While the Hospital Association of Rhode Island continues to analyze the impact of these proposals, HARI President Michael R. Souza issued this statement: "The Hospital Association of Rhode Island and its members are disappointed the proposed budget includes hospital payment cuts. We will continue to work with the General Assembly and [the Raimondo] administration to find lasting solutions that address state fiscal problems while ensuring a financially stable health care system."
Souza's statement continued, "Hospitals provide nearly $7 billion in economic impact to our state. Elected officials must recognize hospitals are critical to a strong, healthy and stable Rhode Island. We urge them to make the appropriate investments to ensure the safety net is protected for Rhode Island patients."
According to HARI, in Rhode Island, 30,000 individuals accessed health care through HealthSource RI and another 70,000 individuals accessed health care through expanded Medicaid coverage. Those 100,000 individuals - representing nearly 10 percent of the state's population - would face problems accessing health care, should the Affordable Care Act be repealed. Hospitals would likely incur additional costs by providing uncompensated care to this cohort of the population.
A study commissioned by the American Hospital Association evaluated the estimated financial impact on hospitals, nationwide, from 2018-26, based on a recent repeal bill, H.R. 3762, which Rep. Tom Price, a Republican congressman from Georgia and President Donald J. Trump's nominee for secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sponsored. Should that bill be enacted into law, the cost to Rhode Island's hospitals would be $1.7 billion, Souza reported. Moreover, hospitals have been hit with Medicare payment reductions to fund the Affordable Care Act's implementation, including Medicaid expansion. Over that 10-year period, which began in 2010, those payment reductions for Rhode Island's hospitals total $1 billion.
Souza urged both Raimondo and members of the General Assembly to "protect access to health care during this time of uncertainty."]]>
"Today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another," Trump said on Friday in his inauguration speech. "We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people."
Trump, 70, who has not previously held elected office, took the oath of office at about noon from Chief Justice John Roberts at the U.S. Capitol. In a nod to the populist groundswell that propelled him to the White House, he said he would remake the nation's political order.
"The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer," Trump said as light rain began to fall. "Everyone is listening to you now."
Trump's speech was aimed squarely at supporters who felt aggrieved and overlooked during the Barack Obama presidency. With Obama sitting steps away, he described an America riven by crime and social tumult. Trump pledged that U.S. interests would be at the center of his presidency, even at the expense of longstanding foreign relationships.
"This American carnage stops right here and stops right now," Trump said. "The wealth of the middle class has been ripped from their homes and redistributed all across the world. But that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future."
Yet Trump enters office with historically low approval ratings -- 40 percent according to Gallup -- and a challenge to unite his divided nation. He and his party in Congress already are at odds, especially on the issue of the Russian government's role in electing him. Financial markets, which soared immediately following his election, have recently cooled.
Democrats criticized Trump's speech.
"It was surprisingly dark to me," Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow said. "Not very hopeful or inspirational. I see a lot of hopefulness in our cities and hopefulness among our people, and he described a very dire picture of America that I don't share."
Trump, a billionaire real estate developer, rode to the Capitol from the White House in the presidential limousine together with Obama -- the first black president, whose legitimacy was once challenged by the man succeeding him.
The shared ride to the inauguration is a tradition on a day filled with familiar rituals designed to ease the transfer of power. Obama and his wife, Michelle, hosted Trump and his wife for morning tea at the White House before the motorcade, another custom of the day.
The Obamas greeted the Trumps on the White House's North Portico. Obama offered Trump a handshake. Trump gave Michelle Obama a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Melania Trump presented the outgoing First Lady a box wrapped in Tiffany blue.
After Trump was sworn in, the Obamas departed the Capitol in the presidential helicopter for a vacation in Palm Springs, Calif. Trump went to lunch with congressional leaders.
Scattered protests broke out in downtown Washington by activists supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, gay rights and women's rights, and others.
A cluster of several dozen people, most dressed in black and with masks over their faces, charged down streets three blocks from the White House smashing windows of about a half-dozen businesses including a Starbucks coffee shop, a McDonald's Corp. restaurant and branches of Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp. They were pursued by police who used pepper spray in an attempt to disperse the crowd.
Protesters spray-painted an anarchy sign on a concrete planter. After police cornered a group of protesters at an office building, people in the surrounding crowd chanted "you're protecting fascists" and "pigs quit your jobs."
