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Health Notes

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass. signs on to Google Health

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts says it will become the first health insurer to participate in Google Health, a medical records initiative by the online search engine.

Massachusetts’ Blues plan said last Thursday that it expects to begin offering the free electronic service to its roughly 3 million members this fall. Members will have the chance to open a Google Health account and authorize sharing of their medical claims data with the online service.

While the initiative has raised some privacy concerns, the goal is to enable people to organize, store and manage their medical records in one secure location.

Google Health was launched last month with several health care providers, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and pharmacies including CVS and Walgreens.

Red tide forces closure of Boston Harbor shellfish beds

Public health officials have closed shellfish beds in Boston Harbor for the first time in 36 years in response to a spreading red tide along the Massachusetts coast.

The ban on shellfish harvesting now extends from the New Hampshire border to the Bourne-Sandwich town line, with the exception of a small area along Plymouth, Kingston, and Duxbury.

New Hampshire closed its shellfish beds because of red tide a month ago. Parts of the Maine coast are closed to harvesting, as well.

Red tide is a toxic algae that concentrates in shellfish, making them dangerous for humans to eat.

People who eat contaminated shellfish can get sick or die. Crabs, lobsters and shrimp are not affected.

(Associated Press)