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Jan 05, 2016

Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood was seeing extremely high rates of infant mortality when Debra Wesley joined Mount Sinai Hospital in 1986 to run its family planning department.

“It was beyond just a medical issue,” Wesley said. “You just couldn't take the approach of just focusing on the medical conditions. You had to take the approach of, what was going on in the community?”

What was going on in North Lawndale, a low-income community on the city's West Side, was...

Jan 05, 2016
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of French pharmaceutical company Sanofi, announced the retirement of Damian Braga, president of the U.S. unit and senior VP of commercial operations, effective Dec. 31. He was with the company for 27 years.

Braga joined Sanofi Pasteur in 1988 as a financial analyst. He held various senior leadership positions at the company, including CFO of the U.S. and VP of the Americas.

David Loew replaced Braga on Jan. 1. He is based in France.


Jan 05, 2016

The socioeconomic status of patients in a given community may explain some of the variation in hospital 30-day readmission rates. But the quality of the facilities where patients go when they are discharged—a factor the CMS isn't measuring—could also play a key role, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs.

Socioeconomic status alone doesn't explain why hospitals in the poorest communities have slightly higher readmission rates, according to the study,...

Jan 05, 2016
Revenue growth coupled with tight cost controls allowed separate not-for-profit hospital systems in North Carolina and Mississippi to post improved operating and net surpluses.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C., posted an operating surplus in fiscal 2015 of $102.8 million on revenue of $821.4 million compared with an operating surplus of $63.9 million on revenue of $758.3 million in fiscal 2014 ended Sept. 30, according to audited financial statements.

The $63.1...

Jan 05, 2016
Uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges and presidential campaign politics could affect markets for for-profit hospitals in the year ahead, Fitch Ratings said in a new report.

“After surviving myriad political and legal battles, the ACA now faces a long period of logistical difficulties in implementation,” analysts wrote. That includes state holdouts to Medicaid expansion, including Florida and Texas, and questions about insurers' willingness to market health plans in...

Jan 05, 2016
Tenet Healthcare Corp. and Baylor Scott & White have closed on a deal to co-own five hospitals in northern Texas.

Baylor, based in Dallas, has become the majority owner of Centennial Medical Center in Frisco, Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake in Dallas, Lake Point Medical Center in Rowlett, Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale and Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Garland. Four of the hospitals are currently owned by Tenet. The facilities will operate under the Baylor Scott...

Jan 05, 2016

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.

Los Angeles Times: Yes, Obamacare Is In Dire Need Of Fixing. Here's A Guide To The Best Options.
You can set your watch by it, or at least your calendar. If it's a day of the week ending in "Y," the House congressional majority is preparing to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. These days are no exception: A repeal vote in the House is scheduled for this week, linked to a provision to cut funding for...

Jan 05, 2016

The Chicago Tribune reports that the relationship between the health system and the insurer ended Dec. 31 and is expected to impact the health care choices of thousand of patients. Also, Kaiser Health News notes a trend in which more employers are offering workers critical illness plans.

The Chicago Tribune: Community Heathcare Ends Contract With Anthem
After months of negotiations, Community Healthcare System terminated its contract with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield on...

Jan 05, 2016

President Barack Obama's do-it-himself plan for keeping guns away from those who shouldn't have them falls far short of what he'd hoped to accomplish through legislation after a massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School shook the country to attention in 2012.

Yet even the more modest steps Obama will announce Tuesday rely on murky interpretations of existing law that could be easily reversed by his successor.

At the centerpiece of Obama's plan, to be unveiled at a White House...

Jan 05, 2016

Insurance policies that pay a lump sum if workers get cancer or another serious illness are being offered in growing numbers by employers. Companies say they want to help protect their workers against the financial pain of increasingly high deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. But it’s important to understand the limitations of these plans before buying.

Critical illness plans have been around for decades, but they have become more common lately as employers have shifted more...