President Trump has signed into law a bipartisan bill that allows the Federal Communications Commission to create a three-digit number for mental health emergencies, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and New Jersey.
- District of Columbia: President Trump has signed into law a bipartisan bill that allows the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create a three-digit number for mental health emergencies. FCC has already chosen 988 as the number for the hotline and plans to launch it by July 2022. Robert Gebbia, CEO of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said the new number will be "a game changer" since the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 10-digit number—and isn't easy to remember or dial during crises (Chatterjee, "Shots," NPR, 10/19).
- Indiana/Missouri/New Jersey: Cerner is collaborating with St. Joseph's Health, Indiana University Health, and other health systems to test its new natural language processing technology, called Voice Assist, that aims to save clinicians time. According to Cerner, Voice Assist, which is powered by Nuance speech recognition technology and expected to become available by 2021, will allow clinicians to articulate simple voice instructions that start with, "Hey Cerner," to retrieve a patient's data from the company's EHRs, place orders, set up reminders, and more (Miliard, HealthcareITNews, 10/20).
- Michigan: Trinity Health Michigan on Monday announced it will raise the minimum wage for its hospital and medical group employees to $15 per hour. The wage increase will affect 2,100 full- and part-time employees—including non-union environmental services workers, medical assistants, patient companions, food and retail services and transporters—at Mercy Health, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, IHA, St. Joe's Medical Group and Mercy Health Physician Partners. According to Trinity Health officials, an additional 6,000 employees who are paid between $15 to $19 an hour will also "have their wage adjusted in order to maintain meaningful distinctions in pay"(Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 10/20).