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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 »

Contra Costa nurse dies; El Cerrito man charged with murder in jail attack

A nurse who was attacked by an inmate at the Contra Costa County Jail died of her injuries today, prompting the promise of new legislation that would protect medical workers in jails and medical facilities. El Sobrante resident Cynthia Barraca Palomata, 55, died this morning, three days after she was struck in the head with a table lamp by an El Cerrito man awaiting processing into the jail, authorities said. —Contra Costa Times, 10/26/10 More »

Sparrow nurses allege unsafe staffing situations; patient care at issue at Lansing hospital

Nurses at Sparrow Hospital are alleging in complaints filed with the state that the Lansing facility is understaffed and jeopardizing patient care. Members of the Professional Employees Council of Sparrow Hospital submitted a report Thursday to the Michigan Department of Community Health detailing what it says are hundreds of instances of unsafe staffing situations. —Lansing State Journal, 10/22/10 More »

Nurses make the difference in care

I am a registered nurse working in this community. I am also part of the legislative efforts led by the National Nurses Organizing Committee of Florida. I support the Florida Hospital Patient Protection Act (known as HB 1283/SB 2316 in the 2010 legislative session) and ask that all residents of this community support it too. —Daytona Beach News-Journal, 10/18/10 More »

Critical care

Hundreds of nurses from the UMass Memorial Medical Center system staged a boisterous rally and demonstration in front of the Belmont Street Memorial campus yesterday to protest what they contend are unsafe staffing levels, hospital demands for pay and benefit cuts and the planned closing of a medical-surgical unit at Memorial. —Telegram and Gazette, 10/14/10 More »

U.S., California probe Prime Healthcare

A Southern California hospital chain known for aggressive billing practices and cost-cutting is being investigated by state and federal authorities for an unusually high rate of life-threatening infections among its older patients. —Los Angeles TImes, 10/12/10 More »

Nurses picket EMMC

Off-duty registered nurses covered by the union contract at Eastern Maine Medical Center picketed the hospital Monday. The purpose of the demonstration was "informational," according to Vanessa Sylvester of the Maine State Nurses Association, intended to raise public awareness of ongoing contract negotiations between the nurses and the hospital administration. —Bangor Daily News, 10/10/10 More »

US healthcare ‘to blame’ for poor life expectancy rates

The US healthcare system is to blame for declines in the country's life expectancy ranking, a study suggests. The Columbia University report rejects claims that factors such as obesity have shortened life-spans for Americans relative to other wealthy nations. —BBC, 10/09/10 More »

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