Vital Signs

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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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AMA, MGMA ask for a more flexible meaningful-use rule

The American Medical Association and the Medical Group Management Association have called on the CMS and HHS rule writers to add even more flexibility to the federal electronic health-record incentive payment program for Stage 2 and beyond.

The two groups were responding at the close of the public comment period on modifications to the program contained in a proposed rule released by the feds in May.
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Researchers affirm cancer risk of common uterine procedure

12:15 pm, Jul. 22 |

About 1 of every 370 women who underwent a minimally invasive hysterectomy using morcellation was found to have uterine cancer, a finding that is consistent with data that the Food and Drug Administration put out this month.

The use of morcellation in those cases can lead to the spread of undetected cancer, which has become a widespread concern this year among patients, regulators and physicians.

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Anti-cancer forces cheer $23B verdict against tobacco giant

Tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. suffered another legal setback last week when a Florida court awarded $23 billion in damages to the family of a man who died of lung cancer following years of smoking cigarettes.

The family's legal counsel had argued the company withheld information about the harmful health effects and addictive nature of the cigarettes.
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Big data helps unlock rare disease's secret, but cost could remain issue

Seth Mnookin has received a lot of attention, and justly so, for his article in this week's New Yorker on rare genetic diseases. The piece is an illustration of effects, some good, some not so good, that digital health will have on healthcare.

The article features a young boy, Bertrand Might, and a mutation in the NGLY1 gene. Discovering that NGLY1 was the faulty gene required gene sequencing plus data analysis comparing Bertrand's genome to others' to discover this was the likely problem.
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Bottom-line ACA gains starting to show in hospital financials, Zacks says

1:45 pm, Jul. 21 |

Happy days are here, financially, for hospitals thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, says Zacks Investment research in a recent blog post.

“The positive implications of these (ACA) reforms have started showing up in the financials of hospital and healthcare stocks,” Zacks says, pointing to preliminary quarterly results for HCA, which handily beat analysts' expectations.
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Despite cuts, Medicare Advantage benefits, premiums largely unchanged in New York

Four years after passage of the federal healthcare law, benefits and premiums for Medicare Advantage plans in New York are largely unchanged, according to an analysis conducted by the Medicare Rights Center.
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