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January 22, 2019

Around the nation: To stop flu, some churches are banning handshakes

Daily Briefing

    Church officials in two states are suspending handshakes during Mass and are warning parishioners to avoid sipping wine from the same chalice during Communion, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Utah.

    • New Mexico/Pennsylvania: Catholic Church officials in New Mexico and Pennsylvania are warning churchgoers to avoid contact with each during Mass to prevent spreading influenza. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe told parishioners that they shouldn't hold hands during prayer, while the diocese in Allentown, Pennsylvania, banned handshakes in its 84 parishes. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe also encouraged churchgoers to watch Mass from home, adding that "[i]t is not a sin to miss Mass on Sundays if you are ill" (Knowles, Becker's Hospital Review, 1/16).

    • New York: The American Cancer Society has named JoAnna Jacob as executive director of the organization's operations in Upstate New York. Jacob previously served as senior manager for community development for the Western New York operation. As executive director, Jacob will oversee events, community engagement, and fundraising for the territory (Drury, Buffalo Business First, 1/17).

    • Utah: Intermountain Healthcare and Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield are partnering to end high-cost, surprise ED bills. The health system and health insurer reached an agreement on ED balance billing that "takes members out of the middle" of reimbursement disputes between payers and providers, meaning that Blue Cross members might be able to avoid surprised ED bills if taken to an Intermountain facility. According to Becker's Hospital Review, it's unclear whether the agreement is retroactive for Blue Cross members (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 1/16).

    Next: How to avoid the flu when you fly

    Download this infographic to learn about both the obvious and less obvious locations where germs on planes are rampant.

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