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American Greetings board considers privatization

BY Rebecca Haughey

CLEVELAND – Greeting card maker American Greetings announced last week that its board has formed a committee of independent directors to consider an offer to privatize the company, reported the Associated Press.

According to AP, CEO Zev Weiss and his brother, president and COO Jeffrey Weiss, along with other investors and executives, submitted a proposal to the board on Sept. 25. The group wants to buy all of the company’s common stock that it doesn’t already own for $17.18 per share, valuing American Greetings at approximately $581 million.

The new four-person committee of directors will be led by Scott Cowen, president of Tulane University. The committee has retained legal and financial counsel and will consider other options, the company announced.

American Greetings, which includes such brands as Recycled Paper Greetings and Papyrus, lost $4.3 million — or 13 cents per share — in its second quarter, primarily due to costs related to the acquisition of Britain’s Clinton Cards. American Greetings’ shares fell 7 cents to close at $16.99 last Friday.

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Poll: Election is a nonfactor in hourly employers’ decision-making

BY Antoinette Alexander

RICHMOND, Va. — While hourly employers have an eye fixed on the presidential election and its potential effects on health care, most are not waiting until after Election Day to make business decisions, according to a poll of hourly employers by Snagajob, the nation’s largest hourly employment network.


More than half of hourly employers (55%) cited potential healthcare requirements as the key presidential election issue most likely to affect their business. Possible economic stimulus plans (25%) and tax code changes (14%) were among other concerns weighing on hourly employers. And more than two-thirds (67%) said that they did not have a “wait and see” attitude about their business plans during the campaign process.


“Some in the market may have expected that hourly employers would have a ‘wait and see’ business attitude in light of the upcoming election,” stated Jason Hamilton, VP marketing for Snagajob. “But when you consider that about 60% of our workforce is paid by the hour and that hourly businesses support many of the everyday services that we depend on, it makes sense that hourly employers have to press on, presidential election or not.”


The survey also found that staffing remains the top priority — specifically hiring and retaining good employees. When asked to evaluate a number of business factors, 64% of hourly employers said that the ability to hire good employees was “extremely important,” with a similar number citing the ability to retain good employees (63%). When evaluating other factors, 35% of hourly employers said a decrease in consumer spending was “extremely important” in terms of affecting their business, as is an increase in hard costs (29%).


“It might be hard for a manager to attach a specific dollar amount to staffing their front lines and replacing a good employee, but as this poll demonstrates, hourly employers still see quality staff as their top business priority,” Hamilton added.


Furthermore, the majority of hiring managers (57%) noted they encourage their employees to vote.

These results are based on unscientific polling of hourly employers who use Snagajob for their sourcing and talent management needs. The online survey was administered between Sept. 7 to 21, 2012, garnering 362 employer responses of various industries and sizes.

 

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Telemedicine sees flurry of activity, expect to see more

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — It was a busy week for telemedicine-based news, particularly if you count health kiosks — DSN sure does.

(THE NEWS: Take Care Health Systems develops telehealth offering for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. For the full story, click here.)

On the heels of news that Take Care Health Systems has collaborated to make telehealth services available to thousands of BCBSNC employees located throughout North Carolina via a service called called OnlineCareNC, Solohealth and PharmaSmart also made headlines during the week with major announcements.

SoloHealth has unveiled plans to expand its FDA-approved SoloHealth Station health-and-wellness digital kiosks to more than 2,500 store locations by mid-2013, scaling to more than 4,000 by 2014. Meanwhile, PharmaSmart, which makes health kiosks, has announced its partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Team Up. Pressure Down.” program to promote blood pressure management among patients with hypertension.

What do all of these initiative have in common? Technology expands access and connects providers, and you can expect to see a lot more of these types of headlines in the months ahead.

As a patient, have you used telehealth services, and if so, what was your experience?

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