A lot of people are suffering from "Super Bowl fever" today. A study by the Workforce Institute at Kronos predicts 4.4 million people will straggle in late to work this morning, while 1.5 million will call in "sick." The firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates the national lost productivity adds up to $820 million. Most of the water cooler chat will be about the game, the blackout and the Super Bowl commercials. Those ads were sold out at more than $3.7 million a piece. A survey by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association shows that nearly 20 percent of viewers say the commercials make them aware of an advertisers' brand. Another 11 percent say the commercials influence them to buy products from advertisers: the highest in the survey's history.
Some healthcare providers are upset saying a new excise tax is unfair. That's the focus of a report in this week's Business First. The federal excise tax on medical devices is beginning to make its way down to area hospitals in the form of increased pricing and fees. The Healthcare Supply Chain Association says medical device manufacturers are beginning to shift the burden of a 2.3 percent medical device excise tax to hospitals and other health-care providers. In just the first few weeks of 2013, Kaleida Health has seen line item charges totaling thousands of dollars for the tax in vendor invoices. Many are worried about future pricing contracts and how it will impact their bottom line.