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Friday, February 19, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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Sebelius Blasts Insurance Rates, But Insurers Fire Right Back

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, February 19, 2010

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday criticized what she termed the "shocking" and "skyrocketing" proposed individual coverage rate hikes in seven states, from 23% in Maine to 59% in Michigan. Touting healthcare reform, Sebelius unveiled a new report which she said pinpointed "wildly excessive" profits among the country's largest insurers and the lack of competition that will "lock people out and throw them out of the marketplace."

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CMS Re-alignment Brings New Direction, Possible Medicare Advantage Issues

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, February 19, 2010

A move by acting Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator and Chief Operating Officer Charlene M. Frizzera on Wednesday reflects efforts by the agency to take some new directions—as it waits for an administrator and healthcare reform. "The good news is that the reorganization appears to emphasize innovation and demonstration projects, which are desperately needed given the stalemate on health reform on the Hill,” says John Gorman, CEO of Gorman Health Group, in Washington, DC.

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HITECH Survey: Providers Remain Concerned About HIPAA Breach Notifications

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, February 19, 2010

HITECH compliance for business associates has come and gone. The date for BAs to comply with the HIPAA Security Rule and the use and disclosures provision of the privacy rule was February 17. Further, breach notification enforcement begins February 22. So where does your organization stand? Are you ready?

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Minimize RAC Takeback

By: February 5, 2010

Both teamwork and technology can minimize RAC takebacks.

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Patient-Friendly ER Lobby Designed to Reduce Stress

By: Ben Cole, for HealthLeaders Media, February 18, 2010

A new emergency department lobby at Portland, OR-based Adventist Medical Center is designed to help patients relax and relieve their anxiety while they wait. The 2,500-square-foot waiting room was modeled after a hotel lobby, and features an oversized fireplace, plasma televisions, a family-friendly seating area, free Internet access, and multiple windows for natural lighting.

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Every Practice has Conflict, But Only Some Handle it Well

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 18, 2010

Spend enough time in a doctor's office—either as an employee or a patient—and you're going to encounter conflict and tension. For patients, already anxious about their health, even during well visits, it can be particularly unsettling to hear voices raised or accusations flying. Whatever the reason, conflict is a cancer in the healing environment. It has to be contained.

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White House Provides $4.3B to Help States with Drug Costs

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, February 19, 2010

Acknowledging a tough economy, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday the government plans to grant $4.3 billion to states to reduce their prescription drug costs. Sebelius said the government's action "will help states as they struggle to maintain Medicaid and other budget priorities in these difficult economic times."

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Absolute Total Care Looks to Purchase SC Medicaid Plan

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, February 18, 2010

Absolute Total Care, Centene Corporation's South Carolina subsidiary, has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Carolina Cresent Health Plan, which is the state's largest nonprofit Medicaid managed care organization, from University Health Services, Inc. With the purchase, Absolute will pick up CCHP's more than 40,000 Medicaid members in 46 South Carolina counties.

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Use Medical Checklists as Tools, Not Cure-Alls, for Patient Safety Problems

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, February 18, 2010

Checklists can be useful and helpful, but they are not a panacea to all patient safety problems.

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Disparities in Care Deserve More Attention

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, February 18, 2010

In all of the debate about reforming healthcare, very little has been said about the importance of reducing racial and ethnic care disparities. Yet, these disparities persist, and in some cases they are growing more severe.

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