Protesters elsewhere in the city were sometimes loud but largely peaceful. They were met by chants from Trump supporters.
Even as Trump has defied convention with his reflexive, ubiquitous use of Twitter to excoriate critics and wage partisan warfare during the post-election transition period, he has embraced the pomp and tradition of Inauguration Day.
Tens of thousands of people began assembling on the National Mall in the early morning hours, though crowds appeared to be notably smaller than for Obama's two inaugurations. Trains on Washington's subway system, Metro, were largely uncrowded and traffic in the city was light. Inauguration Day is a holiday for most federal workers.
Metro said on Twitter that as of 11:00 a.m. in New York, 193,000 people had ridden on the system. That was the lowest figure since at least President George W. Bush's second inauguration in 2005. At the same time in for Obama's inaugurations in 2013 and 2009, 317,000 and 513,000 people had ridden the Metro system.
There was a heavy security presence in the Capitol, with parked buses, dump trucks and humvees blocking intersections downtown. Police and soldiers patrolled Metro stations in the vicinity of the Mall.
Like past presidents-elect, Trump spent the night before his inauguration at the historic Blair House, a quick walk from the White House. He attended a morning prayer service at St. John's church, known as the President's Church, across Lafayette Square from the White House. The Trumps are to attend three inaugural balls in the evening.
In his speech, Trump vowed to intensify the U.S. war on terrorism, now in its 16th year. Trump said he would "unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism," a phrase Obama had avoided, and eliminate it "completely from the face of the Earth."
"Together we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again," Trump said in his speech. "And, yes, together we will make America great again."
Minutes before the Trumps arrived for tea with the Obamas, painters walked in to the White House West Wing carrying gray buckets. Workers rushed through a carefully orchestrated turnover of the presidential residence to prepare for its new tenant.
Obama walked from the West Wing along a colonnade connecting to the residence, followed by Vice President Joe Biden. Asked if he felt nostalgic, Obama replied, "Of course."
The president left a letter for Trump in the desk of the Oval Office, as is tradition for the outgoing chief executive, Obama spokesman Eric Schultz said. He declined to provide a copy of the letter.
Trump's campaign opponent, Hillary Clinton, was met by a smattering of boos from Trump supporters when she arrived at the Capitol with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
"I'm here today to honor our democracy & its enduring values," Clinton wrote on Twitter before the swearing-in. "I will never stop believing in our country & its future."
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer was loudly jeered by the crowd at the Capitol as he spoke in favor of gay rights and immigrants ahead of Trump's swearing-in.
Trump invited Christian and Jewish clergy to speak at the inauguration: Reverend Franklin Graham, the Southern evangelical and son of Billy Graham; Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles; and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, an African-American pastor from Detroit.
Trump was born in the Queens borough of New York, one of five children to Fred Trump, a first-generation German-American, and Scotland-born Mary Anne MacLeod.
A graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he took over his father's real estate business, later renaming it The Trump Organization. He drew attention for his flashy style and high-profile deals, some successful and others ending in bankruptcy, including hotels, casinos, an airline and Trump Tower.
Trump's celebrity grew with his role as host of NBC's reality-TV hit "The Apprentice," which began airing in January 2004. Contestants with businesss kills competed through multiple elimination rounds over the course of a season. Trump would dismiss losing contestants with the catch phrase, "You're fired!"
Trump considered running for president several times dating back to the late 1980s. His political following expanded early in the Obama administration as he championed false claims that the president wasn't born in the U.S. and thus was ineligible for the office.
Dozens of Democratic U.S. lawmakers planned to boycott Trump's inauguration, and law enforcement prepared for protests throughout the day and the weekend. Trump's advisers hope his opening remarks as president will calm and unify the nation.
"The entire national heritage is at stake," said historian Douglas Brinkley. "The one thing that makes our democracy stand supreme to others in the world is that we've been able to do these transfers in a relatively no-drama way."
The body language of Trump and Democrats alike will be parsed, and Trump's every word dissected.
"After an election, people feel derailed, the people on the losing end feel derailed, and it's a long hangover, because so much is at stake," Brinkley said. "The transition is supposed to be the healing," while "the oath is the moment that is supposed to flip on our light switches and say, 'We're OK, we're going to move forward.'"
