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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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Florida Temporarily Suspends Nursing Requirements to Deal with Shortage

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 27, 2010

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has immediately suspended state licensure requirements for traveling U.S. nurses, who have valid licenses in their home states or territories, and who want to work in Florida. The suspension is slated for 90 days. The governor said that the move was needed to cover a temporary nursing shortage that was created because many Florida nurses are in Haiti to help the earthquake recovery effort.

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Four Ways Hospitals Can Avoid Readmissions

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, January 27, 2010

Tucked into the House and Senate healthcare reform bills are provisions that would give the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to identify "excess hospital readmissions"—and then penalize hospitals that surpass that rate. Payments for discharges paid by Medicare could be reduced by up to 3% in the Senate bill or 5% in the House bill. For those hospitals where many of those readmissions are "unplanned and potentially the result of missteps in care either during the hospitalization or in the period immediately following the hospitalization," the Commonwealth Fund has put together a guide to help hospitals reduce their occurrence.

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Americans Don't Trust Feds to Protect Patient Health Record Database

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 27, 2010

Nearly two-thirds of Americans who answered a phone survey last month said they do not trust the federal government–including the U.S. Health and Human Services Agency–to protect their health record privacy. A whopping 84% said they were not aware Uncle Sam may launch a national health record database. Respondents were more likely to say they trust healthcare providers, such as hospitals, clinics, and physicians, to keep their medical records private.

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Needlestick Injuries Remain a Problem for Hospitals

By: Scott Wallask, for HealthLeaders Media, January 26, 2010

There is a lot of focus on patient safety, emergency management, and other hot-button issues, but needle-related injuries still present significant regulatory risks for hospitals. For at least the 10th year in row, the latest OSHA statistics show that the agency's bloodborne pathogens standard was the most cited in general acute care hospitals in fiscal year 2009.

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Medical Center Uses Web Questions to Connect Experts with Patients

By: Cynthia Johnson, January 27, 2010

The office of communications and public affairs at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore has taken an innovate approach to the familiar "Ask the Expert" tool that is considerably different from that of most hospitals. UMMC has a team of more than 80 experts on a wide range of topics ready to answer any health question that a site user or smartphone application user may have.

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Ex-Hospital Owners Pay $10M to Settle Homeless Fraud Scheme

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

Two former hospital executives in Los Angeles have agreed to pay the State of California and the federal government $10 million to settle civil claims that they recruited and treated homeless people for unnecessary medical procedures and then billed the government, according to the Department of Justice.

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Should Health Plans Become Integrated Systems to Cut Costs?

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, January 27, 2010

Existing medical cost management systems in health plans are fragmented, and should be transformed into an integrated healthcare management system to deliver "consistent, sustainable" improvement in healthcare, a new report recommends. The Computer Sciences Corp. report, "Integrated Health Management for Health Plans," said an integrated healthcare management system, which involves myriad level of services in least restrictive settings, addresses the needs of patients and is cost-effective.

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CMS Names National Accrediting Bodies for Medical Imaging Providers

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

The American College of Radiology, The Joint Commission, and the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission have been designated as accrediting organizations for medical imaging facilities, CMS said in a new Federal Registry notification.

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Health IT Panel: Use Technology Now to Help Transform Healthcare

By: Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media, January 26, 2010

Healthcare transformation is long overdue—especially as it relates to technology, according to a panel of technology executives who spoke at a Nashville Health Care Council luncheon last week.

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Nursing Excellence Makes a Difference to Patients

By: Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, January 26, 2010

Studies have shown that Magnet Recognition Program® organizations have characteristics which generally translates to happier and more satisfied patients.

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