Feeling shaky about Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament? Remember, no program is more solid.

For as much as Mark Few’s program has done to establish itself as a perennial power, it is still judged too critically by a single loss in its mid-major conference.
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Exclusive: SpaceX, Boeing design risks threaten new delays for U.S. space program

NASA has warned SpaceX and Boeing Co of design and safety concerns for their competing astronaut launch systems, according to industry sources and a new government report, threatening the U.S. bid to revive its human spaceflight program later this year.


Reuters: Science News

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Building a Cardiac Program With Heart

With warm, dry seasonal weather on the way, David Ford knew it would soon be time to refresh the vast gardens in his yard, and tend to his certified wildlife sanctuary of bobcats, bears, birds, bees, and other creatures.

But, he also knew that if he was going to help his wife, Phi, with the heavy lifting on their outdoor projects, it was time to get serious about the chest pain he had been self-medicating with over-the-counter antacids.

David visited his Kaiser Permanente primary care physician and a cardiologist, who referred him to Yong Shin, MD, chief of cardiovascular surgery at Kaiser Permanente Northwest Center for Heart and Vascular Care in Clackamas, Oregon. David underwent numerous tests so his care team could identify the source of the problem and recommend a treatment that would give him the best outcome.

Trusted expertise

As a retired health care executive, David felt out of his comfort zone in his new role as a patient — but he and Phi did their homework. They were pleased to learn that Dr. Shin had attended Cornell University and trained at Harvard Medical School before leading the launch in 2009 of Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s heart surgery program.

“We learned that Dr. Shin is committed to providing the least intervention possible,” says David. “That resonated with us in a good way.”

The procedure that Dr. Shin performed on David — known as coronary artery bypass grafting — involves removing an artery from the patient’s chest, arm, or leg and creating a detour to improve blood supply to the heart muscle. Patients are usually placed on a heart-lung machine (also called “on-pump”), which permits the surgeon to temporarily stop the heart, and resume it once the graft is completed.

David Ford and his wife, Phi.

David and Phi have more healthy years together thanks to life-saving care from Dr. Yong Shin and team.

Phi said, “When Dr. Shin and Dr. Phillip Lund (anesthesiologist) came out to talk to me in the waiting room, they each had a huge grin and were jumping for joy. I was so relieved, I slept for 9 straight hours!”

A world-class heart surgery program

Building the Northwest’s top-rated heart program took time, dedication, and heart. In Dr. Shin’s words, “We looked at what would be best for patients and their families, and we put them at the center of all our decisions. We created a program where we would feel confident sending our own loved ones.”

He attributes the program’s success to a rigorous focus on multidisciplinary care, evidence-based medicine, recruiting top talent, and teamwork.


“We make every stitch a masterpiece. When patients trust us with their lives, we are obligated to do our very best.”

— Yong Shin, MD

As for multidisciplinary care, Dr. Shin calls out several specialists that form a patient’s care team, such as surgeons, cardiologists, critical care doctors, hospitalists, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, care coordinators, social workers, physical therapists, respiratory therapists … and the list goes on. “Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an entire hospital to have a successful heart program,” he said.

David is grateful for the entire “village” who cared for him, from pre-admission all the way through discharge and follow-up. “All the pieces were knitted together to form a team that functioned flawlessly. This says a lot about the integrity — and the uniqueness — of the program that Dr. Shin and his team have built.”

A privilege and a blessing

Dr. Shin believes Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Heart and Vascular Care has achieved — and maintained — clinical excellence because, “We focus on giving the best care possible to our patients. We make every stitch a masterpiece. When patients trust us with their lives, we are obligated to do our very best.

“It’s a privilege and a blessing to come to work every day because I know that I have a 100% chance of helping somebody,” he said.

Learn more about cardiac care at Kaiser Permanente at kp.org/cardiac/northwest.

