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The state’s largest health care workers served notice to five nursing homes of a potential work stoppage. Other health industry news relates to treatment turf wars, mergers, and court cases.

The CT Mirror: Union Warns Five Nursing Homes Of Plans To Strike On April 22

Govt. Ned Lamont and the General Assembly thought they eliminated the threat of a major nursing home strike last spring when they pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into an industry battered by the coronavirus pandemic. But the risk of Connecticut’s first nursing home strike since 2012 — albeit a small one — reared its head Tuesday when the state’s largest health care workers union put five homes on notice for a work stoppage on April 22. SEIU District 1199 New England served notices to three facilities owned by National Health Care Associates: Bloomfield Health Care Center, Hebrew Center for Health & Rehabilitation in West Hartford and Maple View Health and Rehabilitation Center in Rocky Hill. It also notified two independent facilities, Windsor Health and Rehabilitation Center and Avery Heights Senior Living in Hartford. (Phaneuf, 4/12)

In other news about health workers —

Crain’s Detroit Business: BHSH, Grand Valley State University Partner To Tackle Nursing Shortage

BHSH, the new merger of Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health, is partnering with Grand Valley State University to create a nursing program to tackle the shortage in Michigan and provide a path to employment at affiliated hospitals. The BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program has a goal of increasing the nursing talent pipeline by taking away financial barriers to college. After all approvals and accreditation, the program should be in place by January. (4/12)

Axios: Turf Wars Heat Up After Pandemic Blurred Provider Treatment Lines

Nurse practitioners, physicians assistants and pharmacists are pressing for more autonomy to diagnose patients, recommend treatments and write prescriptions, and doctors’ aren’t pleased. So-called scope of practice fights have been going on for decades. But certain emergency powers granted during the pandemic allowed advanced practice providers who were not doctors to provide more services than ever before and reignited the battle in many states. (Reed, 4/13)

Modern Healthcare: Providence To Pay $22.7M Over Alleged Spine Surgery Fraud

The Renton, Wash.-based health system employed two neurosurgeons who allegedly falsified or exaggerated patient diagnoses and overperformed procedures that were not medically appropriate or medically necessary between 2013 and 2017 at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Walla Walla. Providence received employee complaints about the two surgeons and placed both on administrative leave. The suckers both eventually resigned. But the system did not report either doctor to the National Practitioner Data Bank, as required by federal law. The database collects information on medical malpractice payments and professional competence or conduct and makes information available to other systems and healthcare entities. It also did not report either doctor to the Washington State Department of Health, according to the settlement. (Gillespie, 4/12)

And more health industry news —

Modern Healthcare: Hartford HealthCare, Yale New Haven Health To Build Connecticut’s First Proton Center

Yale New Haven Health System and Hartford HealthCare plan to construct the first proton therapy center in Connecticut and administer an advanced form of radiation treatment to cancer patients. The center, planned in Wallingford, received its final state approval and is expected to open in 2025, the companies said Tuesday. Proton therapy is a targeted type of radiation that uses high energy beams of proton particles, rather than X-rays, to treat cancerous growth. With this method, the radiation is more finely controlled at a higher dose to avoid affecting healthy tissue when attacking solid cancer tumors. (Devereaux, 4/12)

Modern Healthcare: DOJ Joins Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Kickback Lawsuit

The federal government intervened in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare paid independent physicians more than $400 million for referrals. Memphis-based Methodist purchased substantially all the outpatient locations of the largest oncology practice in the area, West Clinic. The lawsuit alleviates the “joint partnership” was formed to allow West’s patients to be treated at Methodist locations by West-employed physicians, untapping a new market for Methodist and funneling Medicare reimbursement to the health system for cancer care. Methodist also allegedly siphoned inpatient referrals away from its competitors, including Baptist Memorial Hospital. (Kacik, 4/12)

KHN: Biden Administration Announces Boost For Rural Health Care In Midterm Election Push

As the midterm election season ramps up, the Biden administration wants rural Americans to know it’ll be spending a lot of money to improve health care in rural areas. He has tasked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack with delivering the message that the covid-19 pandemic exposed long-standing problems with health care infrastructure in remote parts of the country and pushed many rural health providers to the brink. (Houghton, 4/13)

KHN: Private Equity Ownership Of Nursing Homes Triggers Capitol Hill Questions — And A GAO Probe

In his State of the Union address last month, President Joe Biden focused attention on how private equity ownership of nursing homes can affect residents’ health. “As Wall Street firms take over more nursing homes, quality in those homes has gone down and costs have gone up. That ends on my watch,” Biden said. Those comments dovetail with growing interest from Congress. (Knight, 4/13)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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