Health Care Checkup: KU hospital expanding, Wash U dean talks obstacles

The Health Care Checkup is a weekly rundown of the state’s top health care headlines.

Checking the Pulse

Kansas City hospital begins expansion project

The University of Kansas Hospital broke ground Monday on a $280 million, seven-story patient center that will add 92 beds. The expansion will house two of the fastest-growing areas at the Kansas City, Kan., hospital — neurosciences and surgical oncology, which have grown nearly 40 percent in the last five years. In the same period, the hospital has experienced a 30 percent increase in patient volume, and the expansion project is part of the hospital’s broad plan to expand and modernize over the coming years to meet growing patient demand.

Wash U medical school dean talks obstacles

Larry Shapiro | Courtesy of the School of Medicine at Washington University
Larry Shapiro | Courtesy of the School of Medicine at Washington University

Larry Shapiro, dean of the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, has outlined regulation, cost control and health IT as the three biggest challenges the health care industry is facing.

Shapiro says that health care remains one of the most regulated industries in the country, and the operation is heavily affected by changes of government policy. Also, the health care industry is under a continuing downward pressure on cost. Shapiro says BJC HealthCare and Washington University, and all providers in the industry, need to contain cost and still deliver their very best care. And health IT, according to the dean, is a technology that the industry is falling behind. He says many places still do not have unified electronic health records.

Shapiro in January announced his plan to retire after serving as the dean for 12 years. He will remain in the position until a successor if found.

Reading the chart

Synergetics releases second quarter 2015 earnings

Synergetics, the O’Fallon-based surgical device maker, on Tuesday reported a net income of $952,000, or 4 cents a share, compared with a loss of $225,000, or 1 cent a share, from a year ago. Sales for the quarter were $18.2 million, a 20 percent increase from the same quarter last year. The company said part of the growth in sales came from its purchase of U.K.-based Sterimedix in December. Without the acquisition, sales would have increased 13.4 percent.

Number of the week: $650,000

That’s the amount that SynerZ Medical has raised from a group of investors in a planned $1.2 million financing round. The St. Louis-based medical device startup will use the money for further development of its Aegis device, an alternative to surgery for people with obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

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