Briefs

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

HHS is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a pos­si­ble breach of a com­puter sys­tem hold­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion of more than 6,700 doc­tors, nurses and other uni­formed public health work­ers over­seen by the sur­geon gen­eral. U.S. Sur­geon Gen­eral Dr. Vivek Murthy sent an email last week to mem­bers of the U.S. Public Health Ser­vice Com­mis­sioned Corps warn­ing them that unau­then­ti­cated vis­i­tors to a com­puter site could have ac­cessed their names, dates of birth and So­cial Se­cu­rity num­bers. In­ves­ti­ga­tors are still try­ing to de­ter­mine whether any of the in­for­ma­tion was ac­tu­ally stolen or com­pro­mised.

Em­bat­tled blood test­ing com­pany Ther­a­nos will shut down its clin­i­cal labs and well­ness cen­ters and lay off more than 40% of its full-time em­ploy­ees. Ther­a­nos CEO El­iz­a­beth Holmes said the shut­downs “will im­pact ap­prox­i­mately 340 em­ploy­ees in Ari­zona, Cal­i­for­nia and Penn­syl­va­nia.” Ther­a­nos has lab­o­ra­tory fa­cil­i­ties in Ne­wark, Calif., and Scotts­dale, Ariz. Holmes per­son­ally lob­bied the Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture and Gov. Doug Ducey in 2015 to pass a bill that al­lows peo­ple to get a blood test with­out a doc­tor’s or­der. Holmes said the Palo Alto, Calif.-based com­pany will now fo­cus on its mini Lab por­ta­ble blood-test­ing prod­uct.

The lead­ers of nearly two dozen health­care in­dus­try or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing Amer­ica’s Health In­sur­ance Plans, In­ter­moun­tain Health­care and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield As­so­ci­a­tion, want Congress to con­tinue to push for lift­ing an 18-year-old ban that pre­vents HHS from de­vel­op­ing a na­tional pa­tient iden­ti­fier. Twenty-two groups signed a let­ter sent to the chairs and rank­ing mem­bers of the House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee and its La­bor, Health and Hu­man Ser­vices, Ed­u­ca­tion and Re­lated Agen­cies Sub­com­mit­tee. The let­ter asks the com­mit­tee to “de­velop a co­or­di­nated na­tional strat­egy that will pro­mote pa­tient safety by ac­cu­rately iden­ti­fy­ing pa­tients to their health in­for­ma­tion.”

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