Smallpox injury bill introduced
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) introduced legislation to establish "no fault" compensation for those injured by the smallpox vaccine and help states offer education and testing for risk factors. The legislation would give states full funding for the immediate medical care of healthcare workers or first responders injured by the vaccine or anyone injured by coming into contact with someone recently vaccinated. It also would prohibit discrimination against workers who refuse the vaccine and authorize up to four days' paid leave following reactions (See story, p. 18).
Fletcher Allen trustees out
Eight of 17 board members at Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, Vt., resigned amid controversy over its expansion, leaving only three trustees remaining who were on the board when troubles started last August. Gov. Jim Douglas asked all but the newest trustees to step down, but the board's chairwoman said his request was not a factor in the resignations. The expansion has exceeded its state-approved funding by $146 million (See story, p. 17).
AHA, FAH cost study coming
The American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals said they will release a report this week detailing the increasing costs that are driving spending on hospital care. Modern Healthcare was the first to report the news on the launch of the industry study (Nov. 25, 2002, p. 4). The report will counter recent reports from the federal government and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association that have blamed hospitals for sharply rising healthcare spending.
Pa. hospitals' income falls
Pennsylvania hospitals' nonoperating income fell 82% in 2002 to $46.5 million. Of the state's 185 hospitals, 41% lost money in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2002, compared with 33% in the year-earlier period, according to a state agency report. The average operating margin held steady at 2.1%, but the average total margin declined to 2.3% from 3.3% in 2001. The Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania said poor performance of the stock market "has severely damaged this critical financial safety valve."
Genesis to spin off services
Genesis Health Ventures, Kennett Square, Pa., said it will spin off its 246 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, rehabilitation services and several ancillary businesses into a $1.3 billion public company by year-end. Genesis will retain NeighborCare, Baltimore, which represents the other half of the company's current $2.6 billion in annual revenue and is the nation's third-largest institutional pharmacy player. Genesis Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Fish will lead NeighborCare, while Chief Financial Officer George Hager will be CEO of the new elder-care company.