Modern Healthcare - - Regional News -


Penn­syl­va­nia’s over­due bud­get in­cluded smaller cuts to hospi­tal rev­enue than pro­posed, but redi­rected ex­ist­ing taxes and fees into the state’s $27.8 bil­lion gen­eral fund from health­care funds and added a Med­i­caid man­aged-care tax. The Hospi­tal & Health­sys­tem As­so­ci­a­tion of Penn­syl­va­nia said the 2009-10 bud­get, signed by Gov. Ed Ren­dell ear­lier this month, scaled back $280 mil­lion in pro­posed cuts to state and fed­eral hospi­tal rev­enue for trauma and burn cen­ters, aca­demic med­i­cal cen­ters, crit­i­cal-ac­cess hos­pi­tals, med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion, com­mu­nity ac­cess and dis­pro­por­tion­ate-share hos­pi­tals to $40.7 mil­lion, a 12% re­duc­tion from the prior year’s bud­get. Roughly $215 mil­lion in rev­enue from cig­a­rette taxes and mo­tor ve­hi­cle sur­charges that pre­vi­ously funded med­i­cal mal­prac­tice sub­si­dies was shifted to the state’s gen­eral fund, ac­cord­ing to the Penn­syl­va­nia hospi­tal and health sys­tem as­so­ci­a­tion and Penn­syl­va­nia Med­i­cal So­ci­ety. The bud­get also trans­ferred $708 mil­lion and $100 mil­lion from the state’s Health Care Provider Re­ten­tion Ac­count and Mcare, which helped off­set med­i­cal-mal­prac­tice costs. The newly adopted man­aged-care tax is ex­pected to gen­er­ate $528.5 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Penn­syl­va­nia Bud­get and Pol­icy Cen­ter, an in­de­pen­dent pol­icy re­search group.


Some nurses in New York state are pre­par­ing to fight a state man­date that re­quires health­care work­ers to re­ceive the flu vac­cine this year. Four nurses an­nounced their plan af­ter they were told they would lose their jobs in Novem­ber if they did not get the vac­cine, ac­cord­ing to Terry Kind­lon, an Al­bany, N.Y.-area lawyer rep­re­sent­ing them. The nurses ex­pected to file their law­suit this week in Al­bany County, he said. “The com­mis­sioner is at­tempt­ing to en­force a rule that is in ex­cess of his au­thor­ity.” Or­ga­ni­za­tions are also con­sid­er­ing law­suits, and the groups are con­sid­er­ing con­sol­i­dat­ing their ef­forts, he added. Last month, State Health Com­mis­sioner Richard Daines, a physi­cian, re­leased an open let­ter to health work­ers in the state, say­ing the man­date would ap­ply to the an­nual sea­sonal flu vac­cine and the new H1N1 vac­cine when it is avail­able. Be­cause of lim­ited sup­ply of the new vac­cine, vul­ner­a­ble pa­tient pop­u­la­tions have been tar­geted to re­ceive it first, ac­cord­ing to Daines. By en­sur­ing that work­ers are vac­ci­nated, health­care providers can help pro­tect all pa­tients who do not have ac­cess to the H1N1 vac­cine, Daines said in his let­ter. “Safety lies in be­ing treated in in­sti­tu­tions and by health­care per­son­nel with the nearly 100% ef­fec­tive im­mu­nity rates seen with other long-man­dated vac­ci­na­tions for health­care work­ers, such as measles and rubella,” he wrote.

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