KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

U.S. May End Program That Entices Cuban Doctors, Nurses Into Defecting While Abroad

The gesture would aim to improve relations with Cuba, which says the "reprehensible" practice's goal is to "deprive Cuba and many other countries of vital human resources." In other health care professional news, hospitalists in Oregon unionize after outsourcing is brought to their medical center.

Reuters: U.S. Considers Ending Program That Lures Cuban Doctors To Defect
The U.S. government is considering putting an end to a program that encourages Cuban doctors and nurses on overseas assignments to defect, a senior aide to President Barack Obama said, in a gesture emblematic of improving U.S.-Cuban relations. The Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program, which started under President George W. Bush in 2006, targets one of Cuba's proudest achievements: sending doctors, nurses and other medical professionals abroad, either on missions of mercy or to raise cash for the Communist government. (Mason and Trotta, 1/8)

The New York Times: Doctors Unionize To Resist The Medical Machine
The outsourcing of hospitalists became relatively common in the last decade, driven by a combination of factors. There is the obvious hunger for efficiency gains. But there is also growing pressure on hospitals to measure quality and keep people healthy after they are discharged. This can be a complicated data collection and management challenge that many hospitals, especially smaller ones, are not set up for and that some outsourcing companies excel in. ... It was the idea that they could end up seeing more patients that prompted outrage among the hospitalists at Sacred Heart, which has two facilities in the [Springfield, Ore.] area, with a total of nearly 450 beds. ... Some Sacred Heart hospitalists left for other jobs, and the rest formed a union, one of the first of its kind in the country. (Scheiber, 1/9)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.