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Monday, August 10, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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Safety Net Hospitals Improved Quality with Pay-for-Performance Incentives

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 10, 2009

On quality measures, hospitals treating larger numbers of the poor did not perform as well as hospitals serving more affluent populations back in 2003. But by 2006 that changed. When offered a financial incentive from the federal government's three-year pay-for-performance incentive demonstration project, mortality rates went down and many quality measures improved closer to the level of their counterpart hospitals treating more wealthy patients. The poorer hospitals were able to narrow the gap.

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State-imposed Furloughs Cause Regulatory Backlogs that are Hurting Hospitals

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 10, 2009

The purpose of government-imposed furloughs is to save taxpayers money. But in California, dozens of agencies funded exclusively by licensing fees—not state taxes—are being furloughed too, prompting many practitioner groups and hospitals to cry foul. Why should the state use a hospital's or a physician's licensing fee to help other state programs, they ask. And what will happen to the money those agencies are saving in avoided salaries? The answer is as yet unclear.

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Healthcare Sector Job Growth Continues Off Pace

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 7, 2009

The nation's hospitals' payrolls grew by 4,200 new jobs in July and the healthcare sector continues to be one of the few job growth areas in the sluggish economy in 2009, Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data released today show.

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Insurers' Rating Outlooks Take Tumble Because of Health Reform

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, August 7, 2009

Health insurance companies are concerned that healthcare reform could damage their business, but the mere talk of reform is also negatively affecting health insurers.

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Encourage and Develop a Culture of Innovation

By: Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, August 10, 2009

Recently, healthcare organizations have spent time and energy looking for ways to shave costs. Layoffs of valued employees have followed, and in extreme circumstances, entire service lines are being looked at as a way to trim the fat as reimbursements have declined. But cutting the fat will only get you so far, says Matt Krathwohl, executive director of performance at Memorial Hospital South Bend, and featured "Culture" panelist at the HealthLeaders 09: Hospital of the Future Now conference in October.

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HIPAA Compliance Starts with C-Suite

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, August 10, 2009

The economic recession probably brought healthcare CEOs closer to their organizations' day-to-day activities. New federal HIPAA laws should have too. Daniel Nutkis, CEO of The Health Information Trust Alliance, believes compliance with HIPAA privacy and security starts from the top.

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Joint Commission's New Follow-up Survey: What Answers Still Remain?

By: Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media, August 7, 2009

The Joint Commission recently announced a new type of follow-up survey, "Medicare Condition-Level Deficiency Follow-Up Survey," which will go into effect in 2010. This is intended when surveyors assess a facility with one or more condition-level deficiencies out of compliance.

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'Green Hospital' Has a Double Meaning

By: Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, August 7, 2009

I was always taught "green" principles growing up. It was all about being grateful for what you've been given and not wasting it, and saving money.

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