DOJ won't challenge Calif., pricing exchange program; Reusable surgical supplies;

> The Department of Justice will not challenge plans for a Hospital Value Initiative (HVI) information exchange program to give consumers access to cost and efficiency data on inpatient and outpatient services for more than 300 California hospitals. The HVI coalition includes the Pacific Business Group on Health, the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the California Health Care Coalition, which collectively represent group purchasers for 7 million people. Press release

> SRI/Surgical Express Inc. in Tampa, Fla., provides reusable surgical supplies to help hospitals achieve the dual goal of practicing environmental sustainability and reducing waste-disposal costs (more than $37 million total since 2000), reports the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Kaiser Permanente Healthcare System in Oakland, Calif., recently inked a three-year deal allowing SRI to sell its services to any Kaiser hospital, and last year Dublin, Ohio-based supplier Cardinal Health Inc. signed an expanded distribution agreement with the firm. Article

> Six hospitals and one clinic will participate in the pilot program to launch the Kentucky Health Information Exchange, the state's electronic health records sharing initiative funded by a $4.9 million Medicaid Transformation Grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reports Business First of Louisville. Article

> The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has published a Medicaid program notice detailing states' final fiscal year (FY) 2008, revised preliminary FY 2009 and preliminary FY 2010 disproportionate-share hospital allotments and the final FY 2008, revised preliminary FY 2009 and preliminary FY 2010 disproportionate-share hospital institutions for mental diseases. Notice

> Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has signed a contract to join the Pennsylvania Medicaid provider network of Aetna Better Health, the Medicaid unit of Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna Inc., reports the Philadelphia Business Journal. Aetna received its contract from Pennsylvania regulators to begin marketing Medicaid plans on April 1. Article

And Finally... At least the dog didn't eat his homework. Article