Xiaomi is going to announce the Mi CC9 next week in China and while the company has been giving away teasers, today we get actually get to see the device. The first official images of the handset have appeared online, matching some of the previous leaks. The Mi CC9 comes in a ‘Glacier Ice’ white back panel which resembles a lot like the Huawei P30 Pro. You can also see that there is a triple camera setup at the back aligned in a vertical fashion. The company had previously confirmed that it will include a 48-megapixel sensor and at the front, there would be 32-megapixel camera to take selfies. It seems to have taken inspiration from various devices, and it definitely looks pretty. We can also see a USB Type-C port at the bottom and a 3.5mm audio jack on the top. Xiaomi announced the brand new series in China a few days back. The new CC series has been associated with words like ‘Colourful’ and ‘Creative’ and the company had said during the announcement that the handsets will be targeted at young consumers. The company also said that a majority of team members working for the CC series includes people from the fields of art and fine arts. Basically, this is the first smartphone series from Xiaomi in collaboration with Chinese smartphone maker Meitu which it acquired late last year. The smartphones under this series will include enhanced photography experience, and will have products based on the concept of “Xiaomi with Meitu AI Aesthetics Lab”. Xiaomi will be playing a major role in designing the hardware, Meitu should offer various software capabilities including image editing technologies. meitumi ccmi cc9mi cc9 camera First Published: June 28, 2019, 4:29 PM IST
Mumbai: People are in a mood to change the Modi-led government but manipulation of EVMs is the “only worrying factor”, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said here Tuesday.He was speaking at a joint media interaction addressed by leaders of the Congress, NCP, TDP, Trinamool Congress, AAP CPI(M), CPI and DMK. “EVMs are vulnerable to programming errors,” TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu said. The BJP can get votes only through manipulation, he added.EVMs can be manipulated, hacked and even malfunction, he said. Only 18 countries have so far adopted EVMs, he added. Naidu said the economy, business and agriculture are in a bad shape under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.AAP leader Sanjay Singh said the Election Commission is acting like Dhritrashtra. “You press any button, the vote goes to the BJP,” he said.Counting of 50 per cent VVPAT machines is not an unreasonable demand, senior Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde said. aapChandrababu NaiducongressCPI First Published: April 23, 2019, 4:01 PM IST
Last week, Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle attended the annual military parade in honour of Queen Elizabeth, known as the Trooping of the Colour. Notably, it was Meghan’s first official royal engagement since the birth of her and Harry’s son Archie.The parade has been marking the official birthday of the reigning British monarch for more than 260 years. This year, it featured more than 1,400 soldiers, nearly 300 horses and 400 musicians, concluded with a fly-past by Britain’s Royal Air Force. While their fans couldn’t get a glimpse of the royal baby, Meghan‘s stunning new ring which she wore alongside her wedding band and engagement ring caught the eye of fans. The ring was spotted when the Duchess of Sussex took off her gloves to wave at the crowd on her ride to Buckingham Palace with Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.Turns out, it is her eternity ring- an anniversary gift by her husband reports People.For the unversed, eternity rings are customarily gifted after a landmark event, for instance, the birth of a child or a wedding anniversary. They are said to usually covered in diamonds in an infinite loop around the band. Before this, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge gifted an eternity ring to his wife Kate Middleton after the two welcomed Prince George, their first child together.The romantic meaning behind Meghan Markle’s new ringIt may have been Meghan Markle’s first public appearance since giving birth to her son Archie, but it looks like all the attention was around her newest piece of jewelry.On Saturday, during the Troopi… https://t.co/FSUZVtT0JC pic.twitter.com/FuFi1GbZzo— Dolcify (@dolcifyofficial) June 11, 2019Noticed #Meghan was wearing an eternity ring at the #TroopingtheColour pic.twitter.com/TzOfAzawQs— Leanne Richmond (@Lea5555) June 8, 2019Meghan Markle, an American actress who married Harry at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and gained the title of Duchess of Sussex, gave birth to Archie on May 6.Follow @News18Movies for more eternity ring meghan markleeternity ring royalsMeghan MarkleMeghan Markle eternity ring First Published: June 12, 2019, 9:48 AM IST
While the 50 qubit machine is certainly exciting, as it sets a new milestone in quantum computing, even outdoing Google’s 49 qubit processor that’s in development, it won’t be commercially available for some time. But IBM is also very excited about the 20 qubit quantum processor that will be available to customers before the end of the year.The machine will allow users to perform “high-fidelity quantum operations” with an “industry-leading” 90 microseconds of coherence, IBM’s press release says. Once it goes online in the coming weeks, the company notes it will continue to be improved throughout 2018. Of course, the purpose of this technology isn’t to improve classical consumer computers; quantum computers are designed to run calculations or specific types of programs, such as algorithms designed to break encryption, at speeds unattainable by a standard desktop machine. Instead users connect with these advanced machines using their regular computers, such as through IBM’s cloud systems, to perform their calculations.SOURCE: IBM Story TimelineD-Wave starts shipping massive 2000Q Quantum ComputerIBM turns an atom into a nano-scale hard driveIBM’s 5nm nanosheet chips could revolutionize the IoT marketMicrosoft’s quantum computers now have a languageIntel’s new 17-qubit chip marches toward the quantum computing future The researchers at the IBM Q lab have been busy this year; back in May they revealed a quantum computing platform with a 17 qubit processor, and now they’ve already topped that by a huge margin. The company has announced that they’ve developed an operational 50 qubit prototype processor, as well as a 20 qubit quantum system that will be available to its clients as a cloud service.
