HealthLeaders Media Corner Office - June 26, 2009 | Handicapping Healthcare Reform Is a Fool's Errand View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Handicapping Healthcare Reform Is a Fool's Errand
Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Leadership

Hospital leaders are spending a lot of time and effort focusing on the goings-on in Washington surrounding healthcare reform. I understand. It's big, scary, and generates a lot of press coverage. But handicapping the multitude of proposals is a fool's errand.
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  June 26, 2009

 
Editor's Picks
Doctor Says New Yorker Used Slanted Stats Against McAllen, TX
My colleague Cheryl Clark writes an interesting article this week about a group of McAllen, TX, providers who are angry that The New Yorker compared a Texas border town's medical expenses with other areas of the country that don't have to deal with providing care to illegal immigrants who may have never seen a doctor before they come to one with multiple complicated conditions. In the article, McAllen was cited as an example of how not to provide healthcare. Doctors say by risk-adjusting, McAllen looks pretty good, but I don't see them addressing the apparent disparity between McAllen and El Paso, 800 miles to the west, which has a similar population, public-health statistics, and similar percentages of non-English speakers, illegal immigrants, and the unemployed—yet Medicare spending per enrollee is about half what it is in McAllen. [Read More]
Medicare Fraud Strike Force Makes 53 Arrests
According to my colleague Janice Simmons, it took a "strike force" to arrest about 53 physicians, medical assistants, patients, company owners, and executives who allegedly defrauded Medicare through cash kickback schemes in Detroit, Miami and New York. Indictments allege that beneficiaries also accepted cash kickbacks in return for allowing providers to submit forms saying they had received unnecessary—and unprovided-treatments. Well, it's about time. Shame it took a "strike force" to uncover such brazen shenanigans, but hopefully, the penalties on those found guilty will provide some deterrence to others who are undoubtedly continuing to perpetrate Medicare fraud in other areas of the country. [Read More]
White House Official: 72 Million Uninsured by 2040
Healthcare spending by 2040 might reach one third of gross domestic product without healthcare reform, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers. It's about 18% now, the highest of any industrialized country. That's scary enough in and of itself, but I have a little piece of advice to the council: You weaken your case when you employ scare tactics about the projected growth of the uninsured in 2040. The level of uninsured now is about 16% of the population. The projected number of uninsured in 2040: about 19% of the projected population. [Read More]
Editor's Note
From all of us at HealthLeaders Media, have a great Fourth of July holiday. HealthLeaders Media Corner Office will not publish next week, but will return with a new issue on July 10.

This Week's Headlines
Ex-Grady CEOs dueling in court
Atlanta Journal-Constitution - June 24, 2009
Young Adults Twice as Likely to be Uninsured as the Middle-Aged
Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media - June 25, 2009
Quality Could Save Medicare Advantage
Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media - June 24, 2009
Washington, DC, hospitals prepare for triage for budgets
Washington Post - June 25, 2009
South Florida hospitals show signs of distress
Miami Herald - June 25, 2009
Senators worry that health overhaul could erode employer health insurance plans
New York Times - June 25, 2009
Physician Compensation Trails Inflation
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media - June 23, 2009

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View from the Top

New Class of Professionals Needed for Healthcare IT Transformation While there is almost universal agreement on the need to transform our nation's healthcare system, few stakeholders agree on specific solutions. But what is certain is that healthcare transformation will require new models for sourcing, processing and distributing richer, more complex data in ways that facilitate collaboration, real-time decision-making and hands-free automation. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Reform and the Healthcare Leader: Paul Keckley, executive director of Deloitte's Center for Health Solutions, has his eye on Washington and the multitude of healthcare reform proposals making their way through the legislative minefield. He joins us to talk about the latest developments in healthcare reform and how they might affect your organization in the near future. [Listen Now]
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