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NQF clarifies info on trial on socio-economic factors

The National Quality Forum says its upcoming trial examining the effects of socio-economic factors may potentially include 30-day readmission measures, but that is not the sole focus. The quality improvement organization offered clarity Monday, amid confusion the trial would look exclusively at readmissions.

Modern Healthcare reported Thursday that the NQF would study how socio-demographic factors, like income, education, primary language and race, would impact 30-day readmissions. The trial period will examine the effects of risk-adjustments on various measures, but the report does not make recommendations about any particular one, explained Ann Greiner, vice president of external affairs for the National Quality Forum.
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Lou Gehrig's disease an extremely rare malady, CDC says

Lou Gehrig, the iconic New York Yankee slugger, was forced to retire from baseball in 1939 because of a rare neuromuscular disorder. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives a first-of-its-kind glimpse into just how rare that incurable disease is.

The CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found that a little more than 12,000 people between October 2010 and December 2011 were living in the U.S. with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis—better known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
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Google's Baseline project could have big implications

3 pm, Jul. 28 |

Google's latest healthcare research project, announced Friday, is so ambitious that even failure might represent an advancement over the status quo.

The aim is to corral 175 healthy human beings and create a healthy baseline: a set of genetic and biomarkers that define a healthy human being, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
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Healthcare leaders rolling with the punches in wake of subsidy rulings

This week's court rulings that cast doubt on exchange subsidies in many states had the nation's great minds making big-picture pronouncements of what it all meant. In the trenches of the healthcare industry, leaders were asked to explain the perplexing developments to customers and local business constituents.

In North Dakota, the dueling rulings helped bolster the message Ruth Krystopolski delivered Tuesday at the Health Care Summit sponsored by the Fargo Chamber of Commerce on the day the rulings came down.
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Medtronic CEO addresses Covidien deal, plans to move to Dublin

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak is facing many questions about his plans for the medical-device maker—principally revolving around the deal announced in June to buy Irish medical supplier Covidien and move the company's headquarters to Dublin from Minneapolis.

Ishrak answered a few of these questions for us this week in a phone interview recorded for a podcast and a Q&A to appear soon in the print edition of Modern Healthcare. Here are some highlights previewing the full interview.
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Is Capitol Hill leaning toward relaxing healthcare privacy regs?

Capitol Hill's recent focus on digital health has seen bands of witnesses testifying about what policies might enable more innovation in the sector. A significant number of those witnesses agree: Rethinking healthcare policy rules is one potential target.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee has, of late, been running a series of hearings and roundtables called “21st century cures,” intended to promote innovative cures. Of the witnesses that the committee has called, at least seven have mentioned the need to change privacy regulations.
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A hospital by any other name … still needs a marketing plan

A large Ohio-based healthcare organization joins a host of hospitals and health systems that have been hoping to encapsulate the right combination of branding, familiarity and patient care in a new name.

Catholic Health Partners, headquartered in Cincinnati, has officially rebranded itself Mercy Health. Thursday's announcement is not the first time the 23-hospital, faith-based system has changed identities.
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Macquarie analysis finds increased interest in DNA sequencing

3:15 pm, Jul. 24 |

Healthcare organizations plan to ramp up their spending on DNA sequencing, though generally not on the sequencers themselves, according to a survey by Macquarie Research, the research arm of the investment bank Macquarie Group.

Most of the new spending, the survey suggests, will go toward informatics and sample prep. Macquarie said new spending on instrumentation will need to come from upgrades and new customers.
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Outcomes pioneer memorialized nearly 74 years after his death

2:30 pm, Jul. 23 |

The grave of a Boston surgeon considered by many to be a pioneering advocate for tracking patient outcomes and acknowledging medical errors was memorialized Tuesday by the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Ernest Codman, criticized by colleagues of his time for wanting to increase transparency, died in 1940, and his grave in a Cambridge, Mass., cemetery remained unmarked for nearly 74 years.
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Lawmakers form caucus for Medicaid expansion

3:45 pm, Jul. 23 |

A group of 33 Democratic lawmakers, primarily from states that have yet to expand Medicaid, Wednesday announced a new congressional caucus to push for expansion in their states. Caucus members will be making floor speeches and videos, along with penning op-eds, to advance their cause, they said.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) will co-chair the State Medicaid Expansion Caucus, which has members from Alabama, Arizona, Maine, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana and Wisconsin.
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