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Sullenberger Urges Hospitals to Adopt Aviation Culture of Safety

Hospital leaders attending the American Hospital Association's Leadership Summit in San Diego Thursday got a stern lecture from Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who advised them they should adopt the safety culture of the aviation industry. They must stop thinking of accidents “as inevitable and start thinking about them as unimaginable," he said. “We in aviation have learned a lot, and we’re anxious to share it with you.” —HealthLeaders Media, 07/23/10 More »

Rose Ann DeMoro Wants Hospitals to Scream

This past April, Rose Ann DeMoro—a former supermarket cashier from St. Louis—looked at billionaire California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and had an idea. DeMoro found a Los Angeles drama teacher, dressed her in a crown and faux ermine, and sent her out to tail Whitman across the state. Joined by tuxedoed bodyguards named "Goldman" and "Sachs," "Queen Meg" now spends her days taunting Whitman up close. "The new corporate aristocracy, they're used to unilateral control, no democracy," says DeMoro. "The script just wrote itself." —Business Week, 07/22/10 More »

California Governor’s Race: Meg Whitman vs. the Nurses Union

In her gubernatorial campaign, California billionaire Meg Whitman fancies herself a turnaround artist, not unlike CEOs who take on failing companies and put them in the black. In her analysis of why the nation's most populous state and the world's 12th largest economy has a chronically dysfunctional government, one villain stands out: public-employee unions. —Time, 07/20/10 More »

Nurses unionize to improve patient care

America's nurses are on the march — literally and figuratively. Consider just two recent developments: In Minnesota, 12,000 nurses from 14 hospitals walked off the job for a day last month, the largest such action in U.S. history, in a bid to improve staffing levels and to secure standardized nurse-patient ratios. In Texas, almost 2,000 nurses at five hospitals voted to form unions in a two-week period ending in June. This was particularly notable because Texas has the third largest number of RNs in the country — after California and New York — but previously only one private hospital in Texas was organized. —Washington Times, 07/12/10 More »

Union chief makes nurses a political force

Rose Ann DeMoro, a former supermarket cashier from the suburbs of St. Louis who has risen to become one of America’s most powerful labor leaders, recalls that her tough but saintly mother had two maxims. One: “Keep reaching.” Two: “If someone hits you, and you don’t hit ’em back, you’re going to get it when you get home.” DeMoro, executive director of the 86,000 member California Nurses Association and the 155,000-member National Nurses United, says she has faithfully lived by the first — and never had to worry much about the second. —San Francisco Chronicle, 07/11/10 More »

Medicare changes could shortchange vulnerable hospitals

The findings, researchers say, raise the possibility that the so-called "pay-for-performance" initiative could inadvertently worsen existing healthcare disparities. Pay-for-performance reimbursement plans essentially reward hospitals and doctors for meeting certain treatment goals established in medical guidelines. For example, guidelines state that heart attack patients should be given aspirin and drugs called beta-blockers when they are admitted to and discharged from the hospital; centers that better meet that goal would get greater reimbursements. —Reuters, 06/29/10 More »

Pfizer Rapamune Lawsuit: Pharma Giant’s Subsidiary Accused Of Targeting ‘High-Risk’ Black Patients

In a stunning whistleblower lawsuit, the world's largest pharmaceutical company is being sued over the dangerous practice of illegally promoting a kidney transplant drug for unapproved uses -- and targeting African-Americans, even though they are at high risk of complications. —Huffington Post, 05/25/10 More »

Health Insurance Companies Try to Shape Rules

Health insurance companies are lobbying federal and state officials in an effort to ward off strict regulation of premiums and profits under the new health care law. The effort is, in some ways, a continuation of the battle over health care that consumed Congress last year. —New York Times, 05/15/10 More »

Health Care Employees RNs Adopt National Bargaining Standards

During National Nurses Week, registered nurses from across the country May 11 put health care employers on notice that they do not intend to sign concessionary collective bargaining agreements that are “injurious” to their patients or their profession. —Bureau of National Affairs, 05/12/10 More »

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis Addresses National Nurses United

Good morning National Nurses United! Thank you Ms. Zenei Cortez for the kind introduction. And thank you all for the invitation to join you today. I want to say hello to all my nursing friends from California. —U.S. Department of Labor, 05/11/10 More »

