Business Briefs for Jan. 18

BR company featured in medical journal

A federal effort to reduce hospital admissions among Medicare patients that a local company helped pioneer will be featured in JAMA, formerly known as the Journal of the American Medical Association, on Wednesday.

The article discusses whether care transition interventions helped lower the number of Medicare patients who had to be readmitted to hospitals within 30 days of leaving. Under the program developed by Baton Rouge-based eQHealth Solutions, a health coach works with patients, making sure they understand their doctors’ orders and take medications properly.

The program sharply lowered readmissions in the Baton Rouge area. The pilot project included 14 communities and has since been expanded nationwide.

CenturyLink plans Monroe expansion

CenturyLink plans to break ground as early as next month on a 250,000-square foot expansion of its corporate headquarters in Monroe.

The company said Thursday that the CenturyLink Technology Center of Excellence will include technology research and development labs, a network operations center and office and meeting space.

In the center, employees and vendors with network technology and IT skills will work together to create innovative products and services for CenturyLink’s customers.

The center will accommodate about 800 employees and is part of an expansion announced in 2011. The state will contribute up to $14.9 million toward the expansion, or 50 percent of the total cost, if the project is less than $29.8 million.

U.S. rig count down 12; Louisiana loses 1

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said the number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped by 12 this week to 1,749.

The Houston-based company said in its weekly report Friday that 1,316 rigs were exploring for oil and 429 for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, Baker Hughes counted 2,008 working rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, North Dakota gained five rigs, Pennsylvania increased by four and Arkansas by two. Meanwhile, Texas declined by 11 rigs, Oklahoma three, New Mexico two, and Colorado, Louisiana and Wyoming one each. California and West Virginia were unchanged.

Compiled from Advocate staff and Associated Press reports