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Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

Pregnancy Care Is Poised For A High-Tech Revolution, But Some Worry That Will Cause More Trouble Than It’s Worth

KHN Morning Briefing

Obstetrician-gynecologists are particularly worried about things like faulty or confusing data possibly sending women to their doctors when they don’t need to go or technology that’s simply a waste of money. In other news at the intersection of technology and health care: paying for doctor appointments via apps and an uptick in virtual visits.

UnitedHealth Reverses Course, Approves Coverage For $2.1 Million Gene Therapy For Family Racing Against Clock

KHN Morning Briefing

Lauren Sullivan had been trying to appeal UnitedHealth’s initial refusal of the drug for her 21-month-old daughter, Daryn. The girl was running out of time to receive the treatment before her second birthday in October, when the drug has to be administered. The company also approved claims for three other patients. In other news, UnitedHealth beats expectations for the quarter, prompting company to boost earnings guidance.

Health Leaders Worry About Unscrupulous Data Mongers Circling Like Sharks As Patient Records Are More Accessible

KHN Morning Briefing

There are concerns from experts who say patients may not fully understand the privacy implications of new records apps and end up signing a lot of their information away without realizing it. Other news at the intersection of technology and health care: artificial intelligence and dental bills, telemedicine in rural areas, wireless health hazards and more.

Nuances Around Philadelphia Hospital Closure Are ‘A Symptom Of The Underlying Anarchy’ Of U.S. Health System

KHN Morning Briefing

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic candidate, helped bring national attention to a Philadelphia hospital that’s trying to close its doors. Sanders said he will be introducing a bill in the Senate to provide a $20 billion “emergency fund” that will allow states and communities to purchase financially struggling hospitals in order to keep them open. Meanwhile, planning for the potential closure of Hahnemann University Hospital shows how deeply intertwined a health institution can become with a city.

30 States Sign $10.4M Agreement With Premera Blue Cross Over Data Breach Impacting Millions

KHN Morning Briefing

Sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, bank account information and health data, was exposed to hackers for ten months in 2014 and 2015. “It’s horrifying to think that for nearly one entire year, a hacker had access to the sensitive health records and personal data of millions of Americans,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. The lawsuit claimed Premera knew it had security problems and failed to fix them.

Thousands Of Clients’ Health Reports Exposed By DNA-Testing Service

KHN Morning Briefing

The genealogy reports that were left accessible to the public included customers’ full names alongside dates of birth and gene-based health information. In other news, Stat helps answer questions on voice recognition technology in health care.

Trump Rule That Prohibits States From Automatically Collecting Dues From Home-Care Workers Goes Into Effect Friday

KHN Morning Briefing

The implementation of the rule could come as a huge hit to unions. “If unions lose the ability to collect dues via payroll deductions, caregivers will have much more control over whether they choose to financially support a union or not,” said Maxford Nelson, director of labor policy for the Freedom Foundation, a conservative group in Olympia, Wash.

High-Profile Criminal Trial For Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes Set For Next Summer

KHN Morning Briefing

Elizabeth Holmes and her former No. 2 Sunny Balwani are accused of defrauding investors, patients, and doctors in a blood-testing scandal that brought down health care’s richest venture-backed startup and have become an industry parable for the dangers of medical hype and hubris. Jury selection is scheduled to begin in July 2020 and the trial is expected to last about three months.