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Biden to sign virus measures, requires mask use to travel

Deep in the deadliest coronavirus wave and facing worrisome new strains, President Joe Biden will initiate a national COVID-19 strategy to ramp up vaccinations and testing, reopen schools and businesses and increase the use of masks — including a requirement that Americans mask up for travel.

Biden also will address inequities in hard-hit minority communities as he signs 10 pandemic-related executive orders on Thursday.

Biden has vowed to take far more aggressive measures to contain the virus than his predecessor, starting with stringent adherence to public health guidance. He faces steep obstacles, with the virus actively spreading in most states, slow progress on vaccination and political uncertainty over how willing congressional Republicans will be to help him pass a $1.9 trillion economic relief and COVID response package.

“We need to ask average Americans to do their part,” said Jeff Zients, the White House official directing the national response. “Defeating the

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FCC Chairman Pai on funding telehealth, 5G and the digital divide

Over the past four year, the Federal Communications Commission has made headlines over voting to repeal net neutrality rules, has pushed Congress for more funding for broadband expansion and has faced the ire of lawmakers who said the FCC should do more to assist low-income Americans to have digital access. The agency’s chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed to the FCC in 2011 by President Barack Obama has also been vocal about the role telehealth played during the pandemic.

Modern Healthcare technology reporter Jessica Kim Cohen caught up with Pai to talk about challenges and opportunities for the agency’s connected healthcare work in 2021, closing the digital divide for internet access—increasingly considered a social determinant of health—and why he hopes to continue working on telehealth issues. The following is an edited transcript.

Modern Healthcare: We’ve seen a rapid rise in telehealth use amid COVID-19. From your vantage point, what was

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Nursing home employment continues freefall, industry prepares for worker exodus

“To say the sector has been hard hit has been an understatement. It’s now a more dangerous place to work, and people understand that. I’m not surprised people are worried about going into nursing homes,” said Anne Montgomery, co-director of the program to improve elder care at Altarum, a not-for-profit health research and consulting organization.

Yet demand continues to climb. Despite more potential residents choosing home care during the pandemic, the aging population in the U.S. and a pent-up demand for rehabilitation after postponed elective surgeries create a need for staff that nursing homes just can’t fill. Some are even halting hospital admissions because they don’t have the staff to care for more residents.

“Really, we just have a great demand, an incredible demand in this workforce,” Montgomery said. Long-term care is one of the top three industries in terms of projected growth, she said.

“The jobs are certainly available,”

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‘Little old West Virginia’ sets pace on vaccine rollout

Griffith & Feil Drug has been in business since 1892, a family-owned, small-town pharmacy. This isn’t their first pandemic.

More than a century after helping West Virginians confront the Spanish flu in 1918, the drugstore in Kenova, a community of about 3,000 people, is helping the state lead the nation in COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

West Virginia has emerged as an unlikely success in the nation’s otherwise chaotic vaccine rollout, largely because of the state’s decision to reject a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens and instead enlist mom-and-pop pharmacies to vaccinate residents against the virus that has killed over 395,000 Americans.

More shots have gone into people’s arms per capita across West Virginia than in any other state, with at least 7.5% of the population receiving the first of two shots, according to federal data.

West Virginia was the first in the nation to finish offering first doses to all

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4 cyberscams for hospitals to watch out for

2) Fake invoices
Business email compromise—in which a scammer infiltrates or spoofs legitimate email accounts to redirect money—is “one of the most financially damaging online crimes,” according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In some cases, a scammer will break into a finance worker’s email account and spend weeks learning the patterns of when and how certain companies tend to send invoices. Then, they’ll set up a filter to automatically direct future invoices into a “trash” or “spam” folder—and either change the routing and bank account numbers before placing it back in the inbox, or generate their own message and invoice that looks the same, but with their own financial information.

If a scammer has infiltrated email addresses of top executives or supervisors, they can even create fake email exchanges pretending to approve the change in payment, to make it look more believable.

“It looks perfectly legitimate. The email

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