Revolution is back. The militant journal of nurse empowerment, created and originally published by Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio of New York City, has been revived by the California Nurses Association. New and improved on fancy paper with lots of color, it published Vol. 1, No. 1, last week and threw a coming-out party at the National Press Club in Washington.
"It's the only national magazine put out by direct-care nurses that reflects their point of view," says editor Charles Idelson. "No one is telling these stories."
The inaugural issue has stories about nurse whistleblowers, nurse-staffing ratios and an attack by the Illinois Nurses Association on the Hunter Group, the hospital management consulting firm that nurses love to hate. In another story, journalist and nursing advocate Suzanne Gordon plays home nurse for a day and describes everything that goes wrong.
The editorial board is tilted heavily toward the trade unionist view of nursing. The American Federation of Teachers, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, the Massachusetts Nurses Association and the United Auto Workers are represented on the board, in addition to four nurses from the CNA.
Revolution will publish six times a year. The CNA is underwriting the costs for the magazine but selling subscriptions at $30 for individuals and $100 for institutions. The first issue doesn't have any advertising, but the CNA hopes to sell ads in the future.
Greener pastures.Attention chief financial officers: Want to remain employed in the not-for-profit sector but still be able to sleep at night? Switch to higher education.
While not-for-profit hospitals are getting pummeled by revenue and cost pressures, higher education isn't expected to suffer as much volatility and credit deterioration, according to Moody's Investors Service.
Seeing parallels between the two industries, Moody's this month held its first teleconference contrasting the credit outlooks of higher education and not-for-profit hospitals.
One difference is that healthcare is losing patients because of technological advances that keep them out of the hospital, but universities stand to benefit from technology by expanding their access to nontraditional students, Moody's says.
Higher education also has an advantage when it comes to revenue. Its customers have higher tolerances for price increases because education is considered a long-term investment, according to Moody's. Further, education benefits from an absence of organized buyer groups, diversified revenue sources, philanthropic support and expansive geographic markets.
Sounds like nirvana.
Straight talk. If they stay in their current jobs, CFOs had better pay more attention, warned a top financial consultant at a recent industry conference.
Financial leadership normally found at Fortune 500 companies is "mostly lacking and in some cases entirely lacking" at not-for-profit hospitals, says Kenneth Kaufman, managing director of Kaufman, Hall & Associates, a financial consulting firm based in Northfield, Ill.
He says that the dearth of financial direction comes at a time when hospitals need it the most.
Kaufman was speaking to about 200 attendees at the 2000 CFO Exchange sponsored by Healthcare Financial Management Association last month in San Antonio.
The association, incidentally, has seen a 5% decline in membership this year, says HFMA President Richard Clarke. He attributes the decline mostly to job eliminations and reductions in hospital budgets for professional organizations.
Kaufman says many CFOs want to "become controllers again" rather than confront their chief executives and trustees with a reality check. He called on them to educate decisionmakers on how much the organization's financial capabilities match-or don't match-its strategic goals, even to the point of exhaustion.
"All parties should know at any given time where (the organization stands)," he says.
Pane relief. Even though Alexian Brothers Health System sold its 192-bed hospital in San Jose, Calif., to Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. in late 1998, it still has dibs on the hospital's stained glass.
As part of the $60 million deal, Alexian Brothers, Elk Grove Village, Ill., has three years to remove the stained glass in the hospital's chapel and ship it to Illinois. The elaborate window, installed in the mid-1960s as part of the hospital's original construction, constitutes most of the chapel's back wall. It portrays St. Alexius and the various hospitals Alexian Brothers has owned over the years.
Alexian Brothers has no immediate plans to move the glass but probably will do so by early 2001, according to a spokeswoman. It's undecided whether the window will be stored or installed at another of Alexian Brothers' three hospitals, she added.