Company news

April 28, 2010

Company news

A federal judge in Minnesota rejected Guidant Corp.'s guilty plea to charges it hid defects in heart defibrillators, after some doctors and patients complained about the deal, Bloomberg News reported. Guidant is a coronary products company spun off from Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. in the 1990s and acquired by Boston Scientific in 2006. Boston Scientific agreed to plead guilty and pay $296 million to settle the case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice. But U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank suggested the company should be placed on probation for failing to disclose defects with its heart devices to regulators. Prosecutors said in court papers that Guidant officials learned as early as 2002 that some of the implantable defibrillators had a tendency to short-circuit and caused users’ deaths. The company didn’t disclose the defects for more than three years, the government said.

The first phase of a $65 million expansion opened Tuesday at Marquette, a retirement facility located south of St. Vincent Hospital on Township Line Road. The expansion is designed to appeal to more active seniors, and includes a bistro, performing-arts venue, a putting green and exercise facilities with a full-time trainer. A second phase of the expansion, to be completed later this summer, will include 48 apartments.

The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis gave $1 million to Wishard Health Services to help it purchase software to better coordinate care for pediatric asthma patients. The program provides coaching and educational materials for children with asthma in coordination with their primary-care providers, including school clinics. The software, known as RelayHealth Virtual Information Exchange, will electronically deliver patient-education materials to patients in the pediatric asthma program, with easy-to-understand illustrations and animations. Eventually, Wishard hopes to use the software to allow patients to schedule appointments, obtain prescription refills and have electronic visits with health care professionals.

The Lifeline helicopter medical service is starting to replace the aircraft it uses for emergency flights across much of Indiana, according to the Associated Press. Indianapolis-based Clarian Health is buying four new helicopters to replace aging ones. Lifeline program director Shelly Maersch says the new helicopters will have safety enhancements, with the pilots being able to use night-vision goggles. The new helicopters also will allow for rear loading and not vibrate as much. The first new helicopter will be stationed at Howard Regional Hospital in Kokomo. Lifeline also has regional bases in Lafayette, Muncie, Columbus and Terre Haute.