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 co-sponsoring 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 middle-school 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.