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Premier Health to close Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton 

A city that has had its share of economic body blows took another one Wednesday with the news that Good Samaritan Hospital will close its doors by the end of the year and move 1,600 jobs out of the northeast Dayton neighborhood where it has served as an anchor for nearly a century.

The shocking news, announced Wednesday morning by Dayton-based Premier Health — Good Samaritan’s parent network — caught employees and city officials off-guard as few outside of Premier’s office suites apparently saw it coming.

“Not only was Good Sam an economic anchor to northwest Dayton, but they also were a neighborhood stabilizer,” said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein. “We are gravely concerned about an exit of that anchoring presence.”

Premier said its goal is to offer all employees other positions in the company. But that isn’t much solace for the neighborhood around the massive complex, which was first constructed in 1928 and added onto many times since.

RELATED: Special Report: Million dollar paychecks for top hospital CEOs

The satellite locations – Good Samaritan North in Englewood and Good Samaritan Health Center Huber Heights – will stay open. The hospital’s federally qualified health center that is on site will also remain open, which officials said is a busy ambulatory center with primary care and as well as some specialists.

Premier CEO Mary Boosalis said the emotional decision to close the hospital wasn’t an easy choice.

“On a personal note, I can tell you that this is the most difficult but necessary decision that most of us ever have to make,” she said, adding: “The consequences of inaction are far too great because we know the status quo is unsustainable in this environment.”

Premier officials said the aging Good Sam campus is expensive to keep up and duplicates many services five miles from Miami Valley Hospital, another Premier-affiliate. The population in the surrounding neighborhoods are declining and the hospital is operating at half capacity, with Premier already shifting beds to other hospitals in the system.

RELATED: Good Samaritan Hospital closing: What we know now

Premier — the region’s largest private employer — operates three other hospitals and a large physician network goal.

But like other hospital networks across the country, Premier has been betting that their future isn’t more hospitals; it’s outpatient facilities and smaller health care centers.

The typical hospital stay has been getting shorter and the number of people needing to be hospitalized is down. Premier’s hospitals in Dayton are at about 50 percent capacity.

Declining reimbursements and a tumultuous health care climate in Washington, D.C. also have hospital systems like Premier feeling squeezed.

“Dayton, Ohio, is essentially a microcosm of the pressures you see in our industry nationally,” Boosalis said.

RELATED: Local leaders ‘saddened’ by announced hospital closing

The 2222 Philadelphia Drive hospital campus is aging and Boosalis said it would cost more than $90 million or more to keep the facility up to code over the next decade.

Premier will also save about $7 million to $8 million annually in operating costs by shifting services to other hospitals.

Boosalis said by closing the hospital now instead of later “we’re doing this now from a position of strength so we can be around for another 125 years.

“I think the worst thing our board and myself could do would be not to pay attention to the factors in this industry and ignore the facts and then be in a crisis mode.”

The goal is to move major services to Miami Valley Hospital and avoid duplication of services.

The board of trustees has approved a “significant” donation to the site for redevelopment so the goal is to make it shovel ready with the exception of the remaining buildings and work with the community on the future of the location.

All the buildings will be razed with the exception of the federally qualified health center and the parking garage.

RELATED: 5 things you need to know about Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton

Premier plans to have meetings with community leaders, focus groups and surveys as part of its outreach activities while it makes a plan for the future of the Good Samaritan site. City Wide Development and Planning NEXT, a design firm based in Columbus, are working with Premier on the site plan.

“The input of the community is not only wanted, It’s absolutely critical as we work together to transform Good Samaritan Hospital as we go forward,” Boosalis said.

Bryan Bucklew, president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, said there’s been huge changes in the health care delivery trends and health care policy that have shaped how hospitals make infrastructure decisions.

The average length of a hospital stay was 11 days in 1975, a little over 6 days in 2008, and then by 2015 was down to an average of 3 days.

“So in just six or seven years, you’ve decreased your length of stays by almost 49 percent,” he said.

RELATED: Premier Health, UnitedHealthcare have contract deal

On top of that, about 79 percent of patients in the Dayton area pay with Medicaid and Medicare, so dramatic policy changes and uncertain future of health care of those government insurance programs all shake up local hospitals.

Bucklew said said it’s important that the local hospital networks are all non-profits and locally headquartered, with trustees who live in the communities affected by their decisions. He said Premier is still being mission-minded when weighing decisions like closing Good Sam and if the hospital networks were instead for-profit, the community would feel the negative affects during tough financial times.

