Touro University Nevada Accepting Applications for Summer Research Fellowship

By | Education, Press Releases, Recent Releases

Touro University Nevada (TUN) is pleased to announce its annual Research Fellowship program for summer 2017, open to Nevada undergraduate students enrolled in an accredited college program. Selected students will receive a $1,500 stipend for participating in the program.

The program aims to expose those students who are interested in pursuing a career in health care professions to the importance of research topics, including biomedical, clinical, epidemiological and educational. Preference will be given to undergraduate students majoring in chemistry, biology, biochemistry or a related field with good academic standing in their junior and senior years. In order to be accepted into the program, applicants must have their own housing and should have their own health insurance coverage during this fellowship.

The eight-week program, under the supervision of TUN faculty, assists participating students as they formulate their own proposal, carry out research and write a final research report. If deemed qualified, students will have the opportunity for their work to be published. During the program, students will also attend research seminars and journal clubs, participate in discussions on developing careers in health care sectors and learn how to apply to professional schools. In addition, students will work collaboratively with TUN faculty and graduate students on a daily basis in order to gain a better understanding of the university atmosphere.

“Research is critical to developing our professionals within the medical field, and it is important for us to encourage research early in the education process,” said Dr. Mahboob Qureshi, Associate Dean for Research at Touro University Nevada. “We hope this opportunity will give the students that encouragement for their future field of study as they work alongside our distinguished faculty and current students.”

For more information on the application process, please visit www.tun.touro.edu/fellowship. Applications are due no later than 5 p.m. on April 21.

About Touro University Nevada

Touro University Nevada (TUN) is a private, non-profit, Jewish-sponsored institution established to help address critical needs in health care and education and as a resource for community service in the state of Nevada. TUN opened its doors in 2004 and is now home to a wide variety of degree programs including osteopathic medicine, physician assistant studies, education, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy. The university’s Henderson campus includes a multi-specialty health center and a multi-disciplinary Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. For more information on TUN, please visit www.tun.touro.edu or call 702- 777-8687.

About the Touro College and University System

Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 18,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has 30 campuses and locations in New York, California, Nevada, Berlin, Jerusalem and Moscow. New York Medical College; Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus; Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division; as well as Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Ill. are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: http://www.touro.edu/news/.

Nathan Adelson Hospice Receives $100,000 Donation

By | Fundraiser, Philanthropy/Giving, Press Releases, Recent Releases

Nathan Adelson Hospice, Southern Nevada’s largest non-profit hospice, today announced an exclusive $100,000 sponsorship donation from William T. and Susan Walters for this year’s “Serenades of Life – Doctors in Concert” fundraiser. The annual event, being held Oct. 20 at The Smith Center, will feature various musical performances, including from those in the local medical community. The fundraiser raises both awareness and monies for the Bonnie Schreck Memorial Complementary Therapies Program at Nathan Adelson Hospice.

In 1988, William or Billy T. Walters founded The Walters Group, a Las Vegas-based holding company. He was named one of In Business Las Vegas’ “20 Most Influential Men” and was a 2013 inductee of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame. His donation will help fund the Serenades of Life event, which supports the hospice’s Bonnie Schreck Memorial Complementary Therapies program. This program improves the quality of life for the hospice’s patients and loved ones, and eases emotional and physical discomfort. Patients and their loved ones may request various therapies such as Pet Therapy, Reiki Energy Work, Massage Therapy, Art Therapy, Reflexology, and Aromatherapy.

“We rely on generous donations, like this one from The Walters Group, to keep our organization’s programs strong,” said Carole Fisher, president and CEO of Nathan Adelson Hospice. “We are thrilled to have them as our presenting sponsor for this year’s Serenades of Life – Doctors in Concert event.”

For more information on tickets and sponsorships, call Stephanie Forbes at Nathan Adelson Hospice at 702-938-3910.

 About Nathan Adelson Hospice

Nathan Adelson Hospice, the trusted partner in hospice care and palliative medicine for almost 40 years, is the largest non-profit hospice in Southern Nevada, caring for an average of 400 hospice and palliative care patients daily. In 1978, Nathan Adelson Hospice began providing home care hospice service in Southern Nevada with the mission to offer patients and their loved ones with comprehensive end-of-life care and influence better care for all in the community.  In 1983 Nathan Adelson Hospice opened an in-patient hospice in Las Vegas, and today the hospice is recognized as a national model for superior hospice care. The mission of the hospice is to be the Hospice of Choice, the Employer of Preference and a Training Center of Excellence for comprehensive end of life care.  Its vision is simple: no one should end the journey of life alone, afraid or in pain.

