MASSDEVICE ON CALL — At last week’s Kentucky Farm Bureau’s annual Ham Breakfast, politicians erupted into debate over healthcare reform. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Gov. Steve Beshear (D-Ky.) faced off over the breakfast table, the Kentucky governor claiming the law will work for his state and McConnell responding with a critique of high insurance premiums, according to The Associated Press.
Beshear supports the healthcare law and last year set up a health benefit exchange in Kentucky to coordinate coverage for the 640,000 Kentuckians who lack insurance. He insisted that the law would be a boon to the state economy.
McConnell, an outspoken critic of the Affordable Care Act, criticized the governor’s comments, responding that high-cost premiums will push workings to increasingly offer part-time positions.
A weight loss coach in your pocket: Weilos debuts mobile app
Weight-loss software service Weilos is going mobile, allowing users to share their weight loss stories with peers via a smartphone app. The Weilos weight-loss services debuted at Y Combinator’s Summer 2013 Demo Day. It harnesses the touted successes of peer-to-peer sharing networks by requiring users to share their motivations for shedding pounds and previous failed attempts with a group. Weilos founder Ray Wu said the screening is necessary because everyone in the network should be truly committed to losing weight, he told MobiHealthNews. After a 14-day free trial, users can choose a personal weight loss coach.
Companies providing medical staff over-billed Medicare, regulators say
Medical staffing companies, including TeamHealth Inc., have been accused of "up-coding" services, a practice that violates the False Claims act by over-billing Medicare and Medicaid. A whistleblower accused staffing companies of manipulating record-keeping templates used to keep track of services provided. In response to the lawsuit, filed in California federal court, TeamHealth said the accusations are "without merit" and that it plans to "vigorously defend against the allegations," according to a regulatory filing.
89 year-old Medtronic founder misses annual shareholder meeting
For the 1st time since launching the company in 1949, Medtronic co-founder Earl Bakken did not attend the annual shareholder meeting. The 89-year-old listened in on the conference call from his home in Hawaii, according to CEO Omar Ishrak. Bakken has attended all 56 previous annual shareholder meetings, which are held in Minnesota. He originally founded the company to sell hospital equipment, and in the 50s he developed a pacemaker that ran on batteries.
Medtronic now employs more than 46,000 people.
Researchers publish a new technique for brain implants
Two main problems when implanting brain devices are implant property changes that take place during procedures, and the microscopic scale of the implants. Researchers from the Capadona Lab at Case Western Reserve University have found a new technique that addresses these challenges. They created specialized instruments to measure the tiny implants after being transferred from living animals. This preserves the changed properties of the implant, allowing scientists to test devices in a more realistic model.