Trump has pledged to overturn or revamp almost all of Obama's policies -- on health care, U.S. relations with Russia, China and European allies, his counter-terrorism strategy and environmental protections. He also has pledged to shape a more conservative Supreme Court over time.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence was sworn in by Clarence Thomas, a conservative and the only African-American justice currently on the court.
Former presidents and their spouses always are invited to inaugurations, but the tradition carries extra poignancy this year. Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara, fellow Republicans who publicly refused to back Trump, are hospitalized and will be absent.]]>
Nearly 400 people attended the event, including company and civic leaders. The event marked the publication of the 28th edition of PBN's Book of Lists, a compilation of the region's top businesses and organizations.
All those who attended received a copy. Subscribers also will receive their book with this week's issue of PBN.
It also is available in electronic form HERE.
There are 97 lists in the Book, featuring thousands of local companies, organizations and people. The Book is a snapshot of Rhode Island's economy, and a closer look at the Ocean State's industry leaders and wavemakers.
The Book is sponsored by Bank of America, BlumShapiro, CB Richard Ellis - NE Partners, Community College of Rhode Island, Cox Business, Gallo | Thomas Insurance, Kelly & Mancini PC and Omni Hotels & Resorts.
The cover of this year's Book is Rhode Island's new logo, unveiled in 2016 by R.I. Commerce Corp. during an otherwise flawed marketing campaign rollout. The message: Rhode Island is sailing forward in spite of negativity and setbacks.
This was the fourth year the event was held at the library, and Russell Morin Catering & Events provided food.]]>
With just a week left before the companies' deadline to complete the deal, FTC lawyers aren't sold on Walgreens's proposal to sell 865 drugstores to Fred's Inc. to get approval to take over Rite Aid, said two people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are confidential. The officials are concerned the sale doesn't go far enough to preserve competition that would be lost in the tie-up, one of the people said.
That runs counter to the sentiment of investors, who had been growing optimistic about the deal. As of Friday morning, the spread between Walgreens's offer price of $9 a share and Rite Aid's current price has fallen to less than 50 cents from a high of $2.57 reached on Nov. 3.
That spread widened to $1.39 at 11:50 a.m. Walgreens fell 2 percent to $81.78 in New York. Rite Aid was down 11 percent to $7.66, the most since Sept. 2014. Fred's fell 4.6 percent to $15.41 after tumbling as much as 12.5 percent.
The $9.4 billion transaction would merge the No. 2 and No. 3 pharmacy chains in the U.S., vaulting the combined company past CVS Health Corp. to become the leading drugstore chain by number of stores. It would also expand its prescriptions business. It isn't clear whether the staff has made a formal recommendation, that person said.
The commission is unlikely to complete its review by the companies' Jan. 27 deadline to close the deal, the second person said. If the deal doesn't win antitrust clearance, Walgreens would have to pay Rite Aid a termination fee of $325 million or $650 million "in certain circumstances," according to a company filing.
In October, Walgreens said it was "confident" it would close the deal early this year as it postponed the merger deadline from Oct. 27 because its discussions with regulators were taking longer than anticipated.
Spokesmen for Walgreens, Rite Aid and the FTC declined to comment. Fred's chief financial officer Rick Hans, reached by phone, declined to comment.
The FTC has been scrutinizing the proposed tie-up for more than a year. The review continues as the agency is poised to be reshaped under the Trump administration. Trump will have three empty seats on the commission, including the chairman's post, to fill after Chairwoman Edith Ramirez steps down on Feb. 10.
Trump's adviser for the transition is Joshua Wright, a conservative law professor with a laissez-faire approach to antitrust enforcement who says mergers rarely harm consumers and can often generate benefits for consumers -- including lower prices and higher quality.
Under the Obama administration, the FTC has paid particular attention to competition in the health-care sector to protect consumers, targeting hospital mergers and deals that postpone the market entry of generic drugs.
The FTC carefully assesses buyers of assets to determine whether the acquirer can restore competition. It hasn't always made the right call. Divestitures ordered by the FTC in Albertsons Cos. takeover of Safeway Inc. and Hertz Global Holdings Inc.'s acquisition of Dollar Thrifty both failed.
