Filed under: Health care

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Federal cash to ward off Medicare Advantage cuts

Millions of seniors in popular private insurance plans offered through Medicare will get a reprieve from some of the most controversial cuts in President Barack Obama’s health care law. Get the full story »

Electronic eyeglasses could mean end of bifocals

Electronic eyeglasses being charged. (PixelOptics)

If you’re reading these words through bifocals or progressive lenses, your life could change in June. That’s when a company called PixelOptics in Roanoke, Va., plans to release emPower, a line of electronic eyeglasses that let wearers toggle between two prescriptions, with settings for close-up and distance vision. Get the full story »

University of Chicago nurses authorize strike

Union nurses at University of Chicago Medical Center have voted to authorize a strike, but an interim contract will keep them on the job until at least the end of June. Get the full story »

FDA OKs first-of-a-kind device for brain cancer

Device maker Novocure said Friday the Food and Drug Administration approved its first-of-a-kind treatment which fights cancerous brain tumors using electrical energy fields. Get the full story »

Tyree death put U. of C.’s Medicare funding at risk

The federal government threatened to strip a key financial lifeline at University of Chicago Medical Center in the wake of a medical error that contributed to the death last month of Chicago Sun-Times Chairman James Tyree. Get the full story »

Advocate to partner with CVS MinuteClinics in Ill.

A nurse practitioner checks a patient at the Minute Clinic on N. Southport in Chicago. (Nuccio DiNuzzo /Chicago Tribune)

Advocate Health Care, the state’s largest provider of medical care, has signed with CVS Caremark Corp. to provide medical directors and related clinical expertise to the pharmacy giant’s nearly two dozen retail clinics in Illinois.

The agreement calls for CVS’ 23 MinuteClinic brand clinics in the Chicago area and Bloomington, and Advocate, which operates 10 hospitals in Illinois, to work together on a variety of protocols in a more robust relationship between the traditional provider of inpatient and outpatient medical care and a retail clinic. Financial terms were not disclosed. Get the full story »

Abbott absorbable stent shows good results

Abbott Laboratories Inc.’s experimental Absorb heart stent, designed to dissolve and thereby restore the blood vessel’s natural flexibility, has proven safe and effective a year after being implanted in patients, researchers said. Get the full story »

Job worries drive growth in plastic surgery

Eye lifts lead the growth in plastic surgery. (Reuters)

As the U.S. economy gets a lift, so do faces. More than 13 million cosmetic plastic surgeries were performed in the U.S. during 2010, up 5 percent from 2009, according the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, or ASPS.

Phillip Haeck, president of the ASPS, has noticed a sharp increase in plastic surgeries in his own practice. And much of his business is coming from men over the age of 55 who are concerned about keeping their jobs. Get the full story »

Abbott gets approval for wireless test device

Abbott Laboratories said Tuesday that it received marketing approval for a version of its i-STAT 1 blood testing system that can transmit results wirelessly. Get the full story »

Improved Medtronic defibrillator wins U.S. OK

Medtronic Inc. has won U.S. approval for a new generation of implantable defibrillators designed to cut back on inappropriate shocks delivered by the devices, the company said on Monday.

A defibrillator is designed to shock a dangerously irregular heartbeat back to its normal rhythm. Get the full story »

Weight-loss surgery backed for some diabetics

A diabetes expert group backed the use of weight-loss surgery Monday for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in severely obese patients.

According to a statement from the International Diabetes Federation, there is increasing evidence that the health of obese people with type 2 diabetes can benefit substantially from weight-loss surgery under some circumstances. Get the full story »

Update: Illinois has enough anti-radiation drugs

If a nuclear reactor were to melt down in Illinois, the state has enough potassium iodide on hand to distribute to residents living within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency said Friday.

A top official with the agency had said earlier at a public forum hosted by U.S. Senators Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin that there weren’t enough tablets on hand.

An IEMA spokeswoman clarified Friday, saying that the agency has 90,000 tablets on hand for first responders and 175,000 tablets on-hand to distribute to the public. She said about 180,000 people total live within 10 miles of a nuclear reactor in Illinois. Joseph Klinger, the assistant director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency misspoke when he said 180,000 people on average live within 10 miles of each nuclear plant in Illinois. Get the full story »

Glaxo lawyer: Abbott used HIV drug as weapon

Abbott Laboratories improperly hiked the price of one drug to help it preserve sales growth of one of its other HIV blockbusters, an attorney for GlaxoSmithKline told a jury. Get the full story »

McRaith: New health law protects more consumers

Michael T. McRaith in 2009. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

A year after the health care overhaul was signed into law by President Barack Obama, the state’s top insurance official says consumers in Illinois are better protected against insurance company business practices that threatened their health benefits.

Michael McRaith, Illinois insurance director, said Wednesday morning that Illinois was becoming a market dominated by just a few “for-profit” insurance companies such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, which is a mutual company owned by policyholders. Get the full story »

Bayer’s U.S. unit charged with sex discrimination

Six former and current employees of Bayer AG’s U.S. health care arm filed a $100 million gender discrimination lawsuit Monday, claiming the U.S. unit discriminates against its female employees in terms of pay and promotion, as well as pregnancy leave. Get the full story »