HealthLeaders Media Finance - July 20, 2009 | Forget Reform, Stay Focused on the Short-Term View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Forget Reform, Stay Focused on the Short-Term
Michelle Ponte, Senior Editor-Finance

Forget about reform for a moment. There are numerous other issues more likely to affect hospital profitability in the near-term than a reform bill, such as Medicare inpatient payment rate updates and the decline in hospital credit ratings. [Read More]

  July 20, 2009

 
Editor's Picks
Battle looms over funding cuts for MRIs
MRIs and medical imaging costs are in legislative crosshairs. President Barack Obama and legislators say there is gross overuse of the technologies in our healthcare system. At the center of the battle is healthcare reform legislation that calls for reducing Medicare payments for physicians who do imaging services in their offices. According to a Government Accountability Office study, imaging services cost Medicare $14 billion in 2006, more than twice the amount spent in 2000. Physicians are beginning to lobby hard to have the language removed, but with so much momentum happening in Washington to reduce costs, they may not have much of a sympathetic ear. [Read More]
Climbing the Mountain of Social Media Buy-In
Too busy to think about whether your organization should participate in social media such as Twitter or Facebook? Well, marketers say there really is an ROI. It may not come attached with a dollar figure, but it can be evidenced in the thousands of conversations about your organization that take place online. HealthLeaders Media Editor Gienna Shaw explores the risks and rewards of social media in her latest column, with examples from organizations such as Scripps Medical Center in San Diego that are integrating social media into their marketing efforts. [Read More]
New Health Reform Proposal Includes Public Plan, Insurance Exchange, Individual Mandate
Democrats in the House finally have presented 1,000+ pages of what healthcare reform ought to look like. Among other things, the legislation calls for a public plan, a health insurance exchange and an individual mandate. House Democrats propose to raise $544 billion to pay for reform by levying a surtax against wealthier families and individuals. [Read More]
Slump spreads to healthcare as Michigan loses auto jobs
The state of Michigan is a prime example of the ripple effect a bad economy can have on other industries. Mass casualties in the auto industry have brought down a once robust healthcare system as the number of autoworkers without employer-sponsored insurance continues to increase. According to the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, unpaid state hospital bills were twice as high in 2007 at $2 billion compared to 2001. Employer sponsored insurance has dropped from 80% of state residents having coverage in 1997 to 68% in 2008. With state finances already in trouble and healthcare reform still talk at this point, Michigan hospitals and the patients they serve are limping along for the time being. [Read More]
HC4HR: lowering cost while improving patient care
Gary Kaplan, MD, chairman and CEO of the Virginia Mason Medical Center, says that nearly half of the $2.6 trillion spent on healthcare in the U.S. is waste. Kaplan and other healthcare CEOs sound off on reform in a blog series titled Health CEOs for Health Reform, sponsored by The New America Foundation, a nonprofit public policy think tank. Since 2002, Virginia Mason has saved $11 million following the implementation of a program to lower costs and improve quality. Kaplan also says part of this success comes from area employers challenging the system to do better. [Read More]
Finance Forum
On the Way to Reform: Medicare Rate Updates Pack the Biggest Punch
The likelihood of national healthcare reform is greater than any time in recent history. Amidst the dizzying array of healthcare reform proposals and revolutionary demonstration projects, HealthLeaders Media guest columnist Scott Clay says we need to be clear about one thing. Over the next three years the financial performance and viability of hospitals and health systems will be more affected by one measure than any other: Medicare inpatient payment rate updates. [Read More]
Finance Headlines
Dakota Health Systems' Merger Would Create One of Nation's Largest Integrated Systems
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media - July 17, 2009
Massachusetts hospitals and doctors may be put on budget
Boston Globe - July 17, 2009
Obama wants Medicare reimbursement rates out of congressional hands
Washington Post - July 16, 2009
Massive Insurance Fraud Scheme Yields Several Indictments
Ben Amirault, for HealthLeaders Media - July 15, 2009
Medicaid Beneficiary Fluctuations are Leading to More Costs
Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media - July 14, 2009
Children's, Touro finalize deal to create Louisiana Children's Medical Center
New Orleans Times Picayune - July 14, 2009
Safety Net Hospitals Concerned About Proposed Payment Cuts
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media - July 13, 2009
Sponsored Headline
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Time For 'Dr. Next'?
HealthLeaders July 2009 Generation X and its life-balancing, tech-oriented, team-playing doctors is taking over. But what kind of healthcare will they give us? [Read More]
Service Line Management
Prepare for the Cancer Boom
Aligning the right cancer care team and utilizing the appropriate technology is essential for maintaining a patient-centered service line. [Read More]
Money Talk

A look at one hospital's struggles to improve

Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA
Rating: A2
Outlook: Stable
Affected Debt: $327 million
Agency: Moody's Investors Service
Remarks: Rating downgraded from A1 due to increased debt from new bonds.
[Read More]
Audio Feature

Spine Strategies: Eula McKinney, director of the spine service line at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, talks about the recession's impact on spine care and effective strategies for aligning with physicians to reduce costs. For more info, sign up for Service Lines Strategies 2009: Spine Care. [Listen Now]
Webcasts

July 22: Service Line Strategies Workshop 2009: Spine Care
August 20: Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Gastroenterology
August 18: Advanced Service Line Marketing: New Orthopedics Growth Strategies
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