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News of the Month – April 2023

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NUHW members’ strike at UCSF Children’s Hospital Oakland was covered by multiple media outlets including, KTVU-2, KQED Public Radio, CBS Bay Area, KCBS Radio and Becker’s Hospital Review.

Providence is rolling out remote patient monitoring across seven states in partnership with health tech company Cadence, whose platform combines virtual care with remote vitals monitoring from a nurse practitioner-led clinical team. Becker’s Hospital Review reports the expanded partnership will expand across Washington with locations also in Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Texas. The initiative will also grow from treating hypertension, congestive heart failure and Type 2 diabetes to COPD in 2024.

Capital and Main includes NUHW in a story about Gov. Newsom’s efforts to improve mental health services in the state, noting California could strengthen the laws already in existence, such as a NUHW-sponsored law signed in 2021 that requires that mental health and substance abuse patients be scheduled for follow-up appointments within 10 days of their initial visit with a provider. Failure to comply with this law led to the DMHC announcing a “nonroutine survey” of Kaiser’s mental health service last year, in essence a special investigation. “In terms of the DMHC, my simple conclusion is that the department is just not structured to enforce mental health parity laws,” said Sal Rosselli, NUHW’s president. “They’re not (adequately) funded, they’re not staffed, they’re not structured — they just can’t do it.”

More than 1,350 hospitals of the 1,773 private nonprofit institutions included in a new reportfrom the Lown Institute, spent less on charity care and community investments than they received in tax breaks in 2020 and thus had fair share deficits, Recycle Intelligence reports. The total fair share deficit of $14.2 billion was enough to relieve the medical debt of 18 million Americans or prevent 600 at-risk hospitals from closing, the report noted. Many of the hospitals with fair share deficits received millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief funding and ended the year with high net incomes.

Claiming it did not have the necessary staffing and resources to continue functioning safely, the Press Democrat reports Providence has announced that it will cease delivering babies at the popular Petaluma Valley Hospital birth center on May 1. Supporters of the birth center said that the move effectively amounts to closure of the facility. One of the terms of the sale of the facility to Providence in 2021 was that it would continue operating the maternity ward until at least 2025.

CalMatters reported on the threatened closure of Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital. The article noted that as more healthcare facilities face increasing financial pressures, legislators are trying to extend some help, including proposing a bill that would offer emergency loans for hospitals facing closure or those trying to reopen. A second bill involves Medi-Cal and would funnel more money to hospitals by boosting Medi-Cal payments to providers by reinstating a tax on health insurance plans.

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