Table of Contents March 2013
Last April 25, blu ecigs had big news to share with its 30,000 Facebook fans: It had agreed to be bought by Lorillard Corp. for an eye-popping $135 million. The reaction was swift, and it wasn’t all congratulatory. Complaints were posted. One commenter wrote, “I feel dirty … it’s like buying a bible from a satanist or child safety equipment from a registered pedophile.” Though the companies are within 100 miles of each other — blu is based in Charlotte; Lorillard’s headquarters and factory are in Greensboro — in many ways they are a world apart. Started in 2008, blu sells electronic cigarettes. Lorillard, founded in 1760, is a bastion of Big Tobacco, its Newport brand the nation’s top menthol cigarette. Another commenter on the Facebook page put it this way: “It was good for y’all to get that money from the one industry everyone who ever bought a blu was trying to escape.”
Hospitals are going to unprecedented lengths to improve patient care and safety. Their finances are at stake. Insurers are negotiating how to reward them for getting people well quicker and with fewer complications. A decade ago, contracts were mostly battles of who was the biggest, hospital or insurer, and who needed the other more at the moment financially. Asking few, if any, questions, insurers forked over payments, then passed the costs along to premium payers.
“We have understood for some time that the traditional fee-for-service system is unsustainable,” says Joan Thomas, president of Managed Health Resources Inc., the negotiating arm of Charlotte-based Carolinas HealthCare System, the state’s largest hospital network. “For many years, even before health-care reform, some of the changes were really accelerating.” She and her organization handle several hundred contracts a year for the hospitals the system owns and those it manages for others.
Stanley shifted production of its Young America line from Asia to Robbinsville. The move has already paid off.
Expectant mothers are tough customers. That’s one reason Stanley Furniture Co. defied the conventional wisdom that furniture manufacturing is lost overseas by moving production of its Young America line from Asia to its plant in Robbinsville. “Safety comes first, so we make sure products go above and beyond all regulations and guidelines for protecting children and infants,” Chief Operating Officer Micah Goldstein says. “The best way to do that is to completely own and control the process.”
Making a difference.
How the economy turns.
Free & Clear
There is no Popish plot.
Dems' sum isn't very filling.