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Friday, June 19, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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From HFMA: Hospitals Advance Quality and Access Amidst Rising Charity Care and Costs

By: Michelle Ponte, for HealthLeaders Media, June 18, 2009

Leaders from Catholic Healthcare West, Intermountain Healthcare, and Harborview Medical Center told a rapt audience at HFMA's final conference keynote how they are making key quality changes and improving access to care while struggling with rising costs, climbing charity care numbers, and occupancies that are stretched to 100% at times.

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Divided AMA Compromises on Health Reform Resolution

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 18, 2009

The American Medical Association's health reform resolution satisfied some doctors yesterday, but others are not pleased that the organization didn't publicly support a public insurance option.

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Despite Recession, Medical Costs Will Grow in 2010

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 19, 2009

Despite the talk of healthcare reform and a deep recession that has brought layoffs, salary freezes, and wage cuts, medical costs in the United States are expected to grow by 9% in 2010. The increase continues a disturbing trend that has health insurance premiums growing four times faster than wages during the past five years, and the move to implement healthcare reform is not expected to affect costs until at least 2011, PriceWaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute reports.

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Three Common Reasons Why Some Insurers Don't Pay Fast Enough

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, June 19, 2009

Health insurers are paying physicians 5% faster and denying 9% fewer medical claims than last year, but some payers still have a ways to go, most notably state Medicaid programs, according to athenahealth's fourth annual PayerView Rankings. The Internet-based provider of business services to physician practices evaluated 172 national, regional, and government payers in 40 states, which was the largest data set to date.

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CMS Warns Industry About Fax Scam

By: Ben Amirault, for HealthLeaders Media, June 18, 2009

Many providers received an alert message from CMS this morning informing them that scammers are sending fake faxes and posing as a Medicare carrier or Medicare Administrative Contractor in order to obtain billing information.

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State Hospitals Lay Off MD Staff; Could Private Hospitals Do the Same?

By: Emily Berry, June 19, 2009

New Jersey state mental hospitals have laid off 16 doctors in order to fix budget gaps, according to the state Department of Human Services. Typically, hospitals do not have the authority to lay off medical staff members because most are not directly employed by the hospital. However, some practitioners, such as hospitalists and contracted physicians, are direct hospital employees.

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Public Supports More Funding for Emergency Departments

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 18, 2009

More than two-thirds of respondents say the government should provide more funding to expand services for emergency departments so they can hire additional physicians and other staff, according to a new poll.

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Obama: I Need Your Help, Doctors

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, June 18, 2009

President Obama's speech to the AMA made it clear that physicians may play a pivotal role in determining whether or not healthcare reform legislation moves forward smoothly.

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Taking a Tip from the Healthcare CEOs: Bundle Up Now for Quality Care

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, June 18, 2009

The group of nearly a dozen healthcare CEOs that met in Washington last week to introduce a white paper supporting healthcare reform had a basic message: change is needed now.

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