The hospice also is home to The Center for Compassionate Care, a non-profit counseling agency providing individual, group and family counseling services to address grief, loss and issues related to surviving life-threatening illnesses. For more information, visit www.nah.org.

MountainView Hospital Acquires Second da Vinci Xi® Surgical Robotic System

By | Innovation, Press Releases, Recent Releases

Robot System is the Latest in Minimally Invasive Surgery

MountainView Hospital’s Las Vegas Institute for Robotic Surgery has acquired its second da Vinci Xi® surgical robotic system, allowing surgeons more access to the latest equipment for minimally invasive surgery for patients.

MountainView Hospital was the first hospital in Las Vegas to offer the da Vinci Xi® as a surgical option, with the addition of its first Xi surgical robotic system in November 2014.

“Since adding the first Xi system to our suite of OR capabilities, demand from surgeons and patients continues to increase such that a second Xi system was needed,” said Jeremy Bradshaw, MountainView Hospital Chief Executive Officer. “The Xi allows for more complex, minimally invasive surgeries. The addition of a second Xi system allows us to meet the growing demand and needs of our community.”

Along with the addition of the new robot, MountainView added a second Trumpf TruSystem™ 7000dV OR Table to its robotic surgical suites. Rather than traditional stationary tables, these integrated surgical tables move in tandem with the surgical robotic system, allowing for optimal positioning of the patient.

Additionally, MountainView acquired a third surgical console, allowing for the possibility of dual surgeons in one case and for the expansion of training. Since launching the Las Vegas Institute for Robotic Surgery in 2011, MountainView has pioneered robotic procedures, including Southern Nevada’s first robotic lobectomy, delivered advanced education courses to providers, and participated in nationwide clinical trials.

The da Vinci Xi has broader capabilities than prior generations of the da Vinci Xi system, and has the ability to be used for thoracic, colorectal, gynecological and general surgery. Minimally invasive surgery allows for a quicker recovery time, less pain, less bleeding and shorter hospitalization.

The Xi possesses 3D-HD visualization, giving surgeons a highly magnified view. The da Vinci Xi system’s overhead arm architecture provides the surgeon anatomical access from virtually any position, simplifying multi-quadrant surgeries. Smaller, thinner arms coupled with longer instrument shafts permit greater range of motion and more flexibility than ever before.

MountainView continues to be the leader in robotic surgery, offering an extensive panel of surgeons and pairing them with trained staff and nurses, who are part of dedicated robotic surgical teams. The da Vinci Xi joins MountainView’s current da Vinci Xi and Si robotic systems.

MountainView offers many different types of robotically assisted procedures including ear, nose and throat (ENT), gynecological, fertility and gynecological oncology, urogynecological, urology, thoracic, colorectal and general surgery including single-site gallbladder surgery. For a full list of procedures performed by the Las Vegas Institute for Robotic Surgery, please visit: www.LVIRS.com. To find a physician who practices at MountainView’s Las Vegas Institute for Robotic Surgery, please call (702) 962-5021.

About MountainView Hospital:

MountainView Hospital is a state-of-the-art, full-service medical facility located in the heart of northwest Las Vegas, one of the fastest growing areas in the Valley. With a dedicated and talented staff of employees and outstanding physicians, MountainView Hospital is recognized for high patient satisfaction and for providing quality and compassionate care to our community since 1996. The hospital is a member of the respected Sunrise Health System consisting of Sunrise Hospital, Sunrise Children’s Hospital, Southern Hills Hospital and several surgery and diagnostic imaging centers offering a complete range of specialized and technologically advanced services. @MountainViewLV

MountainView Hospital
3100 N. Tenaya Way, Las Vegas, NV 89128
www.mountainview-hospital.com

 

 

Nathan Adelson Hospice Receives $5,000,000 Anonymous Donation

By | Philanthropy/Giving, Press Releases, Recent Releases

Funds Will Support Uncompensated Programs and Services

Nathan Adelson Hospice, Southern Nevada’s largest non-profit hospice, announced it has received an anonymous $5 million donation for its uncompensated programs and services.

