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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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CMS Tells Contractors to Delay Doc Payments for 10 Days Again

By: John Commins and Joe Cantlupe, March 31, 2010

Left stranded by Congress taking a two-week holiday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for the second time this month has told contractors to delay reimbursements to physicians and other healthcare providers for 10 business days to temporarily avoid the 21.2% Medicare pay cuts that go into effect on April 1.

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Health Reform Will Amplify Security Concerns for Hospitals

By: Scott Wallask, for HealthLeaders Media, March 31, 2010

When it comes to the physical security of hospital buildings and the well-being of workers, healthcare reform brings with it the likely risk of increased traffic into the nation’s ERs. ERs are among the top locations in medical centers for violence between patients and staff, generally because ERs act as funnels into the rest of the facility.

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Four Health Reform Efforts That Could Assist Family Caregivers

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, April 1, 2010

The health reform legislation approved by Congress last week contained numerous provisions that will impact one of the largest (albeit uncompensated) groups of healthcare providers in the country: family caregivers. Currently, nearly 45 million individuals assist with the care of older family members or loved ones with disabilities.

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State Looks to Protect Volunteer Docs from Malpractice Suits

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, April 1, 2010

Lorna Swartz, a retired child and adult psychiatrist in La Jolla, CA, wants to donate her time and care for the poor. There’s a free clinic at the high school that could use her 22 years of practice experience as well. But, for now, she must refuse. California law says that if she were sued for care she provided as a volunteer, she wouldn’t be protected against medical malpractice claims unless she purchased her own expanded coverage policy, at a cost of thousands of dollars. That’s a situation that both the California Medical Association and the Medical Board of California, want to change.

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Use RAC Discussion Period to Avoid Later Problems

By: James Carroll, for HealthLeaders Media, April 1, 2010

Providers may not be taking full advantage of the RAC discussion period, but as review results letters continue to arrive, that could change. The RAC discussion period begins with the time that either the demand letter (automated reviews) or review results letter (complex reviews) is received through the time recoupment occurs, according to CMS. This period of time was implemented by CMS as a way for providers to have an open discussion about how a RAC may have made its determination and allow the provider to provide additional information.

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Healthcare Online Job Ads Rise in March

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, March 31, 2010

Online job ads in most employment sectors across the economy dipped by a total 29,600 listings in March, but demand for healthcare practitioners and technicians rose for the month, a new report shows.

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Move Over Oprah: Book Clubs Connect Nurses with Patients

By: Sarah Kearns, for HealthLeaders Media, April 1, 2010

When the phrase "book club" comes up, one thinks of a group of people, meeting at a coffee shop or a member’s home, discussing the most recent best-seller discussed on Oprah’s daytime television show. However, the definition of a book club will now have to include nurses reading medical-themed literature to better connect with their patients. The first hospital to institute the idea of a nursing/physician based book club was in 1997, and over the past decade-plus, similar ideas and book clubs have become more popular across 25 states, including California, Massachusetts, and New York.

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Two Reasons Health Reform Will Bring Medicaid Managed Care Expansion

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, March 31, 2010

Health insurance companies were largely winners in health reform as millions of new customers will soon flood their care pools. One segment of health insurance that may get a huge boost is Medicaid managed care.

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What a TV Show Can Teach Us About Readmissions

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 31, 2010

When I heard that several state health officials are examining avoidable readmissions, I thought of Florence Hufnagel—the irascible patient from the 1980s TV series St. Elsewhere.

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Patient Outreach Starts Earlier Than You Think

By: Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, March 31, 2010

When does patient outreach truly begin? This question got me thinking about my experiences with a prominent Boston hospital.

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