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Monday, December 14, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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Countdown on the Senate Reform Bill: Is the Finish Line Close?

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, December 14, 2009

This weekend, the Senate sat in a waiting pattern for healthcare reform—waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to complete a scoring of what several alternate proposals to the public insurance option will cost. If the numbers are there with the plans—showing no increase in deficit spending—will Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) insist on pushing ahead quickly to meet a deadline of passing a reform bill before Christmas?

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Some Savings in Senate Reform Bill are Unrealistic, Says CMS Actuary

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, December 11, 2009

By 2019, the number of uninsured could be reduced from an estimated 57 million to 24 million under the current Senate healthcare reform bill. However, the accompanying additional demand for services that would accompany this expansion would be difficult to meet initially with existing health provider resources—leading to "price increases, cost-shifting and/or changes in providers' willingness to treat patients with low-reimbursement health coverage," according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' chief actuary.

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New Caritas Christi Labor Pact Partially Links Raises to Reimbursement Rates

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

Caritas Christi, Massachusetts' largest community-based healthcare system, and the Service Employees International Union announced a first-of-its-kind labor agreement Friday that partially indexes pay hikes to reimbursement rates at four hospitals in the Bay State. The four-year contract also provides benefits and education opportunity improvements for nearly 3,000 members of local 1199SEIU at the hospitals.

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Providers Receive First RAC Medical Record Documentation Requests

By: Andrea Kraynak, for HealthLeaders Media, December 11, 2009

Requests for medical records are already arriving in hospital mailboxes following the approval of the first set of issues for complex RAC review earlier this week. One hospital in southern Alabama has already received a number of documentation requests for various issues. Two of the hospitals in their system received a total of 38 requests in the past few days auditing the following DRGs.

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Top 10 Smartphone App Trends for 2010

By: Cynthia Johnson, December 11, 2009

Many chief information officers have smartphones on the top of their 2009 wish list. The compact mobile devices combine online access to information with PDA (personal digital assistant) functionality, making them perfect for on-the-go clinicians. Whether your facility provided you with a smartphone or you purchased one as a gift to yourself, the experts say that you can expect to see some innovative trends in mobile health applications making their way to handheld screens next year.

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Training Can Prevent Needlestick Injuries from Going Unreported

By: Julie McCoy, December 11, 2009

Medical residents often fail to report needlestick incidents, which can put them at risk for blood-borne diseases, a recent study shows. Emphasizing the importance of IC training, principles, and expectations from day one is critical to helping residents form good IC habits, says Bruce Polsky, MD, chief of the division of infectious diseases at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City.

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Who Really Rules?

By: Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Magazine, December 8, 2009

The fall of Wayne Sensor shows that independent physicians can still control the levers of power . . . for now.

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Four Reasons Sanford-MeritCare Merger Provides a Blueprint for Accountable Care

By: Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, December 11, 2009

A model of the health system of the future has come screaming out of the Dakotas like a winter blizzard. Who would've thunk it?

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