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BRIEFCASE BLUE CROSS FINED FOR BILLING ERRORS.

Byline: - Staff and Wire Services

THOUSAND OAKS - Blue Cross of California's billing slip-ups cost it $150,000 in fines, the insurer acknowledged Tuesday. The state Department of Managed Health Care docked the company for incorrectly billing 45,000 members for $12 million in April, which the company blamed on software problems and human error. It subsequently reimbursed policyholders for the overcharge, late fees and related penalties.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a Santa Monica-based watchdog group that raised complaints about the overcharge at the time, attacked the $150,000 fine as too small.

IRIS announces Alfano promotion

CHATSWORTH - IRIS International Inc. announced Tuesday the promotion of Bernard ``Dino'' M. Alfano to president of its newly created Diagnostics Business Unit.

Alfano will report directly to Cesar Garcia, chief executive officer of IRIS, a manufacturer and marketer of automated IVD urinalysis systems and medical devices used in hospitals and clinical laboratories worldwide.

Alfano joined IRIS International in December 2001 as director of international sales and marketing.

He has 19 years of experience in medical devices and diagnostics with companies such as Johnson & Johnson, C.R. Bard and Syntex.

VCA Antech, Pet's Choice now one

VCA Antech Inc., a Los Angeles-based animal healthcare company, announced Tuesday the completion of its merger with Pet's Choice Inc.

VCA Antech acquired Pet's Choice for $60 million in cash, less assumed debt.

Pet's Choice operates 46 animal hospitals in five states, with annual revenues of nearly $70 million in the fiscal year ended March 27.

VCA Antech owns, operates and manages the largest networks of freestanding veterinary hospitals and veterinary-exclusive clinical laboratories in the country.

The company also supplies ultrasound and digital radiography equipment to the veterinary industry in North America.

Broadcom files antitrust lawsuit

IRVINE - Broadband semiconductor maker Broadcom Corp. on Tuesday said it has filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm Inc., charging the wireless technology company with violating domestic antitrust laws.

Broadcom said its complaint centered on Qualcomm's licensing and other practices related to cellular technology and products. The complaint is the latest in a series of legal challenges brought by Broadcom against Qualcomm, which licenses CDMA, a widely used cell phone technology.

Broadcom said Qualcomm's monopoly in CDMA technology has resulted in higher domestic cell phone prices, and its lawsuit is aimed at preventing high prices on the next generation of so-called ``3-G'' cell phones.

Bill interest rates reach high point

WASHINGTON - Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in Tuesday's auction to the highest level in nearly four years.

The Treasury Department auctioned $16 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 3.145 percent, up from 3.08 percent last week. Another $14 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 3.325 percent, up from 3.22 percent last week.

Separately, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable rate mortgages, rose to 3.46 percent last week from 3.40 percent the previous week.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 6, 2005
Words:502
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