Massachusetts Miracle

Chafee to allow amended hospital bill to become law

Richard Asinof, Providence Business News, June 15, 2012
 Providence – Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced Friday afternoon that he would allow the legislation changing the Hospital Conversions Act to become law without his signature. In his statement, Chafee said his primary concerns with the new law is the language relating to judicial review of regulatory agency decisions, and the lack of what he deemed a sufficient waiting period. “However, after meeting with interested parties on both sides of the issue, my concerns have been satisfactorily addressed, and I believe that the good in this important bill outweighs the bad,” Chafee said. ... Chafee

Health Department approves Landmark sale, with conditions

Richard Asinof, Providence Business News, May 23, 2012
 Providence – Landmark Medical Center took a big step toward becoming a for-profit hospital that will be owned by Steward Health Care, renamed the Blackstone Medical Center and incorporated in Delaware. Dr. Michael Fine, the director of the RI Department of Health, issued approval Monday evening for the Hospital Conversions Act application by Steward to purchase Landmark and its sister facility, the Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode Island. Fine also approved the Change in Effective Control application, which had been approved earlier this month by the state Health Services Council. ... Health

Steward responds to 'red flags' in RI

Hospital chain forecasts profit this fiscal year. Bruce Mohl, CommonWealth, May 3, 2012 A consultant hired by the state of Rhode Island is raising “red flags” about the financial health of Steward Health Care System, but the Boston-based hospital chain says its business plan is on target and the company is expecting to turn a profit this year. Steward, a private, for-profit company bankrolled by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital, has shaken up the Massachusetts health care market by acquiring a string of struggling hospitals. It now is attempting to expand into Rhode Island ... Steward

Senate vote ensures Taunton State Hospital stays open, for now

Charles Winokoor, Taunton Gazette, July 13, 2012 Boston - Despite threats by Governor Deval Patrick to shut it down for good, Taunton State Hospital will stay open, at least for the foreseeable future, with 45 inpatient beds. The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday voted 39-to-0 to override the governor’s veto of a FY13 budget item by the Legislature to keep the mental-health facility operational with 45 beds. The House previously voted unanimously to override the veto by Patrick - who has vowed to shutter the 169-bed hospital by the end of the year, as a means of saving money and consolidating services. ... Senate

House overrides Taunton State Hospital veto with unanimous vote

Marc Larocque, Taunton Gazette, July 12, 2012 Taunton - The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted unanimously on Wednesday to override Governor Deval Patrick’s veto of a $5.1 million item in the budget for this fiscal year to keep Taunton State Hospital open with 45 beds. The state Senate now has an opportunity to match that override vote in order to reverse Patrick’s veto. Patrick said no to an effort by legislators to keep 45 acute care beds at the hospital, which was a compromise worked out in the Legislature, after he announced plans in January to shut down the facility completely and shift beds to a new facility in Worcester. ... House

MNA Applauds Legislature's Overrides of Governor's Vetoes

Senate Vote Today Follows Yesterday's Vote in House to Save Taunton State & Conduct Mental Health Study. Massachusetts Nurses Association, July 12, 2012 Boston - Today the Massachusetts Senate cast a unanimous vote to override Governor Deval Patrick's veto of funds necessary to keep Taunton State Hospital open, and voted to override his veto of an independent study on the mental health needs of Commonwealth residents. The senate action follows yesterday’s unanimous override votes by the House of Representatives, thereby ensuring the survival of Taunton State Hospital, with 45 beds, while providing the state with an opportunity ... MNA

Newton-Wellesley Hospital President to Step Down

Effective August 1, Dr. Michael Jellinek will no longer be at the helm of Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Melanie Graham, Newton Patch, July 12, 2012 Newton-Wellesley Hospital announced today that Dr. Michael Jellinek will step down as president of the hospital. According to a press release from the hospital, Jellinek will leave to focus on his position as chief of clinical affairs at Partners HealthCare System. “I have completely enjoyed my work and am grateful to everyone at Newton-Wellesley,” Dr. Jellinek said in a statement. ... Newton-Wellesley

Jordan Hospital looks to workers to close $3.6 million gap

Rich Harbert, Old Colony Memorial, July 11, 2012

Plymouth - Forced to cuts millions, Jordan Hospital is hoping voluntary resignations can stave off layoffs.

