domingo, 9 de noviembre de 2014



CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC 24/7: Saving Lives. Protecting People.

A Weekly Compilation of Clinical Laboratory and Related Information
from The Division Of Laboratory Programs, Standards And Services

November 06, 2014

  • CMS Creating Advisory Panel for Clinical Lab Tests
  • Clinical Laboratory Services Market is Expected to be Worth $261.42 Billion by 2020: Grand View Research, Inc.
  • In New York, Protections Offered for Medical Workers Joining Ebola Fight
  • USPSTF Updates Gonorrhea, Chlamydia Screening Recommendations: New Guidelines are Based on Systematic Review of Studies Published Since 2005-2007
  • Genetic Testing: The Present and the Future
  • Blood Test Developed by Melbourne University Detects Alzheimer's Disease Before Symptoms
  • Mouse Study Shows Host Genetics May Influence Response to Ebola Infection
  • Gene Variants Linked to LDL Response With Statins
  • Finally: A Missing Link Between Vitamin D and Prostate Cancer
  • New Stroke Prevention Guidelines Released
  • FDA Approves New Vaccine for Meningitis B
  • Health IT Executives Unenthused About Patient Portals, Study Finds
  • Interoperability Paramount for Advances, Leaders Argue

View Previous Issues - Healthcare News Archive

Leading News

CMS Creating Advisory Panel for Clinical Lab Tests
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that it is establishing an Advisory Panel on Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory Tests. CMS is currently taking requests for nominations to serve in it. The new panel is authorized under the Social Security Act and the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA) and is subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Those chosen will serve on an “expert outside advisory panel” to help advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The expertise will be related to clinical diagnostic laboratory tests and could come from representatives of a clinical laboratory, molecular pathologists, clinical researchers or individuals with expertise in laboratory science or economics of clinical lab services. The main input from the panel will focus on the establishment of payment rates for new clinical diagnostic lab tests and the factors used in determining coverage and payment processes for new clinical tests.
The new panel will provide recommendations to CMS on several issues. These include:
  • Calculation of weighted median for laboratory service using private payor rates.
  • Phase-in of reductions for private payor rate implementation.
  • Application of market rates.
  • Evaluation and designation of tests as advanced diagnostic laboratory tests.
  • Whether to use crosswalking or gap filling to determine payment for specific new tests.
  • Factors used in determining coverage or payment processes for new clinical diagnostic laboratory tests.
Clinical Laboratory Services Market is Expected to be Worth $261.42 Billion by 2020: Grand View Research, Inc.
Global clinical laboratory services market is expected to reach USD 261.42 billion by 2020, according to a new study by Grand View Research, Inc. The demand for early diagnosis in order to render effective therapeutic interventions is on a constant rise. Wide range of diagnostic tests encompassed in the clinical laboratory services segment coupled with increasing incidence rates of infectious and chronic diseases is expected to drive market growth during the forecast period. In addition, presence of untapped growth opportunities and the rapidly improving healthcare infrastructure in emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil are expected to offer growth opportunities for industry participants. Clinical chemistry based services dominated the overall market, accounting for over 45.0% of the revenue share in 2013, owing to the fact that these tests are a part of the initial disease diagnostic process and thus are carried out in large volumes. Human & tumor genetics followed clinical chemistry tests in terms of revenue. The market for human & tumor genetics is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 6.0% from 2014 to 2020 majorly owing to increasing global incidence rates of cancer.
In New York, Protections Offered for Medical Workers Joining Ebola Fight
New York officials announced that they would offer employee protection and financial guarantees for health care workers joining the fight against the Ebola outbreak in three West African nations. The announcement was an effort to alleviate concerns that the state’s mandatory quarantine policy could deter desperately needed workers from traveling overseas. Under the new protections, modeled after the rights granted military reservists, workers could not suffer any pay cuts or demotions for serving in Africa, and the state would make up any lost income if they had to be quarantined when they returned. “In particular, the State of New York and the City of New York will work to ensure that health care workers who selflessly travel to West Africa to treat Ebola patients would have their pay, health care and employment statuses continue seamlessly when they get back,” said a statement from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio announcing the initiative.
Ebola-carrying Bats May be Heroes as Well as Villains
Bats are living up to their frightening reputation in the world's worst Ebola outbreak as prime suspects for spreading the deadly virus to humans, but scientists believe they may also shed valuable light on fighting infection. Bats can carry more than 100 different viruses, including Ebola, rabies and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), without becoming sick themselves. While that makes them a fearsome reservoir of disease, especially in the forests of Africa where they migrate vast distances, it also opens the intriguing possibility that scientists might learn their trick in keeping killers like Ebola at bay. "If we can understand how they do it then that could lead to better ways to treat infections that are highly lethal in people and other mammals," said Olivier Restif, a researcher at the University of Cambridge in Britain. Clues are starting to emerge following gene analysis, which suggest bats' capacity to evade Ebola could be linked with their other stand-out ability -- the power of flight. Flying requires the bat metabolism to run at a very high rate, causing stress and potential cell damage, and experts think bats may have developed a mechanism to limit this damage by having parts of their immune system permanently switched on.
Emerging Roles for MLTs
As various factors continue to strain the healthcare industry, we will witness the expansion of job descriptions to allowable practice limits. The laboratory will not be immune to these changes. In fact, the skills and expertise of medical laboratory technicians (MLTs) will be relied on in an even greater capacity in the future. Job opportunities for MLTs are expected to increase along with an aging U.S. population, leading to a greater need to diagnose medical conditions through laboratory procedures. MLTs provide clinical information to physicians, pathologists, researchers, and other healthcare providers by conducting analyses of bodily fluids, maintaining medical laboratory equipment, analyzing test results and collecting fluid or tissue samples from patients. The number of positions available to MLTs-in independent medical laboratories, hospitals, clinics and diagnostic companies-will increase 22% during the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014.

