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Monday, June 1, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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Obama Mobilizes Supporters for Health Reform

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, June 1, 2009

While Congress was on recess this past week, work on healthcare reform was not taking a break. Behind the scenes, on Capitol Hill and at the White House, closer examination was being paid on how to pay for reforms and keep momentum going.

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Children's Insurance Leader Takes Reins at CMS' Medicaid and State Operations

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 1, 2009

Public health policy scholar Cindy Mann, a key architect of the Children's Health Insurance Program a decade ago, has been named director of CMS' Center for Medicaid and State Operations. "Cindy Mann has decades of experience in healthcare financing at the federal and state level, and vast knowledge of healthcare policy," says HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "She has devoted her career to working on behalf of children and families, the elderly and people with disabilities. She will be an outstanding leader at CMSO, particularly as the nation moves forward with healthcare reform."

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CMS Updates RAC Audit Timeline: Complex Reviews Still Months Away

By: Andrea Kraynak, for HealthLeaders Media, May 29, 2009

CMS anticipates Recovery Audit Contractor automated reviews will begin in late June and July and certain types of complex reviews this fall. However, medical necessity complex reviews won't begin until early 2010.

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Feds Target Radiology Imaging Payment Cuts

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, May 29, 2009

In the bulls-eye for cuts to find billions of dollars for health reform sit a wide array of physician radiology services whose annual price tag to Medicare has more than doubled to $14 billion between 2000 and 2006.

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Hospital Uses EMR to Improve Handoff Process and Create Electronic 'Hall Pass'

By: Heather Comak, for HealthLeaders Media, May 29, 2009

In late 2007, staff members at Abington (PA) Memorial Hospital knew their handoff process could use some work. They worked to decide how the process would function and what information should appear on the new "electronic hall pass."

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Who Should Pay for Resident Work Hour Reform?

By: Julie McCoy, June 1, 2009

The countless news stories and articles describing the unsafe conditions caused by sleep-deprived medical residents have triggered fear in the public. But now it's hospital administrators' turn to worry because curtailing resident work hours could be more costly than they originally thought. The Institute of Medicine released a report in December 2008 recommending new standards that would reduce resident work hours to improve patient safety. The IOM report estimated the cost of implementing the reforms at approximately $1.7 billion. But a new cost analysis says shifting residents' work to alternate provides could cost between $1.1-$2.5 billion.

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NCQA Expands Children's Prevention Measures

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, June 1, 2009

Up until now, much of the quality data collected by health plans on children nationwide focused on measures that indicated if care was received—for instance, were immunizations up to date or had well-child visits been completed. Changes may be afoot, though, as the National Committee for Quality Assurance, working with The Commonwealth Fund, looks to get a broader view of well-child care with expanded quality measures.

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Corridor Storage: Crash Carts Are In, Linen Carts Are Out

By: Scott Wallask, for HealthLeaders Media, May 29, 2009

The latest statistics released by The Joint Commission show the top cited standard in accredited hospitals involves fire protection problems. And it is likely that many of these deficiencies stem from low-hanging fruit that surveyors can easily grab, including items improperly stored in exit corridors.

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Is "I" Care the Future of Nursing Home Care Plans?

By: MacKenzie Kimball , for HealthLeaders Media, June 1, 2009

Resident care plans are being written in a new voice as more nursing facilities replace traditional medical-model care plans with "I" care plans. "I" care plans, also known as resident-centered or person-directed care plans, attempt to move away from the medical model of care planning by focusing on individual residents' needs and preferences. "I" care plans are usually written in the first person, using statements like "I want to complete my rehabilitation quickly and return home as soon as possible."

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Hospitals May Need Operators, Not Innovators

By: Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, May 28, 2009

Many in government, academia, and other industries often decry the lack of "innovators" among leaders in healthcare services. But do we really need innovators in such a highly regulated business?

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