Non-competition agreements that protect businesses by making it difficult for workers to change jobs are pervasive in health care, a congressional watchdog reported Tuesday.
The one discovered by the Government Accountability Office could enforce the decision of the Federal Trade Commissions to prohibit the provisions of the contract.
The report addresses many important issues and confirms the Commission’s preliminary determination that noncompetition is a method of unfair competition, wrote Elizabeth Wilkins, director of the FTC’s Office of Policy Planning, in a letter to the GAO.
Because matter: Hundreds of healthcare professionals wrote to the agency this spring during the public comment period on the FTC’s proposed rule. They described the difficulty of changing jobs and consolidation in the healthcare sector which they attributed to lack of mobility.
But the hospitals have asked the FTC for an exemption, arguing that forcing them to do without non-competitors would exacerbate existing workforce shortages and hurt patients.
The report examined why healthcare employers say they need to bond their workers. The three main reasons were:
Protect trade secrets, intellectual property and proprietary information
Prevent departing workers from taking customers with them
Keep qualified staff
On the hill: Senators on both sides of the aisle are concerned about the effects of non-competition on workers.
Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Tim Kaine (D- Va.) requested the GAO investigation.
This report highlights how non-compete agreements suppress wages, especially for low-wage workers, and hinder our economic growth, Kaine said in a statement.
Kaine touted the bipartisan Workforce Mobility Act, introduced in February, which would limit the use of noncompete agreements. Representatives Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) introduced a fellow House.
What’s next? After reviewing the comments and the GAO report, the FTC will decide whether to finalize or make changes to its proposal.
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The Department of Veterans Affairs has renegotiated its contract with Oracle Cerner in an effort to fix the troubled rollout of a new electronic records system, the agency confirmed Tuesday.
The new contract aims to increase liability by penalizing Oracle if the vendor fails to meet benchmarks. It also holds Oracle to higher performance metrics than the previous contract.
The previous contract it was supposed to expire this month.
Because matter: Projected upgrade costs have ballooned, and flaws in the new medical record system have put patients at risk.
A July report from the VA Inspector General was found 1,134 patient safety events reported connected to the new system, including lost medical instructions. The VA recently told Ben that the system played a role in the catastrophic damage to six veterans, four of whom died.
In April, the VA said it was indefinitely delaying rollout of the system at new sites.
Some lawmakers have called for more accountability, while others want to shut down the system.
What’s next: Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said the contract renegotiation was just the beginning of what’s needed to make this program work and pledged to continue to push his bill to increase oversight and responsibility.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber believes that treating fentanyl as a chemical weapon will help combat the scourge of fatal overdoses caused by the synthetic opioid.
The panel on Tuesday approved by voice vote legislation seeking to add fentanyl to the chemicals regulated by the Chemical Weapons Convention.
That international treaty, which has been in force since 1997in the same year that the Senate ratified it, it bans the production and stockpiling of chemical weapons.
Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the sponsor of the bill, said his goal is not to ban the chemicals used to make fentanyl. But he wants to pressure China, where the chemicals are made, and help Mexico, where cartels mix the chemicals to make fentanyl, to disrupt the supply chain.
Because matter: The bill is the latest attempt by lawmakers to take international action to stem the flow of fentanyl into the United States, where it has become the leading killer of people between the ages of 18 and 45 and is responsible for 200 fatal overdoses worldwide. day.
Last August, China ended all anti-drug activities and cooperation between law enforcement agencies and the United States, in retaliation for former House Speaker Nancy Pelosis’ visit to Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.
Effect on health care debated: Representatives Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) expressed skepticism about adding fentanyl to the convention because it is a commonly prescribed pain reliever.
But New York Representative Gregory Meeks, classified as a Democrat on the committee, assured them he had worked with McCaul to ensure that the classification of the drug under the convention did not prevent its legal use.
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