KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Miami’s Jackson Hospital Posts Loss Again; Nurse Strikes Threatened

In hospital business news, two Philadelphia landmarks agree to join operations while Jackson Hospital in Miami is facing a cash crisis. The New York Times reports that newly emboldened nurses unions are confronting hospital management over proposed budget cuts. And Houston faces the loss of a key psychiatric hospital.

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Fox Chase To Merge With Temple University Health System
Fox Chase Cancer Center will become part of the Temple University Health System, officials announced Thursday. The combination, which is expected to close next summer, will join two prominent Philadelphia health-care institutions, both of which have faced fiscal difficulties lately. Temple, based in North Philadelphia, will get a nationally recognized research partner that could help it compete with other academic medical centers in the region. Fox Chase, which will keep its name, will get a bigger referral base for patients, room to expand at Temple's Jeanes Hospital next door, and a chance to save money as health-care reform further squeezes the dollars available for clinical care and research (Burling, 12/15).

The Miami Herald: Jackson Health System Loses Another $9 Million
For the second month in a row, Jackson Health System lost $9 million in November — losses that executives blamed on Jackson’s inability to reach agreements with its two biggest partners, the labor unions and the University of Miami. … Administrators have been negotiating with the unions and UM’s medical school for months and have yet to reach agreements. Cash on hand is projected to drop to 11 days at the end of December — a level Jackson's chief executive, Carlos Migoya, called "intolerably low" (Dorschner, 12/15).

The New York Times: Walkouts By Nurses Loom As Hospitals Seek To Cut Costs
The specter of nursing strikes is looming on both coasts, as newly empowered nurses' unions confront hospitals pressed to cut costs amid changes in health care financing (Bernstein, 12/15).

Houston Chronicle: Psychiatric Hospital Loses Medicaid/Medicare Contract
One of Harris County's major inpatient psychiatric hospitals has lost its Medicaid/Medicare certification in the wake of inspections that found "an immediate and serious threat to patient health and safety." The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has notified IntraCare Medical Center, a 148-bed acute-crisis care facility, that it is terminating its contract Dec. 23 because of the threat. The potential closing of the hospital represents a huge blow to the area's overburdened mental health-care system (Ackerman, 12/15).

Minnesota Public Radio: Minnesota Hospitals Ahead Of Curve In Safety Efforts
Minnesota hospitals are getting nearly $3 million from the federal government as part of a national grant to improve safety in the nation's health care centers. The Obama Administration wants hospitals to reduce medical mistakes by 40 percent and reduce preventable hospital readmissions 20 percent by the end of 2013. Jan Hennings of the Minnesota Hospital Association said Minnesota was already much further ahead of other states in tracking such mistakes and learning how to prevent them (Stawicki, 12/16).

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