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Pentagon Health Plan Won’t Cover Brain-Damage Therapy for Troops

Sarah Wade, 36, and her husband, Ted Wade, 33, are seen in front of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 18, 2010. Ted suffered a traumatic brain injury, along with multiple other injuries, while riding in a Humvee in Iraq in 2004. Although Ted gets health insurance through the Defense Department, Sarah says "it doesn't cover what it needs to" and that he needs "more options, and less bureaucracy." The Wades live in Chapel Hill, N.C., but regularly travel to Washington for medical appointments and meetings. (Coburn Dukehart/NPR) —NPR, 12/20/10 More »

Community Voices Map Out Broad Range of Concerns about CPMC “Master Plan”

As usual, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, had his finger on the pulse of San Francisco at yesterday's inquiry into the CPMC hospital chain. "I've been to a lot of these hearings, and lies, lies, lies is what we usually hear from CPMC. Sutter is trying to create a hospital monopoly, where they get to write a Bible that we can't interpret." —Beyond Chron, 12/16/10 More »

What Does the Tax Cut Deal Mean for Medicare, Social Security and Health Care Reform? Part 1

When President Obama struck a deal with conservatives on tax cuts, his opponents set the stage for 2012. With this legislation, the conservative agenda of the Bush administration once again becomes national policy. The goal: to redistribute wealth upward--even if that means letting the deficit balloon. —www.healthbeatblog.org, 12/15/10 More »

Union claims nursing jobs becoming far more dangerous

A doctor visit may be becoming a lot more dangerous -- especially for medical personnel -- and local nurses union officials say they want urgent changes made in light of two recent local killings. —Contra Costa Times, 12/12/10 More »

Hospital safety bill proposed

An East Bay assemblywoman has introduced a bill to improve staff safety at hospitals in response to the slayings of two medical workers, including the death of a psychiatric technician at Napa State Hospital late October. —Napa Valley Register, 12/12/10 More »

Hospital, union reach agreement

Facing a federal trial over alleged anti-union activity at the hospital, St. Mary Corwin Medical Center has reached an agreement with the National Labor Relations Board to stop alleged harassment and coercion of nurses who favor union representation. —The Pueblo Chieftan, 12/07/10 More »

Nurses Top Honesty and Ethics List for 11th Year

Nurses continue to outrank other professions in Gallup's annual Honesty and Ethics survey. Eighty-one percent of Americans say nurses have "very high" or "high" honesty and ethical standards, a significantly greater percentage than for the next-highest-rated professions, military officers and pharmacists. Americans rate car salespeople, lobbyists, and members of Congress as having the lowest honesty and ethics, with the last two getting a majority of "low" or "very low" ratings. —Gallup, 12/03/10 More »

7 California HMOs slapped with $5 million in fines for underpaying providers

California's seven largest HMOs must pay nearly $5 million in fines because of unfair payment practices after an 18-month state investigation revealed widespread underpayments, valued in the tens of millions of dollars, for medical care provided by doctors and hospitals. —The Sacramento Bee, 11/30/10 More »

Nurses’ union responds to violent cases against staff

Devoting concern to possible violence against nurses is not a new cause for the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, but the union has not specifically devoted attention to it since the summer. To remedy this, PASNAP hosted a recent conference to address violence against health care professionals in the workplace, specifically against nurses. —Temple News, 11/30/10 More »

Nurses union becomes potent political force

Politicians and political strategists looking ahead to the next election cycle are taking notice of an increasingly potent political force on the state and national scene - one that's overwhelmingly female and dressed in scrubs. The Oakland-based California Nurses Association has made its mark by delivering some powerful political punches with a combination of entertaining theater and savvy strategizing. —San Francisco Chronicle, 11/24/10 More »

Nurses at two Central Florida hospitals vote to unionize

Registered nurses at two Central Florida hospitals have voted to unionize, reflecting a national trend in which nurses are banding together to fight what they call chronic understaffing. —Orlando Sentinel, 11/23/10 More »

Growing National Nurses United union steps up strikes in aggressive new strategy

The nurses at the Washington Hospital Center were all set to wear red scrubs - the union color - on Monday in preparation for a strike the day before Thanksgiving. But those scrubs can be put away, at least for now, because the union canceled the one-day strike, and management put controversial pay cuts on hold, as both sides are to resume talks after the holiday —Washington Post, 11/20/10 More »

Local nurses voted to go with union

Registered nurses at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee voted by 92 percent Monday night to join the National Nurses Organizing Committee-Florida, an affiliate of National Nurses United. In a press release, Charles Idelson, communications director for National Nurses United, said that in a secret ballot election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that oversees labor relations, the local registered nurses voted 354-30 to join the country's biggest union and professional association of registered nurses. —Around Osceola, 11/20/10 More »

Insurers Gave U.S. Chamber $86 Million Used to Oppose Obama’s Health Law

Health insurers last year gave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce $86.2 million that was used to oppose the health-care overhaul law, according to tax records and people familiar with the donation. The insurance lobby, whose members include Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Cigna Corp. of Philadelphia, gave the money to the Chamber in 2009 as Democrats increased criticism of the industry, according to a person who requested anonymity because laws don't require identifying funding sources. —Bloomberg News, 11/17/10 More »

Trumka on Social Security: Don’t Raise Retirement Age

Among the many skeptics President Obama will have to win over to enact recommendations outlined by leaders of his bipartisan deficit reduction commission: one of the Democratic Party's key allies, AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka. Trumka was visiting National Journal as commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson were unveiling their ideas Wednesday. —National Journal, 11/11/10 More »

Nurses’ Union Flexes Political Muscle

One of California's most powerful political players these days is a Bay Area-based nurses' union, which helped torpedo Republican Meg Whitman's efforts to become governor and boosted the prospects of the eventual winning candidate, Democrat Jerry Brown. Now officials of the 85,000-member California Nurses Association say they will keep Gov.-elect Brown's feet to the fire on their agenda of improving conditions for nurses and the state's health-care system. —Wall Street Journal, 11/11/10 More »

More Americans opt for high-deductible health insurance plans

Rising costs lead to a nearly threefold increase in the number of workers covered by the policies since 2006. Health experts worry about consumers who forgo preventive care. Looking to save money in a weak economy, Americans increasingly are turning to health insurance plans with low premiums and high deductibles - prompting doctors and health experts to worry that consumers may be skipping routine care that could head off serious ailments. —Los Angeles TImes, 11/09/10 More »

Health insurers sit pretty at their customers’ expense

It's a good time to be a health insurer. Three of the biggest names in the insurance game reported rock-solid profits last week. Aetna said its third-quarter net income jumped 53% over the same period last year, to $497.6 million. WellPoint, parent of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said its profit rose 1.2% to $739.1 million. Health Net posted a net income of $62.7 million, compared with a loss of $66 million a year earlier. —Los Angeles TImes, 11/09/10 More »

Workers’ health insurance costs for 2011 include higher premiums and co-payments

For millions of Americans who get their health insurance through their job, autumn brings not only falling leaves and cooler breezes, but also difficult choices. That's because it's the time when many employers present workers with their insurance options for the coming year. —Washington Post, 11/08/10 More »

Sick Californians may be forgoing care because health deductible is too high, study says

Three million Californians are enrolled in high-deductible health insurance plans because they can't afford to pay high premiums. But the often excessive out-of-pocket costs could be causing some to delay seeking care, while jeopardizing the financial well-being of others, a new report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has found. —Los Angeles TImes, 10/28/10 More »

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