• Denver VA hospital curtails some surgeries for maintenance

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    DENVER (AP) — The Denver VA Medical Center says it will delay some surgeries and send others to outside hospitals while maintenance is performed on operating room equipment next week. Hospital Interim Director Carolyn Adams said Thursday the work involves water pressure and filters on some surgical equipment. She says surgeries that don't require that equipment will go on as planned. Adams says the VA will pay for any surgeries done by outside hospitals because of the maintenance work. Engineers don't yet know how long the work will take. Last year, the hospital had to delay more than 115 surgeries or send the patients to other hospitals while air-handling units were checked.

  • John Smoltz the 1st HOFer following Tommy John surgery

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    When John Smoltz is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in three weeks he'll be the first player enshrined following Tommy John surgery. "That's pretty doubtful that he would be the last," said renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who performed Smoltz's surgery. "You can't believe how many are out there now that are pitching very successfully. "It's quite an accomplishment to go through that and make the Hall of Fame," Andrews said. "It's not going to be the easiest thing to reproduce, but I'm sure somebody will come along and duplicate that." There will be plenty of candidates. In a four-year span alone (2004-07), Andrews performed the surgery on 588 pitchers, nearly one-fourth of high school age or young

  • Utah prison puts 3 employees on leave after inmate death

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Three more Utah state prison employees have been put on leave while officials investigate the death of an inmate who went without dialysis for days after providers failed to show up for treatment, the prison said Thursday. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Adams declined to name the employees but said they were on duty in the prison's hospital in April when 62-year-old inmate Ramon C. Estrada died from an apparent heart attack related to kidney failure. She said Thursday that the three employees were placed on leave based on early findings in two separate investigations into Estrada's death. She did not release details about those findings. A fourth employee, the prison's hospital dire

  • Branstad vetoes $56 million in school spending, rejects plan to preserve mental health centers

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Branstad vetoes $56 million in school spending, rejects plan to preserve mental health centers.

  • Washington woman's measles death is first in US since 2003

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    SEATTLE (AP) — Measles killed a Washington woman in the spring — the first such death in the U.S. in 12 years and the first in the state in 25, health officials said Thursday. The case wasn't related to a recent measles outbreak that started at Disneyland and triggered a national debate about vaccinations, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Officials said it was a different strain. The Washington woman lacked some of the measles' common symptoms, such as a rash, so the infection wasn't discovered until an autopsy, department spokesman Donn Moyer said. It was the 11th case of measles in Washington — and the sixth in Clallam County — this year, he said.

  • Montana Supreme Court ducks decision on punitive damages cap

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court overturned a $52 million jury verdict in a breach-of-contract case, but justices did not rule on the constitutionality of the state's $10 million punitive damages cap. The court on Wednesday sent the case back to District Court in Butte for a new trial, saying Masters Group International's lawsuit against Comerica Bank should have been tried under Michigan law, where Comerica previously was headquartered. The Supreme Court, therefore, did not rule on the question of whether Montana can rightfully limit jury decisions on punitive damages. They are awarded in addition to what is necessary to compensate losses so as to punish particularly malicious behavior.

  • Cowboys linebacker McClain suspended four games for substance abuse

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    The NFL has suspended Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain for the first four games in 2015, saying McClain violated the league’s substance abuse policy. McClain already faced a four-game fine for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, and his latest failed drug test lead to this four-game suspension. McClain is able to participate in the Cowboys’ offseason and preseason practices and games, but will miss the first four regular-season games without pay. He is not eligible to return to the active roster until Oct. 5 following the team’s Oct. 4 game against the New Orleans Saints. McClain’s first game next season would be against the New England Patriots in Week 5. The 25-year-old apologized for wha

  • Slate of new Arizona laws involve ride-hailing, abortions

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    PHOENIX (AP) — A slew of Arizona laws that take affect Friday include new rules for ride-hailing companies like Uber, access to vouchers for all children living on Indian reservations, and a ban on abortion coverage in insurance policies bought through the federal exchange. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed 324 laws passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature in their spring session. Here is a look at some of them: ___ SOCIAL ISSUES: —Women who buy health insurance on federal exchanges can no longer purchase optional abortion coverage under a bill pushed by Republicans in the Legislature. A provision that would have required doctors to tell patients that medication abortions could be reversed is on hold pending a

  • FDA clears drug for leading form of cystic fibrosis

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health officials have approved a new combination drug for the most common form of cystic fibrosis, the debilitating inherited disease that causes internal mucus buildup, lung infections and early death. But it will come at a steep price — more than $250,000 for a year's treatment. The Food and Drug Administration cleared the twice-a-day pill from Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. for a variation of cystic fibrosis that affects about 8,500 people in the U.S. who are 12 years and older. The approval notice was posted to the agency's website Thursday. The new drug — to be sold as Orkambi — is Vertex's follow-up to its breakthrough pill Kalydeco, which became the first drug to treat the underlying caus

  • Pennsylvania backs off plan to change nursing home payments

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Wolf administration is backing off a proposal to restructure Medicaid payments to nursing homes that a trade association found would have rewarded 13 homes accused by Pennsylvania state prosecutors of failing to meet residents' most basic needs. Pennsylvania's Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas told advocacy groups Thursday that responses to the proposal prompted his agency to reconsider it. Dallas says the formula will stay the same while his agency keeps working on it. He says the agency wants to help nursing homes whose patients are most likely to be covered by Medicaid.

