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What We’re Reading: Cyber Attacks on Health Care; Defining Benefit Cuts; Rural Emergency Hospital Conversions to Begin

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Cyber attacks on health care are raising cyber insurance costs; Democrats and Republicans clash over what constitutes a cut vs a reform; rural hospitals begin conversion under a new federal payment program.

Addressing an Increase of Cyber Attacks on Health Care

An overwhelming amount of cyber attacks is causing a serious problem for hospitals, resulting in a steep increase in cyber insurance costs, according to Axios. In response to these threats, insurers are urging health care systems to tighten up their security, using strategies such as strong data backup, multi-factor authentication, employee security training, and network segmentation. Last week, the Biden administration announced its first national cybersecurity strategy, which aims build a federal cyber insurance backstop that would help protect insurers against losses while lowering the cost of insurance.

Debates Over Medicare and Social Security Spending: Cuts vs Reforms

Republicans and Democrats are engaged in a debate over language when it comes to defining what is a cut vs a reform in Medicare and Social Security, according to The Hill. Republicans have proposed what they deemed as necessary safety-net “reforms,” including hiking eligibility ages, reducing benefits for wealthier seniors, and cost-of-living adjustments. However, Democrats argue that anything proposed that limited Medicare and Social Security should be considered major cuts to these programs, not reforms.

The First of Rural Emergency Hospital Conversions to Begin

More than 1700 rural facilities are eligible for conversion in to a Rural Emergency Hospital under a new federal payment program by CMS, according to Kaiser Health News. Facilities that convert with get a 5% increase in Medicaid payments and an average annual facility fee payment of about $3.2 million in exchange for converting to an emergency and outpatient practice, rather than an inpatient facility. This program is meant to act as a temporary solution to address an overwhelming number of rural hospitals that have shut down since 2010.

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