HealthLeaders Media Finance - February 4, 2008 | New Allies in Covering the Uninsured View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
New Allies in Covering the Uninsured
Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Finance

Those who decry the plight of the nation's 47 million uninsured are gaining some fresh new allies. The Federation of American Hospitals has joined the fray, recommending a plan that would require all people to carry health insurance--a proposal modeled most closely after the recently-enacted Massachusetts law. While the jury is still out on whether the Massachusetts plan will actually reduce bad debt and cover more people without a substantial increase in state funding, the fact that the FAH weighed in with a plan earlier this year may signal that something will eventually be done on a national basis. [Read More]
  Feb. 4, 2008

 
Editor's Picks
Bush seeks surplus through Medicare cuts
The president's new budget proposal severely cuts Medicare and Medicaid. Ho hum. Anyone surprised? As it stands, the budget seems to have little chance of passage, but some sort of budget bill might need to be passed before July 1 to save physicians from a mandatory 10 percent cut in Medicare. The bill to fix that might become a bigger bill to change Medicare and Medicaid funding rules on a more permanent, sustainable basis. But don't count on it. In the president's budget, hospitals would face the most massive cuts. [Read More]
National Century fraud trial finally nears
Well, it's taken six years, but the case charging five former executives of National Century Financial Enterprises with fraud, among other misdeeds, is finally coming to trial in Columbus, OH, near where the company was headquartered. To tell you the truth, it had disappeared from my radar screen, too. The company, which, according to this article, was the nation's largest healthcare financing company (not so sure about that), provided quick cash to small physician offices and other healthcare providers by buying their slow-paying receivables for 80-90 cents on the dollar. It would then collect the full balances. The government and investors, who are out $1.6 billion as a result of the collapse, say the company routinely overpaid for those receivables to providers in which they had a financial interest. Several other former employees at the company have already pleaded guilty, and four may testify at the trial. Should be juicy. [Read More]
Group offers doctors bonuses for better care
Don't let the milquetoast headline fool you. This could be big. The general complaint from doctors about pay for performance until now has been the relatively piddling incentives offered by a variety of health plans that won't serve to move the needle on healthcare quality and efficiency for a variety of reasons: they're not big enough, the variety of P4P programs is all over the map in what they measure, and the cost of complying with them is more than what physicians and healthcare facilities can recoup. But a new plan by Bridges to Excellence and its corporate members aims to change that by offering primary care physicians up to $100,000 a year to coordinate care for employees. [Read More]
An ounce of prevention is proving more valuable than a pound of cure
We have an interesting commentary here about the growth and evolution of disease management programs. Reminds me of a story I did on Louisville's Gordian Healthcare a few months back in HealthLeaders magazine. Columnist Court Houseworth picks Healthways as the way to play this trend. [Read More]
Finance Forum
Tools for Competing Successfully in a Pay-for-Performance Environment
Pay-for-performance is a fundamental change in payment methodology that could transform how healthcare is delivered more than the current prospective payment system and managed care plans. Pay-for-performance programs, which are designed to align healthcare payments with clinical best practices and quality thresholds, are becoming commonplace across the country. Levels of adoption suggest that pay-for-performance is likely to stay and may eventually be rolled out across most payers. [Read More]
Finance Headlines
Operator of walk-in clinics shuts 23 locations in Wal-Mart stores
The New York Times - January 29, 2008
Health system, clinic look to grow in Texas
Houston Chronicle - January 28, 2008
Two California hospitals got millions, spent little on charity
San Francisco Chronicle - January 29, 2008
Fitch cuts UnitedHealth ratings due to leverage
The Boston Globe - January 31, 2008
Bill 'over,' but California governor won't give up
San Francisco Chronicle - January 30, 2008
Upcoming Events
HealthLeaders Media News - January 28, 2008
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Claiming Their Due
HealthLeaders December 2007 Many providers struggle to bill for services amid a maze of contractual allowances, but sophisticated software is helping some hospitals and physician groups better manage the time value of money. [Read More]
Money Talk

A look at one hospital's struggles to improve

St. Joseph's/Candler Health System, Savannah, GA

Rating: Baa1
Outlook: Positive
Affected Debt: $154 million
Agency: Moody's Investors Service
Remarks: Outlook raised from stable thanks to improved operating margins in both 2006 and 2007, as well as favorable demographic position in Savannah metro area. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Strategy Trumps Finance: As CFOs in any industry can attest, you have to make sure you get the numbers right. If you don't--thanks to Sarbanes-Oxley--the penalties can be intense, including jail time if you happen to work for a public company. But as Spectrum Health CFO Michael Freed says in this audio interview, strategy trumps finance. To be effective in modern times, a CFO has to develop a financial plan that helps the CEO achieve the goals he's outlined in his strategy. To the extent he or she can, Freed says, the CFO's job is to give the CEO enough time and warning to adapt his or her strategic plan to fit the financials. I hope you'll enjoy this enlightening clip from a trusted adviser of mine.
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