“If these organizations were run like for-profit entities, there would be whole service lines that would go away. No one would get into mental or behavioral health. No one would get into detox centers,” he said.

Scott McGohan, CEO of McGohan Brabender, the largest local employee benefits firm, said the employers he works with want to lower the cost of health care and part of making health care more affordable is making tough decisions like closing Good Sam.

“As we pepper these institutions to lower health care costs … it’s hard to condemn them for making these decisions,” said McGohan.

RELATED: Sale of Premier Health’s insurance line falls apart

What is bitcoin? What you need to know about cryptocurrency

If you own bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, it might be a bad day for you.

The price of bitcoin plunged by 15 percent Tuesday morning, dropping below $12,000 for the first time since Dec. 4. Other cryptocurrencies have also seen price declines, with Ethereum falling by 20 percent and Ripple falling by 33 percent. The plunging prices are a stark difference to the success bitcoin saw last month — hitting a record of nearly $20,000 on Dec. 16.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: Currency of the future? Some argue it’s bitcoin

As the digital currency bitcoin surges in popularity, curious investors and entrepreneurs alike are watching closely to see what happens with the fluctuating prices. Don’t understand the basics of bitcoin? Here’s what you need to know:

What is bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, or a digital token, that can be sent electronically and directly from peer to peer. There is no physical backing and it is a decentralized currency — meaning it is not controlled by any government or banking entity. Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency ever created, and remains the most popular one to date.

“I tell people it’s a digital currency and it’s a program,” said Jad Mubaslat, Wright State University graduate student and founder of BitQuick.co, a bitcoin trading platform. “For the first time in history, it allows anyone anywhere in the world to send any amount of money instantly. Most importantly, it’s without a third party … like a bank or a government. Now, you can truly send your money without somebody telling you what you can or cannot do.”

>> On MyDaytonDailyNews.com: I bought bitcoin. Here’s what I learned

The record of all bitcoin exchanges and transactions are on what is called the blockchain, which is a network of decentralized computers.

How was bitcoin created?

Bitcoin was created by a programmer going by the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. He communicated only through email and social messaging, and no one truly knows Nakamoto’s identity. He released the software globally in 2009, and now anyone can use and download it.

How do you buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

In the U.S., several websites have popped up where you can buy and sell bitcoin online. One of the most popular websites is Coinbase and others include Mubaslat’s BitQuick.coCoindesk.com and bitcoin.com. Investors can also meet with other bitcoin users in person and trade bitcoin via their virtual wallets on their phones. After meeting another bitcoin user through websites like Craigslist or LocalBitcoin.com, a user simply scans a QR code with another person’s wallet to transfer bitcoin.

Some people prefer to buy bitcoin in person or through a bitcoin ATM because the bitcoin transfer over faster than when they buy it online — it can take up to seven days, and sometimes longer, for bitcoin to show up in a virtual wallet after purchasing it online.

Why do some criminals use cryptocurrency for illegal transactions?

Some criminals use bitcoin because users can open a wallet to send and receive bitcoin without giving a name or identity. There is no bank or central authority, like a government, to control this information. Bitcoin also became a popular method for making ransom payments when a computer system is taken over by ransomware.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: How criminals use bitcoin illegally

However, bitcoin is not completely anonymous and transactions can be traced by police through bitcoin trading websites. Other untraceable cryptocurrencies, like Monero, are becoming popular for dark web uses including drug trafficking and human trafficking.

How is the worth of bitcoin decided?

The price — and ultimate worth — of bitcoin fluctuates, and experts are calling the cryptocurrency extremely volatile. The price is determined by open-market bidding on Bitcoin exchanges. The worth of bitcoin could be compared to the way that gold prices fluctuate — in the sense that gold has value because people believe it does.

What exactly is bitcoin mining?

Mining is the process that creates new bitcoins in the blockchain, or network of computers. The bitcoin miners race to process new transactions, and the fastest computers get a chunk of new bitcoin. A miner wins the race about every 10 minutes, which will happen until there are 21 million bitcoins in the world. No new bitcoins will be created after the blockchain has 21 million, which is expected to happen in 2140.

Anyone can set their computer up to mine bitcoin, but programmers with specialized hardware are usually the only ones to win bitcoin now.

Are there any other cryptocurrencies as popular as bitcoin?

Other cryptocurrencies also exist, but bitcoin is the most popular one right now. Other popular cryptocurrency includes Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Litecoin and Monero. Digital cryptocurrencies are being created for all types of uses like the legal marijuana industry and adult entertainment and sex worker industries.

