion. It is also one of the most common types of cancer among U.S. teens and young adults.

A key message in today’s report is that although people with lighter skin are at higher risk, anyone can get skin cancer—and it can be disfiguring, even deadly. Over the last three decades, the number of Americans who have had skin cancer is estimated to be higher than the number for all other cancers combined.

“While many other cancers, such as lung cancer, are decreasing, rates of melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer -- are increasing,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H. “As a skin oncologist who worked in this field for many years, I have cared for both the young and old with skin cancers. Almost all of these cancers were caused by unnecessary ultraviolet radiation exposure, usually from excessive time in the sun or from the use of indoor tanning devices.”

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Each year, more than 63,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. and nearly 9,000 people die from this disease. Rates of melanoma increased more than 200 percent from 1973 to 2011. Melanoma is also one of the most common types of cancer among U.S. teens and young adults.

Read the full press release from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services here

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Former healthcare provider gets 51 months for fraud

A former healthcare provider has been sentenced to 51 months in prison for multiple healthcare and bank fraud charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's office for Eastern District of Missouri.

Tina Kuehl owned Better Way Home Care, which also received three years of probation and an order of $200,000 restitution.

According to court documents, Kuehl submitted hundreds of Medicare reimbursement claims for therapy services that had not been provided, exaggerated patients' conditions and falsified diagnosis codes.

In addition, Kuel's mother received a $305,000 property loan in 2010, but the Community Bank of Owenseville later foreclosed on the property due to not making timely payments. Kuehl submitted fraudulent checks to show she paid the loan, changed the payee on cancelled checks as well as said she had made cash payments to a bank employee on two occasions, which turned out to be false, according to court documents.

Read the full article from here

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Deal to improve veterans' healthcare costs $17B

A bipartisan deal announced would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

An agreement announced by the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees is intended to fix a veterans' health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays.

The bill includes $10 billion in emergency spending to make it easier for veterans who can't get prompt appointments with VA doctors to obtain outside care; $5 billion to hire doctors, nurses and other medical staff; and about $1.5 billion to lease 27 new clinics across the country, lawmakers said.

The bill also would expand a scholarship program for veterans, allow all veterans to qualify for in-state college tuition and grant the VA secretary authority to immediately fire senior executives, while providing employees with streamlined appeal rights.

"This bill makes certain that we address the immediate crisis of veterans being forced onto long waiting lists for health care," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs panel.

Read the full article from The Boston Herald here

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New York asks: Is housing healthcare?

Earlier this month, New York announced the development of a housing project financed under a program based on the argument that stable housing combined with other social services can reduce costly visits to the emergency room and hospitalizations, Apartment Finance Today reported.

That argument is at the center of an ongoing debate in New York about whether housing should be considered healthcare, NPR reported.

Bruce Vladeck, who led the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services during the Clinton administration, told NPR that Medicaid funding should be dedicated to providing healthcare, not housing.

"Medicaid is supposed to be health insurance, and not every problem somebody has is a healthcare problem," said Vladeck.

Dr. Niray Shah, the former New York State commissioner of health, argued that there is a link in a December 2013 article published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Shah said that Medicaid funds should be used to help defray the costs to provide housing to the chronically homeless because it would result in healthcare savings.

"Placing people who are homeless in supportive housing — affordable housing paired with supportive services, such as on-site case management and referrals to community-based services — can lead to improved health, reduced hospital use, and decreased healthcare costs, especially when frequent users of health services are targeted. These benefits add to the undeniable human benefit of moving people from homelessness into housing," he wrote.

Read the full article from NewsMax here

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Polish healthcare industry to benefit from specialist health data management solution

BridgeHead Software and Alstor announce a new partnership. This agreement allows Alstor to extend its existing portfolio to include BridgeHead Software's Healthcare Data Management (HDM) Solution, offering Polish hospitals a unique software environment to store, protect and share clinical and administrative information, both on-premise, in the cloud or a hybrid configuration.

As the first venture into the Polish market, BridgeHead Software selected Alstor as a partner due to its storage expertise and reputation within the marketplace. The partnership will now enable Polish healthcare providers to intelligently manage and protect a wide array of healthcare data, from all manner of hospital applications.

Andrew Carr, Director of Alliances EMEA, BridgeHead Software comments: "We are very excited to be making our first entrance into the Polish healthcare market through our partnership with Alstor. This collaboration will mean that Polish hospitals will now be offered a complete, secure and controlled way of managing their data, delivering peace of mind around how to store, protect and share their clinical and administrative healthcare information, positively impacting patient care."

Jan Siwek, head of health division, Alstor, comments: "Today, we are seeing steady growth in both the public and private health market in Poland. We recognized we had a gap to fill in our supplier portfolio around the management and protection of hospital systems and their data. In the healthcare data management space, BridgeHead Software is a global leader in its field so it was a natural choice for us to partner with them. We are confident that the implications of costs, increased security requirements, better access and sharing of patient data will expedite adoption of solutions, like that of BridgeHead Software, within the Polish healthcare space."

Read the full press release from Real Wire here

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5 recent hospital transactions and partnerships

The following hospital mergers, acquisitions and general transactions took place within the past week, beginning with the most recent.

1. Prime Healthcare purchase of St. Mary's Hospital approved by N.J. judge
New Jersey Superior Court Judge Margaret Mary McVeigh approved the sale of St. Mary's Hospital in Passaic, N.J., to Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare Services.

2. United Memorial, Clifton Springs Hospital expected to join Rochester Regional this year
Rochester (N.Y.) Regional Health System finalized definitive agreements under which Clifton Springs (N.Y.) Hospital & Clinic and United Memorial Medical Center in Batvia, N.Y., will join the health system.

3. PeaceHealth exclusive affiliation talks with Cascade Valley, Skagit Regional called off
Exclusive affiliation negotiations between Vancouver, Wash.-based PeaceHealth and two small community hospitals in northwest Washington state — Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon and Cascade Valley Hospital and Clinics in Arlington — fell through.

Read the full article from Becker’s Hospital Review here

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July 2014  HMT digital book

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