Highlights of the important and the interesting from the world of health care:
Want to avoid layoffs? Become a nurse: Sure, it’s not that simple, but numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show nursing is where to be if you want job security. More nursing jobs will be created in the next decade than in any other single profession, according to this report from NPR. The BLS projects that nearly 600,000 new jobs for registered nurses will be created by 2018. Can anyone still doubt claims of a nursing shortage in the U.S.? According to the BLS, the median wage for a registered nurse is $62,450, nearly twice the median wage for all professions, $32,000. Of course, there’s always the long hours, holidays spent at work, bodily fluids and rude patients, but everything has a downside, right?
“Not one thing is glamorous about my job,” says Tracy Wergley Graebener, a labor and delivery nurse at the Reston hospital. “But nobody goes into nursing thinking it’s going to be glamorous. It’s gory and some people would call it gross, but it just is what it is.”
Public option, R.I.P.: It’s been a long time coming, but the funeral for the proposed government-run health plan known as the public option is almost upon us. After being included in the House plan, but not the Senate proposal, the public option has been widely anticipated to die a slow death. Comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., merely confirm that expectation, Modern Healthcare reports. After emerging from a closed-door meeting to hash out differences between the two chambers’ bills, Pelosi “reframed the public option as a package of health insurance reforms aimed to drive down costs rather than a government health insurance plan,” according to the report. Score one for the insurance companies, but, of course, Business Week correctly proclaimed last August that “The Health Insurers Have Already Won.”
Please, biotech, come to Boston: For the first time in nearly two decades, biopharmaceutical firms are planning to open new manufacturing plants in Boston and surrounding areas, and $2.3 billion’s worth, at that, in a veritable building explosion, the New York Times reports. Despite the high cost of living and building in the area, the attraction is obvious — brainpower produced by nearby Harvard and MIT. Bristol-Myers Squibb is spending $750 million on a manufacturing and office complex, and Genzyme will plunk down $450 million for a manufacturing and warehouse facility, according to the report. Other cities across the country can only tip their hats to Boston, and hope that there’s plenty left to go around for the rest of us.
More conflicting advice on mammograms: Who’s confused about when women should start getting annual mammograms? The guess here is “nearly everyone.” It was a bit easier to dismiss contradictions to guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which says women should start at 50, when it came from politicians, but when scientists issue the contradictions, that’s what will leave nearly all Americans confused. A recent article in the Journal of the American College of Radiology recommends women begin receiving annual exams at age 40, and women with a particularly high risk for breast cancer should start by age 30 but not before 25, NPR reports.
One of the study’s authors blasted the USPTF. He said the American College of Radiology “is driven by the science and evidence” and the USPTF “ignored the evidence.” Ouch. Besides creating mass confusion, the effect of this contradiction likely will be that most women will seek annual mammograms beginning at 40, understandably erring on the side of caution. When it comes to health care, the majority of the American population obviously lacks the expertise to decide for themselves so we’re heavily reliant on the so-called experts. The mammogram issue unfortunately seems to be one in which women will just have to make up their own minds on which “experts” to believe.
Photo courtesy of flickr user mackarus.