VHHA will update Newsclips each weekday with relevant national and statewide health care news. Click on a headline below to view the article on that news organization's website. Please note that access to some articles will require registration on that website, most of which are free. If you have items of particular interest you would like to see posted here, please contact VHHA.

May 21, 2018


SOVAH Health Patient Family Advisory Council launches
(GoDanRiver – May 20, 2018)

Sovah Health recently announced the launch of its new Patient Family Advisory Council that will become an integral part of the system’s ongoing efforts to enhance patient safety and care.

Ballad Health component MSHA recognized as top performer by health care industry magazine
(Johnson City Press – May 20, 2018)

Mountain States Health Alliance, a subsidiary of Ballad Health, is one of America’s top performing health systems, according to a review published in Modern Healthcare, an industry trade magazine for health care. The analysis was published in the April 23 issue of the magazine.

UVA nurse receives AACN award for "The Pause"
(CBS 19 – May 18, 2018)

A palliative care nurse at the University of Virginia Medical Center is being recognized for his work caring for patients in their final days. John Bartels is known for creating what's called "The Pause," a time where medical staff and family members take a moment to reflect on the life of the person who just passed away.

Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute wins award to develop test for mild traumatic brain injury, working with industry partners, University of Virginia
(Augusta Free Press – May 19, 2018)

Scientists at two of Virginia’s largest universities, working with clinicians from the two major health systems and a growing Virginia-based biotechnology company, have teamed up to address an important medical challenge — how do you accurately diagnose a mild traumatic brain injury that has subtle or no physical signs but can cause long-term damage?

Local survivors of drug addiction, suicide help others in need
(WTKR – May 20, 2018)

Walking down the corridors of hospitals and psych wards is never easy. Now, there’s a brave group making sure you’re not walking the halls alone. “A lot of the times when you meet a physician or a therapist or a doctor you’re like how does this person really know what I’m going through. But, peer recovery specialists we do. That’s in our name. We’re peers. We’ve been exactly where you’re at and we’re going to meet you exactly where you’re at," says Lauren Hope, Portsmouth Department of Behavioral Health.

Using ‘blockchain’ to enhance health care security
(WY Daily – May 21, 2018)

Blockchain has attracted attention as the underpinning technology for emerging cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. However, it can be used to provide security and privacy in a wide range of technology applications on distributed systems, such as cloud and Internet of Things (IoT).

Last year, 230 people died from opioid overdoses in Hampton Roads. But the number dipped from 2016.
(The Virginian-Pilot – May 19, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

While opioid overdose deaths continued to rise across Virginia last year, Hampton Roads saw a decline. Emergency responders in at least three local cities also treated fewer people with the opioid antidote naloxone in 2017 when compared to the previous year.

'We need to be paying attention to it:' Henrico health official says of uptick in infant deaths
(Richmond Times-Dispatch – May 18, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

Standing in line at Target, people would ask whether the Alsops were having a boy or a girl. The question was more complicated than it might seem. “Sometimes you just grit your teeth and you’re like, ‘It’s a boy. He’s due in May,’” Michael Alsop said.

Recovering addicts find success as support specialists at Highlands Community Services
(Bristol Herald Courier – May 19, 2018)

When Logan Horne enters a hospital room, she doesn’t usually receive a warm welcome. She’s called in by a social worker when a mother or her newborn tests positive for a controlled substance at Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon.

Sen. Kaine visits Chesterfield heroin addiction recovery program
(WRIC – May 18, 2018)

Donna Smith's battle with drugs began before she was a teenager. "I actually started my addiction when I was 12 years old. I was using heroin at 12," said Smith. She's spent the last decade in and out of jails and institutions.

Startup Spotlight: Iconic iD offers technology to help emergency responders access medical and contact information
(Richmond Times-Dispatch – May 19, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

Duane Stafford was inspired to create his startup business, Iconic iD, when he learned that there is no standard system for emergency first responders to obtain vital information about people who have been in an accident or who are suffering medical emergencies and cannot communicate.

