Spring 2011

Spring 2011

Piloting global payments

Piloting global payments

The new prix fixe system for health care reimbursement is getting a try-out in Lowell, but key details are still murky

Gerri Vaughan, the executive director of the Lowell General Physicians Hospital Organization, answers a question about the state’s rush to em­brace a global payment system with a question. “If Pat the patient comes, how do we deal with Pat?” she asks. Dr. David Pickul, seated across from Vaughan in a conference room at Lowell General,(...)

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Fish fight

Fish fight

The Massachusetts congressional delegation is usually in sync with environmentalists, but not on fishing limits

massachusetts democrats are close allies of the environmental community, routinely receiving top scores on environmental scorecards and leading the charge on major environmental legislation in Washington. But don’t tell that to Peter Shelley, senior counsel at the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston, or Tom Lalley, oceans communications director of the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington.(...)

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Reigning supreme

Reigning supreme

Clerk-magistrates, with lifetime tenure and no mandatory retirement age, rule the roost in Massachusetts courthouses.

Ronald Arruda is the clerk-magistrate of the Bristol Juvenile Court, which is a little like saying he is the king of his court. He was appointed to the job by former Gov. Edward  King in 1982 and, while six governors have come and gone since then, Arruda hasn’t budged. The 66-year-old clerk-magistrate can keep earning(...)

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Public sector pay: reasonable or excessive?

Public sector pay: reasonable or excessive?

gov. scott walker’s victory in curbing collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin public sector workers casts a spotlight on the issue of disparities between public and private sector compensation. The same issue—whether public sector workers are getting overly generous pay and benefits—is simmering here in Massa­chusetts, particularly with the state facing huge budget challenges this year.(...)

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Labor’s love lost

Labor’s love lost

How public sector unions became the bête noire of uneasy times

When it comes to rising anger toward public sector unions, Wisconsin’s hard-charging Republican governor, Scott Walker, has taken the battle to a new—and caustic —level. But think of Barry Bluestone as the canary in the coal mine. Nearly two years ago, Bluestone penned an op-ed in the Boston Globe warning of a growing backlash against(...)

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The next great thing

The next great thing

despite the economic woes in the country, investment in research and development continues to expand in all public, private, and nonprofit sectors, according to federal statistics. Nowhere is that impact felt greater than in Massa­chu­setts, where more money is spent on business research and development than in any other state in the country except California,(...)

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History lessons

History lessons

Jill Lepore says the Tea Party movement has embraced an approach to American history that is more rooted in religious fundamentalism than in any serious examination of the past.

jill lepore, of all people, ought to be celebrating the fascination Americans have with the country’s Revolutionary War era. After all, Lepore specializes in early American history at Harvard, where she has been on the faculty since 2003. Lepore is heartened by interest in the nation’s early history. But she is less taken with the(...)

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More efficient legal services for the poor

More efficient legal services for the poor

The state can save millions by putting lawyers for the poor on the state payroll, instead of contracting for their services

thanks to a relatively strong economic recovery and our prudent fiscal management during the recession, Massachusetts is in a much better financial position than most other states. Read the response to this article here. Even so, we will be facing our most challenging budget in the upcoming fiscal year. While tax revenues are expected to grow as(...)

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Public or private?

Public or private?

gov. deval patrick clearly doesn’t think much of the judiciary’s management skills. He’s filed legislation calling for a professional manager, instead of a judge, to oversee the trial court. He wants to move the patronage-plagued Probation Department out of the judicial branch and into the executive branch. And he wants to abolish the judiciary’s Committee(...)

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