Health Care Checkup: Medical malpractice caps return, Truman names COO

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

Gov. Jay Nixon made education funding the main focus of his State of the State address on Jan. 21, 2014. | Photo from
Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law a bill that reinsititutes caps on medical malpractice suits.| Courtesy of

Checking the Pulse

Missouri reinstitutes caps on medical malpractice suits

Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law a measure that caps some damage awards in medical malpractices cases, three years after the Missouri Supreme Court struck down similar limits. Personal injuries in medical malpractice suits would be capped at $400,000, and catastrophic injury would be capped at $700,000, doubling from the existing cap of $350,000.

BioKansas names new CEO

BioKansas has named Dennis Ridenour, a research scientist at the Kansas City-based Stowers Institute for Medical Research, as its new CEO. Ridenour has a 13-year tenure at research organizations including Harvard University’s medical school and Merck Research Labs in Boston. And at the Stowers Institute, he has directed multiple projects and coordinated a technology development group. Ridenour’s appointment is effective May 26.

Truman Medical Centers names new COO

Dr. Mark Steele, the chief medical officer of Truman Medical Centers, was named the new COO of the hospital. In addition to his new position, Steele will continue serving as CMO, as well as the associate dean of Truman’s programs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. He will be responsible for all of Truman’s clinical and business operations. Steele came to the hospital as a freshman in the six-year UMKC School of Medicine program 41 years ago, and he became an emergency medicine physician. He served as president of the American Board of Emergency Medicine in 2010.

Wash U researchers win NEI grant

The National Eye Institute is awarding $3.8 million in funding this year to five projects seeking to restore vision. A pair of Washington University doctors have been awarded a slice for their work on adapting two technologies to non-invasively visualize the optic nerve in the eye.

The two radiology researchers who are principal investigators adapting the technologies, Sheng-Kwei Song and Yong Wang, will receive $3.1 million in total over five years. The NEI said the researchers’ system would be used for monitoring the patient’s optic nerve during treatment, and has implications for those with optic diseases.

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