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Nym Health raises $16.5 million for its auditable machine learning tools for automating hospital billing

A little less than two years after raising its seed round, the Israeli-based Nym Health has added another $16.5 million to its cash haul so it can roll out its technology developing auditable machine learning tools for automating hospital billing.

The new financing came from investors including GV (the investment arm of Google previously known as Google Ventures) and will be used by the company to expand its technology development and sales and marketing efforts across the U.S.

Billing has been a huge problem for healthcare systems in the U.S., thanks to complicated coding that needs to be entered to ensure insurance providers pay for the services medical professionals give to patients.

Nym claims to have solved the problem by developing technologies that can convert medical charts and electronic medical records from physician’s consultations into proper billing codes automatically. The company uses natural language processing and taxonomies that were specifically developed to understand clinical language to determine the optimal charge for each procedure, examination and diagnostic conducted for a patient, according to Nym.

The company was founded in 2018 by two former members of Israel’s 8200 cybersecurity unit of the army. Adam Rimon and Amihai Neiderman both wanted to work on something together and Neiderman was set on doing something in the medical space involving natural language processing. Rimon had just finished a doctorate in computational linguistics so the move into charting and medical coding seemed natural.

“Because of our approach we can generate full audit trails,” said Neiderman. “We can explain how we understood everything in patient charts.”

Having automated processes that are also auditable is important for healthcare providers in case they need to provide justification to insurance companies for the services they performed.

Nym’s software can’t address fraud if physicians are padding their bills with services they didn’t offer, but it can provide an audit and justification for the services that a hospital coded for — and potentially wring more money for hospitals that lose out thanks to improperly coded bills. “On the medical decision-making we never intervene. We assume that the physician is trying to do their best and they’re sticking to the protocol,” said Neiderman. 

Interest in developing better billing systems for healthcare is high among venture investors, considering that coding related denials of payment can cost hospitals $15 billion, according to Nym. It’s a service that brought attention not just from GV, but of Bessemer Venture Partners, Dynamic Loop Capital, Lightspeed, Tiger Global, and angel investors including Zach Weinberg and Nat Turner from Flatiron Health.

“Inaccurate coding is bad for everybody,” says Ben Robbins, a venture partner at GV.

Nym charges between $1 and $4 per chart it analyzes, and is already working with around 40 medical providers in the U.S., according to the company.

 

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Work Or Online Learning? Homeless Families Face An Impossible Choice : NPR

Freda and her 9-year-old son visit the Purple People Bridge in Cincinnati. She and her five children have been living in the front room of a friend’s apartment, sleeping on pads of bunched-up comforters.

Maddie McGarvey for NPR


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Freda and her 9-year-old son visit the Purple People Bridge in Cincinnati. She and her five children have been living in the front room of a friend’s apartment, sleeping on pads of bunched-up comforters.

Maddie McGarvey for NPR

The closure of school buildings in response to the coronavirus has been disruptive and inconvenient for many families, but for those living in homeless shelters or hotel rooms — including roughly 1.5 million school-aged children — the shuttering of classrooms and cafeterias has been disastrous.

For Rachel, a 17-year-old sharing a hotel room in Cincinnati with her mother, the disaster has been academic. Her school gave her a laptop, but “hotel Wi-Fi is the worst,” she says. “Every three seconds [my teacher is] like, ‘Rachel, you’re glitching. Rachel, you’re not moving.'”

For Vanessa Shefer, the disaster has made her feel “defeated.” Since May, when the family home burned, she and her four children have stayed in a hotel, a campground and recently left rural New Hampshire to stay with extended family in St. Johnsbury, Vt. Her kids ask, “When are we going to have a home?” But Shefer says she can’t afford a “home” without a good-paying job, and she can’t get a job while her kids need help with school.

For this story, NPR spoke with students, parents, caregivers, shelter managers and school leaders across the country about what it means, in this moment, to be homeless and schoolless.

Vanessa Shefer (right) walks with her family along the Passumpsic River in St. Johnsbury, Vt.

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Vanessa Shefer (right) walks with her family along the Passumpsic River in St. Johnsbury, Vt.

Ian Thomas Janssen-Lonnquist for NPR

“How do you choose between working and … your child’s education?”

Remote learning can be difficult for children without an adult at home to supervise everything from logging on to the learning itself. The past six months have put all parents and caregivers in a bind, but many families who are homeless now find themselves in an impossible situation.

“How do you choose between working and providing for your family, and your child’s education? I mean, what is your priority?” says Patricia Rivera, a former Chicago Public Schools social worker and founder of Chicago HOPES For Kids, an afterschool program for homeless youth.

Rivera points out that many homeless shelters don’t allow parents to leave their children while they go to work. In the past, kids have simply gone to school or parents have found low-cost childcare. But, because of the pandemic, those options have disappeared for many families.

Parents and caregivers experiencing homelessness are also more likely to work low-wage jobs that cannot be done remotely

Trump on coronavirus: ‘We are learning to live with’ it

President Trump warned Tuesday morning that flu season is approaching and noted that it can be deadly while stating that the country does not shut down for it — and should not shut down for coronavirus either.

