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Friday, July 23, 2010


Daily news & Analysis



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ADA Releases Guidance for Medical Services Care

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, July 23, 2010

New technical assistance guidelines designed for medical providers—to assist patients with mobility disabilities—were released Thursday by the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights.

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White House Unveils Consumer Rules to Appeal Health Plan Decisions

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, July 23, 2010

The Obama Administration announced on Thursday new regulations that would permit consumers to appeal decisions—such as claims denials and rescissions—made by their health plans or insurance companies. The new regulations—issued by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury—include the right for consumers to appeal decisions made by a health plan through the plan?s internal process or through an outside, independent decision-maker. This will apply to any state where a patient lives or whatever type of health coverage the consumer has.

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BCBS Stockpiled Billions, Consumers Group Says

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, July 22, 2010

Nonprofit Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurers stockpiled billions of dollars in surplus over the last 10 years while raising premiums for consumers by as high as 20% annually, says a report from Consumers Union released Thursday.

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Sullenberger Urges Hospitals to Adopt Aviation Culture of Safety

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, July 23, 2010

Hospital leaders attending the American Hospital Association's Leadership Summit in San Diego Thursday got a stern lecture from Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who told them adopt the mentality of the aviation industry. They must stop thinking of accidents “as inevitable and start thinking about them as unimaginable," he said. “We in aviation have learned a lot, and we’re anxious to share it with you.”

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Not-For-Profit, Stand-Alone Hospitals See Improvement

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 22, 2010

After three years of decline, the nation’s stand-alone, not-for-profit hospitals stabilized balance sheets in 2009 and saw improvements in other key operating metrics. This results in pre-recession levels similar to 2006. This improving trend is expected to continue through 2010, despite the uncertainty surrounding the economy and healthcare reform, according to Standard & Poor’s.

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Women, Minorities More Likely to Get MD of Choice

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 22, 2010

Emergency physicians are more likely to honor the requests of women and racial minorities to see a doctor of their same gender, race, or religious background, a University of Michigan Health System-led study shows. One-third of the 176 physicians surveyed at the American College of Emergency Physicians Scientific Assembly said patients perceive they get better care from racial, gender, or ethnic matching, even though there is no evidence to support that perception.

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Should Physicians Be Reimbursed for Conversations With Patients?

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, July 22, 2010

Wendy Levinson, MD, chair of the department of medicine at the University of Toronto, says that doctors should be paid more for conversations with patients. "Complicated conversations such as breaking bad news or disclosing medical errors could be reimbursed as complex procedures," Levinson writes in the July issue of Health Affairs.

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Culture Change Key To Safety, Quality Improvements

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, July 22, 2010

Medical checklists are proving to be popular items in hospitals to help promote patient safety and stop medical errors. But at many hospitals, the active ingredient to transform a simple checklist into an effective tool is often missing: an energized work culture that empowers everyone who takes care of patients to speak up.

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