Briefs

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

In­com­ing HHS Sec­re­tary Sylvia Mathews Bur­well, con­firmed by the Se­nate last Thurs­day, faces crit­i­cal is­sues re­lated to im­ple­men­ta­tion of the federal health­care law

and a nar­row win­dow to pre­pare for the 2015 open en­roll­ment pe­riod. She should quickly de­cide on her top pri­or­i­ties for the agency, said Michael Leav­itt, a for­mer Utah gover­nor who served as HHS sec­re­tary un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush. She then must fo­cus on ac­com­plish­ing those tasks and avoid dis­trac­tions given the limited time she’ll be at the helm prior to the in­au­gu­ra­tion of a new pres­i­dent in early 2017, he said. Bur­well won con­fir­ma­tion on a bi­par­ti­san 78-17 vote.

Steady hir­ing in health­care added 33,600 jobs last month,

an in­crease of 0.2%, as am­bu­la­tory-care em­ploy­ment swelled by 23,100, a monthly gain that eas­ily ex­ceeds aver­age monthly job growth for the sec­tor. Hos­pi­tals saw hir­ing con­tinue to re­bound af­ter shed­ding jobs last win­ter. Health­care’s con­tin­ued job growth added 218,700 jobs dur­ing the 12 months that ended in May, for growth of 2%, and brought the sec­tor’s to­tal em­ploy­ment to 14.7 mil­lion. Across the econ­omy, em­ploy­ers added 217,000 jobs in May, which Ian Shep­herd­son, chief econ­o­mist of Pan­theon Macro­eco­nomics, wel­comed as a “solid re­port.” The pre­lim­i­nary May hir­ing fig­ures mark the fourth month in a row that em­ploy­ment growth ex­ceeded 200,000 jobs, he noted.

The Na­tional Nurses United or­ga­ni­za­tion has launched a cam­paign against a per­ceived in­vader: al­go­rithms and clin­i­cal-de­ci­sion-sup­port soft­ware.

The union charges that the soft­ware is cost­ing nurses jobs, and, just as im­por­tantly, their au­ton­omy. Deb­o­rah Burger, one of the co-pres­i­dents of the union—and a nurse with Kaiser Per­ma­nente— said in an in­ter­view that the soft­ware feels “pre­sump­tu­ous” and that, in her ex­pe­ri­ence, it man­dates care that doc­tors and nurses don’t of­ten feel com­fort­able coun­ter­mand­ing. Burger and the union’s po­si­tion on clin­i­cal-de­ci­sion-sup­port soft­ware tar­gets a key point for reg­u­la­tors.

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