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Monday, May 17, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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White House Issues First Legal Defense of Healthcare Reform

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, May 14, 2010

White House lawyers have filed the government's response to a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, previewing what may become a state-by-state legal battle over the future of healthcare reform.

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Provider Groups, Insurers Weigh in on Defining Medical Loss Ratios

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, May 17, 2010

A battle over regulatory interpretation is brewing over the issue of medical loss ratio—a provision included in the new healthcare reform act that will require health insurers to spend at least 80 cents out of every premium dollar in the individual and small group markets on actual medical care and at least 85 cents in the large group market on that care starting Jan. 1, 2011. In letters received by the May 14 deadline by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Department of Health and Human Services, provider groups, health insurers, consumer groups, and others had multiple suggestions on what should be used to calculate that ratio—and what specifically should be classified as providing quality medical care.

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SoCal Hospitals Work On Way to Get Around Physician Employment Ban

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, May 17, 2010

A group of 157 Southern California hospitals is trying to get around the state's ban against the corporate practice of medicine by making a way rural and small hospitals could create special foundations that would hire doctors, in some ways similar to Kaiser Permanente and other larger systems. Right now, state law allows hospitals to create such foundations only if they each have at least 40 physician members and 10 of those physicians are specialists.

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Patient-Centered Surgery

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Magazine, May 12, 2010

Making surgery more patient-centered requires careful coordination and better feedback from patients and their families.

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Home Healthcare Agencies Questioned over Reimbursements

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, May 14, 2010

Four of the nation's largest home healthcare agencies were asked in letters sent by the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday to explain the relationship patterns between the number of home health therapy visits they provided and the Medicare reimbursement rates for those visits.

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Main Culprit In Large Patient Information Breaches: Unencrypted Laptops

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, May 17, 2010

Perhaps it's time to make laptops look unappealing to thieves to prevent them from being stolen. "A tongue-in-cheek solution—ugly, cumbersome, low-appeal devices," says Nancy Davis, director of privacy and security officer for Ministry Health Care in Sturgeon Bay, WI. "We had a suggestion . . . to paint them all mustard yellow." Naturally, Davis and fellow HIPAA privacy and security officers and consultants have more serious ideas about securing laptops. And most agree—encryption is the safest way to ensure your patients' protected health information (PHI) is secured before it flies out the door.

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Design Physician Wellness Activities Around Health, Not Discipline

By: Liz Jones, May 14, 2010

Medical staff and hospital leaders are well aware that physician burnout can potentially put patients at risk for adverse events. What they might not be aware of is that organizational culture and the way physician wellness activities are designed may be contributing to physician burnout.

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A Health System Thrives . . . In Detroit?

By: Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, May 14, 2010

Detroit's experienced economic malaise for a couple of decades now, not just a couple of years. So how is Henry Ford Health System thriving amidst all the economic carnage?

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