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Friday, July 31, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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Senate Finance Delays Reform Bill Markup Until After Recess

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, July 31, 2009

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) said Thursday that his panel will not mark up a bipartisan healthcare reform bill before August 7, which is the beginning of the Senate's summer recess. The panel of senators will continue to meet during the recess—and through the summer, if necessary, by videoconference, they said. While Baucus and Finance ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley appeared together on Thursday to dispel talk that negotiations had broken down, some committee members are showing frustrations.

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House Panel Works to Finish Marked Up Version of Reform Bill

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, July 31, 2009

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will again hold hearings on Friday—after meeting throughout Thursday—with the goal of completing the markup of the Tri-Committee healthcare reform bill before the House's recess officially begins today. But on the House side of the Hill, reform has been—and is likely to be throughout August—anything but quiet.

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Prevention and Health Promotion Could Save Medicare $1.4 Trillion Over 10 Years

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, July 30, 2009

Government health promotion and prevention programs for pre-Medicare and Medicare populations could save the country as much as $1.4 trillion over 10 years—and add on average as many as 6 years on Medicare beneficiaries' lives, according to a new report.

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Public Support for Health Reform Shifts

By: Karen M. Cheung, July 31, 2009

Although the majority of Americans support healthcare reform, more people are changing their minds as the healthcare debate heats up, according to a new study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health issues research foundation.

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Voluntary Refunds Don't Protect Against RACs

By: Andrea Kraynak, for HealthLeaders Media, July 30, 2009

Many providers assume that reporting errors (and refunding identified overpayments) discovered while self-auditing will protect those claims from RAC review. Not so, says CMS.

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Government Agencies Are Not Ready for Predicted H1N1 Outbreak

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, July 31, 2009

Nearly half of 24 recommendations from the General Accounting Office last year to prepare for a flu pandemic have not been implemented by the responsible agencies, the GAO said in a report yesterday. "Much more needs to be done, and many gaps in planning and preparedness still remain," which have "become even more pressing in light of the very real possibility of the return of a more severe form of the H1N1 virus later this year," the GAO's report said.

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Storage and Administration Changes Help Hospital Improve Insulin Safety

By: Heather Comak, for HealthLeaders Media, July 30, 2009

Baystate Medical Center made insulin safety a priority after rolling out its bedside medication bar coding program in September 2008.

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Reform Bills Still Reward Quantity over Quality

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, July 30, 2009

A few physicians were offended by President Obama's recent insinuation that they would put their own financial interests ahead of the well-being of their patients. But that doesn't mean he was wrong about the larger point.

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Making a Dent in Obesity: Is It Time to Treat Junk Food Like Tobacco?

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

While no easy answers exist on how to tackle the obesity epidemic, the public health community may want to take pages from the playbook on eliminating smoking.

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