HCA balks at merger; Upheld reform includes measures to support mothers and families;

> Hackensack (N.J.) University Health Network announced that it has signed an affiliation agreement with North Bergen, N.J.-based Palisades Medical Center this week. Both parties hope this merger will allow the medical centers to share resources, strengthen working relationships between physicians and medical staff in both facilities, and increase the number of specialty care programs throughout the system. Announcement

> Nashville, Tenn.-based Hospital Corporation of America pulled out of a potential merger with Salinas (Calif.) Valley Healthcare System, The Salinas Californian reported Tuesday. In light of HCA's withdrawal from the proposed affiliation, Salinas Valley plans to look to Natividad Medical Center, also in Salinas, in its next bid for a potential partnership. Article

> The University of Iowa Health Care in Iowa City, Mercy-Cedar Rapids, Genesis Health System in Davenport and Mercy Health Network in Des Moines have partnered to create the University of Iowa Health Alliance, The Iowa City Press Citizen reported Thursday. All four parties hope this collaboration, which will include over 50 hospitals and 160 clinics, will improve care quality and efficiency despite increased costs. Article

> Under the upheld health reform law, several provisions were included that offer support to women and families, according to The United States Breastfeeding Committee. These provisions include community transformation grants that will increase the number of baby-friendly hospitals, provide preventative care for mothers, and require employers to allow breaks for nursing mothers during the work day. Statement

And Finally... Of course, what else is all that jewelry good for? Article