Laboratory Testing / Diagnostics

USPSTF Updates Gonorrhea, Chlamydia Screening Recommendations: New Guidelines are Based on Systematic Review of Studies Published Since 2005-2007
Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) updated its recommendations for gonorrhea and chlamydia screening based on a systematic review of the studies published since the previous recommendations in 2005/2007. The USPSTF recommended screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea in sexually active females aged 24 years or younger and in older women who are at increased risk. As far as men, the USPSTF report concluded that “the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea in men.” The document also included a review of the diagnostic accuracy of screening tests.
The Risks and Benefits of Home Use Tests: Exploring the Ins and Outs of Self-tests, Such as HIV and Pregnancy Tests
The drawbacks of home tests include that consumers can easily self-diagnose and self-treat as well as misinterpret the results, says Sharon Geaghan, MD, an emerita associate professor of pathology at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California. Despite these potential risks, there are also many upsides to self-tests, including using them for diagnostics such as HIV and pregnancy testing as well as healthcare maintenance, including monitoring the effects of medications. What’s especially notable is the research that Geaghan presents in support of home tests for monitoring anticoagulation therapy by point-of-care (POC) prothrombin time and international normalized ratio (PT/INR). Not only have there been trials in favor of home testing, but studies also have shown that patients who home test can do better than those who regularly test at clinics, according to Geaghan.
Genetic Testing: The Present and the Future
Experts discuss achievements, challenges, and what’s coming next 
Moving out of basic science and research labs, genetic tests are increasingly being used in clinical laboratories to look for changes in an individual’s chromosomes or genes that lead to health problems or may increase the risk of developing a health problem. Chromosome tests include chromosome microarray tests—which use deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) probes to identify tiny areas of gain or loss of genetic material. Such changes often involve more than one gene. DNA testing looks for changes in the code of a gene that can alter how that gene functions. Whole-genome testing—made possible by recent advances in sequencing technologies—involves analyzing the code or sequence of nearly every gene for one individual simultaneously. More practically, whole-exome sequencing focuses attention on the 1% of an individual’s genome that codes for proteins—and is therefore most likely to have an effect on health.
Blood Test Developed by Melbourne University Detects Alzheimer's Disease Before Symptoms
A blood test developed by Melbourne University researchers can detect Alzheimer's disease years before symptoms become apparent, a study has shown. Researchers made the finding after testing 100 people for genetic material called microRNA, which circulates in the bloodstream. They found that people with Alzheimer's disease, or likely to develop it, had a particular genetic signature which distinguishes them from healthy people. Researchers studied the blood of 100 people, whose average age was 80, as part of the study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. The group included healthy individuals with and without a family history of Alzheimer's disease, people with mild cognitive impairment, and those who had been diagnosed with the disease. One in five healthy people in the study tested positive for the genetic signature, putting them at high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Brain imaging conducted as part of the study showed these patients had signs of brain degeneration that is suggestive of Alzheimer's disease.
Breath Test May Diagnose Fungal Pneumonia
A chemical signature of Aspergillus fumigatus infection can be detected in patients' breath, according to a study published online October 23 in Clinical Infectious Diseases. "These results provide proof-of-concept that direct detection of exogenous fungal metabolites in breath can be used as a novel, noninvasive, pathogen-specific approach to identifying the precise microbial cause of pneumonia," write Sophia Koo, MD, from the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues. The breath test required 4 minutes of breathing into a breath sampling machine, which the investigators report was well tolerated even among patients who were short of breath or who required supplemental oxygen. At the same time, the investigators took samples of the ambient air in the patient's room.
DNA-Based Blood Test Detects Down Syndrome as Early as the Tenth Week of Pregnancy
