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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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House Committee Turns Heat on Insurers

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, September 22, 2009

While much discussion has focused on how insurance companies are trying to influence healthcare reform legislation, Congress has been turning the tables in recent months—looking closely at how medical coverage decisions and denials of claims are made.

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HIPAA's Harm Threshold is a Huge Weakness

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, September 21, 2009

A lawyer and panelist at last week's 17th annual national HIPAA Summit called HHS' new "harm threshold" in its interim final rule on breach notification a "huge weakness."

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Five States Not Prepared for Possible Pandemic

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 22, 2009

Despite six years of funding and planning, health systems in 10 localities in five sampled states still aren't ready for a pandemic flu, and levels of readiness vary, according to a pair of reports issued yesterday by the Office of Inspector General. The first report, based on documents and interviews provided by the selected areas, looked at how well systems can gear up to add beds, medical equipment, trained volunteers, find alternate sites, and triage patient care.

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Sicker, Older Inmates May Wind up on California Hospitals' Doorsteps

By: September 22, 2009

California hospitals are nervously bracing for a court-ordered inmate reduction program that will grant early release to thousands of inmates no longer deemed a threat to society, in part because they are old and medically fragile. Many of these inmates will need immediate care at hospitals, dialysis units, and behavioral facilities, and their first stop in freedom may be the emergency room.

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California Burn Centers Spreading Care

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 21, 2009

Suburban Los Angeles' Grossman Burn Centers is launching a controversial expansion trajectory to bring its brand of burn care 100 miles away to Bakersfield, and 1,800 miles away to Lafayette, LA, this fall.

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Last RAC Announces First Issues for Audits

By: Andrea Kraynak, for HealthLeaders Media, September 21, 2009

DCS Healthcare has released its first CMS-approved issues for audits in Region A. The three issues, including one new issue not yet approved in other RAC regions, are applicable to durable medical equipment suppliers in the northeast.

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Community-Based Health Prevention Programs Promote Long-Term Savings

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, September 22, 2009

A new compendium of community based prevention programs released Monday by the Trust for America's Health and The New York Academy of Medicine is designed to help show how certain types of preventive services can yield substantial net savings—"largely because the initial costs are low and the long-term benefits are large," said Jeff Levi, PhD, the Trust's executive director in New York.

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Joint Commission Focuses on Culture, Improvements

By: Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media, September 22, 2009

The Joint Commission has made significant strides to improve its performance and culture in 2009, the organization announced during its recent Executive Briefings in New York. Ann Scott Blouin, PhD, RN, executive vice president of accreditation and certification operations, discussed at length major changes the healthcare accrediting body has taken in recent months to improve the way it works with hospitals, as well as its own internal processes.

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CEO's Mangled Message Carries Weight

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 21, 2009

Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, has been taking heavy flak since he told the New York Times that he would not hire obese people if it was legal.

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Facing a $100 Million Loss, Downey Regional Files for Bankruptcy

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 21, 2009

Downey Regional Medical Center has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an effort to escape unprofitable HMO contracts in favor of patients in preferred provider organizations.

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