More health data companies hacked in 2021 than since records began

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More healthcare systems have been breached by hackers than in any year since 2010, but fortunately less people’s data was affected than in the severe attacks of 2015.

Modern Healthcare: Reported Data Breaches So Far This Year Surpassed 2020

The latest data from the Department of Human Services’ Civil Rights Office shows the highest number of healthcare data breaches in a year since regulators began counting them in 2010. This year’s total beat that of the last year by a single incident. These lapses did not affect as many patients as the worst year on record. Nearly 43 million patient data was compromised in 2021, less than half the number recorded in 2015, when bad actors accessed confidential information on 112.5 million people. This year, however, there have been more data breaches than the previous two years. (Kim Cohen, 12/17)

In other health industry news –

Modern Healthcare: CMS Finalizes Implementation of New Medicare Residency Slot

Hospitals serving the most needy areas and underserved populations will be given priority for new Medicare-funded residency slots, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a long-awaited final rule released Friday. The additional spaces will be phased in over five years and funding will total approximately $1.8 billion over the next 10 years. The first 200 slots will be announced Jan. 31, 2023. The policy is part of CMS’s final prospective inpatient payment system for 2022. (Goldman, 12/17)

Modern healthcare: More doctors considering retirement amid COVID-19 pandemic

Physicians’ pay has risen as the labor market has tightened, although rising wages are unlikely to slow the wave of doctors retiring or leaving the field, according to survey results released Thursday. The average salary of doctors rose 3.8% in 2021, compared to a 1.5% increase in 2020, Doximity found by surveying more than 46,000 doctors. But nearly half of respondents indicated they were considering leaving the field, in addition to the 1% of the workforce who have already taken early retirement under the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Kacik, 12/17)

Reuters: Oracle plans to buy Cerner for ‘mid-90s’ per share – CNBC Reporter

Enterprise software maker Oracle Corp plans to buy electronic medical records company Cerner Corp in a cash deal for “mid-90s” per share, a CNBC reporter tweeted on Sunday, citing sources. The deal could be announced Monday morning, according to the tweet. (12/19)

As well –

Politico: ‘A lot of money on the table’: Brawl brews over surprise medical bills

A year after Congress proposed a fix for surprise medical bills, health insurers, hospitals and doctors are still spending millions to tweak the fine print in their favor. The aggressive campaign by health insurers, hospitals, doctors and big employers to influence how the Biden administration interprets the law is unfolding through ad campaigns, lobbying efforts and in court, amid accusations that each side is profiting from a broken health care system. (Wilson, 12/19)

The CT Mirror: With Skyrocketing Medical Bills, Nonprofits, Crowdfunding, and Payment Plans Offer Some Debt Relief

On Dec. 8, a search for “Connecticut medical bills” on fundraising website GoFundMe yielded more than 200 fundraisers. Among them, $24,782 was raised for the treatment of pancreatic cancer for a patient at Hartford Hospital, $15,035 for a neuroblastoma patient at the Masonic Healthcare Center in Wallingford and $9,700 raised for a child in 9-year-old who was treated at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center for a tumor. In addition to cancer treatment, people have raised money for reasons ranging from helping with medical bills after a traffic accident to buying a therapy robot for a child. (Srinivasan, 12/18)

NBC News: “Get that money!” Dermatologist says patient care suffered after private equity-backed company bought her practice

The email to healthcare workers sounded like something out of “The Wolf of Wall Street.” “We are in the final days of the month and only 217 appointments away from meeting our budget,” the August 2020 note read. scheduled for August! It’s the easiest money you can make. Get that money!” the plea was not directed at a bunch of hard-boiled, coke-snorting stockbrokers. It was given to employees of Michigan-based Pinnacle Dermatology, a group of 90 dermatology practices across America (Morgson, 12/20)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.

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