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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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Privacy Act Protects Some Practices With Patient Data Breaches

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, April 12, 2010

The Office for Civil Rights cited a 36-year-old privacy law as the reason why it cannot post on its breach notification Web site the names of private practitioners who report breaches of unsecured PHI affecting 500 or more individuals. OCR writes in an e-mail to HealthLeaders Media that private practitioners who report these major breaches of unsecured PHI are considered "individuals" as defined by the Privacy Act of 1974.

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NQF Endorses 34 Safety Practices in Latest Manual

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 13, 2010

The National Quality Forum has released its fourth updated edition of its Safe Practices for Better Healthcare manual. The 34 endorsed safety practices included in the manual—ranging from surgical site infections prevention to informed consent to medication reconciliation—have some slight changes from the previous year. However, the manual's message is that much still needs to be done with patient safety.

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Masspro's Bell to Succeed Leavitt at CCHIT

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 12, 2010

After a five-month, nationwide search, Karen M. Bell, MD, has been named chair of the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, effective April 26. Bell, an internist, and most recently the senior vice president of HIT Services at Masspro, replaces retiring chair Mark Leavitt, MD, who led CCHIT since its inception in 2004.

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Get Your Compliance Program in Shape to Avoid, Defend Against Auditors

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 13, 2010

Whistleblower lawsuits and multimillion dollar Medicare fraud settlements involving otherwise reputable hospitals and health systems are becoming standard media fodder on the Department of Justice Web site. As is almost always the case, the accused providers that are often paying millions of dollars to the federal government to settle whistleblower suits for self-referrals, or inflated outlier charges, or whatever the gist of the suit may be, are also claiming that the settlement is not an admission of guilt.

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Jury Finds Against 16 Labor Bosses in Health Worker Case

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, April 13, 2010

Saying their labor leaders "lied to us [and] stole from us," and "put our families' financial security at risk," United Healthcare Workers West is claiming victory after a verdict from a U.S. District Court jury in San Francisco. "The federal jury ordered defendants to pay more than $1.5 million in damages to the members they betrayed," said Erica Boddie, Labor Tri-Chair of the Workplace Safety Committee at Kaiser. "Today, the world knows without a shadow of a doubt that they are undemocratic and willing to work directly against members' interest for their own personal power. They aren't union reformers, they are union busters."

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How Will Health Reform Impact Workplace Safety?

By: David LaHoda, April 12, 2010

Lost in all the polarizing rhetoric associated with the passage of healthcare reform is information on how reform could affect workplace health and safety. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Director John Howard, MD, recently identified what health reform means for workplace safety and health programs and those in charge of administering them.

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Health Reform Provision Prevents Insurers From Denying Breast Screening Coverage

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, April 13, 2010

Government and private insurers can't reduce coverage for mammography screenings that fall outside the controversial U.S. Preventive Services Task Force mammography guidelines, according to a provision in the new health reform law. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act calls the USPSTF recommendations the most current recommendations regarding breast cancer screening, mammography, and prevention.

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HCA's IPO Could Bring New Investors to Hospitals

By: Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, April 12, 2010

In a move that would signify the largest initial public offering since Visa's 2008 offering, hospital chain HCA, Inc. is allegedly preparing to raise at least $3 billion through an IPO.

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Are Defined Benefits Plans on Endangered List?

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 12, 2010

A new report from Standard & Poor's Rating Services shows that defined-benefits plans may come under increased financial pressure in the coming years.

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