HealthLeaders Media Finance - August 17, 2009 | Following the Right Turnaround Indicators View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Following the Right Turnaround Indicators
Michelle Ponte, Senior Editor-Finance

Healthcare deals saw a 60% jump in the first half of 2009 over 2008, a good external sign that the economy may be coming back. While all eyes are on the horizon for signs of a turnaround, experts say there are key internal indicators that hospitals should be watching right now that will tell them when it's time to move forward on that big project. [Read More]

  August 17, 2009

 
Editor's Picks
Senators investigate hospital purchasing
Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Medical supplies cost in the neighborhood of $60 billion a year and are ripe for the scrutiny of a group of lawmakers who are going through healthcare costs line item by line item. The long-standing practice of GPOs keeping price negotiations with manufacturers a secret is coming into question. Senators from the finance, judiciary, and aging committees want to know whether or not GPO business practices are spiking healthcare costs on the backs of taxpayers. The chief question senators are asking is what do GPOs do other than pick brands and negotiate prices. [Read More]
Obama proposal to create Medicare panel meets with resistance
A move by President Obama to give more power to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission is not sitting well with lawmakers, physicians, hospitals, and advocates for older Americans. Currently, Medpac recommends Medicare payment rates to Congress, which aren't always heeded. President Obama, however, is proposing that Medpac members have a stronger say in how Medicare's more than $450 billion is spent each year. But lawmakers and others feel this would give too much power to the commission and could backfire into a political nightmare should the panel decide to make decisions about payment policy as it relates to the effectiveness of certain medical treatments. But, unless it is blocked by Congress, the newly empowered Medpac could be in business. [Read More]
And the U.S. M&A winner is . . . healthcare
According to Cain Brothers, the healthcare sector should be the first sector to recover when the economy turns around. The $130 billion in mergers and acquisitions for the first half of 2009 may be a sign of positive things to come. There were 321 healthcare deals in the first two quarters. Cain Brothers says healthcare experienced a 60% increase and was the only sector to outperform itself over the previous year. Why is healthcare stronger? For, one it's the only major sector that added jobs during the recession. While Q2 deals were strong, Cain Brothers says don't expect a return to the deal making period of 2005-2007. [Read More]
Finance Forum
Private Payer Class Action Lawsuits
Over the past five years, a series of settlements in class action suits brought by physicians against the nation's major managed care companies have led to insurers discontinuing practices that systematically denied physicians' reimbursement for services rendered to patients. Despite the success of the settlement agreements in changing the behavior of managed care companies, Ed Gaines, vice president and chief compliance officer for MMP, warns that physicians must not let down their guard, particularly as the settlement agreements expire. [Read More]
Finance Headlines
Massachusetts-based Partners Healthcare showing signs of recovery
Boston Globe - August 14, 2009
New RAC Web Site Tells Hospitals What to Expect for Audits
Andrea Kraynak, for HealthLeaders Media- August 13, 2009
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Puts Bank Up for Sale
Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media - August 14, 2009
State Medicaid Fraud Control Units Recovered $1.3 billion in 2008
Ben Amirault, for HealthLeaders Media - August 13, 2009
Kaiser Permanente to cut more than 1,800 jobs in California
Los Angeles Times - August 12, 2009
Finances, EHRs Top Challenges for Practices
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media - August 12, 2009
Texas Health Resources lays off 33 workers
Dallas Morning News - August 11, 2009
Healthcare's big money wasters
CNNMoney.com - August 17, 2009
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Hang On
HealthLeaders August 2009 Get ready for the failure of the HIT stimulus dream, episode of care contracting, the end of easy credit, and a public plan. [Read More]
Service Line Management
Making Wellness Work
Wellness and weight loss programs aren't major revenue generators, but healthcare reformers know they cannot effectively control costs without focusing more on prevention. [Read More]
Money Talk

A look at one hospital's struggles to improve

West Branch Regional Medical Center (MI)
Rating: BB
Outlook: Negative
Affected Debt: $12.3 million
Agency: Standard & Poor's
Remarks: Rating revised from stable because of declining volumes over the past few years and the sudden departure of a couple of surgeons.
[Read More]
Audio Feature

Making the Business Case for Electronic Swipe Cards: With new national standards paving the way for broad deployment of electronic swipe cards, insurers are doing a massive rollout. Dr. Leonard Wilkerson, UnitedHealthcare's chief medical officer for the Central Region, says the insurer has rolled out 20 million cards to members this year and estimates the technology could save hospitals and physicians more than $1 billion a year. [Listen Now]
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