Down syndrome (Trisomy 21) can now be detected using a noninvasive blood test to evaluate cell-free DNA (cfDNA) found in maternal blood as early as 10 weeks into pregnancy. The Ariosa Diagnostics (San Jose, CA, USA) Harmony Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) exploits single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis to precisely quantify cfDNA and determine the fetal DNA contribution in a sample of the mother's blood. Risk assessment for Down syndrome based on fetal DNA measurement is assigned using FORTE, a proprietary algorithm.
Pancreatic Cancer Blood Test: Scientists Discover More Potential Markers
The prospect of a simple blood test for pancreatic cancer - a disease with a poor survival rate because it is hard to detect in the early stages - steps closer as another team of cancer researchers finds more potential biomarkers for the disease. The National Cancer Institute estimate that in 2014, over 46,400 Americans will discover they have pancreatic cancer and the disease will claim over 39,500 lives. In the American Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers from Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) in Indianapolis report how they found the blood of pancreatic cancer patients contained high levels of several microRNAs. MicroRNAs are small molecules that help to regulate gene expression in normal and cancer cells. The study follows another recently published report where researchers suggested higher blood levels of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) could also form the basis of a blood test for pancreatic cancer.
Blood Test for Ebola Doesn't Catch Infection Early
In an ideal world, health care workers returning from West Africa would get a quick blood test to prove they aren't carrying the Ebola virus. A test like that would likely put to rest some of the anxiety surrounding these doctors, nurses and scientists. Unfortunately, even the best blood test in the world can't do that. The test uses a technology called PCR, for polymerase chain reaction. It can detect extraordinarily small traces of genetic material from the Ebola virus. But the catch is, the test is usually used on blood samples. And in the beginning, that's not where the Ebola virus hides. "The initial sites of replication actually are not in the blood itself — they're mostly in tissues like spleen or liver," says Thomas Geisbert, a microbiologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. "You're going to start to detect the virus at about the same time you're going to have clinical signs of disease," Geisbert says.
An Integrated Approach to Laboratory Testing (Nebraska Medical Center) for Patients With Ebola Virus Disease
Beginning in 2003, the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha developed a laboratory capability plan in conjunction with the creation of a biocontainment unit (BCU) for treatment of patients harboring emerging infectious organisms. The laboratory response planning involved experts at the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Special emphasis was placed on diagnostic testing for highly contagious and pathogenic organisms, including Francisella tularensis and high consequence viruses causing avian influenza and hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.
Nasal Screening for MRSA: Different Swabs – Different Results!
Swab-based nasal screening is commonly used to identify asymptomatic carriage of Staphylococcus aureus in patients. Bacterial detection depends on the uptake and release capacities of the swabs and on the swabbing technique itself. This study investigates the performance of different swab-types in nasal MRSA-screening by utilizing a unique artificial nose model to provide realistic and standardized screening conditions. This study combines a realistic model of a human nose with standardized laboratory conditions to analyze swab-performance in MRSA-screening situations. Therefore, influences by inter-individual anatomical differences as well as diverse colonization densities in patients could be excluded. Recovery rates vary significantly between different swab-types. The choice of the swab has a great impact on the laboratory result. In fact, the swab-type contributes significantly to true positive or false negative detection of nasal MRSA carriage. These findings should be considered when screening a patient.
Health Canada Approves Spartan's Rapid CYP2C19 Test for 'Near Patient' Use
Health Canada has approved Spartan Bioscience's non-invasive genetic test for determining within an hour whether a person has CYP2C19 genetic mutations. According to the company, its Spartan RX CYP2C19 System is the "first near-patient DNA test for personalized medicine" approved by health authorities in Canada. The test gauges CYP2C19 mutations, associated with repose to the antiplatelet drug Plavix and a number of other medications, from a cheek swab.

