Healthcare Roundup—HHS to award $2.6M in prizes through KidneyX 

HHS has launched a dialysis care innovation competition through its KidneyX program, plus more healthcare news. (Sarah Stierch/CC BY 4.0)

HHS to award $2.6M in prizes through KidneyX

The Department of Health and Human Services partnered with the American Society of Nephrology to launch KidneyX, a kidney care-focused accelerator, and it announced that it will offer $2.6 million in prizes for a dialysis redesign competition in the program. 

KidneyX: Redesign Dialysis seeks to develop new and better treatments for kidney failure. It will be the first of several planned prize competitions through KidneyX. 

“With this first prize, KidneyX: Redesign Dialysis, we are looking for solutions that completely disrupt the way kidney failure is currently treated,” said Ed Simcox, HHS chief technology officer. (Announcement

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Senate GOP delay vote on Kavanaugh following Flake’s change of heart 

The Senate seemed poised to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Friday, before an 11th-hour request from Sen. Jeff Flake, a crucial swing vote, pushed the vote back by up to a week. 

Flake, an Arizona Republican and member of the Judiciary Committee, said he would vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the floor if the Senate agreed to postpone the vote long enough for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to examine the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. 

The committee will petition the White House for an investigation after two more swing votes, Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also requested an investigation prior to a final vote.  

Party leadership remains confident that Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the court. (The New York Times

OSF Healthcare System beats pension plan lawsuit 

OSF Healthcare System will not have to defend itself against a lawsuit over its pension plans after a federal judge ruled that the plans do not have to adhere to benefits law requirements. 

The Illinois judge ruled that Catholic-affiliated OSFs are operated by appropriate church-affiliated groups, meeting the requirements for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). 

The ruling clarifies requirements for religious hospitals under ERISA. More than three dozen suits have been filed against religiously affiliated hospitals arguing that they violate the law by underfunding pensions. (Bloomberg BNA

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