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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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HHS Fires up Rhetoric Against Health Insurance Industry

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 11, 2009

The Obama administration's pugnacity toward the nation's private health plans intensified today with the release of a short, but sharply worded HHS talking points memo detailing what federal officials say is the industry's widespread "discrimination" against people with pre-existing conditions.

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Finances, EHRs Top Challenges for Practices

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 12, 2009

A new study by the Medical Group Management Association finds that finances, and the adoption of electronic health records continued for the second consecutive year to be the top concerns of most medical practice professionals. According to the Englewood, CO-based MGMA's 2009 Medical Practice Today: What Members Have to Say, the top three challenges of running a group practice remain the same as in 2008.

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BCBS Companies Took Loss in 2008

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 11, 2009

Blue Cross Blue Shield companies posted an aggregate 40.9% year-over-year decline in income in 2008 because of realized losses, and declines in underwriting and investment income, a new analysis by the credit rating firm A.M. Best Co. shows.

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Joint Commission Tailors Speak Up Campaign to Prevent Pediatric Errors

By: Heather Comak, for HealthLeaders Media, August 11, 2009

In an effort to make parents more aware of the medical errors their children are in danger of while in the hospital, The Joint Commission has launched an education campaign as part of its existing Speak Up program.

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Utah Tests Health Exchange Idea

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, August 12, 2009

Next week, Utah will become the second state—after Massachusetts—to operate a health insurance exchange, an idea which is being debated as part of federal healthcare reform. The Utah Health Exchange was signed into law in March by Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., who resigned yesterday to assume his post as ambassador to China. The exchange, which goes live Aug. 19, has a Web site where individuals and businesses can compare and buy health plans.

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Biologics Get 12-Year Exclusivity Period Under Proposed Reform Bills

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, August 12, 2009

Manufacturers of biologic drugs would get 12 years of exclusivity—not seven years as had been suggested by President Obama—under an amendment to the House healthcare reform bill (HR 3200), which has been approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee. The amendment language and proposed exclusivity period (12 years) closely follow the provisions in the biologic amendment included in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee reform bill approved in July.

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Wisconsin Hospital's Path Toward Energy Independence

By: Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media, August 11, 2009

Healthcare is not known for being an environmentally friendly industry, but hospitals are beginning to challenge that perception.

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Could Miami Become a Major Medical Tourism Destination?

By: Ben Cole, for HealthLeaders Media, August 11, 2009

Miami is trying to establish itself as an international destination for foreign patients via a collaborative effort.

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