In 2014, the FTC ordered Hertz to spin off its Advantage Rent A Car business to a company owned by an industry veteran and Macquarie Capital. Four months after the commission closed its investigation and signed off on the acquisition, Advantage filed for bankruptcy.
The buyer of divested supermarkets in Albertsons' takeover of Safeway collapsed after acquiring those stores.
CVS Chief Financial Officer David Denton said at a conference earlier this month that Fred's won't be a viable competitor over time.]]>
The company also continued to improve its operations, maintaining a 6 percent operating leverage for the year, excluding some restructuring charges.
"The commitment to positive operating leverage has powered our key measures," said Bruce Van Saun, chairman and CEO, during a conference call with investors.
Total interest income and noninterest income grew 11.2 percent to $1.5 billion for the quarter ending Dec. 31, and rose 9.23 percent to $5.76 billion for the year. Interest income was fueled by strong growth in the bank's loan portfolio, including an 11.8 percent increase in commercial loans totaling $51.7 billion compared with $46.2 billion in 2015. Residential mortgages likewise grew 13.5 percent to $15.1 billion, which was offset by declines in the company's home equity segment of business.
Providence-based Citizens, parent company of Citizens Bank, also realized a 51.6 percent increase in its student loan portfolio, which grew to $6.61 billion, signaling strong consumer response to the company's student loan refinancing programs. Total 2016 loans and leases grew 8.71 percent to $107.7 billion compared with the prior-year period. The net-interest margin grew from 2.86 percent compared with 2.75 percent for 2015.
Citizens met or exceeded the majority of the goals it set for itself at the beginning of 2016, but fell short in a couple of areas, including noninterest income. The line item did increase thanks largely to a strong capital market fees and mortgage banking fees, but was offset by a reduction in credit-card fees and trust and investment services fees. Overhead costs remained relatively flat, as salary and employee benefits increased about $18 million. But the company continues to trim where possible, reducing its full-time employees by 75 people over the course of the year. The total workforce across the company's footprint totaled 17,639 at year's end.
Total assets increased 8.18 percent to $149.5 billion compared with $138.2 billion for 2015. Deposits, meanwhile, grew 7.09 percent to $109.8 billion.
The company is largely looking to stay the course in 2017, Van Saun said, setting various goals, including an 8-9 percent increase in net interest income, while keeping noninterest expense growth to between 3 percent and 3.5 percent.
"We enter 2017 with good momentum and believe we are well-positioned to capitalize on an improving economic and interest rate environment," Van Saun said.]]>
FM Global, a business property insurer, released the results of the study, Finance's Role in Operational Risk Management: CFO Research on Building a Resilient Company, this week.
"It's surprising the number of companies that have been harmed by operational risk events, coupled with the relatively low number of companies that feel they are very well prepared for a disruption event," Eric Jones, operations vice president and global manager of business risk consulting, FM Global, said in a statement. "The findings reveal the opportunity for financial executives to implement stronger plans with increased data, to help move resilience forward within their organizations."
Sixty-six percent of financial executives surveyed reported their organizations have been harmed by equipment failure, nearly 60 percent say their firms have been impaired by data breaches or cyberattacks, and more than half - 52 percent - have had their operations affected by natural disasters.
The study, conducted by CFO Research Services, also discovered that the majority - 54 percent - say their organizations have not developed or tested formal loss-recovery plans.
The study also showed that only 34 percent of financial executives believe their firms are very well prepared to recover from an equipment failure, 33 percent feel their organizations are very well prepared to recover from a natural disaster and only 24 percent feel their companies are very well prepared to recover from a data breach or cyberattack.
Nearly 70 percent of financial executives are concerned that their revenues or earnings will become more vulnerable to operational risk over the next two years, and nearly 60 percent say the need to manage operational risks will make it more difficult to meet revenue and earnings targets over the next two years.
Forty-one percent of financial executives say they will focus more on preventing losses from operational risks over the next two years.
Nearly the same percentage of respondents said loss prevention and mitigation is more important than insurance coverage.
Eighty-six percent of respondents said their companies need to be more resilient in the future.
"The role of the CFO is being increasingly challenged by serious risk events, which drive volatility and will make it more difficult for them to meet revenues and earnings if these risks are not properly managed," Jones said. "The pathway to a successful risk management program must include an effective loss prevention program, combined with resilience planning in order to deal with constantly evolving technological, political and environmental risks."
