UMass Medical School

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Should You Have A Unique ID Number For All Your Medical Records?

UMass Medical School Chancellor Dr. Michael F. Collins

Should you have a unique ID number for all your medical records? The Wall Street Journal asks that question today on its debate page, and University of Massachusetts Medical School chancellor Dr. Michael Collins answers with a resounding “Yes!”

The Journal offers this background:

Proponents say universal patient identifiers, or UPIs, deserve a serious look because they are the most efficient way to connect patients to their medical data. They say UPIs not only facilitate information sharing among doctors and guard against needless medical errors, but may also offer a safety advantage in that health records would never again need to be stored alongside financial data like Social Security numbers. UPIs, they say, would both improve care and lower costs.

Privacy activists aren’t buying it. They say that information from medical records already is routinely collected and sold for commercial gain without patient consent and that a health-care ID system would only encourage more of the same. The result, they say, will be more patients losing trust in the system and hiding things from their doctors, resulting in a deterioration in care. They agree that it’s crucial to move medical records into the digital age. But they say it can be done without resorting to universal health IDs.

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Layoffs At UMass Med School

Job cuts are announced at the state medical school

No one, it seems, is immune from the economic ax.

UMass Medical School announced yesterday that it would layoff 63 workers due to state and federal financial cutbacks, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports.

The job cuts, which a spokesman characterized as a proactive “streamlining” that mostly eliminated administrative positions, also included maintenance workers, security guards and fundraisers from the school’s development office.

“Really what we’re looking at is, as the federal budget process plays out, there’s potentially less money from the National Institutes of Health and potentially less money from the state,” medical school spokesman Edward Keohane said.

The layoffs come less than two months after the medical school chancellor, Dr. Michael F. Collins, got a more than $60,000 a year raise that hiked his annual base salary and deferred compensation by nearly 12 percent from $524,300 to $585,290 a year.