Research and Development

Mouse Study Shows Host Genetics May Influence Response to Ebola Infection
Host genetics appear to play a role in response to Ebola virus infection, researchers reported in a paper appearing online in Science. Researchers led by Michael Katze at the University of Washington infected mice from varied genetic backgrounds with the mouse-adapted Ebola virus. How these mice responded to infection varied based on their genetic background. The virus, appeared to infect different types of hepatocytes in the two mouse strains. And the infected strains exhibited differences in coagulation time after infection. These pathological symptoms, Katze and his colleagues noted, are similar to those observed in patients of the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Gene Variants Linked to LDL Response With Statins
Two newly identified genetic variants that influence the LDL-cholesterol response to statin therapy have been identified in a large analysis of individuals treated with the lipid-lowering medications. Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at SORT1/CELSR2/PSRC1 were associated with an enhanced LDL-cholesterol–lowering response with statin therapy, while a SNP at SLCO1B1 was associated with a smaller LDL-cholesterol reduction in response to statin treatment. For carriers of the SORT1/CELSR2/PSRC1 SNP, there was a 1.5% increase in LDL-cholesterol lowering with a statin for each allele. There was a 1.6% smaller reduction in LDL cholesterol for each minor allele among carriers of the SLCO1B1 SNP.
Finally: A Missing Link Between Vitamin D and Prostate Cancer
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Prostate offers compelling evidence that inflammation may be the link between Vitamin D and prostate cancer. Specifically, the study shows that the gene GDF-15, known to be upregulated by Vitamin D, is notably absent in samples of human prostate cancer driven by inflammation. “When you take Vitamin D and put it on prostate cancer cells, it inhibits their growth. But it hasn’t been proven as an anti-cancer agent. We wanted to understand what genes Vitamin D is turning on or off in prostate cancer to offer new targets,” says James R. Lambert, PhD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and associate research professor in the CU School of Medicine Department of Pathology.
Fla. Scientists May Have Found Alzheimer's Breakthrough
A discovery by a group of Florida researchers is giving Alzheimer's patients hope after a common blood pressure medication shows the possibility of targeting a new drug treatment for the disease. Scientists at the Roskamp Institute in Sarasota, Fla., have discovered a common enzyme in all three known triggers of the disease. The enzyme is shut off by the key chemical in Nilvadipine, a blood pressure medication used overseas for the last 20 years. "We would be optimistic that this would be a treatment that would slow or halt the progression of the disease," said Fiona Crawford, president and CEO of Roskamp Institute, and one of the authors of the study published online Oct. 20 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Roskamp scientists say until now, drugs have been able to target one of the three disease triggers at a time, either the beta amyloid buildup in the brain known as plaque, the inflammation, or a protein called tau. "Because it targets all three pathologies instead of a single pathology, we have increased enthusiasm it might show positive effect," Crawford said.
Researchers Create Thyroid Cells From Human Stem Cells
Researchers have differentiated human embryonic stem cells into thyroid cells for the first time, according to a report here. By overexpressing two transcription factors -- PAX8 and NKX2-1 -- Terry Davies, MD, of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, and colleagues said they were able to induce stem cells into thyroid cells. They reported their results at the American Thyroid Association meeting. Exposing the differentiated cells to activin A and then thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) further matured them into functional thyroid follicle cells, Davies told MedPage Today.
Stem Cells Used to Grow Mini-Stomachs Seeking Treatments
Researchers are using stem cells to grow tiny three-dimensional human stomachs that are structurally similar to the real thing, helping investigators seek treatments for gastric diseases such as ulcers and cancer. Researchers carefully added growth hormones to embryonic or induced stem cells in a lab for as long as five weeks to encourage the development of gastric tissue, according to the findings published today in the journal Nature. The mini-stomachs, which even produce hormones that regulate the secretion of acid and digestive enzymes, may help discover therapies for diseases that affect as much as 10 percent of the world’s population. The researchers are experimenting with tissue from the mini-stomachs to use as grafts for treating peptic ulcers, said James Wells, a professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio. Eventually they may be able to make larger organs that could be used for transplant, he said.


