- Employment at nursing homes and residential-care facilities fell by 4,800 jobs in March, the second consecutive month of job losses in that sector. However, healthcare overall added 22,300 jobs last month, driven in large part by ambulatory care, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That growth was still down 18% from the updated figure of 27,300 healthcare jobs created in February. Most of the job losses among nursing and residential-care facilities occurred in nursing homes. From March 2014 to March 2015, nursing homes cut 400 jobs, the only healthcare sector in which employment has dropped year over year. A majority of job gains, 19,200 in March, continued to come from ambulatory providers. Physician offices added 6,100 jobs, while home-health services boosted their payrolls by 6,000 workers.
- A drug-resistant strain of a stomach bug made its way into the U.S. and spread, causing more than 200 illnesses since last May, health officials said last week. Many cases were traced to people who had recently traveled to the Dominican Republic, India or other countries. Outbreaks of the shigella bacteria are not unusual, but this strain is resistant to the antibiotic most commonly prescribed for adults. “This is the first time we’ve documented this large an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant (shigella) linked to international travel,” said Dr. Anna Bowen of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The CMS has granted HealthCare.gov contractor Quality Software Services Inc. a contract extension worth up to $23 million, despite conflict-of-interest concerns voiced by Republicans on Capitol Hill. Acting Administrator Andrew Slavitt worked for the owner of the information technology company before joining the CMS in July 2014. Quality Software Services Inc., known as QSSI, is owned by Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group. Before joining the CMS, Slavitt was a group executive vice president at Optum. The latest extension is for four months, with the option of an additional three. If the extension lasts only four months, QSSI will be paid $15 million.
Employment at nursing homes and residential-care facilities fell by 4,800 jobs in March, and other news
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