The hospital sent letters to all of its nearly 1,500 full- and part-time employees over the weekend, announcing provisions of a voluntary resignation program. Workers who opt to leave the hospital next month would get 13 weeks severance pay, along with other benefits.
The hospital says it needs to cut $3.7 million in personnel costs. That represents at least 43 full-time employees.

Workers have until July 17 to elect to participate in the voluntary resignation plan. If not enough employees decide to resign, the hospital will begin making layoffs to make up the difference.

Massachusetts House strikes down gov's proposals

Shannon Young, Associated Press, July 11, 2012 Boston - Massachusetts lawmakers are rejecting Governor Deval Patrick's proposals to scale back their efforts to restrict welfare benefits, close a state psychiatric hospital, and block a requirement for residents to prove they're in the country legally when they register a vehicle. The state House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted Wednesday against the governor's proposed amendments to the state budget he signed three days ago regarding welfare benefits and proof of residency. They also voted unanimously to override his veto of language that would prevent the closure of Taunton State Hospital. ... Massachusetts

Compassion and the state

Glavin, Taunton needed. Worcester Telegram & Gazette Editorial, July 11, 2012 The disagreement over the closing of Taunton State Hospital and the effort to reverse closure of the Glavin Regional Center in Shrewsbury might seem to matter to only a few.  But such facilities ably serve some of our most needy individuals. They are staffed with gifted professionals. Most especially, they are places where hope pours in daily from family members and others who cherish their special someone who lives there.  No place that serves people with mental retardation or other serious developmental difficulties is or can possibly be perfect. ... Compassion

An inside view of the Taunton State Hospital closure plan

Deborah Burdock, RN, Fall River Herald News, July 11, 2012 When you pass through the main lobby of Taunton State Hospital (TSH), you find clients walking together in groups with staff or individually. They’re often headed to the cafeteria for a meal, outside for an “on-grounds” pass, to the canteen for snacks or the greenhouse where they work to earn money. Many clients consider TSH to be their home. Longstanding, trusting relationships develop between clients and the staff who care for them. These therapeutic bonds are crucial to the quality of life for a mentally ill person. ... An

Blue Cross plan shows reduction in spending

Liz Kowalczyk, Boston Globe, July 11, 2012 The largest private-sector effort to tame medical spending in Massachusetts appears to be getting results, as doctors who agreed to work on a budget have cut costs by using less-expensive imaging and lab companies and expanding office hours to reduce emergency room use. Health spending for patients treated through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts’ pioneering global-payment program grew more slowly in 2010 than for patients whose physicians were paid the traditional way - receiving a separate fee for every office visit, test, and procedure. ... Blue

State officials say new law has saved more than $175m in health insurance

Martin Finucane, Boston Globe, July 11, 2012 Massachusetts officials said Wednesday that a new law designed to help municipalities and school districts reduce their health insurance costs has saved more than $175 million in premium costs for 127 municipalities and districts. Administration and Finance Secretary Jay Gonzalez said the law, which was intended to “modernize benefit plan design” at the municipal level, was the result of “all stakeholders acknowledging the fact that high costs were crushing municipalities ... ” State

Senate president concerned by Patrick’s plan to close Taunton Hospital

State House News Service, July 10, 2012

A day after Governor Deval Patrick vetoed $5.1 million that would have kept Taunton State Hospital open in a reduced capacity, Senate President Therese Murray said that the lack of such beds in Southeastern Massachusetts remains a concern.

But she stopped short of calling for an override of the veto, which the governor made on Sunday.

“That’ll be a discussion we’ll have with the members,” she said. “We have a concern that there are no mental health beds in Southeastern Massachusetts.”

Legislators back Taunton Hospital override

Marc Larocque, Taunton Gazette, July 10, 2012 Taunton - Speaker Pro Tempore Representative Patricia Haddad, D-Somerset, said on Monday that she is confident her colleagues in the House will support a vote to override Governor Deval Patrick’s veto of a $5.1 million item to keep 45 beds at Taunton State Hospital. Patrick signed the fiscal 2013 budget on Sunday, and he remains committed to closing the 169-bed facility in Taunton in favor of moving acute care patients to a new hospital in Worcester along with another in Tewksbury. He vetoed a $5.1 million budget line item included by the Legislature to keep 45 beds open in Taunton State, while an independent study ... Legislators

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