Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

Hospi­tal em­ploy­ment in Fe­bru­ary fell for the third con­sec­u­tive month, a down­ward trend in hir­ing the sec­tor has not been seen in 20 years, federal data show. The drop came as over­all health­care em­ploy­ment con­tin­ued to rise. Hos­pi­tals shed 1,200 jobs last month af­ter em­ploy­ment de­clines that elim­i­nated 3,600 po­si­tions in Jan­uary and 4,800 jobs in De­cem­ber, new Bureau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics data show. Fig­ures for Fe­bru­ary and Jan­uary are pre­lim­i­nary. The last time the sec­tor saw three con­sec­u­tive months of job losses was 1993. The re­cent job losses amount to stag­nant hir­ing for hos­pi­tals, which em­ploy 4.8 mil­lion people na­tion­wide.

Two sen­a­tors in­tro­duced bi­par­ti­san leg­is­la­tion last week to ad­dress the con­tentious two-mid­night rule for hospi­tal in­pa­tient stays by es­tab­lish­ing new guide­lines for the CMS. The mea­sure re­sem­bles one al­ready be­ing con­sid­ered in the House. Sens. Robert Me­nen­dez (D-N.J.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) are cospon­sor­ing the Two-Mid­night Rule Co­or­di­na­tion and Im­prove­ment Act of 2014, which has quickly gar­nered sup­port from the Amer­i­can Hospi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion, Amer­ica’s Es­sen­tial Hos­pi­tals, the As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­can Med­i­cal Col­leges, and a sev­eral state hospi­tal as­so­ci­a­tions. Made fi­nal in the CMS’ in­pa­tient prospec­tive pay­ment rule for 2014, the two-mid­night rule di­rects Medi­care’s con­trac­tors to as­sume hospi­tal ad­mis­sions are rea­son­able and nec­es­sary for pa­tients who stay in a hospi­tal through two mid­nights.

Young people who tried elec­tronic cig­a­rettes had a greater like­li­hood of smok­ing con­ven­tional cig­a­rettes, ac­cord­ing to a new study, fur­ther rais­ing con­cerns over whether the de­vices serve as a gate­way to teen tobacco use. The study, pub­lished on­line last week in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion Pe­di­atrics, found that mid­dleschool and high-school stu­dents who said they had smoked tobacco were less likely to stop, com­pared to non e-cig users, if they were also us­ing e-cig­a­rettes.

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