“We are overwhelmed by this donor’s generosity,” said Carole Fisher, president and CEO of Nathan Adelson Hospice. “The funds will allow us to continue to provide hospice services and programs to those who have no means to pay.”

Irwin Molasky, founder of Nathan Adelson Hospice, noted that the hospice never turns away patients, regardless of their ability to pay for care.

“We founded the hospice with the vision that no one should end the journey of life alone, afraid or in pain,” said Molasky. “Donors such as this one have helped us fulfill that commitment for nearly 40 years. This kind of support is a testament to the incredible, compassionate work done every day by the staff and caregivers at Nathan Adelson Hospice.”

Nathan Adelson Hospice has provided approximately $30million in uncompensated care to patients and their family members in the community.  The hospice has provided comprehensive hospice care and supportive services to 71,000 patients since 1978.

 About Nathan Adelson Hospice

Nathan Adelson Hospice, the trusted partner in hospice care and palliative medicine for almost 40 years, is the largest non-profit hospice in Southern Nevada, caring for an average of 400 hospice and palliative care patients daily. In 1978, Nathan Adelson Hospice began providing home care hospice service in Southern Nevada with the mission to offer patients and their loved ones with comprehensive end-of-life care and influence better care for all in the community.  In 1983, Nathan Adelson Hospice opened an in-patient hospice in Las Vegas, and today the hospice is recognized as a national model for superior hospice care. The mission of the hospice is to be the Hospice of Choice, the Employer of Preference and a Training Center of Excellence for comprehensive end of life care.  Its vision is simple: no one should end the journey of life alone, afraid or in pain.

The hospice also is home to The Center for Compassionate Care, a non-profit counseling agency providing individual, group and family counseling services to address grief, loss and issues related to surviving life-threatening illnesses. For more information, visit www.nah.org.

Health District and DETR Complete Nutrition Standards Policy

By | Consumer, Press Releases, Recent Releases

Policy to be implemented at all DETR BEN locations

In an effort to increase access to healthy foods and beverages, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) and the Southern Nevada Health District developed a Nutrition Standards Policy for DETR’s Business Enterprise Program (BEN). The BEN program provides clients of DETR’s Bureau of Services to the Blind and Visually Impaired with training and on-the-job-experience managing businesses in public buildings.

DETR is adopting the policy in the 28 cafes and snack bars, and the more than 900 vending machines that are operated as part of the BEN program throughout the state. The Nutrition Standards Policy will apply to all concessions, micro-markets, cafeterias, cafes, snack bars, vending machines, and any other food outlets operated or subcontracted through the BEN program. This policy will directly affect almost all of the 53,000 government employees across the state, including those that work in county, state, and federal buildings, said Shelley Hendren, administrator for DETR’s Rehabilitation Division that oversees the BEN program. Nevada is the first state to voluntarily implement this type of progressive healthy food policy.

“We are pleased to partner with the Southern Nevada Health District in creating more opportunities to help Nevada residents find healthier food options,” Hendren said. “As consumers increasingly begin to adopt healthy living, it is important that we do our part to offer those options.”

The policy establishes nutrition standards for beverages, meals and other menu items, and snack foods while also increasing choices for consumers who use BEN operated facilities and cafes. The policy also includes requirements regarding preferential pricing, placement, and marketing for those items meeting policy standards. Food standards for cafes and cafeterias include offering a minimum amount of lean proteins, whole grain products, and fruits and vegetables that are raw or unsweetened, or cooked in such a way that does not add calories. Fifty percent of items in all vending machines will need to meet policy standards, and those items meeting the standards must be clearly identifiable in the machine. Bottled water must be priced lower than regular soda or sugar-sweetened beverages of the same size.

“Our Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has worked closely with DETR to develop this policy with the goal of providing healthier options to patrons and clients in government buildings across the state,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District. “In Clark County, about a quarter of our adults over the age of 20 can be considered obese, and many of our residents consume fewer than the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. We want to make healthier choices easier and more accessible.”

The Southern Nevada Health District is home to a BEN operated business, the Aroma Café. The Aroma Café is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and serves both Health District employees and clients.

Access information about the Southern Nevada Health District on its website: www.SNHD.info. Follow the Health District on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SouthernNevadaHealthDistrict, YouTube: www.youtube.com/SNHealthDistrict, and Twitter: www.twitter.com/SNHDinfo. The Health District is available in Spanish on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TuSNHD. Don’t have a Twitter account? Follow the Health District on your phone by texting “follow SNHDinfo” to 40404. Additional information and data can be accessed through the Healthy Southern Nevada website: www.HealthySouthernNevada.org.

