Women's hospital in N. Cal. to be established

With its free-standing, three-story maternal child health pavilion as its centerpiece, El Camino Hospital (Mountain View, California) said that it is establishing the first women's hospital in Northern California.

The Women's Hospital encompasses not only El Camino Hospital's prenatal, maternity and neonatal services, but also a comprehensive range of clinical services focused on the health needs of women throughout their lifetimes.

"In the best tradition — and reflecting the best practices — of women's hospitals worldwide, we are creating both a hospital and a service line designed and staffed to meet the unique needs and preferences of women," said Ken Graham, El Camino Hospital CEO.

Bederra takes steps to full reporting

Bederra (Houston), a medical imaging and diagnostic company, said that it has taken steps toward becoming a fully reporting company. The company began filing its material events and financial reports at www.pinksheets.com.

Because of the expansion in the range of services and the facility, the increase into the revenue of the company has enabled them to invest in the long-range future of the company. As part of Bederra's stated strategy to increase transparency and open to trading in the larger bases of retail and institutional investors, the benefits of being a fully reporting company becomes self-explanatory.

"Transparency is of the utmost importance in this market, and Bederra believes now is the right time to make material information more easily accessible to our shareholders. Becoming a fully reporting company will also help us reach a much broader audience of broker dealers and key market makers," said CEO Graham Williams of Bederra Corp. "We are dedicated to meeting the rigid requirements of becoming a fully reporting company that trades on a larger exchange."

ASE backs the use of contrast agents

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE; Morrisville, North Carolina) has backed the use of contrast agents, used to enhance echocardiogram images, and provided a guide for physicians who may be hesitant to use the contrast agents following a 2007 FDA black box warning. In a new statement, supported by expert consensus opinion, critical review, and evidence-based research, ASE outlines why, when and how the contrast agents should be used to enhance diagnosis, the role for each person in the lab, and methods to implement contrast in the lab. The statement, "The American Society of Echocardiography Consensus Statement on the Clinical Applications of Ultrasonic Contrast Agents in Echocardiography," was released in the November issue of the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography.

"Ultrasound contrast agents have an established role in clinical diagnosis, patient management and clinical research," said Sharon Mulvagh, MD, one of the lead authors of the document. "Contrast agents can provide sonographers and physicians the clear images they need to diagnose life-threatening heart conditions that may not be otherwise visible."

World Heart receives Nasdsq deficiency letter

World Heart (Oakland, California) said that on Oct. 29, it received a Nasdaq Staff Deficiency Letter indicating that the company does not comply with Marketplace Rule 4310(c)(7). This rule requires the company to maintain a minimum of 500,000 publicly held shares for continued listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market.

For purposes of this requirement, the number of publicly held shares excludes shares held by affiliates, including officers, directors, or 10% shareholders. The Nasdaq staff is reviewing the company's eligibility for continued listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market and had asked the company to provide, on or before Nov. 21, its specific plan to achieve and sustain compliance with all the Nasdaq Capital Market listing requirements, including the timeframe for completion of the plan.

APS moves to Westchester County

APS Healthcare, a provider of specialty healthcare solutions, has moved its headquarters to White Plains, New York, from its previous locale in Silver Spring, Maryland). Ultimately, the move is expected to bring 200 new jobs to White Plains. To date, the company has hired more than 70 persons.

"Westchester County is an excellent location for our rapidly growing organization," said Jerry Vaccaro, MD, president/COO of APS. "We are attracting a highly skilled and impressive work force."

APS Healthcare partners with agencies in more than 20 states, representing more than 40% of the nation's Medicaid population. Its customized, integrated healthcare solutions are designed to help people engage in behaviors that optimize their health status.

NxStage says hemodialysis growth up 35%

NxStage Medical (Lawrence, Massachusetts) said that 3,000 end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients are now prescribed to receive therapy using its NxStage System One, a portable home hemodialysis machine. This milestone represents 35% growth in patient adoption since the end of 2007. The NxStage System One is now available at hundreds of dialysis centers in markets throughout the U.S.

"We are pleased by the continuing, annual increase in patient adoption of daily home hemodialysis (DHD) with the NxStage System One," said Jeff Burbank, president/CEO of NxStage Medical. "This validates our strategy to build sustained growth by working closely with patients and their care-providers in key markets while continuing to broaden nationwide access."

CMS sets reimbursement rate for VNS therapy

Cyberonics (Houston) said that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has published the 2009 CMS Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Final Rule and Ambulatory Payment Classification (APC) rate for VNS Therapy.

The final rule, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2009, sets reimbursement at $12,545 for insertion of VNS Therapy generators and $7,234 for insertion of associated leads. The final rates are higher than those proposed in July. The current reimbursement rates for VNS Therapy generators and leads are $11,877 and $14,061, respectively.

Cyberonics is a medical technology company with core expertise in neuromodulation. The company developed and markets the Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) Therapy system, which is FDA-approved for the treatments of refractory epilepsy and treatment-resistant depression. The VNS Therapy System uses a surgically implanted medical device that delivers pulsed electrical signals to the vagus nerve.