HealthLeaders Media Finance - June 8, 2009 | Politicking Interferes With Strategic Planning View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Politicking Interferes With Strategic Planning
Michelle Ponte, Senior Editor-Finance

The proliferation of talk and political posturing in Washington is causing fear and a hunker-down mentality that is unlikely to pass until we can get some clarity on what the future will bring with regard to healthcare reform. Forget about strategic plans and forget about taking on new debt. Holding onto cash will be the No. 1 priority for many healthcare organizations until they see President Barack Obama's pen to paper this fall . . . That is, if a healthcare reform bill arrives. [Read More]
  June 8, 2008

 
Editor's Picks
Medical bills play a role in 62% of bankruptcies, study says
A new study by Harvard University finds that skyrocketing medical costs play a role in 62% of bankruptcies filed in 2007, up from 55%, which was reported in a 2001 study by the same researchers. Perhaps more surprising in the current study is that 78% of those who filed for bankruptcy had health insurance, according to the Los Angeles Times. The research supports the argument that is playing out in healthcare reform discussions that expanding access won't mean a thing if people are still underinsured. [Read More]
Virginia county's health system on track to merge
In an effort to meet its population growth needs, Prince William Health System in Manassas, VA, is set to complete a merger with Novant Health in North Carolina by the end of the summer. The deal is Prince William Health's second stab at a merger in the past two years. A year ago, Inova Health System backed out of a partnership talks with Prince William Health due to legal problems with the Federal Trade Commission. The move to partner with Novant will add a $240 million cash infusion, which Prince William will use to build a new cardiac catheterization lab and rehab a critical care unit. [Read More]
President pivots on taxing benefits
Will he or won't he? When he was campaigning for president, Barack Obama said he was not in favor of taxing employer health benefits. Hmm, looks like things have changed, now that pressure is on to figure out how to pay for a final reform package. According to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), President Obama has said he will consider taxing employer health benefits. [Read More]
As patients feel financial pain, doctors offer discounts and other assistance
Like hospitals, physicians are finding that they have to develop broader payment programs for patients. As such, physicians are doing everything from cutting fees to putting patients into payment programs. While the move is altruistic, it doesn't hurt the bottom line either. Some think such tactics could give a boost to elective procedures, which have been down. [Read More]
Finance Forum
RACs: Self Assessment and Aggressive Appeals Are Key
Reimbursement investigations will likely be pursued in numbers and with a tenacity not previously seen in the Part B Medicare program. Data from the demonstration project shows that while very few providers appealed, those that did saw a high percentage of wins. An aggressive appeals stance on the part of providers, therefore, will likely emerge as a significant deterrent against marginal investigations as the program matures. [Read More]
Finance Headlines
Hospital Payroll Growth Stalls
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media- June 4, 2009
Hawaii's largest hospital pays $2.5 million to settle fed government claims
Pacific Business News - June 4, 2009
President Obama moves toward requiring health coverage
Washington Post - June 4, 2009
Harvard mobile clinic may save healthcare system millions
Boston Globe - June 3, 2009
Aetna cuts full-year profit forecast
Hartford Courant - June 3, 2009
University of Alabama at Birmingham medical center says it's eliminating 245 jobs
Birmingham News - June 3, 2009
Health groups detail plans to reduce costs
Wall Street Journal - June 2, 2009
Hospitals mobilizing to fight proposed charity care rules
New York Times - June 1, 2009
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Cash for Computers
HealthLeaders May 2009 With an 11-figure incentive to invest in information technology and electronic medical records, healthcare executives need to determine if this offer from Uncle Sam is the kind of help that they are prepared to accept. [Read More]
Service Line Management
Simpler Surgeries, Complex Market
Technological advances have impact beyond the OR, affecting market trends and hospital-physician alignment. [Read More]
Money Talk

Silver Cross Health System, Joliet, IL
Rating: BBB
Outlook: Stable
Affected Debt: $376 million
Agency: Standard & Poor's
Remarks: Downgraded rating from A due to the system taking on increased debt when profits are expected to be below average. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Hospital-Physician Alignment: What You Need to Know Today: Is your organization considering some type of alignment arrangement with physicians? Then listen in to Deane Corliss, vice-chair of the Health Care Practice Group at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Birmingham, AL. Corliss says alignments are increasing in multiple areas from clinical co-management agreements to syndication of acute care hospitals. In our interview, she discusses what's driving hospitals and physicians together today and offers sound advice before you pony up the legal fees. [Listen Now]
Webcasts

July 22: Service Line Strategies Workshop 2009: Spine Care
June 17: HIPAA Changes: New Compliance Strategies for New Marketing Models
June 26: ICU Overhaul 2009: Strategies to Reduce Costs and Improve Quality
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