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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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Brown's Senate Win Creates Health Reform Dilemma for Democrats

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, January 20, 2010

In what many are calling one of the biggest political upsets in American history, Republican Scott Brown beat Democrat Martha Coakley in the special Senate election in Massachusetts Tuesday, which ends the Democrats' super majority in the Senate. With his victory, Brown will become the 41st vote against health reform, which opens the door for a possible Republican filibuster on health reform—or at the very least, it could force Democrats to give the GOP a place at the negotiating table.

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Patient Groups: Senate Bill Doesn't Eliminate Insurance Cap

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, January 20, 2010

More than 60 groups representing individuals with chronic conditions, orphan diseases, and other medical conditions—including the National Organization for Rare Disorders, the Hemophilia Federation of America, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society—wrote in a letter to Congress that the Senate healthcare reform bill does not really eliminate annual and lifetime insurance caps. The groups are supporting adoption of the House bill instead because the legislation would eliminate caps.

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Abstinence Education: A Controversial Piece of Health Reform

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, January 20, 2010

One of the more controversial aspects of health reform has more to do with teenagers than health leaders—a proposal in the Senate bill that would allot $50 million for states to continue abstinence education programs. The abstinence programs focus on encouraging teenagers to delay having sex until marriage to reduce pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Opponents say they are misguided and have no place in a health reform bill.

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More Employers Unhappy with Health Insurers, Says PWC Study

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, January 19, 2010

U.S. employers are less satisfied with health insurers, especially against the backdrop of tough economic times, according to a new PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute study. Employers are looking to their health plan providers for information technology and other strategies to help reduce waste in healthcare spending and better engage employees in managing their health, according to the study.

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Safety Net Clinics Improved Care, Limited Medical Debt Post-Katrina, Says Study

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, January 20, 2010

Despite being disproportionately low income and uninsured, many safety net clinic patients in New Orleans had fewer problems paying for care post-Hurricane Katrina. There were also fewer cases of medical debt and inefficient care compared to most American adults, according to a new survey from the Commonwealth Fund. Overall, the report found that among all the clinic patients surveyed, only 27% went without needed healthcare because of cost—compared to 41% of adults nationwide.

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RAC Targets Skilled Nursing Facilities' Consolidated Billing

By: MacKenzie Kimball, for HealthLeaders Media, January 19, 2010

Skilled nursing facilities in the Recovery Audit Contractor program's Region D should pay extra attention to consolidated billing practices and reimbursement as HealthDataInsights, the RAC for that region, recently added SNF consolidated billing to its list of CMS approved audit issues.

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Devising New Code of Conduct Can Improve Hospital Employee, Patient Satisfaction

By: Sarah Kearns, for HealthLeaders Media, January 19, 2010

When it comes to certain policies, it's all about the details. Fredonia (KS) Regional Hospital recently worked at improving the attitudes of its staff members with an eye toward improving patient care quality.

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Quality Reporting May Prove Challenging Under Meaningful Use

By: Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media, January 19, 2010

It's not surprising that quality metrics are central to the meaningful use requirements. What did surprise healthcare leaders was the number of quality measures that is required for 2011.

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Nurse Leaders Should Champion Peer Review

By: Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, January 19, 2010

Nursing has been slow to adopt peer review as a quality of care imperative. To avoid being left behind, it's time nurse leaders added peer review to their strategic plans.

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