Responses received during late 2016 from 100 chief financial officers or senior most financial executives at U.S.-based companies, the majority of which are from Fortune 1000 organizations, were used for the research.]]>
Integra began participating in the Next Generation Accountable Care Organization Model through the federal agency on Jan. 1, according to a Thursday news release from Care New England.
A total of 45 ACOs around the country are participating in the Next Generation model, according to the CMS website. Next Generation ACOs that meet quality standards and reduce total health care spending will share in the savings achieved for the Medicare program, the news release from CNE said.
The Next Generation ACO Model is described on the CMS website as "an initiative for ACOs that are experienced in coordinating care for populations of patients. It will allow these provider groups to assume higher levels of financial risk and reward than are available under the current (models). The goal ... is to test whether strong financial incentives for ACOs, coupled with tools to support better patient engagement and care management, can improve health outcomes and lower expenditures" for patients.
"We are excited about the opportunity presented by this initiative," Integra Chief Clinical Officer Dr. James E. Fanale said in a statement. "With increased flexibility and improved alignment between payment and care-delivery reform, we believe we can build on the early success of Integra and deliver even better and more efficient health care."
Integra also has been participating in CMS' payment and delivery reform as a certified Medicare Shared Savings Program with approximately 19,000 Medicare beneficiaries, according to CNE.
Integra's participating provider network includes the Rhode Island Primary Care Physician Corp., Care New England Health System, South County Health System and their employed and affiliated physicians.
Patients that see NGACO participants and preferred providers will see no changes to their original Medicare benefits, and maintain their ability to see any Medicare provider.
In other news, Lifespan Health Alliance - a joint-venture partnership between Lifespan and Community Physician Partners, Inc. - was selected as one of 99 new Shared Savings Program ACOs, providing Medicare beneficiaries with access to high-quality, coordinated care across the country. As of Jan. 1, a total of 480 Shared Savings Program ACOs are serving more than 9 million assigned beneficiaries, according to a news release from Lifespan.
The CMS website describes Medicare ACOs as "groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to provide coordinated, high-quality care to their Medicare patients. The goal of coordinated care is to ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors."
CMS this week said more than 359,000 clinicians are confirmed to participate in four of CMS' Alternative Payment Models in 2017. Clinicians who participate in APMs are paid for the quality of care they give to their patients.
In addition to the Next Generation and Shared Savings Program, the two other models announced were Comprehensive End-Stage Renal Disease Care Model and Comprehensive Primary Care Plus Model; all apply the concept of paying for quality and effectiveness of care given to patients in different health care settings.]]>
In her third budget, Raimondo has introduced several new initiatives, including a scholarship program for students attending state institutions that pledges to give them two years of free tuition and mandatory fees, if they maintain good grades and attend full-time.
The spending plan, which was delivered to the General Assembly for its review, recommends $3.8 billion in general revenue expenditures, an increase of $91.8 million, or 2.5 percent.
The budget, which is for the fiscal year that begins July 1, proposes to close the state's estimated deficit, in part by the creation of new revenue collected from internet sales. The state plans to apply the 7 percent sales tax to remote or online sellers without a physical presence in Rhode Island. The budget includes $34.7 million in additional revenue. In the last several years, Rhode Island sales tax collections have been flat, reported Michael DiBiase, director of the R.I. Department of Administration. The state attributes that to online sales that currently do not include a sales tax, as do brick-and-mortar purchases.
In other measures, Raimondo is pledging to decrease the automobile excise tax by as much as 30 percent. The cut focuses on the valuation of vehicles, and requires towns and cities to use an average trade-in value when determining the value to be taxed, which replaces current methodology that relies on "clean retail" value. The tax break is expected to reduce collections by $58 million in calendar year 2018. The state will reimburse communities for the lost revenue "dollar for dollar," according to DiBiase.
"It provides relief, evenly distributed, to taxpayers," he said.
In education spending, the governor, for the third consecutive year, is fully funding the state education formula.
The college scholarship proposal, called Rhode Island Promise, is intended to provide a powerful incentive for strong students to remain in-state and finish their degrees on time.
