Healthcare Roundup—Ascension Texas to reopen shuttered Little River facilities

Close-up of handshake between person in suit and person in business shirt.
Ascension has acquired providers and clinics associated with Little River Healthcare. (Getty Images/FS-Stock)

Ascension to reopen Little River Healthcare facilities

Ascension has acquired providers and clinics associated with Little River Healthcare, which shuttered its locations in December.

Ascension, the world’s largest Catholic health system, intends to reopen the facilities this week under its Ascension Texas system. Little River’s closure was sudden, though it had filed for bankruptcy in July.

Ascension says the acquisition will allow it to better reach patients in central Texas.

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“We believe this will strengthen healthcare in the region and allow these trusted physicians and medical staff to ensure the continuity of care to those they serve,” Craig Cordola, Ascension Texas CEO, said. (KXXV)

Mayo Clinic: Cervical cancer screenings at an ‘unacceptable low’

Researchers at Mayo Clinic found that the number of women up to date on cervical cancer screenings may be significantly less than previous estimates.

They found that fewer than two-thirds of women between the ages of 30 and 65 were up to date on such screenings in 2016, while just over half of women ages 21 to 29 were current. That’s a stark difference from patients’ self-reported 81%, according to the study.

The study also flagged racial disparities in screening rates. Black women were 50% less likely to be up to date on screenings than white women, and Asian women were 30% less likely.

“These cervical cancer rates are unacceptably low,” said Kathy MacLaughlin, M.D., a family medicine specialist at Mayo and the study’s lead author. (Announcement)

Florida doctors seek donors of rare blood type for 2-year-old cancer patient

A Miami toddler requires regular blood transfusions to treat her cancer, but she has a blood type so rare that just four donors worldwide have been identified.

Two-year-old Zainab Mughal was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in August, but her blood is missing the Indian-B antigen, making a match for transfusions exceedingly rare.

Only people of Pakistani, Iranian or Indian descent are likely to be missing that antigen, according to doctors, and it’s rare among those populations, with just 4% of people matching that type. In addition, the toddler is blood type A, so transfusions must be either A or O with the missing antigen.

OneBlood is working with the family to identify additional donors. It has tested 2,200 units of blood and has yet to find an additional match. (The New York Times)