Hospital workforce rises
* The number of workers in hospitals rose by 7,900 in November to about 4.2 million employees, according to seasonally adjusted data from the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some 64,800 more people were employed in hospitals last month than in November 2002. Overall, the nation's unemployment rate was 5.9% last month. The number of nursing home employees rose to 1.6 million last month, up 2,700 from October.
L.A. hospital cited by feds
* Federal health officials last week cited Martin Luther King/Drew Medical Center, Los Angeles, for poor oversight and several serious shortfalls in patient care after a surprise inspection of the teaching hospital. Responding to the findings, county officials pledged a management overhaul. Among other problems, inspectors said nurses at the 249-bed county hospital showed a serious lack of attention to patients and made repeated errors in patient records, while doctors failed to correct known problems. In recent months, an accrediting group shut down the hospital's resident training programs for surgeons and radiologists and recommended closing its neonatology training program.
Replacement facility discussed
* Officials at Butler (Pa.) Memorial Hospital have told the community that a replacement hospital is necessary to keep up with the times and relieve overcrowding throughout the 245-bed facility. At an open forum hosted by the hospital earlier this month, officials said patient admissions and outpatient and emergency room visits have climbed steadily since 1999. As many as 80 ER patients are transferred to other facilities each week, they said. Officials did not respond to a request for comment, but according to local news reports, they would like to build a $150 million replacement hospital, possibly on a 33-acre tract outside the city limits.