Accolades and Awards

Kaiser Permanente’s accolades underscore the highest category of quality, and place Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas, Oregon, among the elite for these surgeries in the United States and Canada.

  • Three stars (the highest rating) from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for patient care and outcomes in coronary artery bypass grafting (for 9 straight years), aortic valve replacement, and mitral valve repair/replacement.
  • A 3-star rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for patient care and lung cancer resection outcomes.
  • In 2018, Consumer Reports named Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center one of just 18 hospitals in the country to earn top scores in coronary artery bypass grafting and in aortic valve replacement

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HHS Finalizes Rule Seeking To Expel Planned Parenthood From Family Planning Program

The Trump administration Friday finalized a regulation intended to push Planned Parenthood out of the Title X federal family planning program, keeping a campaign promise to anti-abortion groups.

The program provides contraceptives, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and other primary health services to 4 million patients each year, many of them low-income or uninsured, at more than 4,000 clinic sites. Planned Parenthood serves about 40 percent of that caseload.

None of the funds provided for Title X services may be used for abortion. That has been true since the program was created in 1970. But abortion opponents have for decades complained that since many Planned Parenthood affiliates that receive Title X support also provide abortion, the federal family planning money can be improperly commingled with funds used for the procedure.

The new regulations erase previous program rules requiring that women with unintended pregnancies be given “nondirective counseling” on all options, including birth, adoption and abortion.

Under the new rules, Title X recipients would be banned from making abortion referrals in almost all cases. This would reverse existing rules, which require that a referral be given if a woman requests one. Counseling would still be allowed but no longer required.

The new rules “will ensure compliance with, and enhance implementation of, the statutory requirement that none of the funds appropriated for Title X may be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning,” says the executive summary.

Organizations would also have to physically separate facilities that provide Title X-funded services from those that provide abortions.

Abortion-rights and family planning provider groups were quick to decry the regulations. Planned Parenthood called the new rules a dealbreaker.

“This is direct interference with the practice of medicine and our ethical obligations to our patients,” the organization’s president, Dr. Leana Wen, told reporters on a conference call Friday. “Planned Parenthood cannot participate in a program that would force our providers to compromise their ethics.”

Other family planning groups called the rules out as well.

“This rule intentionally strikes at the heart of the patient-provider relationship, inserting political ideology into a family planning visit, which will frustrate and ultimately discourage patients from seeking the health care they need,” Clare Coleman, president and CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, the group that represents Title X recipients, said in a statement.

The American Medical Association said, “The patient-physician relationship relies on trust, open conversation and informed decision making and the government should not be telling physicians what they can and cannot say to their patients.”

But abortion foes have been pushing hard for the changes.

“We thank President Trump for taking decisive action to disentangle taxpayers from the big abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List. “The Title X program was not intended to be a slush fund for abortion businesses.”

Added Kristan Hawkins of the group Students for Life of America, “This is a life-saving policy change, as abortion vendors have used these family planning resources to underwrite their deadly enterprise.”

Defunding Planned Parenthood has been a goal of the anti-abortion movement for decades. Republicans thought they could make the group ineligible to provide care to Medicaid patients at part of their bill — which did not pass — to rewrite the Affordable Care Act in 2017. The Planned Parenthood provisions were struck from the bill under Senate rules even before the measure collapsed.

New York Attorney General Letitia James and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum promised to file suit against the regulation. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra also said he is prepared to sue, particularly because an estimated one-quarter of all women potentially affected by the changes live in California.

However, a similar set of rules, issued by President Ronald Reagan’s administration in 1987, were eventually upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991.

The rules will take effect in stages, starting 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register. The portion requiring physical and financial separation would not take effect for a year.

Kaiser Health News

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NASA mulls buying new rides to space from Russia amid program delays

NASA said on Friday it was weighing an option to buy two additional astronaut seats aboard a Russian rocket as a contingency plan against further delays in the launch systems being developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Boeing Co.


