Malpractice costs jump 63%; Hospital plans furloughs and possible layoffs to save a million;

> Defending physicians against malpractice suits keeps getting more expensive, with malpractice costs soaring 62.7 percent since 2001 to $47,158 in 2010, according to trend reports from the American Medical Association released yesterday. Meanwhile, 63.7 percent of malpractice claims last year were dropped, withdrawn or dismissed. Press release

> NuHealth in New York layed off 175 employees, thanks to a combination of Medicaid cuts and pension costs, President and CEO Arthur A. Gianelli of the public benefit corporation that runs the Nassau University Medical Center, wrote in a NewsDay op-ed. NuHealth's annual pension contribution costs jumped $25 million from 2009 while supplemental Medicaid payments will drop by $15 million each year from 2012 onward. Op-ed

> To overcome the loss of more than $6 million during the past five months, Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn., plans furloughs and possible layoffs, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Some departments may require all full-time staff to take 12 days off before March 1, using their paid annual leave, to help save $1.4 million by the end of June. Article

> Public support for health reform gets a boost, according to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation. In December, 41 percent of Americans expressed favorable views of the healthcare overhaul law, up from 34 percent in October and 37 percent in November. Opposition to reform has fallen this month to 43 percent, down from 51 percent in October and 44 percent November. Poll

And Finally... Better late than never: Mother gets a Christmas gift a year late. Article