The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation is comprised of the Rehabilitation Division which provides people with disabilities job placement and other workforce-related services, as well as other divisions that provide services to employers and jobseekers.

CampMED 2017 Registration is Now Open!

By | Education, Press Releases, Recent Releases

An exciting opportunity is available for rising 9th graders (8th graders going into the 9th grade) who have a passion to one day have a career in medicine or health care. Preparation for a career in health care starts with creating and supporting a healthy foundation in medical self-efficacy. Please help us recruit a diverse and passionate class for CampMED 2017.

The Desert Meadows Area Health Education Center (A Service of Vegas PBS) is now taking student applications for their 2nd Annual Desert Meadows AHEC – CampMED summer health science camp. CampMED will be held on June 15, 16, and 17, 2017. This outstanding health science – physician focused camp opportunity is specifically for rising 9th graders (8th graders going into the 9th grade).  All applicants must complete the CampMED 2017 application and be willing to provide proof of earning a minimum of a B grade in both Math and Science in 8th grade.  Complete the application below and e-mail a copy of the applicant’s transcript to chuddleston@vegaspbs.org.

Campers will stay overnight in the dormitory on campus at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dorm room and meals are included in the tuition price. Campers will share a room. Overnight Adult Chaperones will be provided at a ratio of 1 Chaperone for every 10 Campers. Campers will be mentored and engaged throughout the program by faculty and staff from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Roseman University, University of Nevada, Reno, Touro University Nevada, College of Southern Nevada, Nevada State College, and health professionals from the community.

Full tuition cost for this three day – two night CampMED experience is $349.00. Scholarships and/or reduced tuition are available based on need. This is a competitive application process so be sure to get your application and transcripts submitted on time. All selected students will be notified on or before Friday, May 5, 2017. If selected, you must make payment no later than Friday, May 26 by calling Cary Huddleston at (702) 799-1010, extension 5421. Be aware, slots are very competitive and we can only select a total of 60 campers for CampMED 2017.

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO APPLY:https://goo.gl/forms/C1cWLOiPgRn5Hb2N2

Application deadline is Monday, April 13, 2017.

Thank you for your support, please contact Cary Huddleston at (702) 799-1010, extension 5421 if you have any questions.

Dr. Eva Littman Selected as SBA 2017 Nevada State Small Business Person of the Year

By | Press Releases, Recent Releases, Recognition

Red Rock Fertility Center is pleased to announce that the U.S. Small Business Association has selected its founder and practice director, Dr. Eva Littman, as its 2017 Nevada State Small Business Person of the Year. In choosing Dr. Littman for this honor, the SBA considered her business innovation, her dedication to employees and plain hard work in building an outstanding business that strengthens the Nevada economy. Dr. Littman will be honored in Washington, D.C. during National Small Business Week, at ceremonies scheduled in late April and early May.

“I am delighted with this recognition and very grateful for the wonderful employees and colleagues who’ve done so much to help me achieve it,” Dr. Littman comments, “RRFC has truly been my life’s work. I know how many families we’ve been able to help and I’m very proud that, in so doing, we’ve made an important contribution to the state’s economy.” 

The SBA names a State Small Business Person of the Year from each of the 50 states as well as from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. The award winners represent the nation’s strong entrepreneurial spirit and strong diversity. Individuals and partners who bear principle responsibility for owning and operating a small business are eligible to be nominated. The selection criteria include number of years in business with sustained growth, a steady increase in number of employees and innovation of the service offered. The national winner is chosen from the state honorees. 

ABOUT RED ROCK FERTILITY CENTER, LLP 

Founded by Dr. Eva Littman M.D., F.A.C.O.G., who was voted the top infertility doctor in Las Vegas for 6 years in a row, Red Rock Fertility Center has established itself as a place where patients are treated as people, not as numbers. It is a boutique-style environment where patients see their doctor at every visit and physicians specialize in treating challenging cases. The calming environment, combined with our highly trained doctors and the latest technology, enables RRFC to keep giving the gift of life all year long. For more information about Red Rock Fertility Center, or to schedule a consultation, please call (702) 789-6568 or visit www.redrockfertility.com.

