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Business Briefs

For Friday, May 13, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 10:16 p.m. HST, May 20, 2011


HMSA, hospitals team on patient plan

Hawaii Medical Service Association has partnered with its local network of hospitals and a national program to improve quality and reduce costs statewide.

The state's largest health insurer said yesterday it will sponsor the hospitals in participating in a patient-centered program created by Charlotte, N.C.-based Premier Inc.

The four-year program sets targets and helps hospitals measure performance and share best practices to eliminate avoidable hospital mortalities, reduce costs and improve patient satisfaction, among other measures.

The hospitals will participate in the Advanced Hospital Care program, which compares the facilities against each other and national standards.

Premier is a performance improvement alliance of more than 2,500 U.S. hospitals and more than 73,000 other health care sites owned by hospitals, health systems and other providers.

Cardax inflammation drug trial ends

Honolulu-based Cardax Pharmaceuticals Inc. has reached a milestone with the completion of an animal trial for a drug that fights inflammation caused by high cholesterol and fats.

The company is now seeking funding for human trials of astaxanthin, or "CDX-085," within the next six months, according to spokesman Rob Kay.

The drug fights inflammation that leads directly to heart attacks and a host of serious medical problems. Virtually all of the research was done in Hawaii with local investors, Kay said.

Fixed mortgage rates hit 2011 low

NEW YORK » Fixed mortgage rates have fallen to their lowest levels of the year, giving Americans more incentive to buy homes or refinance their loans.

Freddie Mac said yesterday the average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.63 percent from 4.71 percent. The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage slipped to 3.82 percent from 3.89 percent. Both are at their lowest points since December. It marked the fourth straight weekly decline.

Nordstrom earnings up 25 percent

PORTLAND, Ore. » Upscale retailer Nordstrom Inc. reported yesterday that its first-quarter net income rose 25 percent as its revenue improved.

But the company lowered its full-year outlook to reflect the impact of an acquisition, and its shares fell in after-hours trading.

The company, based in Seattle, said it earned $145 million, or 65 cents a share, for the quarter that ended April 30. That's up from $116 million, or 52 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Excluding a charge related to its acquisition of private-sale website HauteLook, the company earned 69 cents a share. That beat analyst expectations for 66 cents a share on the same basis, according to data from FactSet.

Nordstrom's revenue increased 12 percent to $2.23 billion, meeting expectations.

Retail sales up for 10th straight month

WASHINGTON » Consumers spent more on gasoline, clothing and autos in April, pushing retail sales up for a 10th straight month. But much of the gain came from a surge in gasoline and food prices.

Retail sales rose 0.5 percent in April after a 0.9 percent increase in March, the Commerce Department reported yesterday. Excluding a 2.7 percent jump in gasoline sales, the increase was a much smaller 0.2 percent.

On the Move

The Junior League of Honolulu presented its 2011 Laura N. Dowsett Award this week to Elisabeth “Liz” Chun, who has served the Junior League of Honolulu for almost 20 years. In her honor, the JLH will make a donation to Good Beginnings Alliance, which is the organization Chun selected for the donation.

***

Hoakalei Country Club held a Friendship Golf Tournament recently and raised $15,814.80. Participating fees and donations will go toward the Japanese Red Cross Society’s disaster relief efforts in Japan. Approximately 140 people participated for the cause.

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The Office of Hawaiian Affairs recently awarded a $50,000 grant to the Ali‘i Pauahi Hawaiian Civic Club. Funds will support the club’s effort to establish Ka Pa Aniani o Ho‘oulu, a Culture of Glass, a laboratory at farming operation Mahi‘ai ‘Ihi used to increase the production of maile plants.

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Maui Jim, which develops polarized sunglasses, announced recently it will make its first $10,000 contribution from its “Send a Lei” promotion to the Ocean Project, which is the world’s most extensive network of museums, zoos and aquariums focused on ocean education and conservation. Funds came from Maui Jim’s Facebook page, where visitors have the opportunity to send a virtual lei to their friends.





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