Public Health and Patient Safety

New Stroke Prevention Guidelines Released
New recommendations to prevent first-time stroke have been released by the American Heart Association; the updates included guidance on hypertension management and diet modifications, according to MedPage Today. Stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death amongst Americans and is the leading cause of functional impairment. Managing hypertension was pinpointed as “the most important, well-documented modifiable risk factor for stroke,” according to article’s author. The Mediterranean-style diet, which emphasizes eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains while limiting red meat and full-fat dairy, was added to the list of recommendations. The similar DASH Diet, which focuses on decreasing fat and sodium consumption, was also recommended as a method to mitigate stroke risk. Guidelines for the treatment of patients with atrial fibrillation or other cardiac conditions have also been updated, along with options for reducing stroke risk in patients with migraines.
FDA Approves New Vaccine for Meningitis B
The Food and Drug Administration gave accelerated approval to a new meningitis vaccine that targets the strain of the bacteria that caused outbreaks at Princeton University and the University of California-Santa Barbara last year. Many colleges require or recommend that new students be vaccinated against meningococcal disease. The bacteria cause meningitis, the sometimes life-threatening inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord, and dangerous bloodstream infections. The disease can spread quickly in shared living areas such as dormitories and military barracks. Until now, vaccines targeted only four of the five major kinds of meningococcal bacteria -- types A, C, Y and W. The new vaccine, called Trumenba, protects against type B.
Doctors Mystified by Paralysis in Dozens of Children
More than 50 children in 23 states have had mysterious episodes of paralysis to their arms or legs, according to data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cause is not known, although some doctors suspect the cases may be linked to infection with enterovirus 68, a respiratory virus that has sickened thousands of children in recent months. Concerned by a cluster of cases in Colorado, the C.D.C. last month asked doctors and state health officials nationwide to begin compiling detailed reports about cases of unusual limb weakness in children. Experts convened by the agency plan next week to release interim guidelines on managing the condition. That so many children have had full or partial paralysis in a short period is unusual, but officials said that the cases seemed to be extremely rare.
Leprosy Still Occurs in U.S., CDC Reports
Leprosy, although quite rare, continues to appear in the United States, a new U.S. government study reports. Approximately 100 new cases are reported in the United States each year, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. That compares to about 250,000 cases that occurred worldwide in 2008, according to the CDC. Known since biblical times, leprosy is an infectious disease that causes skin sores, nerve damage, and muscle weakness that can worsen over time. Effective medications exist to treat the disease. Most U.S. cases occur in people who traveled to the United States from areas of the world where the bacterial infection is endemic, the study authors said. "It's a surprise to most people that leprosy is still in the United States," said lead researcher Dr. Leisha Nolen, an epidemic intelligence service officer with the CDC.
Low Vitamin D Tied to Asthma Attacks
Raising vitamin D levels may help control flare-ups in people with asthma. Israeli researchers studied 308,000 people whose vitamin D blood levels had been recorded. They found no association of low vitamin D with an initial diagnosis of asthma. But inadequate levels were significantly associated with the number and severity of attacks in the 21,237 people in the group who had had asthma diagnosed. Even after controlling for sex, age, ethnicity, smoking and other factors, the researchers found that the lower the vitamin D level, the greater the incidence of recurrent asthma attacks.
Google Updates Flu Trends to Improve Accuracy
Google Inc. (GOOGL) is updating the software model it uses to estimate the spread of the flu to improve its accuracy, so that public health officials can quickly respond to outbreaks. The company introduced Google Flu Trends in 2008 to help track the spread of the virus by using Web-search data. Now, Google will incorporate data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. to boost its accuracy, Christian Stefansen, senior software engineer at Google, said on the company’s research blog.


