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Nurses Seek Health & Safety Evidence for Keystone XL Pipeline

Nurses Seek Health & Safety Evidence for Keystone XL Pipeline

Katy Roemer, RN, remembers the fire that took place in 2012 at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif., a 12-mile drive from the Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center, where she works as a maternity nurse. The fire burned out of control for more than five hours, spewing a huge black cloud of toxic chemicals, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, into the air. Bay Area residents were advised to stay inside, close windows and doors, turn off air conditioners and heating units, and have duck tape on hand in case it was needed to further seal the windows and doors. Pets and children were to be kept inside. —The ONC, 03/31/14 More »

Could This Tax on Wall Street Turn Back America’s Tide of Inequality?

Could This Tax on Wall Street Turn Back America’s Tide of Inequality?

How will you honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. this April 4, the anniversary of his assassination? How about by demanding that Congress get out of Wall Street’s pocket? How about by letting your representative know that you support economic equality and a just distribution of wealth in America? As Dr. King himself said, “This is America’s opportunity to help bridge the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. The question is whether America will do it. There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. —The Nation, 03/31/14 More »

The Truth About Tar Sands

The Truth About Tar Sands

I recently had the pleasure of attending one of the most important press briefings that has happened in a long time: Senator Barbara Boxer-Keystone Pipeline and the Threat to Human Health. The briefing took place at the Dirksen Senate Building and featured Senator Boxer (D-CA), Senator Whitehouse (D-RI), health experts, and community leaders dealing with this issue firsthand from around the country and Canada. The main message of this briefing was that people need to know the truth about tar sands and its effects on people’s health. —Denée Reaves’s Blog, 02/28/14 More »

Profits Over Patients

Profits Over Patients

Much is wrong with the process of pricing and providing health care in America. The National Nurses United, the largest nurses organization, recently released a study that shows the top 100 most expensive U.S. Hospitals have a charge-to-cost ratio of 765 percent and higher. The worst offender in Ohio is right here in Summit County – Summa Barberton at a mind-numbing 654 percent. It is followed in fourth place by Summa Western Reserve at a whopping 577 percent. What has become obvious is the health-care establishment here and across the country is more concerned with profits than patients. —OpEd in the Akron Beacon Journal Online, 02/21/14 More »

AFL-CIO’s Trumka: Keep VW Union Vote In Perspective

AFL-CIO’s Trumka: Keep VW Union Vote In Perspective

Workers at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., last week narrowly rejected joining the United Auto Workers. That was a setback for labor which was looking for an organizing victory in a southern state. The AFL-CIO is holding its winter meetings this week in Houston. The movement says its efforts to organize across the South continue despite the high profile defeat at the VW plant. RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, tells of sizable organizing gains her union has made in the South over the last few years. —NPR, 02/19/14 More »

Joel Hay: What’s wrong with American hospitals?

Joel Hay: What’s wrong with American hospitals?

In 2010, the Medicare program inspector general reported that the death toll from hospital errors had risen to 180,000 annually just in the Medicare program alone. A more recent study found that as many as 440,000 deaths each year result from hospital errors – equivalent to two daily jumbo jet crashes. —Orange County Register, 02/10/14 More »

Obamacare’s Founding CEO Wants To Bring Single Payer To Massachusetts

Obamacare’s Founding CEO Wants To Bring Single Payer To Massachusetts

On his first day as governor of Massachusetts, Donald Berwick promises to set up a commission tasked with finding a way to bring single payer to the Bay State. It'll have report back to him within a year -- ideally sooner. Having run Medicare and Obamacare in Washington for 17 months, he has concluded that the existing hybrid system is too cumbersome and expensive, and that single payer is the right fix. —Talking Points Memo, 02/07/14 More »

New study links fracking to birth defects in heavily drilled Colorado

New study links fracking to birth defects in heavily drilled Colorado

Living near hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — sites may increase the risk of some birth defects by as much as 30 percent, a new study suggests. In the U.S., more than 15 million people now live within a mile of a well. The use of fracking, a gas-extraction process through which sand, water and chemicals are pumped into the ground to release trapped fuel deposits, has increased significantly in the U.S. over the past decade. —Aljazeera America, 01/31/14 More »

The Great Pay Debate: 5 Hospital Executive Compensation Trends for 2014

The Great Pay Debate: 5 Hospital Executive Compensation Trends for 2014

In October, Harvard University researchers published a study in JAMA Internal Medicine, which looked at the compensation data of 1,877 CEOs at 2,681 private, nonprofit U.S. hospitals. Data came from the hospitals' 2009 Form 990s. The researchers found nonprofit hospital CEOs had a mean compensation of $595,781 and a median compensation of $404,938. —Becker's Hospital Review, 01/29/14 More »

