BAXTER’S $276 MILLION ACCOUNTING ERROR: Baxter International inflated its income from continuing operations by about $276 million over the last 3½ years, according to the results of its four-month-long internal investigation. READ MORE.
The Deerfield-based medical products company in October announced it was looking into what it called “certain misstatements in the company’s previously reported non-operating income related to net foreign exchange gains.”
OPINION: KEEP COUNTY HEALTH BOARD INDEPENDENT: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s proposed changes to the county health board would fundamentally weaken the authority, independence and legitimacy of the board, write Don V. Villar, Laurence Msall and Margie Shaps in an opinion piece. Villar is secretary and treasurer of the Chicago Federation of Labor, Msall is president of the Civic Federation and Schaps is executive director of the Health & Medicine Policy Research Group.
DEBATE CONTINUES ON ETHYLENE OXIDE REGULATION: The medical device industry, federal regulators and state authorities continue to debate how to best balance medical device production and environmental impacts as they review ethylene oxide standards for sterilization facilities, Modern Healthcare reports.
The Advanced Medical Technology Association has urged the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back its proposed limitations on ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions, saying that restricting the most common medical device sterilization process would disrupt patient access to devices and compromise their safety. Meanwhile, state attorneys general are pushing the EPA and Food & Drug Administration to implement stronger emission standards for ethylene oxide, which has been linked to cancer.
Last week Medline Industries began testing emissions control systems at its Waukegan plant in order to satisfy state regulator criteria to resume ethylene oxide medical device sterilization. READ MORE.
CDC TO TAP INTO LOCAL HEALTH LABS FOR CORONAVIRUS SURVEILLANCE: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has begun working with public health laboratories in five cities, including Chicago, “to tap into their ability to conduct community-based influenza surveillance” to test for the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in communities, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization & Respiratory Diseases, said during a Feb. 14 telebreifing.
Messonnier said the CDC’s national surveillance will include conducting novel coronavirus testing on specimens from patients with flu-like symptoms in the general population through public health labs, starting in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and New York City.
“This is leveraging our existing influenza and viral respiratory surveillance systems,” she said. “This is an extra layer of our response that will help us detect if and when this virus is spreading in the community.”
Meanwhile, an associate professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is a co-author of a study published in the Lancet that says there is no evidence that the coronavirus can jump from a pregnant mother to her unborn child in the third trimester. Wei Zhang, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Feinberg School, cautioned in a statement, however, that these results may not be generlizable to earlier-stage pregnancies and that the study had a small sample size of nine pregnant women. Concerns about possible transmission of coronavirus from pregnant women to their unborn children have arisen after Chinese state media reported on an infected patient who gave birth to a baby who later tested positive for the virus, the statement said.
ILLINOIS MEDICAL DISTRICT MAKES ITS CASE FOR GROWTH: The Illinois Medical District says it is uniquely positioned to build both a thriving health innovation district and residential and commercial development on the Near West Side. The district, which includes more than 40 health care organizations, anchored by four hospitals, Rush University Medical Center, University of Illinois Hospital, Stroger Hospital and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, can leverage federal tax incentives to attract private capital for mixed-use developments in the area, the district said in a statement last week.
The district details its advantages in a white paper released Feb. 12 that identifies specific expansion opportunities. The statement says the Illinois Medical District has low public visibility and is competing for attention with other area life-science developments, leading the IMD to begin a process of raising its profile by educating stakeholders about infrastructure plans and neighborhood safety.
EMPLOYER-SPONSORED HEALTH SPENDING GROWS 4.4%: Per-capita health spending for the 160 million Americans in employer-sponsored health plans grew by 4.4% in 2018, the third consecutive year of increases above 4%, according to the latest annual spending report by the Health Care Cost Institute, Modern Healthcare reports.
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE:
• Sarah Rittman joined Chicago-based health care management consulting firm HealthScape Advisors as a principal, and Lee Stuck has been hired as the firm’s chief analytics officer.
- Public health expert warns virus not going away – KSAT San Antonio
- Tesla asks employees to resume production at Fremont car plant despite coronavirus health orders – CNBC
- Major health groups and charities urge Trump to reverse World Health Organization funding decision – CNN
- Public health officials push back on May opening | TheHill – The Hill
- Analysis | The Health 202: Los Angeles is racing to discover the true coronavirus infection rate – The Washington Post
- Some Public Health Officials Not Releasing Coronavirus Hospitalizations : Shots – Health News – NPR
- Covid-19 health-care crisis could drive new developments in robotics, editorial says – The Washington Post
- Lost Your Health Insurance During the COVID-19 Crisis? Here Are Your Options – The Motley Fool
- El Paso virus cases jump to 35 as health leaders warn of increased risk of ‘community spread’ – KVIA El Paso