Trump said just as Americans have “learned to live with” the flu, they are now doing the same with COVID-19.

TRUMP RETURNS TO WHITE HOUSE AFTER CORONAVIRUS HOSPITALIZATION; BIDEN TRAVELS TO PENNSYLVANIA

“Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” Trump tweeted. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”

The president did not indicate where that 100,00 figure came from. The CDC’s preliminary estimate of last flu season said there were between 24,000 and 62,000 flu deaths from Oct. 1, 2019, through April 4, 2020.

TRUMP PLANS TO DEBATE BIDEN ON OCT. 15, DESPITE COVID-19 BATTLE

The CDC said the wide range is given “[b]ecause influenza surveillance does not capture all cases of flu that occur in the U.S..” and that this is not its final estimate.

This year’s count appears to be higher than the 2019 estimate of 34,200 deaths. The agency determined that in the 2017-2018 season there were an estimated 79,400 flu deaths, which was the most since 2009.

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Trump delivered a similar message — encouraging people to continue with their lives — upon returning to the White House Monday following is own treatment for COVID-19.

“Don’t let it dominate you,” Trump said in a video posted to Twitter.

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‘We are learning to live with Covid’: Trump makes misleading comparison between coronavirus and the flu

In fact, the most deaths to have resulted from a flu season in the U.S. over the past decade is estimated to be roughly 61,000 in 2017-2018, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 200,000 Americans have died from Covid since the virus emerged early this year.

And while flu strains change from year to year, varying in severity, most people have some underlying immunity based on prior exposure. But the coronavirus was only identified late last year.

Trump himself appeared to tell The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward in a February interview that the coronavirus was five times more lethal than the flu, saying that Covid-19 is “deadly stuff” and “more deadly than … even your strenuous flus.”

Public health experts have warned that that the fall and winter months could significantly strain the nation’s health care system as it grapples with both a potential resurgence of the coronavirus and its yearly fight against the flu.

Trump’s tweet resembles other messaging from the president in the past 24 hours that has been dismissive of the disease’s threat — even as he has received two rounds of oxygen therapy, two experimental drugs, and one steroid generally reserved for severe or critical Covid-19 cases.

Ahead of his departure from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Trump tweeted on Monday afternoon that Americans should not “be afraid of Covid” and should not “let it dominate your life.”

Upon his return to the White House on Monday evening, the still-contagious president ascended the steps to the Truman Balcony and removed his mask to pose and salute for the cameras before entering the executive mansion.

And in a video message posted to Twitter later Friday night, Trump claimed he might be “immune” from the coronavirus — despite testing positive for Covid-19 last week — and again urged Americans: “Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives.”

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Morristown High School To Continue All-Remote Learning

MORRISTOWN, NJ—The Morris School District said Thursday that Morristown High School will continue to follow an all-virtual schedule through Wednesday, October 7, after officials were informed that two additional individuals at the school tested positive for coronavirus. The new cases bring the current total number of within the Morristown High School community to three.

“These two latest cases have been traced to the positive case we informed you about on Friday, September 25,” the district announcement said. “We have no evidence to indicate that transmission occurred within the school building; transmission appears to be limited to activity on one of our athletic teams.”

The statement said all in-person extracurricular activities, including athletic practices and scrimmages/competitions, will remain suspended.

The District is working with the health department for guidance and contact tracing, the statement said, and anyone identified as a close contact (within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes) has been notified directly and will complete the required 14-day quarantine at home.

“However, consistent with our conservative approach,” the statement said, “we are notifying by phone anyone who was in class with these individuals on September 22 and 23 so that their families can be especially vigilant about monitoring and reporting any symptoms.”

According to the district’s established hybrid schedule, students in the Green Cohort will return for in-person learning on Thursday, October 8, and students in the Red Cohort will access their learning online on Thursday, October 8. On Friday, October 9, students in the Red Cohort are in person and students in the Green Cohort are online.

This article originally appeared on the Morristown Patch

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West Orange-Cove schools to require virtual learning students with failing grades, too many absences to return to campus

The West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District amended its virtual learning policy, and the changes may force dozens of students to return to campus. 

Some parents angry as West Orange-Cove schools change virtual learning policy for students with failing grades, too many absences

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It’s a move that isn’t sitting well with some parents as they weigh the dangers of face to face learning during a pandemic. 

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The policy has sparked outrage among some students and parents of WOCCISD, and many feel like they’re having to choose between health and an education. 

Virtual learning has become a way of life during the pandemic. The prospect of it not being available concerns parent Ryan Melancon. 

“This decision doesn’t just affect money, it doesn’t just affect kids’ education, it affects the lives of parents and the grandparents these students will come and contact with,” Melancon said. 

RELATED: State health department takes down COVID-19 school tracker after reports of errors

He has two children in WOCCISD. The district recently announced that students who aren’t passing and who have more than 5 absences can no longer participate in virtual learning. 

