TLC opens LASIK center in Des Moines

TLC Vision (St. Louis), an eye care services company, reported the opening of a LASIK Select center in Des Moines, Iowa. This is the third of five new centers the company expects to open in the first quarter, and 10 LASIK Select centers total for 2006.

Medicare rate boosted for Plicator

NDO Surgical (Mansfield, Massachusetts) said Medi-care has increased the reimbursement rate for the Plicator procedure for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Effective Jan. 1, the hospital outpatient facility reimbursement for the Plicator procedure increased by about 7.5%.

The Plicator procedure was first recognized for payment under Medicare's hospital outpatient payment system on April 1, 2005.

NDO Surgical's Full-Thickness Plicator is an endoscopic GERD treatment based on the principles of anti-reflux surgery. In an outpatient procedure, the Plicator is used to grasp, fold and fixate tissue at the junction between the esophagus and the stomach, thus tightening the valve that acts as a barrier to gastric reflux.

The company said the Plicator is the only endoscopic GERD treatment that mimics tissue restructuring performed during anti-reflux surgery. It added that studies have shown the Plicator procedure to be effective in reducing both symptoms and medication use associated with GERD.

More than 15 million Americans suffer from daily heartburn, the most common symptom of GERD. Until recently, treatment options for GERD have been limited to chronic drug therapy or anti-reflux surgery, which requires general anesthesia, multiple incisions and a recovery period lasting several days.

Applied Imaging retains Aquilo Partners

Applied Imaging (San Jose, California) reported that the company has retained investment bank Aquilo Partners (San Francisco) to assist management in exploring strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value.

The company said it believes that now is an “opportune time“ to launch such an initiative, given the resolution in 2005 of outstanding legacy corporate issues, enhancement of the financial and operating performance of its core businesses, and further development of its CTC Inc. subsidiary.

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