A survey was conducted on approximately 2,000 Americans, one half Android users, the other half iPhone users. The poll covered a whole bunch of topics, like cash spent on tech products, selfies shot, and overall happiness. While there’s no telling whether these averages represent greater numbers of Android and iPhone users around the world, these limited results are pretty interesting in and of themselves. On PhonesThe survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of SlickDeals includes several topics that have to do directly with the subject matter: phones. A lot of the questions explore subjects outside the phone, too – which is bizarre and interesting too – but first let’s take a peek at the phone-based subjects. Remember that this is all self-reported and averaged amongst 1,000 Android users and 1,000 iPhone users in the USA.On texts sent per day, iPhone users reported approximately 58 texts, while Android users said they sent just 26 texts. What’s interesting here is the fact that the poll was run on texts, rather than messages in general. I wonder what the results would be if they included Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and services like Snapchat?For “time spent looking at their phone per day,” iPhone users reported they spent an average of 4 hours, 54 minutes. Android responders suggested they were on their phone 3 hours, 42 minutes per day. During that time, iPhone users said they took an average of 12 “selfies” per day. Android users said they took around 7.On Everything ElseHere’s where things get strange. You can extrapolate a LOT from this information – and you can make quite a few assumptions about what it all means. But remember: this is all self-reported and collected in the USA alone. This section covers everything from average salary to favorite TV show – and at this point it’s safe to assume we’re talking about people old enough to use phones, not kids, so salary fits.Average salary• iPhone – $53,251• Android – $37,040Ideal weekend night• iPhone – Out and about with friends• Android – Curled up on the couch watching TV/movie or reading a bookLeisure trips per year• iPhone – 4• Android – 3Number of close friends• iPhone – 5• Android – 3Money spent on clothing per month• iPhone – $117.13• Android – $62.36Money spent on tech per month• iPhone – $100.88• Android – $50.83Money spent on makeup/beauty products per month• iPhone – $82.71• Android – $40.40Cat or dog?• iPhone – 50% prefer dog, 19% prefer cat, 31% no preference• Android – 44% prefer dog, 26% prefer cat, 30% no preferenceTV shows• iPhone – Game of Thrones, Grey’s Anatomy, Friends, The Walking Dead• Android – NCIS, Law & Order, SNLMovie genres• iPhone – Horror, Drama, Romance• Android – Thriller, Action, AdventureIt’s strange to think that Android users congregate around such serious television shows as NCIS and Law & Order, while iPhone users shows seem to skew fun – Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Friends. And what the heck? Still watching Friends in 2018, almost certainly with Netflix. Money spent on tech seems to right on-par with money spent per month on clothing. Are Android users more frugal? Do iPhone users have a higher self-worth? Is it simply more common that low-income users buy Android-based smartphones?It would certainly seem that, based on the question about the ideal weekend night, Android users are more introverted than their iPhone counterparts. That, or they’ve already done their clubbing during the week and just want to watch Law & Order on the weekends. Next I’d like to see this survey run again, but separated into those with children and those without. Because that makes ALL the difference in the world on quite a few of the questions on this list. Cross your fingers for more expanded investigations in the near future!
