Today's Top 20 Healthcare News Articles
  1. Researchers use natural language processing tech to identify new coronavirus variants

    Researchers have found that natural language processing algorithms — algorithms that read language — may be useful for generating protein sequences and predicting virus mutations, according to MIT Technology Review.
  2. CMS to reprocess some 2019 outpatient claims after ruling on site-neutral payments

    CMS will reprocess calendar year 2019 claims for outpatient services provided at excepted off-campus provider-based departments due to an appeals court ruling on site-neutral payments, the agency said Jan. 14.
  3. Insurers ordered to give up claims data for FTC study of healthcare mergers and acquisitions

    The Federal Trade Commission sent orders to six health insurers for claims data to help it study the effect of hospital acquisitions of physician groups. 

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  1. HHS updates guidelines for easier prescription of buprenorphine

    HHS said Jan. 14 it will update its guidelines to allow physicians to more easily prescribe  buprenorphine, a drug that treats opioid addiction and chronic pain.
  2. Pfizer vaccine production stalled as factory undergoes renovation

    Pfizer notified national governments across the globe that it will deliver fewer doses than usual of its COVID-19 vaccine until mid-February as it renovates one of its factories in Puurs, Belgium, Bloomberg reported Jan. 15.
  3. Flu test positivity jumps & 5 other CDC FluView takeaways

    The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for the flu at clinical laboratories was 0.4 percent for the week ending Jan. 9, up from 0.1 percent the week prior, according to the CDC's FluView report.
  4. NYC will run out of COVID-19 vaccines next week, mayor says

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Jan. 15 that the city will run out of COVID-19 vaccines next week if it doesn't receive a larger supply.

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  1. Feds convene medical supply companies in bid to speed distribution

    The federal government is overseeing meetings between medical supply companies in which the companies will share information on production, distribution and pricing for in-demand medical supplies to boost transparency in the medical supply chain, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 15. 
  2. CMS finalizes rule to streamline prior authorizations

    CMS finalized a rule Jan. 15 to simplify prior authorizations and create a better exchange of healthcare data between payers, providers and patients. 
  3. CMS releases payment notice for 2022 coverage year: 5 things to know

    CMS released a final rule for states, health insurance exchanges and insurers in the individual and small group markets Jan. 14.
  4. Chicago hospital offering free cervical cancer screenings through January

    Chicago-based Loretto Hospital is providing free cervical cancer screenings for local residents through the end of the month, according to a news release sent to Becker's. 

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  1. Releasing all vaccine doses won't delay second round shots, Biden team says

    Members of President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 advisory team said they've had multiple conversations with vaccine makers and do not anticipate that the plan to release nearly all available doses will delay people from getting their second shot on time, CNBC reported Jan. 14. 
  2. Cancer screenings at Mass General Brigham fell 76% amid pandemic

    The number of cancer screenings conducted at Boston-based Mass General Brigham health system fell significantly between March and June compared to the same period in 2019, according to a study published Jan. 14 in JAMA Oncology. 
  3. New Jersey faces backlash for giving smokers priority COVID-19 vaccine access

    New Jersey officials' decision to include smokers among high-risk groups  with priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine has been met with surprise by some health experts and front-line workers in the state, reports The Washington Post. 
  4. New York hospital gets $30.8M from county to settle back debt

    New York's Nassau County agreed to pay $30.8 million to Nassau University Medical Center's parent organization to settle unpaid debts for medical services provided at the county's jail and the Uniondale-based A. Holly Patterson nursing home, according to Newsday.
  5. St. Luke's University Health Network taps college students for remote monitoring COVID-19 patients

    Bethlehem, Pa.-based St. Luke's University Health Network has tapped college students to remotely monitor COVID-19 patients in eight of its hospitals, the health system said.
  6. Hospital M&A update: 9 recent deals

    Nine transactions involving hospitals and health systems were announced, finalized or advanced in the last week:
  7. Kaiser donates $8M to organizations fighting systemic racism

    Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente has awarded $8.15 million in grants to nonprofit and community organizations working to address systemic racism in the U.S.
  8. CMS won't add new Medicaid accountability rule

    CMS has officially withdrawn its proposed Medicaid fiscal accountability rule.
  9. 16 hospitals, health systems seeking Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, Meditech talent

    Four of the top vendors hospitals use to participate in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program are Allscripts, Cerner, Epic and Meditech, according to ONC data.

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