It would take effect with the Class of 2017, who, if they attend the Community College of Rhode Island, would qualify for a free associate's degree. If the students attend either the University of Rhode Island or Rhode Island College, they would become eligible in their junior year, as long as they maintain a full-time schedule of classes.
The scholarship would not be restricted by family income. Students would have to maintain a 2.0 GPA to receive it. It is expected to cost $30 million annually on full enactment. Raimondo, in her fiscal 2018 budget, includes the $10 million anticipated for start-up costs.
Speaking to reporters before the release of the budget, URI President David Dooley said the scholarship program would have a powerful effect on the state's four-year university, and he explained that he has a team now working on potential impacts. He explained that he anticipates it could add as many as 20 percent more in-state students to the URI campus by full implementation.
The URI campus now has 17,000 students, he said.
"We're already working now to build strategies and the steps that we need to accommodate an enrollment increase," he said.
A collateral benefit of this strong financial incentive, he said, is that the state's strongest and brightest students may opt for a Rhode Island education rather than leaving the state. "We know when they graduate from our institutions, at Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island, they tend to stay in Rhode Island," Dooley said.
It is too early to tell what kind of an impact the scholarship might have on the selectivity of the university in admissions, he said. Immediate impacts would include making sure the university has sufficient courses and support services to accommodate an increase in enrollment, he said.
"Everything is a projection. We'll have to see what the real numbers are," Dooley said.
In business-related initiatives, the budget continues several programs begun in recent years to attract new employers to Rhode Island, to encourage existing employers to add jobs and to bolster renovation and rehabilitation of vacant structures. The plan would:
Add $1.5 million more to the First Wave Closing Fund, which gives state economic development officials leeway in offering incentives to employers considering locations or expansion in Rhode Island. This would bring the fund to $12 million.
Add another $500,000 to provide new flights and routes at T.F. Green Airport, an initiative begun last year.
Add $10.1 million more to the Interstate 195 Development Fund, which is intended to attract key employers to the lands in Providence made available for development by the movement of the highway. That fund, seeded with $25 million two years ago, has been partially depleted with the anticipated movement of Wexford Science & Technology to two parcels. State Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor told reporters more applicants are interested in available lands.
Maintain the $20 million annual appropriation for Rebuild Rhode Island, which provides a tax credit for developers to spur real estate redevelopment.
In other initiatives, the budget would seek to promote programs that could be employed by advanced manufacturers. They include:
A new Manufacturing Tax Credit, seeded with $3.25 million, which would allow manufacturers to obtain a tax credit for investing in new equipment or by adding jobs.
A new Workplace Learning Stimulus Package, initiated with $2 million, which would be a job incentive program for advanced manufacturers that are expanding jobs, distributed through a competitive process.
Expansion of the existing Innovation Voucher program, adding $1.5 million more to the program with a new focus on manufacturing research and development efforts.
An additional $300,000 for the Polaris manufacturing organization, to provide lean training, facility layout and other programming for manufacturers.
The budget contains no broad-based tax increases, but in addition to the proposed application of the state sales tax to internet sales, it would boost the cigarette tax to $4.25 per pack, a move that the governor estimates will generate $8.7 million more annually.
Several initiatives will likely impact small and mid-sized business. They include a proposal to increase the minimum wage by 90 cents, to $10.50, beginning Oct. 1. The move, if approved, would bring Rhode Island between the current wages paid to hourly workers in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Raimondo has also pledged to introduce a proposal which will require employers of hourly employees to provide paid sick leave. The details are still being determined, according to her chief of staff, Michael Raia, but the proposal is expected to be introduced to the General Assembly within weeks. It was not included as part of the budget release because it does not have budget implications. The plan would be modeled after a recent program adopted in Massachusetts.]]>
Nationally, the U.S. unemployment rate crept up one-tenth of a percentage point in December to 4.7 percent, which is three-tenths of a percentage point lower than in December 2015.
There were 27,800 unemployed Rhode Island residents in December 2016, which is 1,500 fewer than in November and 2,200 fewer than in December 2015. This was coupled with the 10,898 individuals, or 44 percent of all unemployed, who collected unemployment insurance benefits last month - 977 more people than in December 2015.
Rhode Island-based jobs fell by 1,000 in December, from the November 2016 revised estimate of 493,100, for a total of 492,100. This is a 3,600-job jump since December 2015.