A district spokesperson said a number of students simply aren’t showing up and aren’t completing coursework, which led to the change in policy. 

Rayne Keith, Melancon’s daughter, said her biggest concern is potentially bringing the virus home. 

“My dad could die and I just don’t want that to happen so I take it very seriously and there are a bunch of parents that their parents could die from COVID and the school just doesn’t seem to care,” Keith said. 

She feels that the school should handle things differently. 

“The school has made a situation that they could have managed a lot worse,” Keith said.

WOCCISD will allow a few exceptions. Some of those who are passing classes, have health conditions, or have been exposed to the virus will be exempt. Melancon said it’s not enough, and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect his kids. 

“If I have to pull them from the district I will. They will not be going back. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when they will catch COVID at these schools,” Melancon said. 

Students who meet the criteria that the district has set are expected to return to campus on Monday, October 5. For anyone with concerns about the policy, you’re encouraged to contact the district. 

Also on 12NewsNow.com…

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Lakewood Schools Plan Return To In-Person Learning

LAKEWOOD, OH — The Lakewood City Schools could return to partial or full-time in-person learning starting Oct. 19.

The district’s education model will be determined by Cuyahoga County’s COVID-19 transmission classification. If the Ohio Department of Health classifies the county as “yellow,” then Lakewood Schools will have full-time in-person education. If the COVID-19 threat is “orange,” then there will be a partial return of in-person education.

“We know that there may be concern regarding the safety of this return so we wanted to share the extensive safety protocols we have developed in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, Ohio Department of Health and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health that can be viewed on our COVID-19 Building Safety Protocols page,” school officials said on the district website.

According to the district, the new health and safety protocols in schools include:

  • Health assessment, including temperature, at home before entering school

  • Face coverings required for staff and students

  • Physical distancing guidelines followed with 6′ separation for partial return when possible and 3’ for a full return

  • Hand sanitizer available in every classroom

  • Cleaning supplies to sanitize work areas will be available throughout the day

  • Lunchroom space expanded to other areas if necessary

  • Water fountains closed – students will be able to bring water bottles and filling stations will be available

  • No visitors or volunteers

  • No shared student supplies

  • One-way hallways/stairwells when possible

  • No field trips

  • No large group student events

  • No access to student lockers (students will be able to carry backpacks)

  • In addition to their daily/weekly checklist, custodial staff to use daily log for facility/restroom cleaning/disinfecting of high touch surfaces using CDC/EPA-approved disinfectants throughout all shifts

  • HVAC modifications: reduction of recirculated air, increase of outside air supply & installation of higher MERV-rated air filters.

Families can also opt to continue remote education for their student. To learn more about registering for continued remote education, visit the district’s website.

This article originally appeared on the Lakewood Patch

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Muskegon teachers lead K-8 bike club to promote fitness during online learning

MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon Public Schools is finding new ways to bring physical education to students while the district is online-only because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The district’s physical education teachers, with the help of local law enforcement, are leading a new bike riding club for K-8 students to ride safely through the Muskegon community. The daily program, which launched last week, begins and ends at one of the district’s four elementary schools Monday through Thursday.

“Our students love to be active,” said Jennifer Hammond, the district’s director of curriculum. “We often are confined by the four walls of the gymnasium for P.E., so this is just a lifelong skill of learning to love bike riding and knowing how to do it safely.”

Muskegon Public Schools started the school year online-only Aug. 26 in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. But the district has found unique ways to keep students engaged during virtual learning, including offering daily face-to-face tutoring sessions with teachers in small group settings.

RELATED: No in-person classes? No problem. This Michigan school has a personal solution

Another way the district has complemented virtual learning is through the bike club program, titled EMBARK. The program is offered four days a week from 2:15-3:15 p.m. and was created in conjunction with the Muskegon Rotary Club.

School leaders started planning for the program by creating and inspecting local bike routes over the summer.

“We would look at stop signs, we would look for potholes, we would look for pedestrian crosswalks,” she said. “And then someone from our team would talk to the city of Muskegon and they would go out and make the route even safer.”

The program was originally intended to be a way for students to bike to and from school every day safely, Hammond said. But when the district announced it would be online-only this fall, school leaders still wanted to offer some kind of bike riding program to students.

So for now, the club will take students on a recreational bike ride around the community every day. About a dozen kids have participated in the program since it started last week, all ranging from grades K-8, Hammond said.

“One of our kindergarten students asked her P.E. teacher if she could come along even through she was still on training wheels, and he said, ‘Of course,’” Hammond said. “So he just kept at a slower pace alongside her.”

Hammond said the program is open to all family members in the district and encourages parents to ride along as well. She said she hopes to eventually create a community bike route that any member of the community can use for safely riding their bikes around town.

The district is currently seeking volunteers to help by riding along to ensure student safety, which can be anyone in the Muskegon community. Volunteers can sign up here.

While the district is online-only right now, school leaders are looking to build up a volunteer base for if the district

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