>> Read more trending news 

What are the legal uses of bitcoin?

Most transactions on the bitcoin network aren’t illegal — it’s typically people buying and selling bitcoin to each other. People in countries with high inflation or unstable governments are putting their money into bitcoin to avoid losing their savings. It’s also used to transfer large sums of money internationally. It is quicker to transfer bitcoin than it is to go through a bank transfer, which can take weeks.

Some businesses also accept bitcoin, including Overstock.com, Wikipedia, backpage.com and Square. For a short time, a franchise of Firehouse Subs in Cincinnati accepted bitcoin. The restaurant, in Clifton, shut down a few years ago. “Firehouse Subs didn’t do very many transactions in bitcoin, but it has generated buzz around the shop,” the Cincinnati Business Courier wrote.

Apple hiring for work from home positions

Apple is looking for additions to its workforce and you don’t even have to leave home. 

The tech company is looking to fill about 50 AppleCare at-home positions to offer tech support of devices like iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, the Houston Chronicle reported

>> Read more trending news 

While working from home is a big enough perk for some, the job also comes with Apple discounts, paid time off and potential career growth, even for those who work part time, according to Apple’s job announcement.

Apple At Home employees work directly for Apple for the company’s normal support hours. There could be extra shifts for holidays, what’s considered “peak business hours,” and training.

Workers are required to have a distraction-free room that is quiet and that can be closed off to keep noise down, high-speed internet with at least 5 mps download/1 mps upload, a desk and an ergonomic chair. 

Apple provides the iMac and headset that is only for work.

Click here to see what jobs are open and to apply.

Mary B's frozen biscuits recalled due to listeria concerns

Be sure to check your freezer because there’s a new recall on frozen biscuits that were sold in nearly two dozen states.

>> Biscuits recalled over listeria concern

Hom/Ade Foods is recalling Mary B’s brand biscuits due to listeria concerns. The biscuits were sold in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

>> Read more trending news 

Company officials said the problem was discovered in a product sampling conducted by an outside company that manufactured the product.

Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, elderly people and others with weakened immune systems.

The Mary B’s products affected are frozen bagged biscuits. All have “Best If Used By" dates before Sept. 23, 2018, and with the letter “M” immediately after the date.

UPC codes affected by the recall:

  • 2059300007 MARY B’S JUMBO BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 35OZ 10 / 3.5OZ
  • 2059300015 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 26.4OZ 12 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300018 MARY B’S SOUTHERNMADE BISCUITS 26.4OZ 12 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300020 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK VALUE PACK BISCUITS 44OZ 20 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300021 MARY B’S SOUTHERNMADE VALUE PACK BISCUITS 44OZ 20 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300022 MARY B’s BUTTERMILK TEA BISCUITS 24OZ 24 / 1OZ
  • 2059300023 MARY B’S BUTTERTASTE VALUE PACK BISCUITS 44OZ 20 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300028 MARY B’S THIN BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 28.6OZ 22 / 1.3OZ
  • 2059300033 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK FAMILY PACK BISCUITS 60OZ 30 / 2OZ
  • 2059300034 MARY B’S SOUTHERNMADE FAMILY PACK BISCUITS 60OZ 30 / 2OZ
  • 2059300035 MARY B’S BUTTERTASTE FAMILY PACK BISCUITS 60OZ 30 / 2OZ
  • 2059383000 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK 0 TRANS FAT 220CT BULK BISCUITS 220 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059383004 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 220CT BULK BISCUITS 220 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059387000 MARY B’S MADE WITH WHOLE GRAIN 220CT BULK BISCUITS 220 / 2.2OZ
  • 3059320583 MARY B’S 3.5 OZ JUMBO BUTTERMILK 144CT BULK BISCUITS 144 / 3.5OZ

Customers are urged to return affected products to the store for a full refund.

Read more here.

CVS to stop digitally altered images in its store brand advertising, will label other brands’ manipulation

CVS is making sure its beauty ads live up to real life. 

It’s stopping the practice of photo manipulation on its store-brand beauty products and will mark other company’s advertisements with a notation on images that have been Photoshopped, USAToday reported.

The company will also mark photos that have not been altered with what it is calling the CVS Beauty Mark. 

>> Read more trending news 

The initiative has a deadline of 2020, the company announced.

CVS has 9,600 stores across the country and is considered one of the largest sellers of beauty products with 80 percent of the customers women. 

