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Business news in brief

In the Region

$1M grant for patient-records system

A group of South Jersey health-care providers received a $1 million grant from the state Department of Health to create an electronic system to share patient information in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties. The primary partners in the network, called NJSHINE, are South Jersey Healthcare in Vineland, Shore Medical Center in Somers Point, and Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May Court House, according to a news release by South Jersey Healthcare. The real-time network will connect seven hospitals. NJSHINE is New Jersey's fifth such organization. - Harold Brubaker

Audit: Housing program broke rules

A Pennsylvania housing program for disabled individuals did not comply with federal rules when it claimed $2 million in administrative costs from July 2008 through December 2011, an audit by the U.S. Department of Human Services' Office of Inspector General found. The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare filed claims for unpermitted "indirect support services" in a program that helped move disabled people out of institutions, the audit said. In its official response, the state agency disagreed with the findings, arguing that the claims were directly related to the Medicaid program. - Harold Brubaker

Website issues for FreshDirect

FreshDirect Inc., the New York-based online grocer that also serves Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Connecticut, suffered a website outage after a delay in the renewal of its Internet address. In a statement, FreshDirect said Wednesday that it experienced a "renewal issue" Tuesday with the Web address. Internet service providers were still refreshing their servers, which should restore the site for all customers, the company said.

- Bloomberg News

Work set for Girard Point refinery

Philadelphia Energy Solutions plans to close the Girard Point section of its Philadelphia refinery near the end of January for about 60 days of planned maintenance, according to a person familiar with the situation. Girard Point, which supplies gasoline and distillate and is the largest on the East Coast, is being shut for work on process units including the No. 137 crude unit, which can process 200,000 barrels a day of crude oil. Refinery spokeswoman Cherice Corley did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Philadelphia Energy Solutions, the plant's operator, is a joint venture of Carlyle Group L.P. and Sunoco Inc., acquired by Energy Transfer Partners L.P. in October. - Bloomberg News

Japan OKs Pfizer anticlotting drug

Regulators in Japan have approved sales of an anticlotting drug called Eliquis, developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Pfizer Inc., that is considered a potential blockbuster in a new category of medicines to prevent strokes and heart attacks. Pfizer, which has major operations in the Philadelphia area, and Bristol-Myers said Japan approved use of Eliquis for treating the most common type of irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation, in patients at risk for strokes or dangerous clots called systemic embolisms. Approved for sale in Canada and the European Union, Eliquis has twice been rejected by the Food and Drug Administration. - AP

Carnegie Mellon wins patent case

A federal jury Wednesday awarded Carnegie Mellon University $1.169 billion in damages on its claim that a Bermuda-based chip manufacturer violated its patents. The nine-member jury rejected counterclaims by Marvell Technology Group Ltd. that the CMU patents were invalid. The jury also determined that the company, whose U.S. operations are based in Santa Clara, Calif., knowingly violated CMU's patents for a noise-detection technology commonly used when reading computer hard drives. Steven Madison, an attorney representing Marvell, said the case was not over because Marvell has several pending motions. - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


October saw gains in home prices

U.S. home prices rose in most major cities in October compared with a year ago, pushed up by rising sales and a decline in the supply of available homes. Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller national home-price index increased 4.3 percent in October compared with a year ago - the largest year-over-year increase in 21/2 years, when a homebuyer tax credit temporarily boosted sales. Prices rose compared with last year in 18 of 20 cities. (The index does not include Philadelphia.) - AP

Grainger to pay U.S. $70 million

Hardware-supply distributor W.W. Grainger Inc. has agreed to pay $70 million to resolve allegations it submitted false claims under contracts with the General Services Administration and the U.S. Postal Service. The GSA discovered in an audit that Grainger had not given accurate or complete information to government purchasers, causing the U.S. to pay excessive amounts for the company's products, the Justice Department said. - Bloomberg News

Mississippi water levels still falling

Water levels in the Mississippi River south of St. Louis are falling faster than anticipated. Debra Colbert, senior vice president of Waterways Council Inc., said the Army Corps of Engineers now projects levels on the nation's busiest waterway may fall to a point at which many tugboats cannot operate by Jan. 3 or Jan. 4. Shippers carry about $7 billion in goods on the Mississippi in December and January, with thousands of jobs in Illinois, Missouri, Louisiana and other states at risk if the river shuts down. The corps has rejected calls for releasing more water from reservoirs along the Missouri River, saying it would put drinking-water supplies and wildlife at risk. - Bloomberg News