business news in context, analysis with attitude

• In Washington State, The Olympian reports the disbanding of Working Families for Wal-Mart, an advocacy group for the retailer that was, in fact, largely funded by the retailer.

The organization was launched in 2006, and was designed to counteract the efforts of, a union-backed group. According to a statement, the suspension of the group’s activities came because of its belief that its work was done and that’s motives had been made clear.

However, Working Families for Wal-Mart did have its share of problems, chief of which was when Andrew Young, the civil rights leader and former mayor of Atlanta, had to step down from the organization’s steering committee when he made statements deemed as ethnically insensitive.

• There are reports that Wal-Mart has decided to donate $1 million over five years into an entity called the Center for Innovation in Health Care Logistics, which it describes as “dedicated to conducting research aimed at identifying and addressing gaps and roadblocks in the application and delivery of health information technology, and highlighting and replicating proven applications that are working to benefit patients and providers. The goal of the Center's work is to put the right materials in the hands of doctors and nurses where and when they need them; it also aims to eliminate the threat of medical errors arising from wasteful and unreliable practices in health care supply networks.”

Wal-Mart is partnering with the University of Arkansas and Blue Cross Blue Shield in the effort.

Wal-Mart vice chairman John Menzer said in a prepared statement that Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the need for improved information accessibility. "The best example of this need was Hurricane Katrina. Medical records, property records, court records were lost. Entire family histories -- medical, cultural and otherwise -- were gone in an instant, and the entire region is still recovering from this massive loss of information.”
KC's View: