In Brief: Private Alberta hospital declares bankruptcy / Temple nurses declare victory in “gag rule” strike

On these pages we have run numerous reports of US private hospital bankruptcies. In today’s Toronto Star Gillian Steward reports on a private Alberta hospital that declared bankruptcy last week. Like its counterparts in the US, the public will end up picking up the pieces from the Health Resource Centre, which was under contract to Alberta Health Services to perform surgeries the other Calgary hospitals couldn’t handle. Calgary faced a shortage of operating rooms after former Premier Ralph Klein closed three public hospitals in the city. The HRC had been paid 10 per cent more than the cost of providing surgeries at the public hospitals. Obviously it wasn’t enough. Now Alberta has gone to court to pay the receivership fees in order to keep the place operating. Meanwhile, New York city is trying to rescue another hospital from bankruptcy after the legendary St. Vincent hospital was forced to permanently close its doors this spring. Westchester Square Hospital, a 205-bed facility in the Bronx, has come up with a five year survival plan. The hospital had last declared bankruptcy in 1997. Meanwhile the city’s public hospital system is planning on laying off another 500 workers. … After a 28 day strike, nurses at Philadelphia’s Temple University Hospital defeated management’s plan to break their union and impose a gag rule to prevent the nurses from criticizing the hospital. Temple spent an estimated $5 million a week hiring scab labour, providing transportation, housing, food and security. The nurses made the strike about quality patient care. To view a video of the strike, see below:

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