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Coronary artery bypass surgery death rate falls

Deaths among patients undergoing a coronary artery bypass are at the lowest rate in 16 years, according to a report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. In-hospital death rates declined from 3.23 percent in 1994 to 1.54 percent in 2009. The report shows decreases in 30-day readmission rates from 2008 to 2009, but 15.1 percent -- 2,042 patients in all -- still had to be readmitted within 30 days for complications such as infection following bypass or heart valve surgery. The report, which contains physician- and hospital-specific data, also has information on the average hospital charge and average Medicare payment at each center. The full report can be viewed at www.phc4.org/reports/cabg/09/.

Wabtec says Bombardier pact worth $12 million

Wilmerding-based rail company Wabtec Corp. said Wednesday that it had signed a contract to provide braking equipment to Bombardier Transportation Canada Inc., which is building 100 new commuter cars for New Jersey Transit. The contract, which includes an option for Bombardier to purchase equipment for up to an additional 79 cars, is valued at about $12 million.

Allstate to buy Esurance, Answer for nearly $1B

Allstate Corp., the largest publicly traded U.S. auto insurer, agreed to buy Esurance and Answer Financial for about $1 billion from White Mountains Insurance Group Wednesday to expand sales of coverage through the Internet. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, Northbrook, Ill.-based Allstate said in a statement Wednesday.

General Mills buying stake in Yoplait for $1.15B

General Mills Inc. is buying a controlling stake in yogurt company Yoplait from French investment firm PAI Partners and cooperative dairy group Sodiaal for about $1.15 billion. Under the deal announced Wednesday, General Mills will take a 51 percent stake in Yoplait SAS and a 50 percent interest in a related entity that holds the worldwide Yoplait brands. Sodiaal, based in France, will hold the remaining stakes in both entities. General Mills, based in Minneapolis, has licensed the Yoplait brand for more than 30 years. General Mills expects the deal to close in the next three months.

Also in business ...

Ken Gormley, dean of Duquesne University's School of Law, received an honorable mention in the 2011 American Bar Association Gavel Awards for his book, "The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr." The book was published last year. ... After leading The Hershey Co. to three years of strong performances, CEO David West is leaving to take the top job at the smaller Del Monte Foods Co., which said Mr. West would become its CEO on Aug. 15. ... The board of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association elected as vice chairwoman Maria LaVelle, who is president and CEO of Westmoreland Community Federal Credit Union in Greensburg.



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