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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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Get Inside the Mind of Healthcare Industry Leaders

By: HealthLeaders Media, February 11, 2010

What are the CEO's new priorities for 2010? What influences a physician's decision on tests and procedures? What do your colleagues think of the healthcare reform players? What impact has the recession had in terms of finances and morale? Answers to these and scores of questions in the new HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2010.

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Quick Healthcare Fixes Tucked Into Jobs Legislation

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, February 11, 2010

Since President Obama's State of the Union address two weeks ago, interest in the Senate seems to be more focused on passing a jobs bill than the healthcare reform bill in the immediate future—but that doesn't mean healthcare is completely out of the picture. Tucked into drafts of the jobs bill making their way around Capitol Hill are various healthcare provisions—many of which are temporary in nature and are directed at holding various programs in place until legislators can deal with the issues more completely through a healthcare reform measure.

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Congress Launches Inquiry into Anthem's Proposed Premium Hikes

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, February 11, 2010

Congress is asking for Anthem Blue Cross's corporate e-mails and other internal documents and wants the top executive of Anthem's parent company, WellPoint, to testify as to why the insurer is raising individual health insurance premiums by as much as 39% in California. WellPoint released a statement Wednesday, referring to the proposed rate hikes for the first time, saying it does "regret the impact this has on our members," but suggested they were related to increased medical costs. The company did not mention specific numbers.

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High Unemployment Hurting Health Insurers

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, February 11, 2010

High unemployment in 2009 squeezed private health coverage and enrollment in publicly subsidized managed care plans, according to health insurance ratings agency A.M. Best Co. In a latest report, commercial enrollment among publicly traded insurers dropped by 2.3% or 2.3 million members through the first nine months of 2009. No overall reversal is expected until employers start hiring, the agency said.

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BCBS of TN Hard Drive Theft Threatens 521K Customers

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 10, 2010

The theft of 57 hard drives from a BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee training facility last fall has put at risk the private information of approximately 521,761 customers in at least 32 states, the insurer said this week in an investigative update. Of those customers identified as being at risk, 220,133 have received notices that their personal information was included on the stolen hard drives.

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RAC Provisions Putting CMS, Providers at Odds

By: James Carroll, February 10, 2010

In response to feedback from the RACs, providers, suppliers, and their associations, CMS recently expanded its fiscal year 2010 RAC additional documentation requests limits to all institutional providers. Though the third-party RAC system often pits CMS against providers, they must actually become partners to provide the highest quality healthcare.

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Former Hospital CFO Pleads Guilty in Skid Row Kickback Scheme

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 10, 2010

The former CFO of Tustin Hospital and Medical Center in Los Angeles has pleaded guilty to paying illegal kickbacks for patients recruited from the city's "Skid Row" area, the U.S. Attorneys Office in Los Angeles has announced.

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Nurse Anesthetists Battle Overlooks Rural Doctor Shortage

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 10, 2010

The lawsuit filed by 40,000 California doctors last week to halt nurse anesthetists' newly obtained ability to administer anesthesia without physician supervision opened the floodgates of fury.

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Empowering Consumers Will Make Value-Based Programs Work

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, February 10, 2010

Many health plans are unsure about the future and are searching for answers. The news isn't always good.

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Three Ways Text Messages Can Improve Healthcare Marketing

By: Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, February 10, 2010

Lately, I've been noticing an uptick in articles and press releases detailing text-message campaigns in healthcare—and each effort has a unique strategy that will help you further your marketing goals.

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