At the moment, DevBot has barely any chassis and the only covering of any sort is in the somewhat bulbous cockpit. Of course, the final race-worthy versions will bear their team’s designs, but each team is only allowed to tweak the software and algorithms of the racecar while machinery remains standard across all teams.Although not exactly a test of its mettle, the DevBot will be rolling out, sans driver, at Donington Park on 24th August, where Formula E will be holding its open practices. As for the Roborace itself, it’s still slated to take place sometime within the 2016-2017 season.SOURCE: @Roborace Of course, DevBot will drive nowhere near public highways, so government agencies can sleep more easily. And while Roborace wants the self-driving racecar to go as fast as 180 mph, the video below would prove it is far from reaching that dream. The fact that it can drive at that speed, without a human inside, is, however, still an achievement. Or perhaps it is easier to achieve that when you don’t have to worry about pedestrians or animals.Car racing has been branching out to new frontiers, from fully electric vehicles to, soon, fully automated racecars. Formula E, which embraces both, unveiled the Roborace only late last year. Judging by the barebones appearance of the DevBot, we’re still quite far from seeing the first serious driverless race. The most common argument used by self-driving car proponents like Google is that these vehicles, which practically robots, are better at maintaining road and driver safety than humans have proven to be. DevBot, however, is different. While its own survival is probably a key consideration, it is more interested in speeding. Because, yes, DevBot is the prototype for a robotic, fully automated, self-driving racecar for Forumula E’s Roborace and it will be zooming, not cruising, on a race track soon. The NHTSA’s worst nightmare.
Before that, though, there’ll be other technology. For instance, there’s an augmented reality head-up display and a tablet interface in the central “I.D. Box”. The latter is between the front seats in manual driving mode, but slides back in autonomous mode so that it – and its Bluetooth-paired Beats speakers – can be used by all. The tablet and speakers can be removed for use outside the I.D. BUZZ too.Cameras replace exterior mirrors, and there’s the ability to flag up friends’ locations in the HUD. The infotainment system can pull in personal calendars and act as a virtual assistant, plotting out navigation and such depending on the day’s agenda, while the AI can also offer to add diversions such as a suggested coffee shop or launch spot based on learned driver preferences. NOW READ: Meet I.D., the future of Volkswagen’s EVsOutside, the Microbus-inspired design borrows the monolith surfacing of the original but with a modern twist. That means plenty of LED lights that can be used, in I.D. Drive mode, to communicate with pedestrians and other traffic, whether by “looking” at them like headlamp eyes, or squinting as the car moves faster. Short overhangs and a low, 23.6-inch high rear sill height make for practical cargo loading: there’s between 23.3 and 162.5 cubic feet of rear space, depending on seat configuration, as well as 6.1 cubic feet in the front. All doors and trunk lids are power-opening, triggered by waving a hand over the relevant sensor. While it may be VW’s second I.D. concept, the I.D. BUZZ won’t be the second car in the series to actually hit the road. VW tells us that, while the first such car is expected to be a Golf-sized hatchback in around 2020, the second vehicle will be an SUV. Volume cars, after all, are vital if the automaker is to deliver on its goal of selling more than a million electric vehicles each year by 2025. Check out more live photos in the gallery below! Seating is mounted on a rail system sliding forward and back, and the seats can fold flat to form tables; the third row can convert into a bed. The seats themselves use a knitted fabric with yellow piping and metallic backgrounds, rather than leather, and there are aluminum inlays to the wood and metallic leatherette on the door trim. Because the battery is mounted under the floor, it allows for a 129.9-inch wheelbase and helps keep the center of gravity low; the rear has multi-link air suspension, while front and rear use decoupled subframes. The AWD drivetrain has a total of 275 kW or 369 HP. The integrated motors each muster 150 kW (201 HP) front and rear, which VW says is good to propel the concept from 0-60 mph in 5.0 seconds; top speed is electronically limited to 99 mph. Due to the modularity of the MEB-XL platform, however, VW says it could just as easily