High Risk Pregnancy Center Earns National Recognition for Quality Care

By | Press Releases, Recent Releases, Recognition

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) today announced that the High Risk Pregnancy Center on Pinto Lane has received NCQA Recognition as a Patient-Centered Specialty Practice (PCSP) for its responsiveness to patients and medical colleagues, cooperation and integration with other health care groups, and dedication to continuous improvement.  The center also became the first maternal fetal medicine practice in the United States to obtain this prestigious recognition.

Earning NCQA Recognition shows that the High Risk Pregnancy Center on Pinto Lane in the medical district has undergone a rigorous review of its capabilities and is committed to communication, coordination and providing access to care. Recognition signals to primary care practices that the High Risk Pregnancy Center on Pinto Lane is ready to be an effective partner in caring for patients they have in common.

“NCQA Patient-Centered Specialty Practice Recognition distinguishes practices that communicate, collaborate and integrate care in ways that patients want and that improve quality,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “I commend the team at High Risk Pregnancy Center on Pinto Lane for its achievement, and for its commitment to continuous improvement.”

High Risk Pregnancy Center on Pinto Lane met or exceeded national standards for:

  • Communicating with primary care clinicians to exchange key information and establish coordinated care plans.
  • Providing timely access to care and clinical advice based on patient need.
  • Using a systematic approach to track referrals and coordinate care.
  • Measuring and improving performance over time.

PCSP recognition is modeled on and complements NCQA’s Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition program, the most widely adopted medical home model in the country. A medical home is a way of organizing primary care that uses teamwork and technology to improve quality, improve patients’ experience of care and reduce costs. PCSP recognition highlights the “neighbors” in medical specialties that surround and inform the medical home and colleagues in primary care.

The other offices of the High Risk Pregnancy Center are currently awaiting results for their two other offices at Siena Heights in Henderson and on Post Road near the 215 and Russell Road.

For further information,  e-mail pcsp@ncga.org.

ABOUT NCQA

NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS<B) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA’s Web site (ncqa.org) contains information to help consumers, employers and others make more informed health care choices.

Cleveland Clinic Gets $1 Million Donation Multiple Sclerosis

By | Grants/Endowments, Press Releases, Recent Releases, Uncategorized

The Mellen Program for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health (CCLRCBH) has received a $1 million donation from the Eric and Sheila Samson Foundation to establish the Samson Chair for MS Research. Dr. Le Hua, director of the Mellen Program for MS at CCLRCBH is the inaugural Chair holder and will use the funds to accelerate crucial MS research initiatives using advanced imaging provided by CCLRCBH’s new Simens Skyra T-3 Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine.

“With 4,000 Nevada residents living with MS, it is critical that we continue to make strides in advancing our knowledge and treatment of this life-robbing disease,” said Hua. “The Eric and Sheila Samson Foundation has been an unwavering supporter of the Cleveland Clinic throughout the years as well as a leading advocate for advancing medical research. Their generous contribution to our MS program is invaluable and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish over the next several years.”

A core part of the gift will be used to help facilitate novel MRI imaging to better understand MS. Utilizing the CCLRCBH’s new MRI machine, Hua and her team use an innovative quantitative imaging technique to measure brain water and tissue to reveal the nature of MS lesions, which are considered hallmarks of the disease and are monitored for use in developing a diagnosis. Hua believes quantitative MRI has wide potential application in the field for future multi-center studies to understand MS and in clinical trials to determine the effects of treatment.

Additionally, the Chair will support research initiatives already underway, including studies aimed at understanding the impact of aging and MS, health and wellness in MS care and promoting participation in clinical trials to provide cutting-edge treatment to patients.

For additional information about Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, visit ClevelandClinic.org/BrainHealth.

About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S.News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. More than 3,000 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. The Cleveland Clinic health system includes a main campus near downtown Cleveland, eight community hospitals, more than 75 Northern Ohio outpatient locations, including 16 full-service Family Health Centers, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2013, there were 5.5 million outpatient visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 157,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 130 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/ClevelandClinic.

About Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health:

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health provides state-of-the-art care for cognitive disorders and for the family members of those who suffer from them. The physicians and staff at the Center for Brain Health continuously work towards the development of early diagnosis and the advancement of knowledge concerning mild cognitive disorders, which could one day delay or prevent their onset.  Patients receive expert diagnosis and treatment at the Center for Brain Health, which offers a multidisciplinary patient-focused approach to diagnosis and treatment, promoting collaboration across all care providers, offering patients a complete continuum of care and infusing education and research into all that it does. The facility, designed by Frank Gehry, houses clinical space, a diagnostic center, neuroimaging rooms, physician offices, laboratories devoted to clinical research and the Keep Memory Alive Event Center. For more information, visit clevelandclinic.org/brainhealth.

