Power struggle between docs, nurses goes public
The long-simmering struggle between doctors and nurses over the national patchwork of laws on nurses’ powers in healthcare finally boils over into a public skirmish, on the heels of a healthcare reform law that puts a premium on patient-centered primary care.
Nurses’ groups push their case in a 586-page tome from the Institute of Medicine, titled The Future of Nursing and released in October, in which the authors assert that the country can no longer afford to let its nurses not practice up to the fullest extent of their training. They argue that nurses are quicker and cheaper to produce than doctors, and that they make no more medical errors than physicians.
Meanwhile, doctors, who in 2009 published their own massive set of reports opposing changes in state scope-of-practice laws, say that if the reform law ends up pushing lessertrained clinicians into positions of higher authority in medicine, the change will only fuel public resentment of the law.
After an intensive public review process, Boston’s large Roman Catholic health system, Caritas Christi Health Care, becomes the largest for-profit hospital operator in New England. The six-hospital system was purchased in an $895 million deal by New York private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. In contrast to for-profit conversions of the past, the Boston deal receives widespread public approval after religious leaders announce two of the hospitals would have to be shuttered if they continued to operate as is.
Earlier in the year, New York City loses its last Catholic hospital when the 511-bed St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village closes down with more than $1 billion in debt on its books. The hospital, run continuously since its founding in 1849, fails to attract a buyer and shuts its doors for good in May.
Catholic Health Association President and CEO Sister Carol Keehan finds herself the object of national praise and scorn for positions she took in the run-up to the healthcare reform law. The CHA endorses the law, giving Catholic Democratic lawmakers cover to vote for it despite an official condemnation by the