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This Month in Healthcare

Government, union leaders fight closure of Catholic hospital serving DC’s poorest
Since Dec. 14, the hospital, a subsidiary of Ascension Health, has been operating only as an emergency room and bare-bones 10-bed inpatient facility, employing about 100 nurses and a small number of other staff. Ascension has said in public statements that the hospital, which has seen declining use, is no longer needed and that the company intends to provide for healthcare needs of the District’s communities in other ways, focusing on preventative care. But opponents of the closure are appealing to the courts and the National Labor Relations Board to keep the hospital open, arguing Providence and Ascension have a responsibility to sick patients who still need service. Read the full story in National Catholic Reporter.

Hundreds attend ‘Rally for the Valley’ to show opposition to Ballad Health changes
“Every plan that Ballad Health has given you has been general in nature and lacks specificity because they have no clue how they’re going to pull it off,” citizen advocate, Dani Cook said. Read more at WJHL.

Public hearing on Ballad COPA planned for February
A public hearing will take place next month regarding Ballad Health’s Certificate of Public Advantage, or COPA. The hearing will be held Thursday, February 7 at 5 p.m. in Northeast State Community College’s Center for the Arts in Blountville. The purpose of the hearing is to allow members of the public to comment on Ballad Health’s annual report and progress on the COPA. Read the full story on WJHL.

Ballad Health responds again to state’s NICU questions
Under the plan, newborns requiring Level III NICU services will be transported to Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City. Ballad has estimated that roughly 100 babies per year, who would have previously received care at Holston Valley, will be transported to Niswonger Children’s Hospital under the proposal. Read the full story at the Johnson City Press.

Population study finds striking disparities in health behaviors and screening
“We found that black residents in Indiana don’t get cancer more often; in fact, they have lower incidence of many cancers, but disturbingly, they die from cancer at a higher rate.” Read the full story at Eureka Alert.

Medicare for All Is a Reproductive Rights Issue
Feminists have been pushing for years to repeal the Hyde Amendment. But we should think even bigger: Medicare for All is what we really need. Read the full article on Jacobin.

Hospital Price Transparency Is Useless for Patients
The only thing that can force some sense into hospital pricing is actual regulation of prices, which can’t be achieved while healthcare is treated as a profit-making bonanza by players at every level. Read the full story at Splinter.

To Galvanize Local Push for Medicare for All in 2019, Nurses’ Union Organizing Nationwide ‘Barnstorms’
National Nurses United (NNU), which has been fighting for the proposal since the union’s founding in 2009, is asking members and supporters to host Medicare for All “barnstorms” during a National Week of Action from February 9th to 13th. Read the full story at Common Dreams.

The Opioid Crisis: What We Should Learn from the AIDS Epidemic
“The benefits of scientific progress [in the case of HIV/AIDS] have been unequally distributed, with growing ethnic and sexuality-related disparities. This failure of equity should draw our attention to the importance of social factors in shaping who benefits from effective biomedical therapies.” Read the full article on Columbia’s website.

Capt govt all set to wash hands of rural healthcare (India)
The Punjab Civil Medical Services Association has strongly opposed the move. “These buildings were built in the Sixties and Seventies through public money and are not private estates. The Chief Minister and Health Minister want to make way for ‘plunderers’ who will fleece the rural poor,” said Dr Gagandeep Singh, association president. Public health activist and a former Registrar of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Dr Pyare Lal Garg said already the government had failed to provide Emergency services and specialists in rural centres, which cater to a population of 1.73 crore. “Now it wants to deprive them of healthcare infrastructure too.” Read the full story in The Tribune.

Conservative health care experiment leads to thousands losing coverage
Arkansas has removed more than 16,000 low-income adults for failing to log at least 80 hours of work, job training, volunteering or similar activity. Racheal Holmes said she lost her benefits at the end of October despite going to a Department of Human Services office in Little Rock once a month to log her hours. Holmes, who had been working at a grocery store, said it took hours just to log in to the online reporting system the first time. A state worker offered help only after a security guard noticed she was still at the office after several hours, she said. “You couldn’t get basic assistance, as though it’s a way for you to fail.” Read the full story at Politico.

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