Columnists Reflect Rising Health-Cost Pain

Brian McGrory, never one to mince words, writes about how health care is sucking up money for municipal services, and points his finger at Partners:

I respect Partners HealthCare, which comprises Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals, two of the best health care providers in the world. Partners is the state’s biggest employer. It is a company where brilliant people perform life-saving miracles every day.

But even as they save, they’re killing us. It’s that easy. Teachers, firefighters, cops, restaurant workers, store clerks, engineers — you name it, their jobs are gone or in jeopardy because governments and businesses need to cut to keep pace with Partners’ insatiable appetite for cold, hard cash.

And Steven Syre writes about nurses here:

All the big-picture policy talk about controlling the cost of health care runs smack into the real world at the hospital nursing station.

This is true across the country, but especially in Massachusetts, where nurses are pressing several hospitals in contract talks. Two negotiations in particular — at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester — are focused on staffing levels for nurses.

Hospital administrators say they are trying to manage in challenging times, reorganizing work to become more efficient while maintaining the quality of care. Many nurses and their union say the practical result of efficiency plans is a thin staff that put patients at greater risk.

This program aired on March 25, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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