  • Centene makes $6.3B bid for fellow insurer Health Net

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    Centene has jumped into the mix of managed-care companies scrambling to bulk up as the health care overhaul changes their business with a $6.3-billion bid for fellow insurer Health Net. The deal announced Thursday gives St. Louis-based Centene a chance to expand in two hot growth areas for health insurers, the state- and federally-funded Medicaid program for the poor and people with disabilities; and the federally-supported Medicare Advantage program, which has seen its overall enrollment triple over the past decade. The health care overhaul is expanding Medicaid coverage to millions as it seeks to provide health insurance for more people. This comes as more states are turning to insurers to help them manage their Medicaid po

  • Health Net and BP are big market movers

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market: NYSE Health Net Inc., up $6.51 to $71.57 The managed health care services company is being bought by Medicaid coverage provider Centene Corp. for about $6.3 billion. BP PLC, up $2.02 to $41.29 The oil company will pay $18.7 billion in a settlement with several states to resolve years of litigation over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Aeropostale Inc., up 15 cents to $1.79 The clothing and accessories company said it will expand further in Asia with new licensing deals in India and Indonesia. Hewlett-Packard Co., up 17 cents to $30.

  • Appeals court upholds $237M judgment against SC hospital

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld a $237 million judgment against a South Carolina hospital in a false Medicare claims case. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected Tuomey Healthcare System's challenge Thursday. In 2012, a federal jury cleared the Sumpter hospital of any wrongdoing. But the judge determined he had improperly excluded some testimony and ordered a new trial. At the second trial, a jury found that Tuomey submitted nearly 22,000 false claims to Medicare under an arrangement with doctors that amounted to an illegal kickback scheme. Prosecutors said the fraudulent claims totaled $39 million.

  • Maine hospital says nurses plan to strike later this month

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A nursing union at the second largest hospital in Maine is planning to strike over what it alleges are dangerously unsafe staffing levels. The Maine State Nurses Association, National Nurses Organizing Committee and National Nurses United contract with Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor was set to expire on Thursday, and bargaining teams representing the union and the hospital were resuming recently stalled negotiations. Spokespeople for the union and the hospital said the union gave notice Thursday that members plan to strike on July 13 and 14. Cokie Giles, a nurse at the hospital and president of the Maine State Nurses Association, said the hospital's staff of 834 union nurses needs to be closer

  • 2 separate salmonella outbreaks sicken 7 people in Minnesota

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Several recent cases of salmonella in Minnesota have been linked to stuffed chicken entrees that look cooked but are actually raw, officials said Thursday. The illnesses happened in two separate outbreaks involving products from two unrelated producers and two different salmonella strains, the state health and agriculture departments said in a statement Thursday. Four illnesses were linked to Barber Foods Chicken Kiev from April 5 through June 8. The product had a U.S. Department of Agriculture stamped code of P-276. Three other people got sick after eating Antioch Farms Chicken Cordon Bleu from May 9 to June 8. That product had a USDA code of P-1358. Two people were hospitalized in each outbreak, but

  • 1 death reported from salmonella outbreak at NC restaurant

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) — State health officials say one person has died in connection with a salmonella outbreak at a North Carolina barbecue restaurant. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced the death on its website, but provided no additional details. According to the department, 248 cases of the diarrheal illness were associated with eating food from Tarheel Q, the Lexington restaurant where the outbreak originated. The cases include people from 19 North Carolina counties and five states. Officials say 6 percent of those people stricken were hospitalized. In addition, Tarheel Q is the target of at least seven lawsuits. Owner Trey Payne wouldn't comment on the lawsuits.

  • Sales banned at facility where disease found in captive deer

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — No white-tailed deer can be bought or sold at a facility where the first case of chronic wasting disease in a Texas white-tailed deer was found, a state official said Thursday. The case involving a 2-year-old white-tailed deer at a Medina County breeding facility was confirmed by a federal lab in Iowa earlier this week, Texas Animal Health Commission spokeswoman Kyle McNulty said. "This place deals with selling and buying a lot," she said of the operation where there are as many as 100 white-tailed deer. The disease was first detected in Texas in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer in far West Texas. This is the first time the disease has been found in a white-tailed deer in Texas.

  • Federal government to step up bird flu monitoring this fall

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The federal government announced plans Thursday to step up monitoring wild birds for avian influenza this fall to provide an early warning of any resurgence of a disease that devastated poultry farms in the Upper Midwest. The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a pair of plans aimed at minimizing the impacts on domestic poultry flocks if any bird flu viruses return or mutate in migrating waterfowl and other wild birds. "The early detection of avian influenza remains key to controlling its spread and minimizing its effects," Dr. John Clifford, the USDA's chief veterinary officer, said in a statement.

  • Maryland governor out of hospital after 1st round of chemo

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is out of the hospital and back at work after his first round of chemotherapy for an aggressive form of cancer. Hogan posted messages on social media Thursday saying, "It feels great to be back in Annapolis!" He posted that he spent the morning catching up with staff and working. The first-term Republican governor spent five days at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, receiving treatment for B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. When he announced the diagnosis June 22, he said the disease was at an advanced stage but his prognosis was good. New Jersey governor and Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie says he and Hogan talked almost every day

  • Nebraska officials report year's 1st West Nile virus case

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska health authorities have reported the state's first human case of West Nile virus for 2015. The Nebraska Health and Human Services Department said in a news release Thursday that someone who lives in the Central District Health Department area tested positive for West Nile virus but was not hospitalized. The district covers Hall, Hamilton and Merrick counties. Dr. Tom Safranek is the state epidemiologist, and he says West Nile virus "can be a mild illness for some and serious for others." The state reported 142 confirmed human cases last year and eight deaths. Experts say most people who are infected have no symptoms or experience only mild flu-like symptoms.




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