- Healthcare employers added 23,800 jobs in February as physician offices and other ambulatory settings continued to propel growth. However, the month-over-month job gain last month was the lowest total since September, when healthcare gained 22,600 jobs. The slowdown may be explained in part by the severe winter weather that has hit most of the country, especially the East Coast. Although ambulatory facilities and hospitals hired more workers in February, nursing homes and residential-care facilities cut jobs, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nursing homes and residential-care employment fell by 4,800. In January, nursing homes and residential-care facilities added 7,000 monthly jobs. The subsector still added 34,500 jobs in the year that ended in February, a 1% increase.
- Washington insiders expect the CMS this month to propose its Stage 3 meaningful-use requirements that will include the government's approach to fostering data-sharing in the use of electronic health records. In its submission to the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the CMS stated that the program was expected to save Medicare money because eligible providers and hospitals failing to meet the standards would get a reimbursement cut. Benefits stemming from “improved quality of care and better health outcomes,” the submission conceded, “are unable to be quantified at that time.”
- Inova Health System saw another large jump in its operating margin for 2014, thanks to a better payer mix and increased outpatient surgical volumes. The five-hospital system based in Falls Church, Va., reported an operating surplus of $217.7 million on $2.7 billion in revenue for the year ended Dec. 31, for an operating margin of 8.1%. In 2013, its operating surplus was $131.8 million on $2.5 billion in revenue, with a 5.2% operating margin. Like many systems, however, Inova's overall financial picture took a hit from shaky financial markets. Its unrestricted net assets increased by $332.2 million at year-end, compared with an increase of $517.8 million in the previous year.
Healthcare employers added almost 24,000 jobs in Feb
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