HealthLeaders Media HR - November 9, 2009 | Hospital Work Hazardous to Your Health
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Hospital Work Hazardous to Your Health
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media

We hear a lot about patient safety, and rightly so. We've all read the statistics that as many as 100,000 Americans die each year from preventable medical errors. What doesn't get as much attention is healthcare worker safety, unless it's in the context of front-burner issues like the H1N1 influenza pandemic, or the spate of recent and unrelated assaults at Boston area healthcare facilities. The fact is that working at a hospital can be hazardous to your health. [Read More]
  November 9, 2009

Editor's Picks
Hospital Job Growth Surged in October
I confess. I've been following healthcare employment statistics for months, but I did not see this coming. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the hospital sector added more than 17,000 jobs in the last two months, including 10,000 new jobs in October. The past two months account for almost half of the 37,000 hospital jobs created in 2009. The surge occurred even as the nation's unemployment rate hit 10.2%—the highest in 26 years. Two months ago, I would have told you that the slow or flat growth in hospital employment (the sector lost 200 jobs in June) made sense because hospitals were dealing with lower inpatient admissions, lower numbers of insured patients, lower operating margins, and the increase of outpatient services. This hiring surge blows a hole in that theory. Can anybody out there tell me what's been going on in the last two months that would have generated this hiring spree? Is this a temporary spike, or will we see hospital job creation in 2010 more closely resemble prerecession numbers? [Read More]
Hospitals Rebound from Dismal 2008
Too much good news has made me very suspicious. One year after reporting that half of the nation's hospitals were running red ink, a new Thomson Reuters study finds that 80% of hospitals are back in black, with overall margins approaching levels not seen since the economy tanked. "If they had a 401(k) statement to look at, it'd be lower than it was two years ago. But in terms of the operational financial statistics like margins and liquidity, it looks like hospitals in large part have returned to prerecession conditions," says Gary Pickens, chief research officer at the Center for Healthcare Improvement at Thomson Reuters, which produced the study. Between the hospital job growth and the abrupt and positive reversal of fortunes for hospitals, is it too soon to declare that hospitals are out of the woods? Yes. As Pickens correctly notes, there are still a lot of icebergs out there. "We have to keep an eye on the really high unemployment rate and that looks like it hasn't peaked out yet," he says. "We've seen that there are increasing numbers of inpatient and outpatient services being paid for by government-sponsored rather than private insurance. The impact that could have on hospital payments is something we really need to keep an eye on." [Read More]
Executives on the Move
TAMPA: Geisinger CEO Steele appointed to WellCare Health Plans board
Glenn Steele Jr., MD, president/CEO of Geisinger Health System, has been appointed to the board of directors at WellCare Health Plans, Inc. Steele's appointment was made public concurrent with the announcement that Ruben Jose King-Shaw Jr. will resign from the WellCare board at the end of the year. Steele has served in the top jobs at Geisinger Health, headquartered in Danville, PA, since March 2001. In connection with his appointment to the board, Steele received about $150,000 of restricted shares of WellCare's common stock, an SEC filing said. He also will earn fees as a director. WellCare pays all non-employee directors a base annual retainer of $50,000, effective last April, and non-employee directors also receive an additional $2,000 for each meeting of the board that they attend. Members of the committees on which Steele will serve receive an additional annual retainer of $8,000. [Read More]

LAKE JACKSON, TX: Brazosport Regional names Jeffress as new CFO
Brazosport Regional has named Chuck Jeffress as its new CFO. Before joining Brazosport Regional, Jeffress was the CFO for Texsan Heart Hospital in San Antonio. In previous positions, Jeffress served as the senior vice president of Managed Care at St. Joseph Health System in Bryan, TX. [Read More]

PORTLAND, OR: New Oregon Health & Sciences CFO quits after two weeks
Oregon Health & Sciences CFO Larry Revill resigned after only two weeks on the job, citing unexpected changes in his personal life. Revill came from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX, where he was vice president of finance/CFO. OHSU's nine-member executive leadership team will meet again soon to decide how to fill his position. [Read More]

MINNEAPOLIS, MN: UnitedHealth Group names new general counsel
UnitedHealth Group has appointed both Christopher J. Walsh and Mitchell Zamoff to the position of executive vice president and general counsel, effective immediately. Zamoff and Walsh have shared the duties on an interim basis for UnitedHealth Group since January 2009. Zamoff will take lead responsibility for regulatory and governmental matters, compliance and litigation. Walsh will be responsible primarily for SEC compliance, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, employment and capital markets. They will co-chair the company's legal department. [Read More]

NEW YORK: Polsky to chair medicine dept. at St. Luke's and Roosevelt
Bruce W. Polsky, MD, who has been serving as interim chairman of the Department of Medicine at St. Luke's and Roosevelt since March 2008, has been named chairman of the Department. Polsky joined St. Luke's-Roosevelt in 1998 as chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. He was named vice chairman of the department in 2000, and took over the chairmanship on an interim basis in March 2008 with the passing of his predecessor, Michael Lesch, MD. Polsky currently holds the academic title of Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Polsky will continue to serve as chief of Infectious Diseases until his successor is named. [Read More]

GAINESVILLE, FL: Perri named dean at UF College of Public Health and Health Professions
Michael G. Perri has been named dean of the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions, effective Nov. 6. Perri joined the college's faculty in 1990 and has served as the interim dean since June 2007. A professor in the department of clinical and health psychology, Perri has held several administrative positions in the college, including associate dean for research and head of the health psychology division. [Read More]

SOMERSET, NJ: TeamStaff CEO to step down
TeamStaff, Inc., a healthcare and administrative staffing services provider, has announced that CEO Rick J. Filippelli will step down, effective Jan. 30, 2010. [Read More]

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