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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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What a GOP Victory in Massachusetts Could Mean to Health Reform

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, January 19, 2010

Massachusetts voters will head to the polls today to decide on their next senator and the results will affect the health reform debate in Washington—and could impact the Congressional elections in the fall. But what will really happen if Republican Scott Brown is able to beat Democrat Martha Coakley? Here are three questions and answers about the Massachusetts Senate race and its impact on healthcare and national politics.

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Senate Bill Would Save Safety Net Hospitals Billions in Inpatient Pharmacy Costs

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 19, 2010

About 800 safety net hospitals will save $2 million a year on average if a provision in the Senate bill expands their right to buy discounted drugs under the so-called 340B program. The program would expand beyond outpatient care and include inpatient pharmacy drugs as well. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also would broaden 340B so that critical access hospitals, those facilities with no more than 25 beds, also may buy drugs at discounted prices under the federal program. At present, they are excluded.

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Hospitals Concerned About Proposed DSH Payment Cuts in Health Reform

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

Depending on which bill is examined, 18 million to 23 million people could still remain uninsured under the House and Senate reform bill. Others could still face financial barriers in obtaining needed healthcare or paying premiums or medical bills—which explains the reasons why Congress will continue Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments under healthcare reform legislation.

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Joint Commission: Quality of Patient Care Improved in 2009

By: Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media, January 18, 2010

The US has seen a steady improvement over the past seven years in patient care quality, according to The Joint Commission's new annual report. The annual report, "Improving America's Hospitals: The Joint Commission's Report on Quality and Safety 2009," looks at heart attacks, heart failures, pneumonia, and surgical conditions, and provides evidence of improvements made.

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Five Lessons U.S. Hospitals Can Take From Haiti

By: Scott Wallask, for HealthLeaders Media, January 19, 2010

Although the earthquake in Haiti has resulted in extreme emergency response situations that may never be repeated in this country, U.S. hospitals can nonetheless take away points that might prompt revisions to their emergency contingency plans. There are several universal aspects of the quake response to consider.

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New Nurse Testing Standard Raises Bar

By: Sarah Kearns, for HealthLeaders Media, January 18, 2010

The amount of care required by hospitalized patients seems to grow every year, and many nurses in the field question whether recently-graduated nurses are sufficiently prepared to take on the demanding task. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing considers this a major issue and recently raised the passing standard on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

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St. David's South Austin Hospital Announces $72M Expansion, Name Change

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

St. David's South Austin (TX) Hospital will begin a $72 million renovation and expansion project in April that will add three floors, more than 100,000 square feet, and 25% more beds. Effective immediately, the hospital has been renamed St. David's South Austin Medical Center.

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Sleuthing for (More) Savings In Your Budget

By: Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, January 18, 2010

I talked with William Hejna, fellow at Noblis Health Innovation, a nonprofit science, technology, and strategy organization, to get a few more ideas on where to look when you're sleuthing for savings.

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Wellness Movement Is A Worthy Entree, But Hold The Guilt and Shame

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

When we create the incentives for healthier living that are at the heart of wellness programs, we must also understand that not everybody will be able to take full advantage of those incentives.

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