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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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CBO: Senate Reform Bill Would Extend Life of Medicare Part A Payments

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, January 26, 2010

If Congress enacts the Senate healthcare reform bill (HR 3590), the legislation could extend the life of the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund—or Medicare Part A—well beyond fiscal 2017, according to a new review by the Congressional Budget Office. Fiscal 2017 is the year when officials predict Part A's fund would be exhausted. Enacting that bill, plus including the manager's amendment, could reduce net outlays for Medicare Part A by $245 billion over the 2010-2019 period relative to that baseline, CBO said.

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Health Reform Would Spend $5B to Create High-Risk Pools for Uninsurable

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 26, 2010

Both House and Senate health reform proposals would nationally standardize the widely varied "high-risk pools" that provide health insurance to 200,000 people who, because of pre-existing medical conditions, are shut out of the individual health insurance market. Two reports from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation released Monday describe these risk pools in detail and discuss issues that need to be considered in a national transition.

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Four Ways to Untangle RAC's Medically Unlikely Edits

By: James Carroll, January 25, 2010

Connolly Healthcare and CGI recently added Medically Unlikely Edits for outpatient hospital claims to its CMS-approved list for all providers in Region C states. There are a number of items that providers should consider when attempting to untangle the MUE web.

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Hospitals Owe Wisconsin Insurer $4.7M in Overpayments

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, January 26, 2010

The Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corp., one of the largest health benefits providers in the state, inadvertently made overpayments to hospitals totaling $4.7 million from 2004 through 2006, according to a federal audit. A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services inspector general's report found that 478 of the 520 Medicare payments from the Madison, WI, company were overpayments.

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Small Business Owners Think Health Reform Would Make Matters Worse

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, January 25, 2010

An overwhelming majority of small business owners say they do not offer health insurance to their employees, and most believe they will be hurt financially by healthcare reform, according to a new survey. Still, the small business owners in the survey expressed higher economic hopes in January, largely because of increased expectations that conditions for their own businesses would improve in the next six months.

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Few Hospitals Use Social Media Effectively, Says Study

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 25, 2010

Nine in 10 hospitals use social media to some degree, but most of them say they're having little luck attracting new patients with it, and only one in three has a formal social media plan in place, a new study shows. The research also showed that budgeting for social media, including hiring social media employees, is still relatively rare among hospitals.

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Preparing for Emergencies Requires Better Communication, Says GAO

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, January 26, 2010

Though hospitals have improved efforts to prepare for so-called "surge" demands posed by mass casualty events, the Government Accountability Office found the federal government can provide more assistance to make sure every state is on the same page when these emergencies occur.

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Repealing Medical Liability Antitrust Exemption Could Raise Premiums, Say Actuaries

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 25, 2010

Language in the House healthcare reform bill that would strip an antitrust exemption for medical professional liability insurers could increase premiums, the American Academy of Actuaries said. In a letter to House Democratic and Republican leaders, the group said the bill contains language that "precludes data collection and aggregation across companies, limiting competition." The actuaries are urging House leaders to drop the repeal provision.

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Denials Bleed You: Four Ideas to Fix It

By: Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, January 25, 2010

Claims denials are a daily occurrence, and are all the more frustrating when it means your hospital is bleeding hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Here are the key components to getting your denials in order.

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Cleveland Clinic Opens Free Wellness Programs for Employee Dependents

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 25, 2010

The fact that a high-profile healthcare institution like Cleveland Clinic is aggressively expanding wellness benefits is another sign that wellness programs work.

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