Top Stories for 10/15

October 15, 2021 HIMSS Media
Top Stories for 10/15
Show Notes Transcript

Medicare Advantage star ratings released; Security firm raises FIN12 ransomware attack concerns. Plus: Withings receivesan FDA clearance for Scan Watch’s ECG and SpO2 monitoring features .

Links to the stories:

See the rankings: More than 70 health plans earned 5 stars in Medicare Advantage star ratings

Cyber experts warn of 'aggressive' threat actor targeting healthcare

Withings scores FDA clearance for smartwatch ECG and SpO2 monitoring

Medicare Advantage star ratings have been released, and the news is good for health plans. I’m Jeff Lagasse with Healthcare Finance News, and we’ll drill deeper into that and other developments in this week’s Top Stories.

 The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released the Medicare Advantage and Part D Star Ratings for 2022, and in total, 73 health plans earned five stars, up significantly from the 21 five-star plans for 2021. According to Healthcare Finance News (https://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/see-rankings-more-70-health-plans-earned-5-stars-medicare-advantage-star-ratings), some of the major players earning five stars are UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, BayCare Health Plans and Martin's Point Generations Advantage. The two lowest-ranked plans on the list clock in at 2.5 stars. The star ratings are important to both insurers selling private Medicare Advantage plans and to beneficiaries who are looking for Medicare coverage, as they reflect a plan's performance and are related to quality bonus payments. 

 The security firm Mandiant Intelligence has raised concerns about FIN12, the threat actor behind ransomware attacks that are disproportionately affecting the healthcare sector. HealthcareITNews reports(https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/cyber-experts-warn-aggressive-threat-actor-targeting-healthcare) that Mandiant characterized FIN12 as "aggressive" and "financially motivated," specializing in ransomware deployment while relying on other bad actors to gain access to victims. The attacks specialize primarily in the deployment of RYUK ransomware, appearing to prioritize speed and higher-revenue victims, though FIN12 does not generally steal victim data or leverage it for extortion. The U.S. government and cyber experts have sounded the alarm about a variety of ransomware outfits in the past few months, including Conti, BlackMatter and LockBit.

 Finally this week, about a year after the ScanWatch landed regulatory clearance in Europe, Withings finally received an FDA clearance for the wearable’s ECG and SpO2 monitoring features. As we see in MobiHealthNews (https://www.mobihealthnews.com/news/withings-scores-fda-clearance-smartwatch-ecg-and-spo2-monitoring), customers in the U.S. can now use the ECG feature for atrial fibrillation detection. The watch was designed to alert users if AFib is suspected, and they can then use the tool to take a 30-second ECG reading. The company is planning to roll the device out in North America in November and charging $279 for the tool.

 I’m Jeff Lagasse with Healthcare Finance News, and this has been Top Stories.