More Nurses=Fewer Deaths, Hospital Study Shows

The new health insurance reform package took a few steps toward increasing access to insurance and controlling costs, argues National Nurses United spokesman Chuck Idelson, but it did little to improve quality of care, one of the major challenges facing would-be reformers. But research published today in the journal HSR (Health Services Research) concludes that increasing the number of nurses in a hospital can do a lot to boost the chances that patients will survive–and to encourage experienced nurses to stick with the job at a time when many hospitals suffer from nurse shortages and high turnover. —In These Times, 04/20/10 More »

UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley was paid $102M in ‘09

Giant paydays are back at UnitedHealth Group. Chief executive Stephen Hemsley pulled in $102 million in 2009, with $98.6 million coming from exercised stock options, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday. That’s the biggest payday at the Minnetonka-based health insurer since 2006, when former chief Dr. William McGuire collected $127 million. —Bloomberg News, 04/15/10 More »

More NNU Nurses Answer Call to Help Haitian Quake Survivors

Another contingent of National Nurses United (NNU) nurse volunteers is on its way to Haiti to help provide much needed medical care to the earthquake survivors. The 10 RNs are part of NNU’s RN Response Network (RNRN). —AFL-CIO, 04/05/10 More »

Pro-single-payer doctors: Health bill leaves 23 million uninsured - A false promise of reform

As much as we would like to join the celebration of the House's passage of the health bill last night, in good conscience we cannot. We take no comfort in seeing aspirin dispensed for the treatment of cancer. Instead of eliminating the root of the problem - the profit-driven, private health insurance industry - this costly new legislation will enrich and further entrench these firms. The bill would require millions of Americans to buy private insurers' defective products, and turn over to them vast amounts of public money. —Physicians for a National Health Program, 03/22/10 More »

Chico nurse works on hospital ship off Haiti

Two weeks off Haiti aboard a Navy hospital ship left Darrell Daugherty, a nurse from Chico, with vivid memories and plenty of material for his diary. It was the chance of a lifetime to work aboard the USNS Comfort, Daugherty said in an interview this week. "I met great people. I thought they were doing a very good job." —Chico Enterprise Record, 03/14/10 More »

Executives Who Get Paid Millions To Deny You Health Care Coverage

The business model of American health insurers is basically: try to get healthy customers as clients, and then resist as long as possible when it comes to paying out claims. That’s actually not an indictment or a criticism. It’s just the way our system works, and it’s screwed up. —wallstcheatsheet.com, 03/10/10 More »

Local nurse spends two weeks helping earthquake victims in Haiti

Lauren Aichele, operating room nurse at UCSF at Mount Zion, was one of three nurses chosen out of thousands of applicants to National Nurses United to help earthquake victims in Haiti. She stayed on the Navy’s medical ship, the USNS Comfort, for two weeks in February. —San Francisco Examiner, 03/08/10 More »

Modesto nurse volunteers in shattered nation of Haiti

As a veteran emergency and intensive care nurse, Marti Smith of Oakdale has cared for plenty of car crash victims and other people with severely broken bones. During her 10 days of serving on a hospital ship caring for victims of the Haiti earthquake, she wasn't struck by the severity of the injuries, but by the sheer number of Haitian people with severe trauma. —Modesto Bee, 03/06/10 More »

Health Reform Lessons from Massachusetts, Part X

Health Reform Lessons from Massachusetts, Part X

Four years ago, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts enacted a far-reaching health reform law that politicians and the media hailed as a model for other states and the federal government. That law has become the blueprint for health system change on a national scale, and its advocates have aggressively marketed a variation of the Massachusetts plan that has passed the Senate and House of Representatives. This is the tenth in an occasional series of posts that will continue to explore how well the Massachusetts law is working with an eye toward helping the press and the public understand its flashpoints. The entire series is archived here. —Columbia Journalism Review, 03/03/10 More »

What do we need health insurers for anyway?

Angela Braly can't kid me. When the chief executive of gargantuan health insurer WellPoint (parent of Blue Cross of California) went before a congressional subcommittee the other day, she displayed all the smile-through-the-tears pluck of Annie looking to a sunny tomorrow or Scarlett swearing to God she'll never be hungry again. —Los Angeles TImes, 02/28/10 More »

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