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Friday, June 25, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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Not Enough Money for High-Risk Pools, CBO Says

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, June 25, 2010

The high-risk insurance pools established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which are supposed to be ready to launch by July 1, could cost three times as much as initially planned, according to new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.In a letter this week to Sen. Michael Enzi(R-WI), ranking member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said that the high-risk insurance pools could cost the federal government $10-$15 billion through 2013, significantly more than the $5 billion that was appropriated in the initial legislation.

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House OK Doc Fix; Bill Sent to White House for Signature

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, June 25, 2010

After several days of waiting and seeing what would happen with the Senate's jobs bill, the House decided in a lopsided 417-1 vote on Thursday evening to approve the measure (HR 3962) that would postpone (until Nov. 30) a 21% cut in Medicare and TRICARE reimbursements to physicians. The approved bill was then sent to the White House for President Obama's signature.

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It's In the Bag; Bacteria Harbored In Reusable Grocery Bags May Be Causing Foodborne Illness

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 25, 2010

Reusable shopping bags are being used to store and carry anything from leaky meats and milk products, to gym clothes, laundry or books, all of which can be spewing harmful cross-contaminating bacteria that actually grow and infect other foods and products subsequently carried inside these bags. That's what researchers in Arizona and California discovered when they randomly sampled recyclable grocery bags?mostly woven polypropylene?that were carried into stores by shoppers in Tucson, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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HCA Signs Letter of Intent to Buy Miami's Mercy Hospital

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 24, 2010

The board of directors at Mercy Hospital in Miami has voted to sell the 473-bed acute-care facility to Hospital Corporation of America. Financial terms for the sale of Miami-Dade County's only Catholic hospital were not disclosed.

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Follow-up Appointments May Not Reduce Readmissions

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, June 24, 2010

Improving follow-up appointments is often considered one of the key strategies for reducing costly hospital readmissions, but a new study suggests that better discharge processes don't reduce 30-day readmission rates at all.

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HHS Asks Hospitals to Grant Visitation Rights Now

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, June 24, 2010

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asked the leaders of the major hospital organizations this week to urge their members to not wait for the conclusion of the formal rulemaking process before implementing new rules that would broaden the visitation rights of their patients.

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Not Sure About Patients' Co-Pays? Ask them Where They Work

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 25, 2010

If your patients don't know what their co-pays should be when they show up for care, ask them what they do for a living. That is of course a grave oversimplification. But a new report from a Boston-based health consultant, HighRoads, suggests that employees in some industries accumulate a lot more annual share of cost with in-network co-pays than do others. Across all fully insured plans, HighRoads says, 2010 monthly premiums average $380 for a single employee, $788 for an employee plus one, $726 for an employee plus children and $1,133 for a family.

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A New Role for Quality in Medical Liability Reform

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, June 24, 2010

Is the U.S. ready to consider more ways to use quality-related methods—rather than legal briefs or court dates—to handle medical liability reform?

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Looking At Medical Schools From A Different Perspective

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, June 24, 2010

At first glance, you don't quite believe it when you read the findings of a recent study that examined U.S. medical schools for their collective social consciousness.

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