1. Health

BayCare acquires 527-bed Winter Haven Hospital

Published Aug. 8, 2013

System expands

BayCare adds hospital in Winter Haven

BayCare Health Systems on Wednesday acquired Winter Haven Hospital, its first facility outside its core Tampa Bay communities. BayCare, the largest health care player in the area, will assume Winter Haven's debt, which totals about $80 million, said BayCare chief financial officer Tommy Inzina. The 527-bed Winter Haven Hospital, a not-for-profit, is the latest independent hospital to join a larger organization. The national consolidation trend is growing as independents struggle to cope with rising costs and a changing system. The acquisition "made sense because we didn't have exposure to that market," Inzina said. Steve Nierman has been appointed president of Winter Haven Hospital, replacing Lance Anastasio, who was scheduled to retire. Nierman has served as president of BayCare's South Florida Baptist Hospital in Plant City.

Potentially risky

Creating new flu strain proposed

Scientists who sparked an outcry by creating easier-to-spread versions of the bird flu for research purposes want to try such experiments again using a worrisome new strain. This time around, the U.S. government is promising extra scrutiny of such high-stakes research up front. Since it broke out in China in March, the H7N9 bird flu has infected more than 130 people and killed 43. Some of the world's leading flu researchers argue that genetically altering that virus in high-security labs is key to studying how it might mutate in the wild to become a bigger threat to people.

False marketing?

Group says apps don't teach babies

Can a mobile app really teach a baby to find her nose? Or learn to recognize letters and numbers? Not according to an advocacy group that filed a complaint Wednesday with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that two popular baby app developers — Fisher-Price and Open Solutions — are trying to dupe parents into thinking their online games make infants and toddlers smarter. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is urging federal investigators to examine the marketing practices of Fisher-Price's "Laugh & Learn" mobile apps and Open Solutions' games such as "Baby Hear and Read." Open Solutions said it agrees that electronics are not a substitute for human interaction. It also noted the many positive customer reviews. Fisher-Price did not respond to requests for comment.

Times wires