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The Business Of Hospitals: Why So Many Health Care Workers Are Being Laid Off47:02
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Nurses gather for a vigil in honor of healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus outbreak around the country, and calling for more personal protective equipment, outside Lincoln Hospital on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in the Bronx borough of New York. (Frank Franklin II/AP Photo)
Nurses gather for a vigil in honor of healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus outbreak around the country, and calling for more personal protective equipment, outside Lincoln Hospital on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in the Bronx borough of New York. (Frank Franklin II/AP Photo)

Doctors and nurses are fighting the biggest health crisis in a century. So why are health care workers in some hospitals being laid off? We’ll talk about what the COVID-19 pandemic is revealing about running hospitals as a business.

Guests

Dr. Vivian Lee, president of health platforms at Verily Life Sciences, a digital health care company. Senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Author of "The Long Fix: Solving America's Health Care Crisis with Strategies that Work for Everyone," out next month. (@vivianleemd)

Sayeh Nikpay, professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University. Co-host of "Tradeoffs," a podcast that explores the health care system. (@saynikpay)

Marie Ritacco, registered nurse in the post-anesthesia care unit at Saint Vincent Hospital. Vice president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association. (@MassNurses)

From The Reading List

New York Times: "During a Pandemic, an Unanticipated Problem: Out-of-Work Health Workers" — "As hospitals across the country brace for an onslaught of coronavirus patients, doctors, nurses and other health care workers — even in emerging hot spots — are being furloughed, reassigned or told they must take pay cuts."

Washington Post: "Cash-starved hospitals and doctor groups cut staff amid pandemic" — "Hospitals across the country have deferred or canceled non-urgent surgeries to free up bed space and equipment for covid-19 patients. But that triage maneuver cut off a main source of income, causing huge losses that have forced some hospitals to let go of health-care workers as they struggle to treat infected patients."

Kaiser Health News: "For Hospitals, Prestige Leads To Profits" — "When it comes to hospitals, which benefit most from high health care prices? It may sound counter-intuitive, but a group of not-for-profit hospitals appear to be among those doing the best business."

New York Times: "Why Are Nonprofit Hospitals So Highly Profitable?" — "'So, how much money do you guys make if I do that test you’re ordering for me?' This is a question I hear frequently from my patients, and it’s often followed by some variant of, 'I thought hospitals were supposed to be nonprofit.'"

This program aired on April 20, 2020.

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