Week in review: 8 biggest healthcare stories this week

Stay in the know with Becker's Hospital Review's weekly roundup of the nation's biggest healthcare news. Here's what you need to know this week.

1. Karen Ignagni expected to leave AHIP before King v. Burwell decision
Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, is leaving her post to lead New York City-based nonprofit health plan EmblemHealth. Although her new appointment begins Sept. 1, Ms. Ignagni is expected to leave AHIP in early June before the Supreme Court ruling on King v. Burwell, according to Politico. Dan Durham, executive vice president for strategic initiatives at AHIP, will replace Ms. Ignagni as interim CEO.

2. Ascension's new 'socially just' minimum wage: $11 an hour
St. Louis-based Ascension is implementing what it calls a "socially just minimum wage," raising it to $11 per hour. The raise increase will take effect July 5 and affect approximately 10,500 of Ascension's 150,000 associates, including those in laundry, environmental, housekeeping, nutrition and administrative disciplines, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The federal minimum wage is $7.25, with individual states ranging in minimums up to $9.50. Ascension has followed a socially just wage and benefits policy for years, holding annual minimum wage reviews to ensure the organization pays its employees based on the economic conditions in each market.

3. DEA arrests physicians, others in largest operation against illegal painkiller distribution
After a 15-month investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested seven physicians and 41 others Wednesday in what it's calling its largest operation against illegal trafficking of prescription drugs, according to the New York Times. Arrests took place in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The DEA's investigation focused on the illegal sale and distribution of painkillers, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and the tranquilizer Xanax. The latest arrests add to the 230 others made over the course of the investigation, which include physicians, pharmacists, street drug dealers and others. Keith Brown, the DEA agent in charge of the New Orleans division, said dozens of physicians were forced to surrender their DEA licenses to prescribe controlled substances throughout the duration of the investigation.

4. Cyberattack exposes data of 1.1M CareFirst BCBS members
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield announced Wednesday a cyberattack on its system compromised the data of 1.1 million past and current CareFirst members across the Mid-Atlantic region, where CareFirst is the largest payer, according to Reuters. The compromised information includes individual member usernames for CareFirst's website, names, birth dates, emails and member identification numbers. The hackers did not acquire Social Security numbers, medical claims, employment, credit card or financial information. Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm CareFirst hired to conduct a review, discovered the attack last month. Mandiant believes the attack occurred in June 2014. The cyberattack appears to be a one-time breach.

5. UPMC operating income falls 68% last quarter
Pittsburgh-based UPMC reported its operating revenue increased while its operating income fell 68.5 percent for the three-month period ended March 31. Up 5.6 percent from the same three month period in 2014, UPMC's operating revenue increased to nearly $3 billion. The system's net patient services revenue experienced little change last quarter, falling less than 1 percent, while its revenue attributable to insurance enrollment increased to nearly $1.4 billion last quarter, up 16 percent from the same period in 2014. Its expenses increased to $2.9 billion in the three-month period that ended March 31, compared to $2.8 billion in the same time period in 2014.

6. Data theft by third-party vendor affects UPMC, White Plains Hospital, 3 N.J hospitals
Pittsburgh-based UPMC is notifying 2,200 patients that their data was illegally disclosed by a third-party vendor employee. In a statement, UPMC said a call center employee of Medical Management, a company that provides billing services to UPMC's physician group Emergency Resource Management, accessed and copied patient information from the billing system over the last two years and disclosed that information to a third party. Potentially compromised information includes names, birth dates and Social Security Numbers. MLL notified UPMC of the data theft after federal law enforcement agencies informed them they were conducting a criminal investigation into the incident. Later this week, White Plains (N.Y.) Hospital reported a data breach related to the UPMC breach — a call center employee illegally copied and disclosed patient data from the hospital and gave that information to a third-party. MLL has fired the employee. Three hospitals in New Jersey have also been affected by the incident. The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J., Englewood (N.J.) Hospital and Medical Center and Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, N.J., are notifying patients.

7. U.S. News & World Report releases new Common Care ratings
U.S. News & World Report released its brand-new hospital ratings, called Best Hospitals for Common Care, Wednesday. The ratings are different than U.S. News' rankings: The Best Hospital ratings are intended to help patients who have life-threatening or rare conditions find hospitals that excel at treating those issues, while Common Care ratings cover performance on five common medical conditions: heart bypass, hip replacement, knee replacement, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The New Common Care ratings don't produce a ranked list; rather it provides ratings of high performing, average or below average. Click here to learn more about the Common Care ratings.

8. MetroHealth cardiac cath lab attacked by malware, 981 patient records compromised
Cleveland-based MetroHealth System discovered malware in three computers in its cardiac catheterization lab, leading the system to notify nearly 1,000 patients that their protected health information may have been accessed. The malware was detected March 17, and potentially compromised the information of patients who received treatment in the cath lab between July 14, 2014 and March 21, 2015, according to the health system. In addition to discovering the initial malware, the health system also discovered a "back door" access point to the computers that would allow the virus to still access the computers, even if the original malware software were to be removed. This back door access was removed from the computers March 21.

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