make a rear-wheel drive version, which could output 268 HP and fit a smaller 83 kWh battery. As for charging, both the 83 kWh and 111 kWh batteries support both 150 kW DC charging and 11 kW inductive charging with a wireless pad. On the former, Volkswagen says, it should recharge to 80-percent in roughly 30 minutes. Total range is estimated at 200-270 miles on the EPA’s US cycle. That could be with a human at the wheel, or alternatively with the I.D. BUZZ driving itself. Pushing the touch-sensitive steering wheel – which is trimmed in Nappa leather, and is covered in capacitive panels that control drive modes, turn signals, and the infotainment menus – switches the car into I.D. Pilot mode, VW’s name for its self-driving system. The interior lighting automatically changes from the regular bright white to a more relaxing mood lighting, stretching into the rear, and the front seats can rotate into lounge mode. Four laser scanners emerge from the roof, both giving the I.D. BUZZ a 360-degree view of the road around it and indicating to other traffic that the Microbus is driving itself. Ultrasonic and radar sensors, along with side and front cameras, augment that data, together with cloud-based traffic updates. VW says it expects the technology for all this to be road-ready by around 2025. Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ Gallery That falls under the new I.D. branding, which we saw first at the Paris Motor Show last year. Then, VW’s car was a Golf-sized compact EV, atop a completely new architecture that the automaker has dubbed its “Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB)”. The I.D. BUZZ borrows that same platform but with a completely different use of space. It’s called the MEB-XL, and it makes the I.D. BUZZ considerably larger than the original 60s Microbus. Indeed, at 194.5-inches long, 77.9-inches wide, and 77.3-inches tall, the I.D. BUZZ is bigger in all directions than its classic predecessor. The interior space has room for up to eight people, with seats rotating atop the Silver Birch wood floor to turn it into a mobile lounge, and there are two luggage compartments. Volkswagen has recreated the Microbus for the 21st Century, with the I.D. BUZZ Concept giving the beloved van an electric refresh. Making its debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2017 today, the zero-emissions vehicle has seating for up to eight and all-wheel drive, along with a fully-autonomous driving mode. It’s part of VW‘s ambitious goal of making EVs a cornerstone of its future line-up.
Story TimelineXperia XZ4 could be Sony’s first triple camera phoneXperia XZ4 could be the first Snapdragon 855 phoneSony Mobile reshuffle could see end of Xperia Compact line Sony Mobile is at a crossroads. Under new management, it is stumbling to find its place after it has pretty much forfeited its position in the smartphone market by ignoring trends and signs. With the continued dominance of Samsung and Apple on the one hand and the rise of Chinese brands on the other, Sony’s old stance of the smartphone as a simple gateway to the Internet is no longer viable as a business strategy. Either you’re in or you’re out.Sony has been revising its smartphone formula since the Xperia XZ2 and it might all come to a head in the Xperia XZ4. If the scant rumors are to be believed, Sony might be showing off its first-ever triple camera at MWC 2019. That is definitely a radical change for a company that has long stuck with a single camera but, unlike Google, hasn’t exactly been able to pull it off through software.The Sony Xperia XZ4 could be a departure from old Sony tradition in many ways. It could be one of the first to run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and it might have 6 GB of RAM. Sony usually reserves major hardware upgrades to a Premium model later in the year. Sadly, not all changes might be good and this year might mark the end of the Xperia Compact line.Sony has reserved 25th February for its MWC 2019 press conference, which will take place at 8:30 a.m. CET (2:30 a.m. ET). It will most likely also announced an Xperia XA and other Xperia-branded accessories, though there have been even fewer leaks about those. Despite rumors to the contrary, Sony remained relatively silent at CES 2019 as far as mobile devices go. Instead, it preferred to focus on its key strengths, namely TVs, AV receivers, and Blu-rays. It can’t remain silent for long, though, and at MWC next month, it will have to face the music and the crowd. And what it will show on stage and on the floor could pretty much decide whether it will remain a serious contender in the smartphone race or just a name from a bygone era.
