Around the nation: Beverage companies sue to stop Philadelphia soda tax

Bite-sized hospital and health industry news

  • New Jersey: The New Jersey Hospital Association last week announced that state medical providers had saved 400 lives so far by adopting new techniques to quickly identify and treat sepsis. The providers developed a screening tool and strategy to identify sepsis, including testing patients' blood for bacteria levels and administering broad-spectrum antibiotics. Hospitals that followed the four-step protocol within three hours of diagnosis had the best chance of keeping patients alive. By the end of 2015, 70 percent of state hospitals had adopted the four-point strategy (Livio, NJ Advance, 9/13).

  • North Carolina: Heidi Fisk and Jerremie Duncan celebrated their marriage at an unconventional locale: Duke University Medical Center, where Fisk is a patient. Fisk has a kidney disease, and his condition had forced the couple to postpone their wedding on several occasions. To make the wedding happen, hospital staff obtained a marriage license and officiant, decorated Fisk's hospital room, and even styled her hair. The wedding was streamed live on Facebook. Nurse Manager Vonda Capps said, "I sat and watched that ceremony and thought, there's nothing [the nursing staff] can't do. It talks about their heart and that they are true caregivers" (Punke, Becker's Hospital Review, 9/14).

  • Pennsylvania: Opponents of Philadelphia's tax on sugar-added beverages have sued to prevent the tax from taking effect. Earlier this summer the city council approved a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-added nonalcoholic beverages, making Philadelphia the first large U.S. city to pass such a tax. The lawsuit argues that the tax, which is slated to take effect in January, is unlawful, as the drinks are already subject to a sales tax and state law bans duplicate taxes. According to city officials, the tax is not a duplicate sales tax because it is imposed on distributors (Esterl, Wall Street Journal, 9/14).

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