CVS Pharmacy President, Helena Foulkes told USAToday, “We’re all consuming massive amounts of media every day and we’re not necessarily looking at imagery that is real and true. To try to hold ourselves up to be like those women is impossible because even those women don’t look like how they appear in those photographs.”

The company hopes to have the CVS Beauty Mark on photos this year.

Sam’s Club locations reportedly closing without notice

Sam’s Club store locations are reportedly closing across the nation, including some in Ohio.

Two Sam’s Club stores in Cincinnati have permanently closed without notice, WCPO reports.

The Loveland store on Fields-Ertel Road and the Oakley store on Marburg Avenue both permanently closed Thursday, WCPO reported. No locations in the Dayton region have been impacted. Sam’s Club has locations in Dayton, Beavercreek and Centerville.

The closures come as Walmart, which owns and operates Sam’s Club, announced it is increasing its starting salaries for U.S. workers. Employees will now make $11 an hour.

» RELATED: Walmart to roll out ‘Scan & Go’ technology in another 100 stores

Sam’s Club issued the following statement about the closures on Twitter:

“After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we’ve decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy. Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition.”

A Sam’s Club location in the Dayton region will add new technology that will help customers get through the checkout lanes even quicker. Sam’s Club, located at 1111 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, recently filed a permit to add new self-checkout registers in the store. A spokeswoman for Sam’s Club told this news organization that the club is slated to have six updated traditional checkouts and eight, new self-checkout registers.

FIVE FAST READS

• In another blow for Elder-Beerman, Bon-Ton posts holiday sales decline

• Allegiant to add new flights at local airport

• German grocery chain Lidl halts plans to open local store

• At Home store to open in Dayton area this month

• Currency of the future? Some argue it’s bitcoin

Walmart to raise starting wages, expand benefits: 6 things to know

Walmart officials on Thursday announced plans to increase starting wages for hundreds of thousands of the company’s employees, affecting the wallets of more than a million people across the country.

>> Read more trending news

In a news release Thursday morning, Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon characterized the wage increases and other announced benefits as “building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development.”

“It’s our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families,” he said.

>> Related: Sam's Club abruptly closes locations across the country

The announcement came on the same day that dozens of Sam’s Club locations announced they were closing for good and just days after company officials said they planned to expand Walmart’s “Mobile Express Scan & Go” app to 100 more locations. The app allows users to pay for their Walmart purchases in-store from their phones without the need to go through a checkout line manned by a cashier. The expansion has led to speculation that Walmart, the country’s largest employer, might replace some of its workforce with technology.

“(The app) means no waiting in line at the register, but presumably also means that cashiers will lose their jobs,” the Arkansas Times reported

It was not immediately clear how many jobs would be affected.

Here are six things to know about the planned changes:

1. The starting wage rate for all hourly associates in America will rise to $11, $3.75 over the federal minimum wage of $7.25 and $2 over Walmart’s previous starting wage of $9. The wage change will apply to all hourly associates in the U.S. who work in Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs locations, eCommerce, logistics and Home Office, according to company officials.

2. The pay bump will take effect starting during the Feb. 17 pay cycle. Walmart officials said its employees will determine which associates qualify for the cash bonuses before February, “and payments will be paid as quickly as practical thereafter.”

3. Some associates will also be eligible for cash bonuses of up to $1,000, depending on how long they’ve been with Walmart. Officials said the $1,000 bonus would go to those with 20 or more years of Walmart employment.

4. The company plans to expand on its maternity and parental leave policy. Full-time hourly associates will be eligible for 10 weeks of paid maternity leave. Both hourly and salaried employees will also get six weeks of paid parental leave.

5. Walmart will create a benefit to help associates with adoption expenses. The company will provide full-time hourly and salaried associates who are adopting children with $5,000 per child to help cover expenses like adoption agency fees, legal costs and translation fees.

6. McMillon credited the recently approved tax reform bill for the changes. Company officials said they are still reviewing their options for additional investments.

“We are early in the stages of assessing the opportunities tax reform creates for us to invest in our customers and associates and to further strengthen our business, all of which should benefit our shareholders,” McMillon said Thursday. “Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.”

NEW FLIGHT: United to add nonstop flight to Houston from Dayton

United Airlines will add a new nonstop flight from the Dayton International Airport to Houston.

Dayton was one of eight cities chosen by United for the nonstop routes, according to the city. The new flights will begin June 7.

» MUST-READ TRAVEL NEWS: 7 major changes at the Dayton airport in 2017

The addition of Houston will be the 17th nonstop destination from Dayton airport. Dayton airport is currently served by Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Allegiant Air and United Airlines.

