Category Archives: healthcare

Helping Employers Improve Kids’ Mental Health

It’s nice to see the National Business Group on Health continuing to take on workplace challenges that matter with solutions that can make a difference.

Its latest release announcing a new publication designed to help employers improve their child and adolescent behavioral services really caught my eye.

Personally, I know of several families touched by a child in need of help. I also know of several tragedies involving young people who didn’t get the help they needed fast enough. And I also know how a parent’s concern over such a child or adolescent can be so distracting at work it becomes debilitating — so of course, this new guide can only help employers.

 I’d venture to guess that child and adolescent mental-health issues touch most all of us in some way. Kudos to NBGH!!

Impact of Healthcare Reform Continuing to be Revealed

 There’s more disconcerting news about the historic healthcare reform bill — all being released today.

Along with a study by the Congressional Budget Office that about four million middle-class Americans will pay higher healthcare costs because of the reform and another study from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluding that the legislation will increase healthcare costs — not reduce them — comes a poll of healthcare executives by AMN Healthcare finding that nearly three-quarters of them (72 percent) were either somewhat concerned or very concerned the new law would have a negative impact on their facilities.

In addition, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) say the reform will have a somewhat or very detrimental effect on the quality of care their facilities are able to provide.

Only about one in five of those surveyed (22 percent) were greatly or moderately pleased by the passage of healthcare reform, while about the same number (23 percent) said reform will have a somewhat beneficial or very beneficial effect on the quality of care their facilities are able to provide patients.

But it may impact staffing — which could be both good for the economy in general, while bad for the executives, who already have problems finding some healthcare professionals, especially nurses.

Six in 10 (62 percent) executives said healthcare reform will cause them to add more physicians, 56 percent said reform will cause them to add more nurses, and 56 percent said healthcare reform will drive them to add more allied healthcare professionals.

Healthcare Priorities

As Washington debates and agonizes over the healthcare-reform proposals, a recent survey of business leaders pinpointed open markets and tort reform as their top priorities — slightly different than the legislation currently proposed — and, not surprisingly, more attuned to the GOP position.

Argyle Executive Forum received more than 900 responses from its senior corporate leadership communication on the question of “which of these issues do you feel should be the top priority of law makers as they relate to the future of the U.S. healthcare system?”

The responses:

Open markets and increase competition across state lines: 23%

Tort reform: 22%

Universal healthcare/government option: 18%

Cost containment/fraud elimination: 16%

Coverage for pre-existing conditions: 6%

Prevention programs: 4%

Plan portability: 1%

Other: 10%

Is the Bridge to Recovery Collapsing?

It’s been a long-held belief that a rise in the number of temporary workers hired usually precedes an economic recovery. And while it’s always good to see more Americans getting back to work (in whatever form they can manage), a troubling sign is emerging in the data, according to a new AP story:

“After the 1990-1991 recession, for instance, gains in temporary hiring starting in August 1991 led almost immediately to stepped-up permanent hiring. And after the 2001 recession, temporary hiring rose for three straight months in the summer of 2003. By September, employers were adding permanent jobs each month.”

Ahhh, those were the days, eh?

Fast-forward to this recession, however, and the full-time jobs just don’t seem to be following the temp jobs spike as they have in previous cycles:

“Employers added a net 52,000 temp jobs in January — the fourth consecutive month of gains. Over that time, total U.S. jobs shrank by 106,000. Employers have managed to boost productivity by squeezing more work out of their existing staffs.”

Is your organization focusing solely on temp workers until the recession is over? If so, what is your organization’s measuring stick to determine when that time is?

We, (and the rest of the American workforce) would love to hear from you!

Succession Problems Now a Fashion Issue?

The recent and unexpected death of noted fashion designer Alexander McQueen has left the fashion world stunned, none moreso than those who worked for McQueen’s label. This New York Times story takes a look at how other big-name fashion houses have fared after their creator died.

Admittedly, the fashion world is as different from the corporate world as a stiletto heel is to a flip-flop, but it does beg the HR question: Could your organization survive and thrive if its leader was to unexpectedly pass on without a succession plan in place?

Disconnect on Pay

In the latest report from tech career board, Dice, Tom Silver, senior vice president for North America, writes of the “interesting disconnect between the people who manage technology staffs every day, and the HR professionals who assist them.”

“When we asked them to pick the most significant impediment to increasing their tech team’s motivation, technology leaders said ‘pay.’ However, HR managers picked ‘none,’ because their tech teams ‘were already motivated.’ “

Right.

IT workers are no different than other worker bees. All of that “doing more with less” leads to fatigue (his term), and that manifests itself “in many ways, including a desire for higher pay and the possibility for a workplace change.”

Whether those disgruntled workers actually ” ‘vote with their feet’ ” to pursue more promising opportunities at other companies is the question all HR leaders — and many corporate executives — are pondering.

And they should.

Here’s HREOnline’s latest look at the salary situation.

Colts vs. Saints

Three of four employers say there’s an office pool floating around for the big game on Sunday, according to the Society for Human Resource Management — and more than half say that’s a good thing as it has a positive impact on employee morale.

Of course, that morale shift might depend on whether a worker’s team ends up on top or not. (Personally, I’m in favor of block pools, so I just root for the score!)

Oh, and one-third of the workplaces have policies regulating pools and fantasy leagues, although few discipline (4 percent) or terminate (2 percent) anyone for violations.

It Ain’t Much

A settlement between the U.S. Department of Labor and Pilgrim’s Pride over “doffing and donning” protective work clothes such as smocks, aprons and gloves required for their jobs at s plant in Dallas, totals $1 million. But divided among the 800 current and former employees, it amounts to about $1,250 per person.


The company — which admitted no wrongdoing — agreed to modify it’s “time collection process.”

Priorities for Leadership Development

A UK study of 2,500 HR and learning professionals finds that organizations are gearing up for life after recession.

Organizations are focusing effort on “those individuals who they expect will lead their organisations into a future yet to be created. Softer skills, in leadership styles and in leadership coaching for instance, that bring out the very best in people and facilitate team working are also a priority.”

Leadership development was the most important priority of the respondents, with the development of middle managers also considered extremely important with 67 percent naming it as their first or second priority — compared to only 35 percent rating leadership development for senior managers in their top five.

Maybe it’s a good thing hope for reform is fading

Seven in 10 employers say healthcare reform will increase the overall cost of healthcare services in the United States. Nearly the same amount say it will increase the cost of their benefit programs.

That’s according to a new Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health survey.

Also, nearly half of employers believe reform — if ever adopted — will decrease employer-sponsored offerings of retiree medical benefits.