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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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Florida AG Calls for Legal Review of Mandate in Federal Healthcare Legislation

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 30, 2009

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum says his office will conduct a legal review of the healthcare bills in Congress to determine the constitutionality of the individual mandate that makes health insurance a requirement. McCollum, a former Congressman who is also a Republican candidate for governor in 2010, says he has asked attorneys general in other states to join his review, and he suggested that a court battle would be waged if the reforms as they are now written become law.

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Census: 3Q State, Local Tax Revenues Down 6.7%

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 29, 2009

Third quarter tax revenue for state and local governments in 2009 fell 6.7% when compared with the third quarter of 2008, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of negative revenue growth, the U.S. Census Bureau announced. As in the past, the continuing revenue declines could prompt more budget cuts for state and local governments, which will likely negatively impact hospitals and other healthcare services that rely on public funding.

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Genesys Health System to Pay $669K to Settle False Claims Suit

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 29, 2009

Genesys Health System in Grand Blanc, MI, will pay the federal government $669,413 to settle allegations that it overbilled Medicare, the U.S. Justice Department said. The government claims that between 2001 and 2007, Genesys violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicare for higher levels of service than were actually given to patients, specifically for evaluation and management services for cardiology patients.

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Reusing Respirators and Managing N95 Supplies While Living Up to OSHA Expectations

By: Evan Sweeney, for HealthLeaders Media, December 29, 2009

Since H1N1 outbreaks surfaced in April, the most hotly contended issue has been the use of N95 respirators versus surgical masks for protection. Meanwhile, many wondered if OSHA would take a side, and it released a clarification supporting CDC guidelines that require N95s for protection against H1N1.

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Experts: Treat Cell Phones Like Any Other Device with Protected Health Information

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, December 29, 2009

The U.S. Supreme Court's involvement next year on a privacy case regarding text-messaging on work cell phones in the public sector could have implications for private companies like hospitals, experts told HealthLeaders Media.

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SNF Advanced Beneficiary Notice Expected in Early 2010

By: MacKenzie Kimball, for HealthLeaders Media, December 30, 2009

Skilled nursing facilities have been waiting for a new advanced beneficiary notice for years—and their wait may finally be over. During the December SNF Open Door Forum, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that providers should expect to see the new SNF ABN (form CMS-10055) early next year. "The new form is currently undergoing the agency's internal approval process and should be ready to implement by the end of January," said Charlayne Vann, healthcare policy consultant at CMS.

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Obstacles Remain for Meaningful Use of Health IT

By: Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media, December 29, 2009

There are still huge barriers to the meaningful use of health IT relating to security, health information exchange, decision support, and the secondary use of data collected in electronic health records.

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Focus Returns to Nurse Retention in 2010

By: Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, December 29, 2009

What New Year resolutions are nurse executives making this year? Savvy ones are vowing to pay attention to nurse retention once again.

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