KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Hackers Say Baltimore-Area Hospitals Riddled With Cybersecurity Flaws

The hackers' conclusions resulted from a two-year investigation by Independent Security Evaluators. Another report examines how the current culture of health care mergers is driving up costs. News outlets also report on other hospital-related news in Connecticut, Iowa, Colorado and Maryland.

The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore Hackers Say They Reveal Potentially Deadly Cybersecurity Weaknesses At Area Hospitals
Area hospitals are riddled with cybersecurity flaws that could allow attackers to hack into medical devices and harm patients, a team of Baltimore-based researchers has concluded after a two-year investigation. Hackers at Independent Security Evaluators say they broke into one hospital's systems remotely to take control of several patient monitors, which would let an attacker disable alarms or display false information. (Duncan, 2/26)

The Des Moines Register: New Psychiatric Hospital Fails To Gain State Approval
A proposal to build a 72-bed psychiatric hospital in the Quad Cities ran aground Wednesday as it failed to gain approval from state regulators. Supporters said the $14 million project would provide critically needed mental-health services. But opponents warned that it would cripple existing hospitals by siphoning off patients and staff. The Iowa Health Facilities Council, which decides whether large health-care projects are needed, listened all day to testimony before voting 2-2. The vote had the effect of rejecting the proposal from Strategic Behavioral Health, a for-profit company that runs or is building 11 such hospitals in other states. (Leys, 2/25)

The Denver Post: Micro Hospital Should Open In Late Spring At Coal Mine And Wadsworth
Work on a new microhospital in south Jefferson County is progressing, and the new facility should be open and serving patients by late spring. The small hospital at 8515 W. Coal Mine Ave. is being built on land that was previously owned by the Foothills Park and Recreation District and sold to Houston-based Emerus to build the hospital in partnership with SCL Health, a faith-based nonprofit out of Broomfield. (Vaccarelli, 2/25)

The Laurel Leader: Laurel (Md.) Hospital Owner Disputes Allegations Of Withholding Information From Potential Buyer
While the fate of Laurel Regional Hospital remains undecided, owner Dimensions Healthcare System Thursday disputed allegations from the CEO of the hospital's potential buyer, BridgePoint Healthcare, that Dimensions officials have withheld financial information promised to BridgePoint. In a letter addressed to Dimensions President and CEO Neil Moore on Feb. 19, BridgePoint President Marc Ferrell said the companies entered into a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement in November 2015 that allows the free flow of financial documentation. Since then, however, Dimensions officials have sent only four out of the 12 financial documents that BridgePoint officials have requested, the letter stated. (Michaels, 2/25)

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