The line between the Galaxy Fold and the Mate X are drawn on how they fold. The Galxy Fold has the screen inside while the Mate X’s display faces outside. Huawei claims it had a prototype similar to Samsung’s but ditched it because it was plain terrible. It turns out, Samsung’s first prototype was more like Huawei’s.According to Bloomberg’s sources who wish to remain anonymous, Samsung is working on such a device again. Without the need for a second display, this outie version could be thinner than the Galaxy Fold. Samsung may also integrate an in-screen fingerprint scanner to further simplify the design.But even before that, a clamshell phone with a foldable screen might arrive as early as late 2019. This is, admittedly, one of the odder foldable phone designs but that’s not daunting Samsung. Analysts believe now is the time for experimenting which design will work.It will be an expensive experiment though, with the Galaxy Fold reaching $2,000 and the Huawei Mate X going for $2,600. And there are still a lot of things to be ironed out, not least of which is the wrinkling of the screen due to repeated folding of the plastic polymer material. No one is certain how the foldable phones will perform in the market when they do finally launch but that’s not stopping Samsung from casting its net wide. Or, in this case, throwing things at the wall and see which ones stick. The Galaxy Fold has yet to launch next month but sources are now claiming that Samsung is already working on two follow-ups. Unsurprisingly, one of them will be like Huawei’s “outie” Mate X. Story TimelineThe Samsung Galaxy Fold will be super-rare as well as super-expensiveReasons to skip the first-generation of Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate XGorilla Glass will also bend for foldable phones soon
Best-known of those utility models is the Ford F-150. Long America’s best-selling truck, despite the segment’s reputation for conservatism it has also been a test-bed for the automaker’s new technologies. Back in 2015, when Ford launched the thirteenth-generation F-Series, it took the dramatic step of shifting to an aluminum-intensive design to significantly reduce weight and improve economy. There was already an F-150 Hybrid on the roadmap. Ford confirmed it would be building a gas-electric version back in January 2017, as part of a broad electrification push that will also see the iconic Mustang given a hybrid option. At the time, Ford argued that a hybrid F-150 arguably made even more sense than gas or diesel models, given it could operate as a mobile generator to power tools on-site. Now, though, we know that the F-150 Hybrid will get a fully-electric partner. “We’re going to be electrifying the F-Series – battery electric and hybrid,” Jim Farley, Ford president of global markets, said during a presentation in Detroit this week, the Detroit Free Press reports. That, Farley argued, would “future-proof” the “global juggernaut” that is F-Series sales. “We are constantly looking at new ways to better serve our truck customers, from materials to features to propulsion systems,” Mike Levine, Ford North America Product Communications manager, told SlashGear, confirming the fully-electric F-Series.It makes Ford probably the biggest name in automakers exploring battery-electric pickups. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long been discussing the company’s plans for an EV pickup, previously suggesting that the vehicle will have dual-motor all-wheel drive and dynamically-adjusting suspension as standard. The Tesla pickup will also be able to act as a mobile 240V power supply, support Autopilot, and have a more flexible rear tailgate. However when Musk’s utility will actually arrive in dealerships is unclear. Suggestions back in 2016 were that it could be 2020 before the Tesla pickup went on sale, though the automaker’s challenges with Model 3 production may have affected that. In the meantime, we’ve seen EV upstarts like Rivian announce their own plans to enter the category, with polished – and well-funded – pickup models that also make the most of an electric platform’s flexibility. When Ford might bring the all-electric F-150 to market is unclear. The automaker has confirmed it will launch a BEV SUV in 2020, previously known as the Ford Mach 1, with more than 300 miles of range. Meanwhile, Ford inked a deal earlier this week with Volkswagen, which will see the two companies collaborate on utilities. Ford will build a midsize pickup – based on the international version of the Raptor – for VW, among other vehicles. The two are also in talks regarding expanding the alliance to cover EVs and autonomous vehicles, with previous rumors suggesting Ford might adopt VW’s MEB all-electric platform. Story TimelineFord’s Mustang-inspired performance electric SUV aims for 300 milesFord and VW deal on EVs and autonomy could be huge Ford will make an all-electric F-Series pickup truck, the automaker has confirmed, giving Tesla’s upcoming pickup EV an unexpected challenger. Sales of F-Series models contribute hugely to Ford’s bottom line, and the automaker recently announced it would be further shifting investment away from traditional cars and more into pickups, SUVs, crossovers, and other utilities.