New Jobs: Electronic Medical Records Professional

In our series highlighted news jobs in the new economy, we found an interesting article about new opportunities for people to become an Electronic Medical Records Professional.

Just two years ago, about one in five hospitals used electronic health records (EHR). Thanks to an incentive program from the government, the number is growing fast: More than 3,600 hospitals (about 72%) received payments to transition to EHR as of the end of July. Much of the work remains, and the health care sector is scrambling for technicians and consultants to aid the switch.

Workers can start at $50,000 to $60,000 per year. With the explosion of electronic records for health care, and now with the new health care law that will bring millions more people into the system, there should be no surprise that this would be a growing field.

New Rules are out for for-profit colleges

We’ve been highlighting some of the troubling news stories about for-profit college scams, and we’ve welcomed the notion of new rules governing the industry.

The new rules from the Obama administration are out, but they’ve been scaled back a bit from the initial proposed rules.

The Obama administration on Thursday issued a series of highly anticipated regulations aimed at cracking down on for-profit colleges and other career training programs that leave students saddled with unmanageable debts and contribute to an unequal share of federal student loan defaults.

The final rules issued by the Department of Education, however, are significantly less stringent than a draft version released last year, giving college programs an additional three years to come in line before possibly losing access to lucrative federal student aid dollars. The changes come after an unprecedented lobbying and campaign finance offensive over the past year by the for-profit college industry, which derives a vast majority of revenues from federal student loan and grant programs and has sought to protect that income by gaining influence in Washington.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the changes came after discussion with “lots and lots of different folks,” not just the industry, and he pointed out that the colleges were not unanimous in their suggestions for changes.

“What we really wanted to do was give people a chance to reform … this was not about ‘gotcha,’” Duncan said. “We tried to be very thoughtful, very reasonable and give people every opportunity to succeed, but be very clear where we wouldn’t permit ongoing failure.”

The intense lobbying campaign helped the industry, as the rules are weaker. You can check the article for the details. Lobbyist hacks like Lanny Davis did their job.

That said, this is a decent first step. It’s appropriate that the schools have a time frame to remedy problems, and this should help weed out the worst abuses.

Meanwhile, 10 states have opened a joint probe to look into the marketing practices of for-profit colleges, so we might yet see some interesting developments in this area.

The key here is you have to do your research before enrolling in one of these schools and taking on a mound of student debt.

Both parties shill for the for-profit college industry

Some Democrats and Republicans are trying to scuttle attempts by the Obama administration to impose new rules on for-profit colleges to prevent abuses against students to rack up huge debt for dubious degrees.

The Department of Education is tired of federally subsidized student loans going to shady for-profit colleges that have poor track records of getting the students who do graduates good work — often leaving them stuck with mountains of debt. To curb this phenomenon, the agency has been moving along with a new regulation they call the “Gainful Employment” rule.

Under “Gainful Employment” rules, for profit schools would have to show that their students can find work without getting stuck with unreasonable debt in order to qualify for federal loans.

But behind the scenes, a bipartisan bloc of House members see things differently. They say the rule would reach too far and clamp down on institutions that do a decent job of educating and preparing students. But they want to tie the Department of Education’s hands completely, and block the funds they’d need to implement the rules at all.

Fortunately, many members of Congress are with the administration on this, and Obama could veto any bill with this language.

Founder Visas

I’m a big fan of Forbes Publisher Rich Karlgaard when he’s speaking about entrepreneurship – not so much when he discusses politics or macro economics. So, if you want to start a business, start reading Rich regularly. If you wanted a hint of the economic collapse that occurred last fall, you wouldn’t have been tipped off by Rich.

That said, here’s an interesting idea. Many in this country unfortunately believe that we need to restrict immigration to the United States for talented and educated people, as they might take jobs away from Americans. The truth is that we always have a need for more talented people, and these people usually create even more jobs, either by starting businesses or making their employers more competitive.

When the Blue State Obama Administration thinks of small business, it undoubtedly dreams of promising startups churning out solar panels for office buildings or turbine blades for windmills. If its dreams are serious, the Administration should get behind a crackling good idea proposed by entrepreneur Paul Graham. It’s called the Founder Visa, and the idea is to make it easy for the world’s entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. As Paul Kedrosky describes it on the Web site Growthology: “The particulars are still getting worked through, but it has to do with getting a modicum of [private] funding ($250,000) and approval from an independent board that this represents a real startup deal, not some back-room finagling for a visa, and that’s it: You’re in the country and you’re off and running.”

You can never have too many good entrepreneurs. This is a great idea.

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