Healthcare facilities widely compromised by Medjack, malware that infects medical devices to steal your information

From Boing Boing:

One trojan, Medjack, enters healthcare facilities by penetrating these badly secured diagnostic and administrative systems and then fans out across the network, cracking patient record systems. These records are used for tax fraud and identity theft, and to steal narcotics prescriptions that can be filled from online pharmacies and then resold on the black market.

Security firm Trapx says that “every time” they visit a healthcare facility, they find Medjack infections running rampant on the network, using exploits designed to take over Windows 2000 systems to seize control of the creaking, non-upgradeable systems that are inevitably found in these facilities.

Ten most concerning issues for hospital CEOs

From Becker’s:

For the 13th year in a row, hospital CEOs ranked financial challenges as the No. 1 issue facing their organizations in 2016, according to an American College of Healthcare Executives survey.

Each year, the ACHE surveys community hospital CEOs to identify the top challenges their organizations are facing. Below are the top 10 issues identified by hospital CEOs in 2016. The results reflect 383 CEOs’ responses.

1. Financial challenges

2. Government mandates

3. Patient safety and quality

4. Personnel shortages

5. Patient satisfaction

Despite Federal Law, Some Rural Hospitals Still Turn Away Women in Labor

From ProPublica:

Under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA, every U.S. hospital with an emergency room has a duty to treat patients who arrive in labor, caring for them at least until the delivery of the placenta after a baby is born.

But 30 years after EMTALA was passed, hospitals — particularly those in rural areas without obstetrics units — are still turning away women in labor.

A review of federal inspection reports shows that at least 20 rural hospitals around the country have been found in violation of EMTALA over the last five years — including Jewish Hospital Shelbyville. In several cases, women suffered serious complications after being turned away, or were misdiagnosed at facilities that lacked specialists in obstetrics.

Refugees in white coats: How immigration ban could affect U.S. health care

From Yahoo:

Two weeks ago, a group of physicians at Massachusetts General wrote an opinion piece in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), denouncing President Trump’s initial immigration ban from seven majority-Muslim countries, and arguing that the U.S. health care system would all but fall apart with such overarching restrictions against immigrants and refugees. The nation relies heavily on foreign-born doctors, who make up 42 percent of office visits in rural America, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. And currently, nearly 3,500 doctors from Syria are working in the U.S., according to Medicus Firm, a physician-staffing service.

While a federal court reversed Trump’s initial ruling, the president has promised to roll out a new, more streamlined executive order imposing travel restrictions on certain foreign-born immigrants. Katrina Armstrong, MD, chair of the department of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and one of the authors of the opinion piece in NEJM, noted that the potential restrictions have severe short- and long-term consequences for the U.S. health care system.

The short-term effects of any sort of travel ban would mostly fall on patients, trainees and training programs, said Armstrong, noting that MGH cares for many refugees and immigrants who are currently being targeted by Trump’s potential restrictions. “The stress levels in those who do come in now are extremely high, particularly those who were persecuted and suffered trauma in the countries they fled,” she said.

Hospitals Where Trump Won Face Closure If GOP Repeals Medicaid Expansion

From Forbes:

News that Paul Ryan and the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives want to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion has rural hospitals facing a huge financial hit with hundreds of health facilities already facing closure.

There’s already been a wave of rural hospital closures, particularly in states that didn’t expand Medicaid coverage for poor Americans. Now, taking those federal funds away from states means already thin margins will turn to losses.

Large Increase Shown in Emergency Department Visits for Suicidal Thoughts

From the AHRQ:

The rate of emergency department (ED) visits by adults with suicidal thoughts increased by 12 percent on average each year from 2006 to 2013, more than doubling during that seven-year period, according to a new AHRQ statistical brief Among ED patients with suicidal thoughts in 2013, the most common mental health-related conditions were mood disorders (76 percent), substance-related disorders (43 percent) or alcohol-related disorders (30 percent). Patients were more likely to be male, between the ages of 18 and 64, and either uninsured or covered by Medicaid. About 12 percent of patients visited the ED with a co-occurring injury, and such injuries were more common among females. For more information, access the statistical brief, Emergency Department Visits Related to Suicidal Ideation, 2006-2013. The analysis follows previous AHRQ publications on suicide, including a recent evidence report on youth suicide prevention and a chartbook providing data on suicide related to mental health and substance abuse.