Cleveland Clinic News Service is available to provide video interviews and B-roll.

 

Why Ransomware Cyberattacks Are The Greatest Threat

By | Press Releases

Have You Met The Dark Overlord? – Why Ransomware Cyberattacks Are The Greatest Threat To Your Practice That You’re Not Worried About – and How To Play Defense

Even for the most ardent luddite, it’s hard to avoid talk these days of “ransomware.” But for the uninitiated, Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system’s screen or by locking the users’ files unless a ransom is paid.1 As for why you’re hearing about it, that’s because it’s the fastest growing cybersecurity threat over the past two years. Ransomware exploded in 4Q14, when the necessary source code was published as “open source” and ransomware-as-a-service became available. These dramatically lowered the difficulty in getting started, and with little chance of associated arrest – the significant financial gains available from these types of attacks were simply too good for cybercriminals to pass up.

Since that time, ransomware payments have amounted to over one billion dollars per year, and those are just the payments that are reported. If that number doesn’t impress you, remember it is the result of an average ransom demand of under $700.2 That’s the “evil genius” of ransomware, they ask for just enough money that it’s not worth the hassle and delay of trying to fight it. What’s more, for small businesses, the threat level is critical. These businesses lack the resources, the security and the multi-layer defense programs to help protect themselves. And it’s only escalating.

For ASCs, this threat is multiplied by their liability under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). Cybercriminals that can lock up a system’s data can also access it without restriction, including any and all “protected health information” (“PHI”) under the HIPAA. This threat has become so prevalent that in June, the HHS Office for Civil Rights released new HIPAA guidance on ransomware reinforcing activities required by HIPAA that can help organizations prevent, detect, contain, and respond to threats, and confirmed that paying the associated “ransom” will not protect these institutions from HIPAA enforcement3 – which can lead to fines of $50,000 per compromised medical record.

Cybercriminals target medical facilities because of the legacy software that many of these institutions employ. Old software suites and the old operating systems they often run on are dramatically easier to exploit, and the regulations associated with the maintenance of electronic medical records lead many of these companies to suffer old software for much longer than they should. The cost of updating is usually prohibitive and the array of options is dizzying. As a result, many ASCs rely on their belief that small, private institutions like theirs are simply not a target. They are wrong.

* On June 1, 2016, approximately 13,000 patient records were compromised by ransomware The Ambulatory Surgery Center at St. Mary in Langhorne, Pa.4

* Athens (GA) Orthopedic Clinic, which includes an outpatient surgery center, experienced a ransomware attack of about 397,000 current and former patients that was discovered June 28, 2016.5

Cybersecurity experts also warn of the special vulnerability of ASCs:

“Same-day surgery facilities may have an increase in vulnerability, due to the volume of patients, the increased mobility of the clinicians, and the level of security in place,”

* Ellen M. Derrico, MBA, a marketing/market development executive in healthcare and life science technologies and an independent consultant in West Chester, PA

“Critical medical equipment, such as what you would find at an ambulatory surgery center, is generally at risk due to the sensitive nature of the applications on that equipment … the applications often preclude traditional antivirus, anti-malware software, or normal patching timetables.”

* Erik Rasmussen, JD, cyber practice leader with Kroll’s Cyber Security and Investigations practice

For many years, HIPAA compliance has been relegated to an administrative status somewhere below obligatory continuing education requirements, and is often little more than a budget line item. However, this is an increasingly outdated way of looking at this critical practice element. Major liability insurance carriers are beginning to offer cybersecurity insurance, but also require a minimum level of security to even qualify, at any premium. Most legacy EMR/EHR systems simply aren’t adequate and COTS anti-virus software is woefully ineffective.

Forward-looking ASC administrators should seek out professional advice from a dedicated cybersecurity firm. NOTE: This is not asking your “IT guy” if he has software. Experts predict that the majority of private medical facilities will be targets of this type of malware, and the costs of these attacks exponentially outpace the cost of even the most exhaustive protection structures. In other words, an ounce of real protection will save you pounds and pounds of cure.