Massive cyber attack affects nearly 1,000 organizations including health plans and Medicaid patient data
Plus: UnitedHealthcare is fined $800k by HHS
Good morning and happy Friday. Welcome to the Friday Pulse Check newsletter from Fulcrum Strategies. I don’t have anything to say about Wednesday’s GOP debate because the candidates simply did not talk about anything related to healthcare. The closest I heard was one candidate (I can’t even remember who) said the word “Medicare.” So, with that, here is what else is happening in the healthcare world.
In the news:
UHC fined $800,000 by HHS
UnitedHealthcare will pay an $80,000 settlement to the HHS and OCR due to a potential violation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule's access provision. An individual's complaint from March 2021 stated that UnitedHealthcare didn't promptly provide medical records upon request made on January 7, 2021. The records were only received in July 2021 after OCR began investigating. This marks the third complaint against UnitedHealthcare for delayed response to such requests. Read more from HHS.gov.
UnitedHealth Group’s LIVE stock price: UNH 0.00%↑
HIPAA Violation of the Week: Massive cyber-attack affects 58 million individuals
A massive cyber-attack led by the Clop ransomware gang has exposed the personal information of millions of health plan members, including Social Security numbers and medical history. The attack targeted the MOVEit file-transferring application used by various organizations. Over 988 organizations and 58 million individuals, including hospitals, health systems, and health plans, have been affected. Notable cases include data breaches at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Medicaid data in Missouri, Oregon, Colorado, and Indiana; Maximus administrative services, CareSource, and UnitedHealthcare Student Resources. Read more in Becker’s Payer Issues.
Other articles of interest:
What do Americans think about weight loss drugs?
On the FLATLINING Podcast from Fulcrum Strategies this week, Ron and I had an interesting discussion about what Americans think about weight loss drugs. A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that most Americans have a generally favorable opinion of those drugs and about half think they should be covered by insurance for people wanting to lose weight.
This topic furthers our discussion on what health plans, including Medicare, should and shouldn’t cover and why. Right now, none of the health plans are covering Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy. Why? If one plan steps out and covers it, none of the others will because patients will flock to that one health plan; it saves the others money.
Novo Nordisk’s LIVE stock price: NVO 0.00%↑
I’ve said before on the podcast that I am generally skeptical of increased regulation, but I’ve also said that a little regulation can go a long way. This may be an instance where regulation on what should and shouldn’t be covered by insurance or Medicare could be beneficial to patients and to the nation’s public health as a whole.
Don’t have time to listen to the whole thing or just want a preview? Check out this short:
A new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies recently looked at the mental health toll on Ukraine. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has intensified mental health challenges, affecting millions of citizens, including children, veterans, internally displaced people, and those with disabilities.
The war's toll on healthcare infrastructure has exacerbated the situation, with over 1,000 attacks on healthcare facilities and personnel verified by the WHO. The Ukrainian government and international partners are responding with efforts to provide immediate and long-term mental health support.
They write that a systems-based approach is being adopted, aiming to integrate mental health services into primary care, community-based care, and public education programs. However, challenges remain, including funding constraints and workforce shortages. Addressing mental health is crucial for Ukraine's recovery and the well-being of its citizens. Read more from CSIS.
Have a good weekend,