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Monday, July 26, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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MHA Says Bay State Hospitals Cut $3.1B in Expenses

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 23, 2010

An updated Massachusetts Hospital Association in-house study shows hospital cost trends have moderated substantially and in some cases reversed in response to the financial crisis and recession.

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Genetic Tests May Mislead Patients

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

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests now on the market may be getting ahead of the current medical science and could ironically pose health risks to those patients who may change their medical care based on those results, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) study and testimony presented late last week before a House panel.

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CMS Releases SNF PPS Rates for Fiscal Year 2011

By: July 23, 2010

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released the SNF PPS rates for the 2011 fiscal year. The notice contains a number of provisions in compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, such as final rates under RUG-IV and the hybrid payment system mandated by the healthcare reform law.

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Physician Supply Increasing, Retiring

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

There is good news about the supply of doctors in California relative to the nation, but it comes with a heavy dose of worrisome news as well. The number of physicians has been increasing faster than the state’s population, but not as fast as California needs, especially as both state and federal legislation strive to increase the number of people who seek healthcare services.

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Physicians Predict Longer ER Waiting Times

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 26, 2010

A new report detailing record-long waits at the nation's emergency departments comes as no surprise to emergency physicians, who say waits will lengthen as health coverage expands, emergency departments close, and hospitals fail to improve admitting processes.

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Coding Offset Off Base: My Patients Are Sicker

By: Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, July 23, 2010

I had to laugh the other day when I saw that hospital lobbying organizations were protesting the potential 2.9% in reimbursement from Medicare that CMS plan to introduce in 2011. Suffice to say, it is a complicated issue, but essentially, the government believes that this cut is necessary to offset the potential effect of coding changes on hospital reimbursement.

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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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