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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Friday, March 2, 2007

Today's Globe: obesity-surgery extension for hospitals, health-plan profits, Walter Reed general fired, gene defect in heart disease, French food warnings, HPV vaccine debate

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has extended a deadline for hospitals to be certified as outstanding providers of weight-loss surgery so they can qualify for reimbursement from the state's largest health insurer.

The state's three major health insurers yesterday reported 2006 profits for the fourth quarter and full year. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Tufts Health Plan all benefited from strong investment income.

The Army yesterday fired the general in charge of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, saying he was the wrong person to fix embarrassing failures in the treatment of war-injured soldiers that have soiled the institution's reputation as a first-class hospital.

A single defect in a gene known to play a role in cancer may also be a piece of the puzzle that links heart disease risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, researchers said.

Less fat, less sugar, less salt: Even the mostly svelte French are cracking down. Beginning yesterday, the government ordered food ads to carry cautions telling the French to stop snacking, exercise, and eat more fruits and vegetables.

Columnist Ellen Goodman says a dose of reality is needed in the HPV vaccine debate.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:22 AM
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