- Dr. Halee Fischer-Wright will be the new president and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association effective March 23, the association announced last Friday. Fischer-Wright, 46, is chief medical officer at Centura Health System's St. Anthony North Health Campus in Westminster, Colo. She previously served as president of Rose Medical Group, a Denver-based 680-physician management services and physician-hospital organization. She is co-author of the New York Times best-seller Tribal Leadership.
- A Food and Drug Administration decision last week on a new genetic test could have broad implications for other yet-unapproved genetic tests. In issuing its ruling, the FDA said it is considering deregulating a broad class of genetic screening tests. Such tests will no longer require pre-market review, the FDA explained. It's not clear how broad the exemption will be. The FDA announcement refers to “carrier screening tests” and “autosomal recessive carrier screening tests.” Bradley Merrill Thompson, a lawyer with Epstein Becker & Green and an expert in FDA law, called the decision a major one. “A few years ago, I would never (have) dreamed FDA would take this action,” he said.
- A federal appeals court that ruled against St. Luke's Health System's acquisition of a physician group should waste no time in lifting its stay on a lower court's earlier order for St. Luke's to divest the group, plaintiffs in the case argued last week. “It's high time to undo this anti-competitive and unlawful acquisition, which the Court has now recognized poses significant threats to competition,” argued the plaintiffs, which include the Federal Trade Commission, the state of Idaho and St. Luke's competitors' St. Alphonsus Health System and Treasure Valley Hospital. Hospitals across the country have been watching the case closely because it was the first litigation over an FTC case against a physician practice deal. The case comes at a time of increased interest in consolidation among providers to improve coordination of care and lower costs.
FDA may deregulate some genetic tests, and other briefs
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