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Monday, November 30, 2009


Daily news & Analysis



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10 Years After To Err is Human: Are Hospitals Safer?

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 30, 2009

November marks the 10-year anniversary of the Institute of Medicine's "To Err Is Human," the first of its 11-volume "Quality Chasm" series on improving patient care and avoiding mistakes. Since the landmark report, health providers have been chagrined by the revelation that they were killing "a jumbo jet" full of passengers every day, about 98,000 preventable deaths a year. And many of them reacted to the allegation by launching a broad spectrum of efforts to reduce medical mistakes.

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Pay-for-performance Results Lower When Productivity is the Focus

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, November 25, 2009

Physician pay-for-performance programs are gaining popularity across the country as ways to promote better healthcare quality. But a new study from the University of California, Los Angeles, has found that not all programs operate with the same goals and that the ultimate success of the programs depends on how the rewards are actually used.

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CDC Sees Spike in Severe Pneumococcal Disease

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 30, 2009

Federal health officials last week issued caution about "a worrisome spike" in serious pneumococcal disease, as seen in surveillance centers such as in Denver, where in October levels nearly tripled those normally seen for that month. "The findings in Denver probably reflect findings that are occurring in other parts of the country where the surveillance hasn't been as intensive," said Anne Schuchat, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

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Cedars-Sinai Caused Immediate Jeopardy in CT Scanner Case, Says State Officials

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 30, 2009

The settings on Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's three CT scanners were changed, causing "immediate jeopardy" to more than 200 patients who underwent stroke imaging between February 2008 and September 2009, according to a report released last week by investigating California health officials. The report said that "on or about February 2008, the scanning parameters of three CT Scanners were changed from the manufacturers recommended output of 80 kv (the amount of voltage delivered) and 200 mA, (milliampere, the duration of the exposure) to 120 kv and 'automatic,' meaning the machine determined mA (usually in the 500 mA range)."

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Cosmetic Surgeons Decry Tax on Their Services

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, November 30, 2009

When the Senate returns today to start debate on its healthcare reform bill, one group of medical providers likely to be taking sharp interest in the proceedings are those providing cosmetic surgery and related medical procedures. Under a provision (Section 9017) inserted in the bill released earlier this month, a 5% tax has been proposed on the elective cosmetic procedures.

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BCBS of Tennessee Notifying Members After Patient Information Stolen

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 25, 2009

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is readying a Nov. 30 mass mailing to some of its 3.1 million customers in the Volunteer State who may have had their Social Security numbers and other private data compromised after an Oct. 2 hard drive theft at a remote training facility in Chattanooga.

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RehabCare Announces $575M Merger with Triumph HealthCare

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 25, 2009

RehabCare Group, Inc., completed its merger with Triumph HealthCare Holdings, Inc., a long-term, acute-care hospital chain, in a transaction valued at $575 million. The combined organization will provide post-acute services in more than 1,280 locations in 41 states and becomes the fourth-largest, post-acute hospital operator.

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Initiative Hopes to Reduce Medication-related Problems in Elderly

By: MacKenzie Kimball, for HealthLeaders Media, November 25, 2009

Medication-related problems are common among older adults, costing billions of dollars annually and reducing the quality of life for many individuals suffering from those issues. Unless something is done to address this issue, the prevalence of medication-related problems will most likely increase as the baby boomer generation ages. The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists has stepped up to the plate with its Campaign 2011.

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