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Experts, images suggest a Saudi ballistic missile program

A military base deep inside Saudi Arabia appears to be testing and possibly manufacturing ballistic missiles, experts and satellite images suggest, evidence of the type of weapons program it has long criticized its archrival Iran for possessing.
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Apple’s battery replacement program cut into iPhone sales

Apple may have shot itself in the foot with its $ 29 iPhone battery replacement program as 10 million more users than anticipated opted to swap out their old batteries rather than pony up for a new phone. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has replaced 11 million batteries under the program, according to Daring Fireball’s John Gruber,…
Business | New York Post

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Here Are the Winners of the Google Podcasts Creator Program

Previously, BLACK ENTERPRISE reported that Google and PRX, a leader in podcast content, training, and technology were looking for multicultural podcast creators to participate in the accelerator portion of the Google Podcasts creator program. Well, it seems they are locked and loaded. Here are the participating teams:

AfroQueer, Nairobi, Kenya

Google Podcasts

AfroQueer, Maeve Francis, Aida Holly-Nambi, Selly Thiam (Image: Google)

A reported, narrative-driven podcast about queer Africans living, loving, surviving and thriving on the African continent and in the diaspora.

Las Raras, Santiago, Chile

Google Podcasts

Las Raras, Martin Cruz, Catalina May (Image: Google)

This Spanish-language, non-fiction podcast tells stories of “The Weird Ones,” the people who live on the margins of society because of their background or life choices, and how these stories challenge social norms.

Timestorm, Bloomfield, New Jersey

Google Podcasts

Timestorm, Michael Aquino, Dania Ramos (Image: Google)

This audio fiction series tells the story of 12-year-old twins, Alexa and Beni Ventura, who travel through time to uncover hidden moments in the history of Puerto Rican culture.

Long Distance, Los Angeles, California

Google Podcasts

Long Distance, Patrick Epino, Paola Mardo (Image: Google)

This reported, narrative podcast uncovers unknown histories and present-day realities about life in the Filipino diaspora.

The Colored Girl Beautiful, Baltimore, Maryland

Google Podcasts

The Colored Girl Beautiful, Baltimore, Maryland (Image: Google)

Explores black women’s concepts of beauty, then and now, using Emma Azalia Hackley’s 1916 book The Colored Girl Beautiful as a framework.

Who Taught You How To Drive?! Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Google Podcasts

Who Taught You How To Drive?!, Tanikka Charraé, Melissa Tsuei, Tezarah Wilkins (Image: Google)

A humorous interview podcast about how we get around told through the stories of drivers, walkers, riders, and bikers and their habits on the road.

“The teams selected for the first round show incredible promise, and we couldn’t be more excited to help these producers develop and grow their shows,” said Zack Reneau-Wedeen, Product Manager of Google Podcasts which launched in June 2018. “This program is one of the ways we hope to ensure that our millions of listeners have access to a variety of content for all types of global audiences.”

The program is funded by Google and run independently by PRX. The creator program aims to remove barriers to podcasting, increase the diversity of voices in the industry, and make sure content is available for all audiences through a series of educational programs, including a 20-week podcast training and accelerator program.

The post Here Are the Winners of the Google Podcasts Creator Program appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

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CRH 9-month EBITDA Rises; Commences Phase 3 Of Share Buyback Program

CRH Plc. (CRH, CRH.L), a building materials group, reported Tuesday that for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018, EBITDA, a key earnings metric, rose 8 percent to 2.5 billion euros from 2.3 billion euros in the year-ago period. Like-for-like EBITDA rose 2 percent.
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Government Investigation Finds Flaws In the FDA’s Orphan Drug Program

The Food and Drug Administration has failed to ensure that drugs given prized rare-disease status meet the intent of a 35-year-old law, federal officials revealed in a report Friday.

The Government Accountability Office, which spent more than a year investigating the FDA’s orphan drug program, said “challenges continue” in the program that was created to spur development of drugs for diseases afflicting fewer than 200,000 patients.

