Winter 2010

Winter 2010

Entrances and exits

Entrances and exits

Each year, the state’s Department of Public Health releases two thick reports on vital statistics: Massachusetts Births and Massachusetts Deaths. To mark the new year, we’ve culled some of the major data points from the reports for 2007 (reports for 2008 will come out later this spring) and noted comparisons with the latest available data(...)

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The big picture

The big picture

Indiana EMTs get access to medical records, but better care comes with privacy concerns

Indiana paramedic Tom Arkins remembers the days, not too long ago, when he’d be called to an elderly person’s home and find a giant box of medications on the bedside table. If the patient was disoriented or unconscious, as was often the case, Arkins had no way of knowing what the drugs were or what(...)

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Going it alone

Going it alone

According to data released late last year by the US Census Bureau, “nonemployer businesses”—mostly consisting of just one person, working full or part-time— have been on the rise, at least up until the economic crash of 2008. There were 21.7 million such businesses in 2007, and they were especially common in Florida, Texas, the Rocky(...)

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You win, you’re fired

You win, you’re fired

Despite "landmark" pension reform, lucrative perk for those fired from state jobs remains in place

UPDATE: On January 26, the day of our release of CommonWealth’s winter issue, the Patrick administration announced that the governor was filing new pension reform legislation. The governor’s bill, which draws heavily from a report issued last year by a special state commission on pension reform, would eliminate completely the “termination pensions” that are the(...)

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The wild, wild west

The wild, wild west

the Massachusetts GOP is gazing longingly at 1990, the last time that anti-incumbent fever put one of their own — Bill Weld — in the governor’s office. And Charles Baker, favored to win the right to challenge Gov. Deval Patrick and independent Tim Cahill, seems to be emulating Weld’s mix of fiscal conservatism and social(...)

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Money machine

Money machine

The BRA has paved the way for the new Boston, but some say it's overstepped its bounds

UPDATE: CommonWealth magazine and Fox 25 Undercover worked together on our special reports on the Boston Redevelopment Authority. For links to the Fox 25 broadcasts, go to Fox Undercover. The BRA also sent out a preemptive-strike press release before CommonWealth was released and Fox Undercover went on the air. Every time one of the condominiums(...)

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Zeroing in on the BRA

Zeroing in on the BRA

The Boston Redevelopment Authority isn’t easy to write about. The agency wears so many hats (regulator, landlord, banker, developer) and is involved in so many things (city planning, real estate, economic development, housing, and job training) that reporters tend to get overwhelmed and give up. I became intrigued with the BRA during last fall’s mayoral(...)

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Reform in the real world

Reform in the real world

Education leader Ted Sizer taught teachers to re-conceive their roles

it sounded so easy. How could I not ace a college class called “Going to High School in America?” I had, after all, just finished going to high school in America. I was an expert. The professor — noted educational leader Theodore Sizer, who died in October — taught the only education class at Brown(...)

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No room for error

No room for error

We need to make global payments for everyone involved in health care

part one of Massachusetts’s courageous leap into health system reform offered something for everyone. It brought health care coverage to uninsured residents; it promised (but could not deliver because of the soured economy) improved reimbursement for care to providers; and it brought more than 100,000 new members to insurance companies. It also required something of(...)

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