Health IT

Health IT Executives Unenthused About Patient Portals, Study Finds
Health IT executives are unenthusiastic about their organizations' patient portals, according to a study by HIMSS Analytics, Clinical Innovation & Technology reports. The study found that while patient portal adoption is increasing, health IT executives are still unsure of the benefits of such technology (Perna, Healthcare Informatics, 10/28).That attitude can be attributed in part to cultural issues within organizations that pose challenges to patient engagement initiatives, which is "disconcerting given the fact many hospitals lean on IT leaders to drive the organization's patient engagement efforts," according to the report.
The study also found that:
  • 65.8% of hospitals have a patient portal for paying medical bills;
  • 23.2% provided patients with access to diagnostic results through the portals; and
  • 22.5% allowed access to personal health records through patient portals (Health Data Management, 10/29).
Interoperability Paramount for Advances, Leaders Argue
The topic at the Cleveland Clinic's annual summit was healthcare innovation, and what's impeding it, what more is needed to foster it and the innovation milestones taking place today.  So what do industry leaders consider to be the biggest impediments to healthcare innovation? Lack of interoperability among clinical systems, said a handful of panelists speaking at the 2014 Medical Innovation Summit, convening here Oct. 27-29.  Among those speakers was Toby Cosgrove, MD, chief executive officer of the Cleveland Clinic, who said what's really going to be the healthcare game changer pertains to the interconnectivity of electronic medical records. Leroy Hood, MD, president and co-founder of the Institute for Systems Biology and summit panelist, also appeared to agree with his colleagues on the urgency of interoperability. But he went a little further. The infrastructure, in its current form, can be categorized as insufficient and doesn't have the right end goals, he said.  "There are IT infrastructures that are enormous inhibitors to access of information, and frankly I think that really has to change," said Hood.
EHR Certification Body Shuts Down
CCHIT, one of the organizations certifying EHRs, announced that it is shutting down. Founded in 2004, the Certification Commission for Health Information, provided certification services for health IT products and education for healthcare providers and IT developers. Five years prior to the passage of the HITECH Act, which enabled today’s Office of the National Coordinator certification programs, CCHIT worked in public-private collaboration to pioneer the design, development and implementation of health IT testing and certification programs. CCHIT expects to conclude the process by Nov. 14.
Malpractice Suits Often Tap Electronic Health Records
Electronic health records can save money and improve medical outcomes, but using them incorrectly can create significant liability problems for healthcare providers, defense attorneys say. In the overwhelming majority of cases, health records are the “single-most important piece of evidence” in medical malpractice lawsuits, said Craig R. Merkle, a partner at Goodell, Devries, Leech & Dann in Baltimore. “The plaintiffs seek to use it as a sword, and we seek to use it as a shield,” Mr. Merkle said during a session at the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management's annual conference in Anaheim, California.

Other News

Nation’s 100 Most Expensive U.S. Hospitals Identified by National Nurses United—It’s Another Peek at Providers’ Prices That May Include Clinical Laboratory Tests

It turns out that Florida, California, and Texas have the largest number of hospitals on the list. The list was compiled in an effort to provide greater price transparency. Not surprisingly, the highest-priced hospitals are likely to also have some of the highest clinical laboratory test prices. The study was conducted by National Nurses United (NNU), the largest nurses’ union in the country, and the Institute for Health & Socio-Economic Policy (IHSP). Researchers used the information from Medicare cost reports that included hospital charges and costs for fiscal year 2012.
LabCorp to Buy Covance in $6.1B Deal
Medical testing firm LabCorp (LH) plans to pay roughly $6.1 billion in cash and stock to buy medical research firm Covance (CVD) in a transaction aimed at creating a healthcare diagnostics giant, the companies said. The deal marks the latest in a series of healthcare industry transactions designed to help companies capture increased market share in the services they offer.
Baylor, Miraca Holdings Agree to Joint Venture on Clinical Genetic Testing
Baylor College of Medicine and Miraca Holdings Inc. agreed on a joint venture in which the College will share ownership and governance of its clinical genetics diagnostic laboratories with the Japan-based international healthcare company that has a focus on clinical diagnostics and laboratory tests. Baylor Miraca Genetics Laboratories will be built on Baylor’s existing Medical Genetics Laboratories, which engages in clinical laboratory genetic testing. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The jointly-owned clinical diagnostic venture will be headquartered in Houston.  The parties expect, initially, that the joint venture will be staffed by approximately 225 people.
Use in Court
Next-generation sequencing is getting a day in court as a forensic tool, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Prosecutors in Boston aim to use such sequencing data to argue that the man they've accused, Dwayne McNair, and not his identical twin brother committed a pair of abductions and rapes. Earlier approaches used in courtrooms, the Dispatch says, aren't refined enough to distinguish between identical twins, as they typically examine 13 reference locations in the genome.

Disclaimer- The information provided in this news digest is intended only to be general summary information. It does not represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is not intended to take the place of applicable laws or regulations.

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