The investigation began after a request from three high-profile Republican senators last year, in the wake of a KHN investigation. KHN found that the program was being manipulated by drugmakers to maximize profits and to protect niche markets for medicines being taken by millions.

The GAO uncovered inconsistent and often incomplete reviews early in the process of designating medicines as orphan drugs and recommended “executive action” to fix the system. In some cases, FDA reviewers failed to show they had checked how many patients could be treated by a drug being considered for orphan drug status; instead, they appeared to trust what drugmakers told them.

In response to GAO’s probe, the FDA issued a statement saying it agreed with the report recommendations regarding documentation and that the agency is “streamlining our processes.” The agency declined requests for interviews. In a comment included with the report, Matthew Bassett, assistant secretary for legislation at the Department of Health and Human Services, said HHS agreed with GAO’s recommendations.

John Dicken, director of the GAO’s health care team, said the focus of the report is “ensuring that the intent of the law is being met.”

The FDA’s rare-disease program began after Congress overwhelmingly passed the 1983 Orphan Drug Act to motivate pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs for people who lacked treatments for their conditions. Rare diseases had been ignored by drugmakers because treatments for them weren’t expected to be profitable. The law provides fee waivers, tax incentives for research and seven years of marketing exclusivity for any drug the FDA approves as an “orphan.”

The incentives, though, have proven to be more powerful and highly coveted than expected, said Avik Roy, president of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, a conservative think tank.

Many people are “starting to wonder whether or not the Orphan Drug Act over-corrected for the problem,” Roy said, noting that a third of all pharmaceutical spending in the U.S. will be on so-called rare-disease medicines in 2020.

GAO analysts examined FDA records for 148 applications submitted by drugmakers for orphan drug approval in late 2017. FDA’s reviewers are supposed to apply two specific criteria — how many patients would be served and whether there is scientific evidence the drug will treat their disease.

In nearly 60 percent of the cases, the FDA reviewers did not capture regulatory history information, including “adverse actions” from other regulatory agencies. The FDA uses experienced reviewers, Dicken noted, who may already know the history of certain submitted drugs and not see the need to document it.

And 15 percent of the time FDA reviewers failed to independently verify patient estimates provided by the drugmaker.

Of the 148 records the GAO reviewed, 26 applications from manufacturers were granted orphan status even though the initial FDA staff review was missing information.

“It is tempting to think that perhaps those approvals were sort of granted routinely without sufficient scrutiny,” said Bernard Munos, senior fellow at FasterCures and the Milken Institute.

By contrast, early Orphan Drug Act advocate Abbey Meyers said she was not concerned about the lack of population estimates because many rare diseases lack population studies that show how common a disease is.

Rather, Meyers said, she’s “disappointed that there is no government-funded agency that is willing to finance” such research.

The GAO investigation began after Scott Gottlieb, who took over as FDA commissioner in May 2017, announced a “modernization” of the rare-disease program.

Critics have long complained that drugmakers game the FDA’s approval process for orphan drugs. In January 2017, the KHN investigation, which was co-published and aired by NPR, revealed that many orphan drugs aren’t entirely new and don’t always start as treatments for rare diseases.

The GAO report, while not analyzing the same years, found that 38.5 percent of orphan drug approvals from 2008 to 2017 were for drugs that had been previously approved either for mass-market or rare-disease use. About 71 percent of the drugs given orphan status were intended to treat diseases affecting fewer than 100,000 people.

KHN’s investigation found that popular mass-market drugs such as cholesterol blockbuster Crestor, Abilify for psychiatric conditions, cancer drug Herceptin and rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira, the best-selling medicine in the world, all won orphan approval yet were already on the market to treat common conditions.

In addition, more than 80 orphan drugs won FDA approval for more than one rare disease — or several — each one with its own bundle of rich incentives.

