May 10, 2019

Around the nation: Walmart will raise its minimum tobacco purchasing age to 21

Daily Briefing

    The retailer will also discontinue sales of fruit- and dessert-flavored e-cigarettes, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Arkansas, Texas, and Washington.

    • Arkansas: Walmart, the world's largest retailer, on Wednesday announced it is increasing the minimum age at which individuals can buy tobacco products to 21 at all its U.S. retail stores and is discontinuing sales of dessert- and fruit-flavored e-cigarettes. According to John Scudder, Walmart's chief ethics and compliance officer, the move is part of an effort to avoid unintentionally selling tobacco to minors. The changes will take effect July 1 (Nassauer/Maloney, Wall Street Journal, 5/8).

    • Texas: Medical Center Health System CEO Rick Napper will retire effective Sept. 15. He said he chose to retire due to the "ongoing challenges of health care and concern for the impact that it may have on [his] health." The hospital has not named a replacement (Wilkinson, Odessa American, 5/8).

    • Washington: Hospital and clinic operator Astria Health on Monday filed for bankruptcy. The Washington -based nonprofit is seeking protection from creditors in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Spokane and Yakima. It owes more than $160 million in debt. According to a court filing, cash flow has been slowing after an acquisition, when Astria contracted electronic billing and medical records to an unnamed vendor (Yerak, Wall Street Journal, 5/7).

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