Briefs

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

U.S. Supreme Court Jus­tice Ruth Bader Gins­burg, who is slated to help de­cide the fate of the health­care re­form law next year, re­port­edly was rest­ing com­fort­ably last Wed­nes­day morn­ing af­ter hav­ing a stent placed in her heart. Gins­burg, 81, was ex­pected to be dis­charged from MedS­tar Wash­ing­ton (D.C.) Hos­pi­tal Cen­ter within 48 hours, ac­cord­ing to a Supreme Court news re­lease. Gins­burg plans to be back to the court on Mon­day, said Supreme Court spokes­woman Kathy Ar­berg. A num­ber of up­com­ing high-pro­file cases are sched­uled be­fore the jus­tices, in­clud­ing King v. Bur­well.

The Amer­i­can Med­i­cal In­for­mat­ics As­so­ci­a­tion is ask­ing Congress to amend a cen­tral fed­eral health­care pri­vacy rule to give med­i­cal re­searchers ac­cess to pa­tient records with­out their con­sent. A see-saw bat­tle has been waged at the fed­eral pol­icy level for more than a decade over pa­tient con­sent re­gard­ing med­i­cal records, with pa­tient pri­vacy ad­vo­cates ar­gu­ing that con­trol over in­for­ma­tion about one’s self is the def­i­ni­tion of pri­vacy. So, not sur­pris­ingly, a lead­ing pri­vacy ad­vo­cate re­acted neg­a­tively to the AMIA re­quest. “It’s shock­ing that they don’t have enough data yet, they’re go­ing af­ter more?” said Dr. Deb­o­rah Peel, a psy­chi­a­trist who heads the Pa­tient Pri­vacy Rights Foun­da­tion in Austin, Texas.

Health­care stocks are at­tract­ing the big-money crowd, a sign that se­ri­ous in­vestors think there’s money to be made in the sec­tor, ac­cord­ing to one bil­lion­aire in­vest­ment tracker. Direx­ion In­vest­ments, a mu­tual fund man­ager, cre­ated the iBil­lion­aire In­dex in April 2013. The in­dex tracks and up­dates where the world’s bil­lion­aire in­vestors like Warren Buffett and Carl Ic­ahn are put­ting their money. Health­care com­pa­nies be­came a much more pop­u­lar in­vest­ment dur­ing the third quar­ter of this year, the in­dex shows. Six of the 30 com­pa­nies on the iBil­lion­aire In­dex at the end of Q3 were re­lated to the in­dus­try: phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal gi­ants Ab­bVie and Ac­tavis, health in­sur­ers Aetna and Hu­mana, hos­pi­tal chain Tenet Health­care Corp. and biotech­nol­ogy com­pany Thermo Fisher Sci­en­tific.

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