New Data Show How Hospitals Rip You Off

New Data Show How Hospitals Rip You Off

According to the study published Monday by National Nurses United, the largest nurses' organization in the United States, the price of many services has skyrocketed since the mid-'90s. Many hospitals have set charges at 10 times their cost. The 100 most expensive hospitals in the country, for example, in 2011 charged 765 percent of their costs, or $765 for every $100 of total costs. —Mother Jones, 01/08/14 More »

Treatment of medically uninsured Americans shameful

Treatment of medically uninsured Americans shameful

They are one American in six. They range in age from newborn to 65. They might be anyone – even your neighbor. They are America’s problem and America’s shame. They are America’s 47 million medically uninsured. Contrary to public perception, the uninsured are, for the most part, not the lowest on the economic ladder. —Physicians For a National Health Program, 01/07/14 More »

Hospital charge-to-cost ratio on the rise, says nursing group

Hospital charge-to-cost ratio on the rise, says nursing group

Hospital charges continue to rise, with some procedures billed at more than 10 times their cost, according to a statement from National Nurses United (NNU). The Institute for Health and Socio-Economic Policy, NNU's research arm. conducted the research. —Fierce Health Finace, 01/07/14 More »

Hospitals Overcharging Patients, Nurses’ Union Says

Hospitals Overcharging Patients, Nurses’ Union Says

New data released by National Nurses United revealed that not only do a handful of hospitals charge patients more than 10 times the actual cost of treatment but that prices have been steadily increasing for nearly two decades. Skimping on care, patients often pay for it with their health, said Joan Ross, co-president of National Nurses United. —ABC National News, 01/07/14 More »

NNU’s RoseAnn DeMoro Again Voted 1 of 50 Most Powerful People in Healthcare

NNU’s RoseAnn DeMoro Again Voted 1 of 50 Most Powerful People in Healthcare

Many sectors in the healthcare industry have played major roles in shaping the system we have today: hospitals, health systems, physicians, nurses, health insurance companies, scientists, researchers, politicians, advocacy groups, lobbyists, journalists, Wall Streeters and more. As we head into 2014, here are 50 of the most powerful people who have shaped policy, thoughts, operations and management in healthcare. —Becker's Hospital Review, 01/06/14 More »

The Obamacare We Deserve

The Obamacare We Deserve

TODAY marks the beginning of health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act’s new insurance exchanges, for which two million Americans have signed up. Now that the individual mandate is officially here, let me begin with an admission: Obamacare is awful. —The New York Times, 01/03/14 More »

State Single-Payer: The Next Frontier of American Healthcare

State Single-Payer: The Next Frontier of American Healthcare

If all the states were a giant family, Vermont would be the stereotypical Birkenstock-wearing, hippie cousin—just a little bit different and unafraid to reject the typical way of doing things. So perhaps it should not have been all that surprising when the Green Mountain State enacted a single-payer health care system, called “Green Mountain Care,” one year after the country kicked and screamed its way to an individual mandate. —Harvard Political Review, 12/17/13 More »

U.S. ranks near bottom on efficiency of health care spending

U.S. ranks near bottom on efficiency of health care spending

A new study by researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and McGill University in Montreal reveals that the United States health care system ranks 22nd out of 27 high-income nations when analyzed for its efficiency of turning dollars spent into extending lives. —PNHP, 12/16/13 More »

Congress Chooses Austerity Over Job Creation and Economic Growth

Congress Chooses Austerity Over Job Creation and Economic Growth

"At the end of the day, the bill abandons 1.3 million Americans who desperately need unemployment insurance, and does nothing to promote economic growth or job creation," Congressman Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, explained Thursday. "Furthermore, the legislation is paid for on the backs of the middle class and military families, while not touching the wealthiest amongst us and allowing corporations to continue to benefit from tax loopholes." —The Nation OpedNews.com, 12/13/13 More »

Gen. Colin Powell calls for universal health care in the U.S.

Gen. Colin Powell calls for universal health care in the U.S.

“We are a wealthy enough country with the capacity to make sure that every one of our fellow citizens has access to quality health care,” he said Thursday at a Seattle fundraiser for prostate cancer. “(Let’s show) the rest of the world what our democratic system is all about and how we take care of all of our citizens." —Puget Sound Business Journal, 12/13/13 More »

Hospital Fever - Healthcare now based on unknowns

Hospital Fever - Healthcare now based on unknowns

In anticipation of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals and insurance companies nationwide have begun to cut back services. In California, Kaiser nurses recently reported that "over the last year, Kaiser has been making it harder for patients to be admitted for hospital care when sick or injured, and is sending patients home when they should still be under hospital care" (National Nurses United, Oct. 2013). —Bohemian.com, 12/11/13 More »

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