Legislators applaud telehealth efforts; Laptop theft compromises info for 620,000 patients;

News From Around the Web

> Sen. Jon Thune (R-S.D.) and other legislators applauded medical boards for advancing telehealth in a letter sent to the Federation of State Medical Boards in Texas. "We write to congratulate you on the efforts the Federation of State Medical Boards ... and its member medical boards have made on advancing solutions towards multistate practice through more efficient sharing of medical licensure information," they wrote. "The advancement of telehealth technology as a tool to facilitate access to care is contingent upon streamlining the licensing process for highly qualified physicians seeking to practice in multiple jurisdictions." Letter (.pdf)

> A stolen unencrypted laptop compromised information for 620,000 patients in Canada when it was stolen from an IT consultant working for Medicentre Family Health Care Clinics in Edmonton. Medicentres, which operates 27 clinics in four Canadian cities, disclosed the breach, which happened in September, this week, according to Healthcare Info SecurityArticle

Provider News

> In an industry pushing for coordinated care and integrated systems while dealing with more than $430 billion in hospital budget cuts since 2010, hospital realignments are a necessity to survive. Moreover, realignments can enhance community access, create higher value and foster greater efficiency, according to a new report from the Center for Healthcare Economics and Policy. Article

> A national plan to reduce hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) has made strides, but more work is necessary to address all categories, according to a new evaluation published in Medical Care. Article

Health Finance News

> New details in a series of lawsuits allege the Naples, Fla.-based Health Management Associates (HMA) hospital chain used a combination of software, threats and monetary incentives to leverage higher Medicare and Medicaid payments and increase admissions. Article

> Healthcare players seeking debt stayed away from the market in 2013, borrowing a relatively meager $27.9 billion through bond offerings last year, according to a report issued by HFA Partners. That's approximately $10 billion less than they borrowed in 2012, a decline of more than 25 percent. Only the utilities sector saw a larger drop in borrowing on a percentage-wise basis. Article

And Finally... Throwback Friday, Apple edition. Article

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Welcome to this week's Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry.