HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - January 7, 2009
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Ready or Not, Here
Come the RACs
John Commins, Editor, Community Hospitals
The fact remains, recovery audit contractors are coming?if not this year, then next year as the pilot program expands beyond the test states of New York, Florida, and California. And they will be authorized to look through your Medicare filings with a start date of Oct. 1, 2007. Are you ready? [Read More]
    
 
January 7, 2009
 
Editor's Picks

Gupta is Obama's choice for Surgeon General
This is an inspired choice by President-elect Barack Obama, who understands that one of the surgeon general's most important attributes should be a strong ability to communicate complex and vital healthcare information to everyday Americans. (C. Everett Coop, MD, is a classic example of a physician-statesman.) Sanjay Gupta, MD, has also been offered the top post on the new White House Office on Health Reform, and the dual roles would make him the most powerful, high-profile medical professional in the nation, if not the world. [Read More]

Rate of growth for U.S. healthcare costs slowed in '07
A new federal study shows that healthcare spending grew by 6.1% in 2007, its lowest rate in nearly 10 years. That averages out to about $2.2 trillion, or $7,421 per person. The CMS study, published this week in Health Affairs, credits the slower growth to a reduction in prescription drug spending. U.S. healthcare spending in 2006 was 6.7% in 2006. The audit finds that the growth rate is the slowest since 1998. Not all trends are down, however. For example, healthcare spending consumed 16.2% of U.S. GNP in 2007, up from 16% in 2006. And, CMS says it anticipates that healthcare's share of the GNP will continue to grow as the nation remains mired in a recession. [Read More]

Nursing industry desperate to find new hires
Of course the nursing shortage is not news to anyone running a hospital. But it is important to note that the news is finally getting out to the public, who don't believe there is a physician or nursing shortage until they get ill and can't get treated. It's not hard to understand why the message isn't getting out. Here we are, in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression, and in just about every part of the nation there is a shortage of people to fill well-paying jobs with excellent benefits. That's hard to believe. [Read More]

Texas hospitals take 'quick look' to ease ED crowding
Hospitals in the Houston area are taking a "quick look" to reduce ED crowding. In 2006, the Harris County Hospital District changed policy to redirect patients who show up at the ED without emergency symptoms to community health clinics or urgent care services. Now, every patient is given a quick look by a nurse within five minutes of arrival, and the sick or injured see a doctor within 30 minutes. So far, the average wait to see a physician at the Memorial City Hospital emergency center has been cut by more than an hour—from 93 minutes last spring to 20 minutes in December. [Read More]

Teens, tweens, falling through healthcare cracks
A new report by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine finds that too many adolescents are falling through the cracks of the nation's healthcare system. The report finds that few doctors specialize in adolescents' complex needs, or provide comprehensive care that earns their trust. Not surprisingly, those most at risk are the poor. [Read More]
Leaders Forum

Preparation of a Proposal for a Federal Healthcare Contract
Bidding on a government contract for services your hospital already renders can be an attractive way to bring additional revenue into your organization. But first you have to get past the daunting rules and regulations in the government's RFP, says Scott Honiberg. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

Budget cuts could worsen projected nursing shortage in Tennessee
The Tennessean ? January 7, 2009
Stimulus, health reform top broad AARP agenda
The Hill ? January 7, 2009
HHS issues action plan to prevent healthcare-associated infections
The Earth Times ? January 7, 2009
Clayton County, GA, hospital bailout approved
Atlanta Journal-Constitution ? January 7, 2009
Credit crunch derails planned sale of HCA hospital
The Tennessean ? January 7, 2009

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

Incentive-Based Compensation Plans to Enhance Physician Performance (Live)
Strategic Marketing Lessons from Other Industries (Live)
Service Line Strategies Workshop 2009: Women's Health (On Demand)
From HealthLeaders Magazine
20 People Who Make Healthcare Better
Healthcare faces a long list of daunting challenges. In our annual HealthLeaders 20, we offer profiles of individuals who are making a difference in today's complex healthcare world. [Read More]
 
Service Line Management
Here Come the Seniors
The influx of baby boomer patients promises to increase the already high demand for senior services. But the prospect of expanding a service line that relies so heavily on Medicare has some hospital leaders jittery. [Read More]
 
Community Call
Discussion Board
What steps are your hospital taking to prepare for RAC?
Audio Feature
What Can Your Hospital Learn from Other Industries? Diane Stover of Memorial Hospital and Health System in South Bend, IN, talks about how healthcare organizations can benefit from conducting "innovisits" with companies in other industries. [Listen Now]
Sponsor Community and Rural Hospital
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