"For more than 30 years, United Airlines has helped connect Dayton to the world," said Michael Quiello, United's vice president of Corporate Safety. "We are excited to announce another new choice for our customers traveling to Houston and connecting to key destinations."

It’s been a year of changes for the Dayton International Airport — from fluctuating passenger traffic to new, discount flight destinations and a mix-up in air carriers.

In June 2016, Southwest Airlines halted service at the Dayton airport in favor of adding flights at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The move impacted the Dayton airport’s traffic numbers and average fare prices.

Allegiant, after its first full year of service in Dayton, continues its growth with new flights down south to Florida and Myrtle Beach.

Allegiant officials told this news organization that the low-cost carrier has seen continued success in the Dayton market since its first flight in April 2016.

FIVE FAST BUSINESS READS

• German grocery chain Lidl halts plans to open local store

• At Home store to open in Dayton area this month

• No more waiting? Kroger looking to eliminate checkout lanes

• Currency of the future? Some argue it’s bitcoin

• Southwest Airlines adds new flight at local airport

Subway's $5 footlong could bankrupt franchises, some owners warn

While the $5 footlong from Subway is one of the best bites for your buck in the fast food industry, business owners aren’t always fond of the deal. Some of them say it could even threaten their business.

Keith Miller, who owns three Subways in North Carolina, told The Washington Post that the ingredients in the sandwich cost him about $2, but after paying his employees and adding up all the overhead — electric, gas, rent and supplies — his store brings in a measly profit on the hoagies. When the company decided to drop the prices of its famous subs to $4.99, Miller and a number of other franchise owners sent a letter telling the higher-ups that such a move would have them staring down bankruptcy.

>> Read more trending news 

Subway isn’t the only company to keep prices low with the hopes of enticing hungry customers; Taco Bell, Wendy’s and McDonald’s both boast dollar menus. You’d probably have a tough time finding a franchise owner happy with the low-priced items, but Subway owners have been the most vocal about their complaints. They recently wrote a petition to the big wigs at the company, asking them to reconsider. Owners admitted that the cheap options bring in more customers but that even the increase in traffic “insufficient to make up for the lost margins.” The petition was signed by almost 900 people in 39 states.

Subway says the promotions are optional and that the majority of franchise owners don’t share Miller’s views. In a statement given to the Post, Subway claimed “we are in constant communication with our Franchisees and Development Agents … they are actively involved in many aspects of our decision-making process, and we welcome and encourage their feedback.”

As the minimum wage continues to rise, the prices of some products (like Subway’s sandwiches) haven’t risen to the level necessary for owners to make a profit. Miller says that when he bought his first franchise, he was bringing in profit margins as high as 18 percent. But that number has drastically dropped in recent years.

There are also a number of other problems facing franchise owners. The fast food restaurant industry has become more crowded and, on top of that, people are shopping less and less at fast food stops. And for most owners, the problems show no sign of letting up.

New Year's resolutions: 4 tips for avoiding gym membership scams

The holidays are over and it’s time to get back in shape, but officials are warning consumers about potential gym membership scams.

>> Read more trending news 

In 2017, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received about 140 complaints involving fitness or health club memberships. Top problem areas included cancellation and billing issues. Under Ohio’s Prepaid Entertainment Contracts Act, consumers generally have three business days to cancel a contract for gym memberships and other “health spa services,” martial arts training, dance studio lessons, or social referral services (such as a dating service).

>> How to keep your New Year’s resolutions this time

“This is a time when many people are thinking about joining a gym, and that can be a great way to get in shape. We just want consumers to understand what they’re signing up for,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “A little bit of prevention can go a long way.”

>> PHOTOS: Most controversial figures from 2017

DeWine’s tips for avoiding scams include the following:

1. Research the gym. Look for complaints on file with your local attorney general’s office or Better Business Bureau, and check online reviews for feedback from current or past customers. Pay attention to how a business addresses customer complaints.

2. Read contracts carefully. Make sure verbal agreements are put in writing. Otherwise, they are not guaranteed.

3. Watch out for extra fees. Determine the total cost of your membership. Find out if there are any extra fees for services like fitness classes or personal training. Also find out if payments will be withdrawn automatically from your account.

4. Check the cancellation policy. Understand what you would need to do to cancel your contract and how far in advance cancellations must be made. Many contracts renew automatically, so be sure to check the total length of the contract. 

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