The use of an electronic health-record system will cost 160 clerical jobs at Johns Hopkins Hospital by yearend, but the technology already is creating other, better-paying positions, a hospital spokesman said. Johns Hopkins is assisting its “clerical associates” to transition to the digital age as it eliminates those positions, which are related to order transcription and paper records maintenance, the Baltimore-based hospital has announced. According to a statement by Johns Hopkins spokesman Gary Stephenson, the position of clerical associate will be eliminated by the end of the year. But the technology and other internal developments are creating new job opportunities. The clerical associates will be given preference in applying for any of the newly created positions for which they qualify. The hospital began offering skills assessment, coaching and training to potentially impacted workers in December, the Stephenson statement said. In an e-mail, Stephenson added the hospital is taking “extraordinary measures” to keep the workers and has already placed 17 in higher-paying positions. The hospital has 9,340 employees.
After an extensive review, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, both in Boston, have punished three prominent pediatricians and tightened their conflictof-interest policies in the wake of a scandal involving payments from industry suppliers to the doctors. As a result of the three-year investigation, three doctors in Harvard’s pediatric psychopharmacology unit—Director Joseph Biederman, Associate Director Thomas Spencer and senior staff member Timothy Edwin Wilens—were banned from any industrysponsored events for one year. They also will have an additional two years of enhanced scrutiny of their activities, along with training and a delay in promotions, according to copies of a letter to the academic community signed by the three doctors and distributed by Massachusetts General Hospital. In the letter, the physicians say they believed they were “complying in good faith” with the rules on reporting payments from industry sources and that their “mistakes were honest ones.” In 2008, Sen. Chuck Grassley (RIowa) said records provided to Congress showed that the three noted physicians had each received at least $1 million in consulting fees from drugmakers, even though the doctors failed to reveal at least some of that income to their employers under conflict-of-interest policies.