Week in Review: May 3

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Laboratories news, and upcoming events.

Industry News

Single-Payer Health Care a ‘Major Undertaking,’ CBO Says

Creating a single-payer health care system in the U.S. would be a “major undertaking that would involve substantial changes” to medical coverage, according to a report issued by the Congressional Budget Office. The nonpartisan agency that evaluates the potential budgetary, economic, and other effects of legislative proposals didn’t assess any specific bill. Congressional Democrats have put forward a number of measures that would expand or overhaul government health programs. Via Bloomberg.

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FDA Approves the First Vaccine For Dengue Fever, but with Major Restrictions

Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the first vaccine against dengue fever, one that protects against a common disease but has generated significant controversy due to evidence it can increase the risk of severe infection in some people. Via STAT.

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UBiome Co-Founders Are Placed on Leave Amid FBI Investigation into Company

UBiome, a microbiome-related startup under FBI scrutiny for its billing practices, announced Wednesday that its co-chief executives had been placed on administrative leave and that it had launched its own independent investigation into the matter. Via STAT.

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Mayo Clinic News

Mayo Focused on Proving PGx Clinical Utility, Educating Docs after Sequencing 10K Cohort

With the sequencing now done, study participants with variants in 13 genes associated with drug response have had this information incorporated into their EMRs so that it is accessible to doctors at the point of care via clinical decision support alerts, while information related to the other genes is accessible for research. Richard Weinshilboum, a professor of pharmacology at Mayo Clinic who co-directs the Center for Individualized Medicine's pharmacogenomics program, said his colleagues are now focused on gathering evidence to demonstrate the clinical utility of PGx testing in the population and discover new drug/gene interactions. Via GenomeWeb.

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Alternative Medicine Practitioners May Market Bogus Celiac Tests, Treatments

The study wasn’t designed to assess health outcomes for anyone who tried the marketed services. But there are many potential harms, including the potential for patients to throw a lot of money away on tests and treatments with no track record of success, said Dr. Joseph Murray, a researcher with the Celiac Disease Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. There’s also the risk that patients will be misdiagnosed, or get sicker while a proper diagnosis is delayed, Murray, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “It is well known and often seen that patients who have celiac disease are more difficult to diagnose properly if they have been started on a gluten-free diet without sufficient testing first,” Murray said. Via Reuters.

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Mayo Clinic Names CEO in Arizona

Mayo Clinic has named Dr. Richard Gray as the next chief executive for its operations in Arizona, which last year announced a significant expansion project. Gray succeeds an interim CEO, who stepped in with the departure last year of Dr. Wyatt Decker, who is now chief executive of OptumHealth, the business within Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group that includes a growing network of ambulatory care centers. Last year, Mayo Clinic said it would spend $648 million on an expansion of Mayo Clinic's hospital campus at the northern edge of the city of Phoenix. Mayo also has a campus in Scottsdale, which is a Phoenix suburb. “Mayo Clinic is making a big investment on our Phoenix campus," Gray said in an interview. Via Star Tribune.

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Suzanne R. Ferguson

Suzanne Ferguson is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories and has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2014. Outside of work, Suzanne can be found traveling, reading and spending time with her family.