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Top news stories from AMA Morning Rounds®: Week of May 20, 2024


Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of May 20, 2024–May 24, 2024.

Healio (5/23, Rhoades) reports, “Men were at greater risk for several complications associated with type 1 and type 2 diabetes compared with women, according to results published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.” Overall, compared with women, researchers “found that men had greater risks for: CVD complications (adjusted HR = 1.51; 95% CI, 1.43-1.59); lower limb complications (aHR = 1.47; 95% CI, 1.38-1.57); kidney complications (aHR = 1.55; 95% CI, 1.47-1.64); and diabetic retinopathy (aHR = 1.14; 95% CI, 1.03-1.26).”

The New York Times (5/22, Mandavilli, Anthes) reports, “A farmworker in Michigan has been diagnosed with bird flu, state officials announced on Wednesday, making it the second human case associated with the outbreak in cows.” Authorities “said that the individual became infected with the virus, called H5N1, after exposure to infected livestock.” The patient “had only mild symptoms and has fully recovered, officials said.”

The AP (5/22, Aleccia, Stobbe) reports the worker “experienced mild eye symptoms and has recovered, U.S. and Michigan health officials said in announcing the case Wednesday.” The public health risk “remains low, but farmworkers exposed to infected animals are at higher risk, health officials said.”

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Healthcare Finance News (5/21, Morse) reports, “The American Medical Association and more than 100 other medical organizations are asking for official affirmation that” physicians “are not responsible for HIPAA reporting requirements due to the Change Healthcare cyberattack.” In a joint letter to HHS “Secretary Xavier Becerra, the AMA and other health groups want Becerra and the Office of Civil Rights officials to confirm that no other entity other than Change or parent companies Optum and UnitedHealth Group bear responsibility for legal reporting, including notifying the countless number of patients who may have had their personal information stolen in the February ransomware attack.”

Healthcare Dive (5/21, Olsen) reports, “UnitedHealth Group, Change’s parent company, has previously said it would handle reporting for customers whose data may have been exposed—which could be a huge swath of Americans.” The joint letter comes after “some hospital groups...already urged the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights to clarify who would need to provide breach notifications after the Change attack.”

You may also be interested in: 7 steps to help doctors affected by Change Healthcare cyber outage.

Modern Healthcare reports, “Declining doctors’ pay in Medicare is getting its most serious look in nearly a decade in the Senate, with a bipartisan push launched Friday by the Senate Finance Committee.” Physician groups including the AMA have estimated physicians “were effectively getting paid 26% less in 2023 than in 2001 because the physician fee schedule set by” CMS “is not adjusted for inflation.” The legislators’ “white paper identifies several major areas where physician pay should be reformed— and boosted—with a particular emphasis on programs that could also save money.”

RevCycleIntelligence reports the Senate Finance Committee’s white paper outlines “where it sees opportunities to reform Medicare physician payment to improve the delivery of chronic care and improve the Physician Fee Schedule’s value to clinicians and beneficiaries.” The lawmakers “identified changes to Medicare fee-for-service through the Physician Fee Schedule and value-based care initiatives in Medicare Part B aimed at reducing overall health care spending and improving outcomes for beneficiaries.”

Editor’s note: The Medicare payment system is on an unsustainable path, threatening patients’ access to physicians. The AMA is working to block payment cuts, advocate for physicians and patients, and build long-term solutions. Learn more.

Healthcare IT News (5/17, Miliard) reported the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) “is asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to do more to help health systems, health plans and other health care organizations manage the increasingly disruptive fallout from cyberattacks.” The group sent a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, offering “recommendations that the department – and other federal agencies – could take to help mitigate the consequences of cyberattacks and help provider organizations maintain their ability to share data and deliver care safely.”

Editor’s note: Get the AMA’s updates on ongoing cybersecurity concerns and resources to protect patient health records and other data from cyberattacks.

AMA Morning Rounds news coverage is developed in affiliation with Bulletin Healthcare LLC. Subscribe to Morning Rounds Daily.