CDC on Thursday reported that a "fast moving" E. Coli outbreak believed to be caused by romaine lettuce from Wendy's restaurants has spread to New York and Kentucky, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Georgia and Maryland.
- Georgia: CDC on Thursday reported that a "fast moving" E. Coli outbreak believed to be caused by romaine lettuce from Wendy's restaurants has spread to New York and Kentucky, bringing the number of states involved in the outbreak to six. As of Aug. 31, 97 people have been infected nationwide. While CDC has not yet confirmed the source of the outbreak, many of the infected individuals reported eating romaine lettuce at Wendy's locations before getting sick. The decision to pull the lettuce was a "precautionary measure," according to a statement from the fast-food chain. "While the CDC has not yet confirmed a specific food as the source of that outbreak, we are taking the precaution of removing the sandwich lettuce from restaurants in that region." (Gereau, The Hill, 9/2)
- Georgia: Wellstar Health System on Wednesday announced plans to close Atlanta Medical Center (AMC), effective Nov. 1. The 460-bed hospital, which has taken on a large portion of the area's uncompensated care, can no longer sustain the declining revenue and increasing labor and supply costs, Wellstar said. From 2017 to 2021, AMC has recorded significant operating losses, with $107 million in losses in the last 12 months alone. According to Wellstar CEO Candice Saunders, the health system has worked with government agencies, health care providers, and local organizations to try to stabilize the hospital. "For several years, Wellstar has continued to invest in and operate AMC with significant losses to provide more time to partner on a creative, long-term, sustainable solution for the hospital's future," Saunders said. "After an exhaustive search for a solution that would support the healthcare needs of the community, we are disappointed that a sustainable solution at AMC has not emerged." (Kacik, Modern Healthcare, 9/1)
- Maryland: FDA granted marketing authorization for a drug-free treatment for patients with chronic idiopathic constipation who have not found relief after taking at least one month of the recommended dose of laxatives. The treatment, called Vibrant System, was developed by Vibrant Gastro. It is administered orally with a single-use capsule and pod, which activates a vibrating capsule. The first-of-its-kind treatment can be monitored through a mobile app. The "treatment is thought to enhance colonic motility by augmenting the biological clock via mechanical stimulation of the colon," according to Vibrant Gastro. "The goal of Vibrant is to address a real problem in chronic constipation, which has made life very challenging for those who suffer from it," said Satish Rao of the Medical College of Georgia, principal investigator on the treatment's phase III trial. "We believe the Vibrant System is a meaningful step towards achieving that goal." (Hamza, MedPage Today, 8/31)