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HCA Healthcare, one of the world’s wealthiest hospital chains, earning more than $7 billion in the past two years and worth $36 billion, paid its chief executive $26 million in 2019.

However, as the pandemic spread across America, HCA did not provide adequate protective gear to medical staff, froze wages for nurses, and has laid off or cut pay for tens of thousands of doctors, nurses and lower-paid workers.  All this has happened as HCA received about $1 billion in bailout funds from the federal government to stabilize hospitals during COVID-19. Still, HCA continued to pay top executives to with only modest pay cuts.

Questions:

  1. Has this been a norm for most hospitals? Discuss.
  2. How are furloughs and layoffs defended by the industry?
  3. What were the formulas to determine how much money hospitals received based on? What would have made more sense and why?
  4. Discuss an item in the article that troubled you the most. Did it trouble you based on ethics or on accounting efficacy?

Sources:

Silver-Greenberg, J., J. Drucker, and D. Enrich. (2020) . Hospitals Got Bailouts and Furloughed Thousands While Paying C.E.O.s Millions. The New York Times, June 8 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/08/business/hospitals-bailouts-ceo-pay.html)

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More easing of the rules

The Food and Drug Administration has temporarily loosened labeling and information rules for food manufacturers for the fifth time during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Questions:

  1. Why were the rules eased and what do advocacy groups fear?
  2. What rules were eased?
  3. According to the article, what type of food disruption have led to this rule easing?
  4. What types of costs would be minimized by the formulation changes mentioned in the article?

Source:

Reiley, L. (2020) FDA rolls back food rules for 5th time during pandemic. The Washington Post, May 27 (Retrievable at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/27/fda-rolls-back-food-rules-5th-time-during-pandemic/)

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According to the Guardian, News Corp Australia has confirmed that more than 100 local and regional newspapers will become digital only or disappear entirely, and there will be a significant number of job losses.

Questions:

  1. What does News Corp say has accelerated this move?
  2. Why is News Corp keeping the three Sydney newspapers in print form?
  3. If you were preparing a listing of costs of the massive discontinuation of print newspapers by News Corp to affected communities in regional and suburban Australia, what would you include?
  4. If you were preparing a listing of benefits and costs for News Corp regarding the massive discontinuations of print newspapers, what would you include?

Source:

Meade, A. (2020). News Corp announces end of more than 100 Australian print newspapers in huge shift to digital, The Guardian, May 27 (Retrievable online at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/may/28/news-corp-announces-end-of-nearly-100-australian-print-newspapers-in-huge-shift-to-digital)

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According to the Guardian, ten companies that allegedly polluted air and water will not be required to pay penalties they agreed to before June 1.

Questions:

  1. What total in civil penalties will not be made by these ten companies?
  2. Why are these penalties being delayed and do you believe this is a good policy?
  3. Who are the violating companies mentioned in the article and what were their violations?

Source:

Holden,E. (2020) U.S. lets corporations delay paying environmental fines amid pandemic. The Guardian, May 27 (Retrievable online at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/27/epa-corporation-environmental-fines-decision)

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According to the Washington Post, investigations show that Life Care Centers of America, one of the largest chains in the industry, violated federal standards meant to stop the spread of infections and communicable diseases even after outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 began to sweep its facilities from the Pacific Northwest to New England.

Questions

  1. What is CMS, in the context of this article?
  2. How many nursing homes in the country have had COVID-19 cases?
  3. During the past three years, how has CMS rated Life Care Centers of America?
  4. What has been the Justice Department involvement with Life Care Centers of America in recent years?

Source:

Cenziper, D., S. King, S. Mulcahy, and J. Jacobs. (2020). Major nursing home chain violated federal standards meant to stop spread of disease even after start of covid-19, records show. The Washington Post, May 17 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/major-nursing-home-chain-violated-patient-care-infection-control-standards-before–and-after–pandemic-started-records-show/2020/05/16/f407c092-90b1-11ea-a0bc-4e9ad4866d21_story.html)

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According to the Washington Post, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (Cares) Act indicates that mortgagees have the right to ask for an initial forbearance of up to 180 days with interest accruing, but with fees and penalties are waived.

Questions:

  1. What was actually happening when mortgagees contacted their mortgage companies for coronavirus relief?
  2. Based on this article, how many homeowners are in forbearance plans?
  3. Which groups are helping with accurate communications to homeowners in forbearance?

Source:

Singletary, M. (2020). Mortgage relief was offered, but at a high price. The Washington Post, May 18 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/18/mortgage-relief-was-offered-high-price/ )

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This week, J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy protection after a prolonged decline over the past 20 years, becoming the latest and largest retailer to fall during the coronavirus pandemic, which has devastated the industry.

Questions:

  1. How many employees does this affect?
  2. When and where did the company start?
  3. How many stores does the company have and what are the plans for these stores?
  4. What was the name of the original store in Wyoming before it was renamed?
  5. What is going on with the stock price of the company?

Source:

Maheshwari, S. and M. Corkery. (2020). J.C. Penney, 118-Year-Old Department Store, Files for Bankruptcy. The New York Times, May 15 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/15/business/jc-penney-bankruptcy-coronavirus.html)

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According to Bloomberg, China’s securities regulator blacklisted six executives for their role in a $4.2 billion accounting scandal at Kangmei Pharmaceutical Co., one of the country’s biggest drugmakers.

Questions:

  1. What did the executives do?
  2. What did the firm admit to that allowed the fraud to occur?
  3. What was the problem with the fine ordered for the executives?
  4. How much does the fine amount to in U.S. dollars?
  5. What has happened to Kangmei Pharmaceutical Company’s stock since the announcement of the financial fraud investigation?

Source:

Bloomberg Staff. (2020). China blacklists six executives linked to $4.2B fraud. Accounting Today, May 15 (Retrievable online at https://www.accountingtoday.com/articles/china-blacklists-six-executives-linked-to-4-2b-fraud?)

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For the first time in the Court’s history, the Supreme Court arguments were taking place remotely and you could have listened in.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Which network has hoped for greater accessibility to the Court?
  2. What case was argued on May 4?
  3. Has any camera access been allowed in the Court?
  4. When did the audio releases start and why was this case so historical

Source: Collins, B. (2020). At long last, the Supreme Court is going live on air. The Washington Post, May 4 (Retrievable online at

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According to The New York Times, with travel dropping to near nothing and no resumption in sight, major airlines and hotels are offering their highest-spending customers many perks.

Questions:

  1. What do these perks include?
  2. According to the President, the economy is going to bounce back to 2019 levels by the end of 2020. What do analysts in this article predict about the return of airline travel to 2019 levels?
  3. For how long have Delta, American, Southwest, United and Alaska Airlines have announced their status extensions?

Source:

Weed, J. (2020) Airlines and Hotels Reach Out to Their Top Spenders. The New York Times, April 27 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/27/business/coronavirus-airlines-hotels-customers.html)