Governor vetoes insurance legislation, terming it counterproductive
(Richmond Times-Dispatch – May 18, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

Gov. Ralph Northam has vetoed four bills he contends would undermine Virginia’s health insurance marketplace and raise premiums — the same problems that Republican senators say the proposals would address for people who can no longer afford health insurance.

Governor Northam vetoes GOP healthcare bills
(Associated Press – May 18, 2018)

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has vetoed a handful of GOP-backed bills related to health care. Northam vetoed a bill that would have allowed all groups like the Virginia Chamber of Commerce to pool their members together in a group to shop for health insurance. Supporters said it would help reduce costs.

The Winchester Star Editorial: Berg’s cool eye Expansion by the (pricey) numbers
(The Winchester Star – May 18, 2018) SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED

Dr. Mark Berg is not what one might call a “people person,” which may explain why his tenure as 29th District representative in the House of Delegates was limited to a single term. But put Dr. Berg in front of a set of numbers and place some spreadsheets by his side, and the retired physician is right at home.

Gordon C. Morse: State lawmakers shouldn't risk a budget crisis over Medicaid
(The Virginian-Pilot – May 20, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

Come midnight, June 30, the commonwealth of Virginia will either have a new state budget in place — approved by the General Assembly, signed by the governor — or its authority to spend money will end. At least that’s the operational framework being employed at the moment and Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment assures one and all — rather pointedly, in fact — that Virginia will have a budget.


The AI Doctor Will See You Now
(The Wall Street Journal – May 20, 2018) SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED

Kimberly Bari had her first seizure in 2010 at age 26 and since then has had hundreds. Some rendered her unconscious, others left her confused and terrified. By 2016, her surgery- and drug-resistant condition led her to try something fewer than 2,000 people in the world have attempted: implanting a computer into her brain.

Family trees hidden in medical records could predict your disease risk
(Science Mag – May 17, 2018)

Who is your emergency contact? The answer to that question, standard in every doctor’s office, has now been used to predict the role of genes in hundreds of conditions, from diabetes to high cholesterol. A new study combined the emergency contact information of 2 million New Yorkers with their medical data to form family trees of heritability—all without ever looking at a patient’s DNA.

The short, white coat no longer measures up for Johns Hopkins residents
(Modern Healthcare – May 19, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

A long-held tradition at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore has been curtailed for new residents. The short white coat once used to distinguish first-year residents in Hopkins' Osler Medical Training Program has been retired after recent classes of students found the custom offensive and unwanted.


As an Insurer Resists Paying for ‘Avoidable’ E.R. Visits, Patients and Doctors Push Back
(The New York Times – May 19, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

Jim Burton was lifting a box in his garage last August when he felt a jolt in his back. “It dropped me to my knees instantly,” he said. He thought he’d slipped a disk. His friend, an emergency medical technician, urged him to go to the hospital. At the emergency room, Mr. Burton, a 37-year-old resident of Lexington, Ky., was found to have a back sprain, with no signs of other serious injury, and was sent home.

Obamacare tied to earlier cancer detection in young women
(Reuters – May 18, 2018)

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision allowing adult children to stay on their parents’ health insurance policy until age 26, young women with gynecological cancers were diagnosed and treated sooner, researchers say.

Republicans weigh electoral calculus on reviving ACA repeal push
(Modern Healthcare – May 18, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

As unlikely as it seems that congressional GOP leaders will try once again to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, both Republican and Democratic political observers say there's a small chance they refuse to rule it out.

CMS rejects Ohio's individual mandate waiver
(Modern Healthcare – May 18, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

The CMS has rejected Ohio's request to become the first state to waive the Affordable Care Act individual mandate that requires residents to have health insurance. Ohio's Legislature called for a 1332 innovation waiver last summer, before Congress zeroed out the financial penalty for not having coverage in its tax bill in December.

Opinion: With the individual mandate dead, the rest of Obamacare is unconstitutional
(Washington Examiner – May 19, 2018)

Almost no one saw it coming. In 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts famously ruled the Affordable Care Act’s provision mandating most people purchase health insurance or else pay a fine constitutional on the basis that Congress has the authority to tax individuals, and the so-called Obamacare “fine” is effectively a tax.