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Information gleaned from the federal government’s Medicare data dump shows that Oregon providers and provider groups were paid $508 million in 2012. However, some providers made more than others. Meanwhile the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that arising from the data, Wisconsin Congressional members want physicians rated on quality of care. The Oregonian: Oregon Medicare Data Shows Disparity In Provider PaymentsMedicare paid $508 million to Oregon providers and provider groups in 2012. But some providers made much more than others. New information released by the federal government shows 15 Oregon providers made more than $1 million from the government health care program set up for people 65 or older. But the typical provider made far less, with the median reimbursement coming in at $18,890. The data is broken down by provider, city, and procedure, letting consumers and researchers slice the information in different ways. The data release is the latest example of a larger transparency trend, meaning consumers have more access to health care spending data than ever, said John McConnell, a health economist who heads the Center for Health Systems Effectiveness at Oregon Health & Science University (Budnick, 4/14).The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Congressional Members Want Physicians Rated On Quality Of CareThe government’s unprecedented release of information about Medicare payments to doctors last week drew national attention, particularly spotlighting individual physicians who collected millions of dollars for treating Medicare patients in 2012. One Milwaukee eye doctor received more than $8.6 million in Medicare payments, by far the most received by an individual doctor in Wisconsin that year. A Florida doctor topped them all, receiving $20.8 million. But the information, which disclosed the total amounts of Medicare payments made to more than 880,000 physicians and other health care providers, did not include the detail needed to determine what really matters: Which doctors provide high-quality care in the most cost-effective way? (Boulton, 4/14). Disparity In Medicare Provider Payments In Oregon, Data Show
Congress Wrestles With Best Way To Solve VA Problems This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Lawmakers ponder whether to expand the system or just give veterans more opportunities to opt into private health care at federal expense. Some analysts say, though, that any fixes could be held up in the Senate by election year bickering.Los Angeles Times: VA Healthcare Crisis Sparks Competing Solutions In CongressWhether to expand the massive — and troubled — VA healthcare system or simply give veterans greater ability to seek private care promises to ignite Congress’ customary partisan wrangling and complicate passage of reform legislation. Republican senators, led by John McCain of Arizona, on Tuesday rolled out the Veterans Choice Act , which would allow veterans facing weeks-long waits at VA facilities to seek care from private doctors, at the VA’s expense. A more sweeping measure sponsored by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would give veterans who can’t get timely appointments with VA doctors the option of going to community health centers, military hospitals or private doctors at the VA’s expense (Simon, 6/3).Politico: VA Reform Could Face Senate DeadlockThe Senate’s fix to veterans health care problems might be headed down a familiar path: Right into the chamber’s procedural chokehold. There are already signs that Veterans Affairs Department reform could become the next victim of the Senate’s election-year legislative war over amendments votes. Those votes have killed popular tax break and energy efficiency bills in recent weeks and translated to a paucity of legislative votes since last summer (Everett and Herb, 6/4).NPR: Can Civilian Health Care Help Fix The VA? Congress Weighs InVeterans across the country are still waiting too long for medical care, a situation that drove the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki last week. Now Republicans and Democrats in Congress are competing to pass laws they think will fix the problem of medical wait times and other problems at the VA. The discussion over how to reform veterans’ health care is starting to sound familiar. … Another private sector solution on the table is a sort of voucher system, which Sen. John McCain has been pushing since his presidential campaign in 2008 (Lawrence, 6/3).The Wall Street Journal: Top Lawmakers Call For Disclosure Of VA Hospital DataTwo top lawmakers leading Congress’s probe of the Department of Veterans Affairs called on Tuesday for the agency to disclose internal analyses that measure treatment outcomes at VA hospitals. … The finding was based on internal VA data called Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning, or SAIL. The data, which the VA doesn’t make public, rank and score more than 100 VA hospitals according to a variety of metrics, including infection and mortality rates (Paletta and Burton, 6/3).McClatchy: GOP Senators Say Management, Not Money, Is The Problem At VANorth Carolina Sen. Richard Burr and three Republican colleagues on Tuesday announced support for legislation they say would tackle the root causes of treatment delays at veterans medical facilities by giving former service members the option of choosing private health care. Their measure would allow veterans unable to get an appointment in a timely way or who live more than 40 miles from a Department of Veterans Affairs facility to receive care from any doctor in Medicare or the military’s TRICARE health program. The legislation, which the Republican lawmakers unveiled at a press conference at the Capitol, also would establish penalties for VA workers who falsified data and would give the VA secretary the power to fire senior officials who performed their jobs poorly (Schoof, 6/3). The Oregonian: VA Secretary Is Gone, But Portland Veterans Still Wait For CareDwight Hintz couldn’t believe what he was hearing from the staffer at his regular Portland VA Medical Center clinic. He called Monday to say a hernia diagnosed by a civilian doctor was bulging and painful. He asked if he could get in to see his primary VA doctor. “The doctor asks if you can hold it in until your regular appointment in July,” Hintz said the nurse told him. “Are you kidding me?” asked Hintz, 70, of Gresham, a retired Navy Seabee. So this week, Hintz is moving gingerly, a belt strapped around his lower belly, with a wallet stuffed over the hernia. He has become another unwilling symbol of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ difficulty keeping up with the demand for its services from U.S. military veterans (Francis, 6/3).
