Modern Healthcare - - Regional News -


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.

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