Last Updated May 6, 2008 6:46 AM EDT
While the nation as a whole lost some 20,000 jobs during the month of April, employment increases were seen in hospitals and physician offices, according to preliminary seasonally adjusted figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Meanwhile, Aetna has a new strategy for expanding access to health insurance -- it will require more than 1,300 of its vendors and suppliers to offer healthcare plans to their employees:
Hospitals hired about 9,400 people in April for a 0.2% increase over March, and the roughly 4.61 million people employed at hospitals represented a 2.8% increase from 4.49 million in April 2007. Physician-office employment rose by around 7,600 during April for a 0.3% increase, and the almost 2.26 million physician-office employees represented a 3.1% gain compared with April 2007's total of just over 2.19 million.
The health insurer has set a goal of having 80% of all its vendors offering health benefits by 2010, and all vendors must offer workers coverage by 2012, Aetna announced in a letter to shareholders in its 2007 annual report.That's a pretty big-hearted idea, especially since I'm sure none of those vendors or suppliers will be under any compunction whatsoever to offer Aetna plans to their workers.
"As a business leader, we have both an opportunity and an obligation to be part of the solution to the problem of the uninsured," said Ronald Williams, chairman and chief executive officer of Aetna, in the letter. "We expect nothing less from the companies that do business with Aetna."
Anyway, it's nice to know that not all the news coming out of healthcare is bleak. You just have to know where to look.
Image by Flickr user Betsssssy, CC 2.0