The Wall Street Journal: States Work To Strike Deals For Hep C Drug Discounts UnitedHealth Group Inc., the biggest U.S. health insurer by sales, picked Gilead Sciences Inc.’s Harvoni as its preferred hepatitis C treatment, according to a person familiar with the matter. The decision applies to UnitedHealth’s fully insured commercial customers, as well as to Medicaid and Medicare members. The Minnetonka, Minnesota-based insurer has about 45 million U.S. health-plan customers, though not all follow the company’s drug picks. (Tracer, 1/28) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Battle For Market Share By Hep C Drugmakers Shifts To Medicaid Missouri and Connecticut are among the states securing discounts on expensive new drugs in exchange for making them the preferred option for their Medicaid enrollees. Meanwhile, insurance giant UnitedHealth picks Gilead’s Harvoni as the preferred hepatitis C treatment for all its customers. The battle for market share in the booming business for hepatitis C drugs is shifting to state Medicaid programs, which are busy negotiating discounts and supply deals with pharmaceutical companies. Missouri and Connecticut are among the states that are either negotiating or securing discounts on expensive new hepatitis C drugs in exchange for making them the preferred options for their state’s Medicaid recipients. (Loftus, 1/28) Bloomberg: UnitedHealth Said To Pick Gilead’s Harvoni As Hep C Drug
Don’t Look To Biosimilar Knock-Offs For Lower Drug Prices Companies have been marking up the prices of their brand-name drugs before patents expire to eke out the most money they can. But this isn’t just affecting those drugs: it is dragging the entire marketplace toward higher costs, because knock-offs set their value just below their brand-name counterparts. The Wall Street Journal: Valeant Forms Committee To Determine Drug Prices The Associated Press: Merck Beats 1Q Profit Views With Tight Cost Controls This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Meanwhile, Valeant has formed a committee to set drug prices and Merck beats expectations with its first quarter — The Wall Street Journal: Knockoffs Of Biotech Drugs Bring Paltry Savings Generic drugs have long delivered huge savings over their brand-name counterparts. That isn’t likely to happen, though, with knockoff versions of some of the expensive drugs on the market today. Rival versions of so-called biotech drugs, called biosimilars, are just starting to be released, and health insurers and drug-benefit managers say they expect them to cost nearly as much as the brand-name originals did for years. (Rockoff, 5/5) Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., which has come under heavy fire from politicians because of dramatic price increases for its drugs, said it had formed a committee that will be responsible for those prices going forward. “Valeant has made mistakes in how it priced its drugs in the past, and we are committed to ensuring those mistakes are not repeated,” said new Valeant Chief Executive Joseph Papa, who took the reins of the company from Michael Pearson. (Becker, 5/5) Merck posted an 18 percent jump in first-quarter income, beating Wall Street expectations, as reduced spending on marketing, administration and research easily offset lower medicine sales outside the U.S. The second-biggest U.S. drugmaker on Thursday raised its 2016 financial forecasts. “We are off to a promising start this year,” CEO Kenneth Frazier told analysts on a conference call. (5/5)
The Senate Monday cleared the final hurdle to passage of broad legislation aimed at boosting federal funds for biomedical research and speeding up government approval of drug and medical-devices, a goal pursued by the pharmaceutical industry over the objections of some consumer advocates. The 85-13 vote cuts through the last remaining procedural obstacle before passage in the Senate, expected by Wednesday. (Hughes and Burton, 12/5) The Associated Press: Bill Speeding Federal Drug Approvals Clears Senate Hurdle Boston Globe: Markey Throws His Support Behind The Medical Bill Opposed By Warren Cures Bill Barrels Through Last Procedural Hurdle In Senate Final approval is expected by Wednesday. A bipartisan bill to speed government drug approvals and bolster biomedical research cleared its last procedural hurdle in the Senate on Monday in an emotional moment for outgoing Vice President Joe Biden. The overwhelming 85-13 vote put the measure on track for final legislative approval by the Senate as early as Tuesday. President Barack Obama has promised to sign the measure, one of the last for the president and the 114th Congress, whose leaders hope to adjourn by week’s end after a two-year session that has seen them clash frequently with the president. (12/5) The Wall Street Journal: Senate Clears Path For Bill To Speed FDA Drug Approvals Senator Edward Markey on Monday threw his support behind the latest version of the 21st Century Cures Act, federal legislation that includes $1 billion for opioid recovery and treatment programs. The bill, which overwhelmingly passed the House last week, also promotes cancer research and pledges close to $5 billion for medical research over the next decade. (Gans, 12/6) Boston Globe: Senate Committee Calls For Ban On Surgeons Doing Simultaneous Operations A powerful Senate committee wants