Eight hundred fewer residents were employed in December compared with November, for a total of 525,500, but this represented a 3,300-person increase year over year. The state's labor force was measured at 553,300 in December, a drop of 2,300 individuals month over month, yet an increase of 1,100 since December 2015.
To the north, Massachusetts' unemployment rate continued to fall. In a Thursday release the Bay State's Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported its unemployment rate in December was 2.8 percent, its lowest in 16 years. The rate is one-tenth of a percentage point decrease from November's 2.9 percent and 2.1 percentage points below the 2015 December number.
Connecticut's unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in December 2016, according to a statement from the state's Department of Labor. This represents a dip of three-tenths of a percentage point from November and one point in the year-over-year comparison.
Industries in Rhode Island were impacted as follows in December:
Health care and social assistance lost 500 jobs last month and employment dipped in the year-to-year comparison by 700;
Educational services lost 400 jobs in December, but gained 600 since December 2015;
Four hundred jobs were dropped by financial activities on top of a 1,200-job loss year over year;
The manufacturing sector thinned by 400 jobs in December and lost 900 jobs over the year;
Four hundred jobs were dropped by wholesale trade in December, which was mirrored with a 400-job loss since December 2015;
Accommodation and food services lost 100 jobs, but rose 2,700 from December 2015;
The information sector lost 100 jobs over the month in December, and lost 400 jobs over the year;
Other services dropped 100 jobs in December, and lost 200 jobs from December 2015;
Jobs were unchanged in mining and logging over the month and over the year;
Retail trade stayed the same from November and increased by 1,300 jobs year over year;
There was no month-to-month movement in the transportation and utilities sector, but it lost 500 jobs since December 2015;
Construction gained 600 jobs in December, but lost 200 jobs year over year;
Professional and business services added 500 jobs last month and 2,200 jobs from December 2015;
Two hundred jobs were added by the government sector over the month, and 900 jobs from December 2015;
The arts, entertainment and recreation sector gained 100 jobs in December and 400 jobs from December 2015.
Manufacturing employees worked an average of 42.1 hours per week in December 2016, which is an increase of 2.3 hours since November 2016 and 2.6 hours since December 2015. They earned $18.55 per hour, which is 5 cents less than November, but $1.08 higher than December 2015.]]>
For the ranking, the website reviewed 390 online MBA school programs, vetting them on the basis of a good business management foundation, along with a concentrated curriculum in nonprofit management.
Each program was then ranked based on estimated online MBA tuition cost; regional and business accreditations; estimated early career salary; prestige and overall graduation rates. Data from PayScale, U.S. News and World Report, Princeton Review, the Financial Times, Quacquarelli Symonds, and the National Center for Education Statistics was used, according to the website. Information was gathered for each online MBA degree, weighted equally, and averaged to find the top online MBA programs in nonprofit management, the website said.
Oklahoma State University's Spears School of Business in Stillwater, Okla., took first place, followed by Regent University's School of Business & Leadership in Virginia Beach, Va., in second place, and Marylhurst University's School of Business in Marylhurst, Ore., in third place.
JWU's program, designed to be completed within 18 months or 15 months using an accelerated program, ranked seventh, and was lauded by the website for its low tuition cost and high graduation rates.
The 54-63 hour program is priced at $438 per credit hour making the total cost of tuition $23,652, the website said. JWU's main campus is in Providence, but the more than 15,000 students seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees from the school also have access to campuses located in Miami; Denver; Charlotte, N.C., and "virtually anywhere on the planet through online distance education," it said.
Salve, which is in Newport, ranked eighth. It said this 36-credit hour online program has the best graduation rate among all schools on the list at 72 percent, and said the cost per-credit-hour for the program is $510, making the total cost of tuition $18,360.
Online MBA Today, citing federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data, said the nonprofit sector employs nearly 11.5 million professionals across the country.
"An online MBA with a focus in nonprofit management can provide a flexible and rich experience full of training and insight into this exciting sector. The curriculum within these programs will cover the foundational business and management topics important to any MBA program and then dive into the complex world of nonprofit management," the website said.
Also included on the list were:
Endicott College Van Loan School, No. 4, Beverly, Mass.
New England College School of Graduate and Professional Studies, No. 14, Henniker, N.H.
New England College of Business, No. 19, Boston]]>