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    Humana (NYSE: HUM) will provide compensation for improvement in quality metrics such as hospital-associated infection rates, care coordination and palliative care. These areas are intended to produce improvements in a patient's health outcomes, safety and experience.

    Humana will measure participating hospitals' performance by using metrics from two certification programs developed by The Joint Commission, the nation's oldest health care accreditation agency. Participating hospitals will need to receive the Integrated Care Certification and Palliative Care Coordination Certification from The Joint Commission.

    "These key Joint Commission certifications require that participating hospitals engage patients more seamlessly across the entire continuum of care, and we're pleased to work with Humana to create additional value for the hospitals that achieve them," Brian Enochs, executive vice president of business development and marketing with The Joint Commission, said in the release.

    The release did not specify how much the hospitals would be paid or the timeframe for improvements for hospitals.

    The incentive program furthers Humana's goal moving to a value-based model for care and payment for the members of its health plans. Many health plans, including Humana's, are moving to models that focus on paying for good patient health outcomes, rather than simply paying fees for services provided.

    Ensuring care integration and coordination across the health care spectrum for its plan members also has been a major focus for Humana.

    The company recently announced that it would partner with Landmark Health LLC, a Huntington Beach, Calif.-based home-based medical care company, to provide in-home behavioral and palliative care coordination to Humana's Medicare Advantage members with complex health needs related to chronic illness in several states.

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    The fruiting bodies of Phycomyces blakesleeanus, a fungus that, like humans and plants, can detect gravity. Credit Tu Anh Nguyen

    That mold that looks like a Dr. Seussian forest growing on the rotting strawberry in your fridge: It’s probably a pin mold, a remarkable example of some of nature’s most overlooked innovations.

    It’s related to a common fungus called Phycomyces blakesleeanus, a larger one, famous for its sensing abilities. It can respond to wind and touch, grow toward light and detect and navigate around objects placed above it. It senses gravity too — with crystals that move around inside single, but giant, elongated, spore-containing cells that resemble Truffula Trees.

    “You can put that thing in a microscope — you don’t need a high-powered microscope — and you just see these beautiful crystals,” said Gregory Jedd, a geneticist who studies fungi at Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory in Singapore. But he wondered where they came from.

    So in a paper published Tuesday in PLOS Biology, he and his colleagues determined that the crystals were likely the result of a gene that the molds’ common ancestor borrowed from bacteria long ago. Their findings highlight how nature finds weird ways to turn accidents into strengths through evolution.

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