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  • Writer's pictureJulie Barnes

September 2, 2022

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters In Health Information Policy

Even though it is Labor Day weekend, there is a lot of heavy-duty stuff going on. NASA had to bail on sending Artemis to the moon, Serena Williams wore diamonds on her shoes for her last U.S. Open appearance, and we are all hoping the U.N. can prevent a nuclear power plant disaster in Ukraine. And while American politics will give us all something to shake our heads about over our last sip of a cool beverage at the beach, the biggest story this week is how Sauron tricked Middle Earth into creating the One Ring of Power. We explain how the first episode of Amazon Prime’s The Rings of Power series reminds us of how the determination of leaders and their powers of persuasion may be the only way to fix our health data problems in the One Thoughtful Paragraph below.

Other interesting news about health data:

  • The FTC sued the data broker Kochava, alleging that the company could sell individual’s sensitive geolocation data, which may be used for purposes of tracking people’s reproductive health and addiction treatment activities. More here, here.

  • Alongside free comedy about fantasy football trash talking and penguins’ love of burritos, Turquoise Health launched a free provider workflow tool, the Instant Good Faith Estimate generator, that translates the data necessary to comply with the No Surprises Act. The company claims that its “Instant GFE” software can gather data and convert it into an estimate of costs for patients and payers, and will then help payers with their price transparency requirements.

  • The ONC announced that they are going to work with HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to modernize the current patient data sets collected from federal health centers to allow for patient-level reporting. We wonder if this will help with digital quality measure reporting outlined in the latest CMS rule.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

This week, Slate offered a really good list of the latest streaming movies and shows, and Amazon Prime’s The Rings of Power series is on it (see more here, here). In this prequel to the Lord of the Rings movies, we were delighted to learn that the first show centers on a female warrior, Galadriel, who is both imperfect and unrelenting in her determination to convince her superiors that despite a delightful decades-long peace, preparation for the return of the darkness is urgent and necessary. This reminds us of CDC Director Rochelle Walensky’s recent media-celebrated episodes about how (despite everyone wanting to relax about the pandemic) the CDC needs to reform itself to better prepare for the future. Just like Galadriel, Dr. Walensky is not alone in her lobbying that -- among other things -- our country must prioritize and prepare for public data being properly collected and analyzed if we are going to improve upon our poor handling of public health emergencies. In the second Lord of the Rings movie, The Two Towers, Galadriel insists that her people pitch in to help mankind prepare for war with evil, saying: “we cannot just leave Middle Earth to its fate.” Our public health war is real and urgent and we may need an army of lobbyists to vanquish the enemy.

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