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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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New Senate Bill Would Cost $849 Billion Over 10 Years

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, November 19, 2009

Some may see it as the beginning of a new debate, but on Wednesday night Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) likened the introduction of the long-awaited Senate healthcare reform bill as the "last leg of this journey that we've been on now for some time." The new 2,074-page bill, according to the Congressional Budget Office, has an anticipated cost of $849 billion over the next 10 years, and will provide coverage for an additional 30 million people.

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CBO: Physician Payment Bill Would Cost Medicare Beneficiaries

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

Medicare beneficiaries would pay $49 billion in higher Part B premiums between 2011 and 2019 under a bill (HR 3961) the House will consider Thursday that raises fees for physicians treating Medicare patients, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

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Eight Tips to Polish Your Hospital's Patient Breach Response

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, November 18, 2009

After hospitals follow protocol about patient data breaches, they should consider these final checklist items if a breach actually occurs, such as include the breach on the annual log reported to HHS and reeducate staff members regarding lessons learned.

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More Late-preterm Births are Increasing Public Health Burden, Says CDC

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 19, 2009

The number of babies born before 37 weeks gestation—between 34 and 36 weeks—grew 20% between 1990 and 2006, a trend that carries serious implications for public health and the nation's caregivers, according to a new federal report. Babies born during this "late-preterm" period "are less healthy than infants born later in pregnancy," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

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OSHA Fines are Down, But Not for Long

By: David LaHoda, November 18, 2009

Total OSHA fines and inspections decreased across all types of healthcare facilities in FY 2009. Even though this is the second straight year healthcare violations have seen a decline, the trend is not likely to continue because the Obama administration has added 130 new inspectors.

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California Grades PPOs, None Receives Four Stars

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 19, 2009

California now provides what it calls the nation's "first interactive, consumer-friendly PPO Report Card," one- to four-star rating of five of the six preferred provider organizations in the state. Issued by California Department of Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, the online ranking gave the highest marks this year, only three stars—or "good"—to CIGNA, Health Net of California, and Aetna. Anthem Blue Cross and United Healthcare of California received two stars, signifying "fair."

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Select Hospitals Offering Alternative to Heart Transplants

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

The northern part of California, western Nevada, and southern Oregon now have a hospital that can implant "destination" heart pumps for patients who, because of other conditions or diseases, aren't eligible for a heart transplant. With the certification granted by the Joint Commission last month, Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento became one of five hospitals in California to be certified, the only way the facility is eligible for federal reimbursement for the procedure.

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Little-Known Medicare Pay Code Change Will Hurt Specialists

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

While the theatrics of the reform debate hold the nation in suspense, another dramatic policy change has crept into next year's Medicare physician pay schedule with astonishingly little fanfare.

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Beware of Medicaid Expansion Pitfalls

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, November 18, 2009

Medicaid expansion as a vehicle to insure more Americans is seen by many as a compromise to the public insurance plan. But expanding Medicaid programs isn't a cure-all—especially if permanent federal dollars aren't involved.

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Healthcare Marketers: Out of the Patient Experience Picture?

By: Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, November 18, 2009

Top healthcare executives say patient experience is among their top priorities, but are they looking toward marketers to drive the effort? Not according to the 2009 HealthLeaders Media Patient Experience Leadership Survey.

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