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Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Daily news & Analysis



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PWC Projects a 9% Bump in Employers' Medical Costs, Greater Employee Cost-shifting in 2011

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 15, 2010

While the healthcare reform laws that went into effect this year focused on expanding enrollment, they're not expected to do much about containing costs in the short-term. That fact was brought home in a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Health Research Institute, which predicts that the nation's employers can expect their medical costs to increase by 9% in 2011. That represents a decrease of .5% from the 2010 growth rate, but it will also fuel anxiety and anger among workers, who'll almost certainly see their premiums rise while benefits drop and their wages stagnate.

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Seven Largest Insurers Incorrectly Pay One in Five Claims, Says AMA

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 15, 2010

Health insurers don't correctly process one in five medical claims, causing delays and adding more work, hassle, and cost to the healthcare system, according to a new American Medical Association scorecard. The most accurately paying insurer was Coventry Health Care Inc., which had an 88.41% correct claims processing score. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield came out last, with an accuracy rating of 73.98% the AMA survey said. Other companies scored include Health Care Services Corporation, UnitedHealthcare Group, Cigna Corp., Humana Inc. and Aetna, which scored in between in that order.

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HHS and AHRQ Announce Patient Safety, Malpractice Grants

By: Heather Comak, for HealthLeaders Media, June 15, 2010

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced last Friday that they had awarded $23 million in grants in the name of a patient safety and medical liability initiative, as well as $2 million for final contract evaluation. The grants are the product of an announcement on patient safety that President Barack Obama made in September 2009 to a joint session of Congress.

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From the Dakotas to Ireland and Oregon, Sanford Expands Clinics for Kids

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 15, 2010

South Dakota-based Sanford Health will use part of its $400 million gift from philanthropist Denny Sanford to open two children's "Castle of Care" clinics, one of them in Dublin, Ireland and the other in Klamath Falls, OR. The Dublin Clinic is a collaborative effort between Sanford and two providers in Ireland: Hermitage Medical Clinic, a 101-bed hospital in West Dublin and Vhi Healthcare, a large insurance company in Ireland. The clinic will be the second international Sanford effort and one of five Sanford Children's Clinics operating or being planned so far.

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Exemptions Spelled Out For Healthcare Reform Law

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, June 15, 2010

Final interim rules issued by the departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor on Monday specify when group health plans will be exempted—or "grandfathered in"—when complying with the new healthcare reform requirements. Under the interim rules, all health plans—whether or not they are grandfathered plans—must provide specific benefits to their customers for plan years starting on or after Sept. 23, 2010.

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Survey Finds 45% of Hospital Employees Discontented, Disengaged

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 14, 2010

Nearly half—45%—of hospital employees say they're disengaged, disempowered, and unhappy on the job, with younger workers, and those at the patients' bedside expressing the most discontent, according to according to the 2010 Hospital Pulse Report: Employee and Nurse Perspectives on American Health Care from Press Ganey Associates.

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AHIMA Summit Highlights Future of HIT

By: MacKenzie Kimball, for HealthLeaders Media, June 14, 2010

During the American Health Information Management Association's Long-Term and Post-Acute Care Health Information Technology Summit, industry leaders and representatives from a variety of organizations met to discuss the future of HIT in LTPAC settings.

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Credit Rating Agencies Have Been Botching Some Important Ratings

By: Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, June 14, 2010

When it comes to your hospital or health system credit rating, most CFOs do everything they can to try to get, or keep, a AAA rating. But really, what does that rating truly mean?

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St. Joseph Employees Donate Paid Time Off to Worthy Charities

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 14, 2010

St. Joseph Health System in Orange, CA, has created a new program that allows employees to donate the cash equivalent of their paid time off to charity.

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Join the HealthLeaders Media Council

By: June 14, 2010

If you want even better insight into what your peers are doing as healthcare experiences seismic changes, this is an opportunity you can't afford to pass up. The HealthLeaders Media Council is comprised of the nation's leading healthcare executives who collectively provide the most unbiased industry intelligence available. As a HealthLeaders reader, we invite you to qualify to become a member by completing a brief survey.

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