Genentech’s Avastin, a cancer treatment approved for mass-market use in 2004, won three more orphan-designated approvals this year for the treatment of three rare forms of cancer. It now has 11 approved orphan uses in all, and exclusive protections that keep generics at bay won’t run out until 2025.

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sent a letter in March 2017 asking the GAO to investigate the program and find out whether Congress’ original intent for it was still being followed.

“Despite the success of the Orphan Drug Act, 95 percent of rare diseases still have no treatment options,” Hatch said in a statement Friday. “I hope that my colleagues will utilize this [GAO] report as they work to strengthen the accomplishments of the Orphan Drug Act and encourage developers to continue their investment in this patient population.” The GAO report also mentioned concerns about prices, noting that “the ability to command high prices” was one reason the rare-disease market was growing so rapidly.

The average cost per patient for an orphan drug was $ 147,308 in 2017 compared with $ 30,708 for a mass-market drug, according to a 2018 EvaluatePharma report on the 100 top-selling drugs in the United States. Celgene’s chemotherapy drug Revlimid was the top-selling orphan with $ 5.4 billion in sales and $ 184,011 in revenue per patient.

“We have accepted culturally that it’s OK for a company to charge high prices for [orphan] drugs,” said Roy. “The end result is that a lot of these orphan drugs are $ 10 billion drugs, even though they are for rare diseases.”

From 2008 to 2017, more than half of the drugs granted orphan status were for cancer or blood disorders, according to the GAO report. And nearly two-thirds of drugs approved in the program were given expedited review processes, such as accelerated approval or fast-track designation.

Prior to announcing Gottlieb’s modernization plan, the FDA had a backlog of 138 drug applications for orphan status that had been waiting more than 120 days. The backlog was cleared in August 2017 after staff from across the agency stepped in to help.


KHN’s coverage of prescription drug development, costs and pricing is supported in part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

Kaiser Health News

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NASA selects nine U.S. companies to vie for moon program funding

NASA on Thursday named nine U.S. companies, including Lockheed Martin Corp, that will compete for funding under the space agency’s renewed long-term moon program, a private-public undertaking to develop technology that will explore the lunar surface.


Reuters: Science News

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Uber’s new rewards program offers significant perks for frequent riders

Uber Rewards Program

If you’re a frequent Uber rider and Uber Eats user, you’ll be pleased to learn that the company has launched the equivalent of a frequent flyer program for its services. The more money you spend on Uber and Uber Eats, the better and more interesting perks you’ll get, which, in turn, will motivate you to spend even more cash on Uber. Bikes and scooters will also be included in Uber Rewards soon.

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Uber’s new rewards program offers significant perks for frequent riders originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 14 Nov 2018 at 17:02:48 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Apple launches repair program for iPhone X units with faulty displays

iPhone X

Though not a widespread problem by any means, some iPhone X users over the past few months have experienced issues with non-responsive and temperamental displays. In light of this, Apple today launched a new replacement program for iPhone X users who have encountered this particular touch issue.

Per an Apple support document, impacted devices tend to exhibit one or two behaviors. Specifically, impacted iPhone X units will either not respond to touch at all or will react even when not touched. Either way, it’s undoubtedly a frustrating usability issue, especially for a device that was priced in excess of $ 999.

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Apple launches repair program for iPhone X units with faulty displays originally appeared on BGR.com on Sat, 10 Nov 2018 at 20:10:50 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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California’s Medi-Cal program paid $4B to recipients who may have been ineligible, audit shows

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This Program Empowers Kids By Helping Them Create ‘Superhero’ Prosthetics | NBC Nightly News

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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New Treasury program limits foreign investment in U.S. technology

The restrictions, which go into effect on Nov. 10, are part of a pilot program that aims to give the government more power to block foreign, non-controlling investments in companies involved in industries such as aircraft development and computer manufacturing, as well as chemical and weapons systems.
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