Hospital Roundup—Shulkin out over VA privatization stance; medical groups urge SCOTUS to block travel ban

David Shulkin
Ousted VA Secretary David Shulkin says some Trump appointees saw him as "an obstacle" to privatizing the health system. (FierceHealthcare)

Shulkin speaks out after being ousted by Trump

After being dismissed from his position as VA secretary on Wednesday evening, David Shulkin, M.D., criticized the political motives of people in the Trump administration who viewed him as “an obstacle” to privatizing the VA health system.

Shulkin, who called the environment in Washington “so toxic, chaotic, disrespectful and subversive that it became impossible for me to accomplish the important work that our veterans need and deserve,” added that he was barred by the White House from publicly defending himself after an Inspector General report alleged he misused taxpayer money during a trip to Europe. (FierceHelathcare)

Medical groups urge SCOTUS to block travel ban

Nearly three dozen medical organizations, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians, have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court calling on justices to reinstate an injunction on the Trump administration’s travel ban.

The groups argue that health professionals that come to the U.S. from other countries “fill gaps in the nation’s health professional workforce,” particularly with the industry facing an ongoing physician shortage. (FierceHealthcare)

Hospital mergers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Connecticut

This week featured a number of proposed mergers across the country. Jefferson University Hospitals signed a nonbinding letter of intent with Einstein Healthcare Network to expand its reach in Philadelphia, Hartford HealthCare agreed to purchase St. Vincent’s Medical Center from Ascension, and a merger between two Catholic-affiliated hospitals in West Virginia received approval from the Vatican. (FierceHealthcare)  

Medical schools, teaching hospitals are ‘economic engines’

The nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals support 6.3 million jobs across the country, representing 3.1% of the U.S. gross domestic product, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

AAMC president Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., said the report “shows just how vital these institutions are as economic engines at the local, state and national levels.” Medical schools added $562 billion in value to the economy in 2017. (FiercePracticeManagement)

Feds, states ramp up data breach investigations

With large-scale data breaches across multiple industries making headlines, the Office for Civil Rights and state attorneys general are escalating investigations. OCR inquires have nearly doubled over the last year, according to a report from the law firm Baker Hostetler, and state regulators are shifting from informal inquiries to “subpoena-like civil investigative demands.” (FierceHealthIT)