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Friday, November 20, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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House OKs Bill to Stop Medicare Physician Cuts

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, November 20, 2009

The House of Representatives, voting 243 to 183 mostly along party lines on Thursday afternoon, approved a bill (HR 3961) that would prevent a 21% cut in the Medicare physician payment rate scheduled at the beginning of January 2010. Instead, as proposed under the House measure, physicians would receive a 1.2% annual increase.

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Electronic Medical Records Don't Save Money, Says Study

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 20, 2009

Researchers affiliated with Harvard institutions are reporting a variation on the theme "the emperor has no clothes" regarding benefits from health information technology, the second such report to become public this week. The latest study says that despite Congressional support to the tune of $19 billion, claims of efficiencies from computerizing hospital system records "rest on scant data."

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Aetna Cutting 625 Jobs, More Expected in 2010

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

Hartford-based health insurer Aetna, which provides health benefits to more than 19 million members, has announced it is cutting 625 jobs, expects to cut a similar number of jobs at the end of the first quarter of 2010, and will consolidate field offices to reduce real estate costs.

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EPA Exerting More Pressure on Hospitals

By: Scott Wallask, for HealthLeaders Media, November 19, 2009

A half-million-dollar penalty against a hospital system represents the culmination of what has been a very active year of healthcare scrutiny by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Report: Medicaid Program Struggles to Get Long-term Care Patients Back Home

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 20, 2009

Economic and bureaucratic barriers have thwarted an ambitious $1.7 billion Medicaid demonstration project, "Money Follows the Person," from getting elderly and disabled beneficiaries released from long-term care so they can return to live in their communities, according to a report from the non-profit research firm, Mathematica Policy Research.

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New Designs for Elderly Care Offered

By: MacKenzie Kimball, for HealthLeaders Media, November 20, 2009

During the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging's Annual Meeting and Exposition in Chicago last week, the association unveiled its Idea House, a 2,600 square-foot model home that uses innovative technologies and design to help older adults maintain their independence at home.

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What Breast Cancer Screenings Reveal about Cost Control

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, November 19, 2009

Sometimes changes to cancer screening recommendations are actually just changes to cancer screening recommendations. But sometimes they represent deeper problems and frustrations with the healthcare system.

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The Foundation of Quality Is Safety

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

Richard Shannon, MD, chair of the department of medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, recently provided some insights on how healthcare organizations can effectively address patient safety concerns.

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