What we're reading, October 20, 2016: CDC recommends fewer doses of the HPV vaccine; HHS expects an enrollment to increase by 1 million in the upcoming season; and HIPAA violations result in a multimillion fine for St. Joseph's Health.
In an effort to boost the proportion of preteenagers who get vaccinated to prevent cervical cancer, the CDC now recommends reducing the number of shots and spacing them apart. Ideally, health officials would like children to receive the vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV) by 11 or 12 years to avoid infection, which can subsequently reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer. However, the every-6-months dosing schedule has been a barrier, along with other issues. According to The Washington Post, The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted for the first dose of the HPV vaccine to be administered at 11 or 12 (but could be given as early as 9 years) and the second dose be administered 6 to 12 months after the first dose. The recommendation was accepted by Tom Frieden, director of CDC.
While enrollment under the Affordable Care Act is expected to grow by a million during the upcoming enrollment season beginning November 1, rate hikes are likely for online and marketplace exchanges and consumer out-of-pocket costs will rise, according to Kaiser Health News. HHS secretary Silvia Burwell partly blamed the partisan challenges faced while implementing the law, saying, “it hasn’t helped that at nearly every turn, we’ve had to overcome partisan attempts to repeal and undermine the law through legislation and litigation.” Enrollment efforts in this season will also focus on the more than 5 million people who can purchase insurance on the exchanges but choose other options.
A California-based healthcare provider will have to pay over $2 million over potential HIPAA violations. According to Healthcare Finance News, St. Joseph’s Health faced issues with a new server that was being installed for participation in the meaningful use program, which resulted in access to private electronic health information via internet search engines between February 1, 2011 and February 13, 2012. According to HHS, the server purchased by St. Joseph’s Health to store the files included a file sharing application that gave the public unrestricted access to health information of 31,800 individuals, including names, health statuses, diagnoses, and demographic information.