Ransomware hackers steal a hospital. Again.

From Boing Boing:

A month after a hospital in Hollywood was shut down by a ransomware infection that encrypted all the files on its computers and computer-controlled instruments and systems, another hospital, this one in Kentucky, has suffered a similar fate.

Henderson, Kentucky’s Methodist Hospital has declared an “Internal State of Emergency,” having been shut down by a piece of ransomware called “Locky.” The hospital’s spokeslawyer, David Park, said that they’re addressing the ransomware attack using plans designed to help the hospital weather a tornado or other natural disaster.

The attackers are only asking for $1,600 (4 bitcoin) to unlock the hospital’s files.

Dwindling Populations Causing Healthcare Issues for Rural Iowa Counties

From WHO (hat tip: Jeff):

There is a growing trend in the state’s population: People are moving from rural areas to urban areas.

This shift is negatively affecting small town health care providers, but a bill signed by Gov. Terry Branstad on Thursday could help.

Branstad signed the Iowa Public Health Modernization Act, which should help rural counties provide better health care. The act would allow counties, especially rural counties, combine its healthcare programs with fewer restrictions. With a bigger regional tax base, it would allow health costs to spread out.

“It may not make sense for every county to have its own separate delivery system. So this way they can merge it, work together, make it more efficient and be able to provide the services at less cost,” Branstad told WHO-TV.

Massachusetts legislators considering bill that would regulate telemedicine and who pays for it

From Boston:

Massachusetts state legislators are considering a bill that would require insurance companies to reimburse telemedicine at the same level as in-person services, STAT reports.

The bill, House Bill 267, would allow doctors to treat patients remotely in different states and ensure that all Medicaid and state employee health plans cover the telemedicine services, including patient-to-doctor and doctor-to-doctor consultations, according to STAT.

FDA Orders Warning Labels on Prescription Narcotic Painkillers

From US News:

Hoping to curb a national epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse, U.S. officials on Tuesday announced that certain drugs will get new “boxed warnings” about the dangers of misuse.

The move by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration comes one week after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced tough new guidelines to doctors for “opioid” drugs such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin.

AHA, AHIMA laud early release of new ICD-10 codes

From Fierce IT:

Both the American Hospital Association and the American Health Information Management Association this week lauded the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the early release of thousands of new ICD-10 procedure coding system (PCS) and clinical modification (CM) codes prior to Oct. 1.

The codes are part of a backlog of ones that were not updated due to a partial code freeze that runs until Oct. 1 of this year. The PCS codes, which total 3,651, were posted to CMS’s website earlier this month, while the CDC this week released 1,943 CM codes.

AHA Director of Coding and Classification Nelly Leon-Chisen called her organization “grateful” for the early release of the codes, in a statement.