all hospitals to explicitly ban surgeons from overseeing two simultaneous operations, weighing in on a controversy that has roiled Massachusetts General Hospital and spurred a national debate on patient safety. The new Finance Committee report, scheduled to be released Tuesday, follows a Spotlight Team series in 2015 on the issue. The committee will urge hospitals to clearly prohibit “concurrent surgeries,’’ which it defined as two operations, managed by the same surgeon, whose critical parts occur at the same time. (Saltzman and Abelson, 12/6) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Federal health officials said Monday that they are investigating a multistate outbreak of Campylobacter infections traced to puppies sold at Petland, a nationwide chain of about 80 pet stores. The bacteria, a common cause of diarrheal illness that can spread through contact with dog feces, has sickened at least 39 people in Ohio, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Florida. Nine people have been hospitalized since last September, but no deaths have been reported, according to officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Brulliard and Sun, 9/11) Qventus’ software helps health care institutions manage staffing in hospitals and pharmacies. It processes data, including the number of patients and doctors in the hospital, the length of wait times, and where slowdowns are occurring, so that, for example, more nurses can be sent to the area of the hospital where they are most needed, or managers can get the latest information on what rooms need to be cleaned. (Salian and Thadani, 9/11) The CT Mirror: CT’s Hospitals See Huge Risk In Malloy’s Fix For Budget Impasse The Associated Press: Appalachian Poor, Left Out Of Health Debate, Seek Free Care Cuyahoga County will spend $200,000 next year to have a company exterminate bed bugs in homes of seniors and disabled adults.The problem has increased so dramatically that homes are on a waiting list for treatment. (Farkas, 9/11) California’s sex offender registry is broken, according to law enforcement officials. … The registry has become so large, police and prosecutors say, that it often produces too many potential suspects to be useful in solving sex crime cases. (Koseff, 9/11) At least 12 patients have contracted a rare infection after heart surgeries at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, according to The New Orleans Advocate. The hospital pointed to a piece of operating room equipment as the source of the infection, which was caused by bacteria known as Mycobacterium Abscessus. …The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that Mycobacterium Abscessus is commonly found in water, soil and dust, and can cause “a variety of infections.” Typically, “health-care associated infections” associated with it “are usually of the skin and soft tissues under the skin.” (Brasted, 9/11) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Los Angeles Times: Mexican Papaya Recalled After Salmonella Outbreak Sacramento Bee: Sex Offender Lifetime Registration Scaled Back In CA Bill New Orleans Times-Picayune: At Least 12 Patients Contract Rare Infection After Children’s Hospital Heart Surgeries: Report San Jose Mercury News: UC Aligns Cancer Centers To Battle Deadly Diseases State Highlights: Conn. Hospitals Wary Of Governor’s Tax Plan; Needs Of Appalachia Overlooked In Health Care Debate Media outlets report on news from Connecticut, Virginia, Louisiana, California, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Florida. The Washington Post: Pet-Store Puppies Linked To Bacterial Outbreak Among People In 7 States, CDC Says A Southern California company has recalled papaya imported from Mexico after health authorities linked its fruit shipments to a salmonella infection that has killed one person and sickened 13 others in three states. Bravo Produce Inc. of San Ysidro, issued a recall notice Sunday, after federal investigators last week traced an infected sample of Maradol papayas to shipments the company imported from a Tijuana packer. (Mohan, 9/11) They arrived at a fairground in a deep corner of Appalachia before daybreak, hundreds of people with throbbing teeth, failing eyes, wheezing lungs. They took a number, sat in the bleachers and waited in the summer heat for their name to be called so they could receive the medical help they can’t get anywhere else. (Lovan, 9/12) For the 176,000 Californians diagnosed with cancer this year, Monday’s announcement that the University of California’s five academic cancer centers are forming an alliance to stem the disease’s rising toll here couldn’t come soon enough. Experts say cancer is on its way to overtake heart disease as the Golden State’s leading cause of death. (Seipel, 9/11) Cleveland Plain Dealer: Cuyahoga County Increases Funding For Bed Bug Extermination Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s bid to end the state’s budget impasse hinges on convincing legislators to take a leap of faith about the state’s hospital tax. Specifically, the governor is asking for a 55 percent tax increase on hospitals and saying that his new plan to pump the proceeds of that tax hike — and more — back into the industry won’t evaporate as his original one did six years ago. (Phaneuf, 9/12) San Francisco Chronicle: Software Strives To Shrink Emergency Room Waits