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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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Mammography Screening Message Was Misunderstood, Says Task Force

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, December 3, 2009

The message relayed last month by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force about screening mammographies for women under 50 was misunderstood because of the way it was written, two of the group's members told a House panel on Wednesday. As initially published at its Web site, the USPSTF stated in its new breast screening guideline that it "recommends against routine screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years." The panel's suggestion was bashed throughout the country for what was perceived as rationing care or putting costs before health.

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Feds Offering $235 Million to Model Health IT Communities

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, December 2, 2009

Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Wednesday that $235 million in funds are being made available to "help us get a better handle on how health information technology will improve the quality care that Americans get." The grants will support 15 "beacon communities" at the forefront of the new technology, she said.

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10 Most Hazardous Technologies in Healthcare

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 3, 2009

The ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit company that evaluates medical devices and processes, has published its list of the 10 most dangerous technological hazards in healthcare. The organization made its choice and prioritized the order "based on the likelihood and severity of the reports we've received over the past year, the recalls and other actions we've reviewed, and our continuing examination of the published literature," ECRI authors wrote in their introduction.

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CMS Approves Joint Commission's Application for Deeming Authority

By: Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media, December 2, 2009

The Joint Commission's hospital accreditation program has been approved for continued deeming authority by CMS through July 15, 2014. Deeming authority means that hospitals accredited by an organization with deeming authority can elect to be "deemed" as meeting CMS requirements based on successful accreditation by the other organization.

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MedPAC: Regional Variation in Service Use Not Same as Medicare Spending

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, December 2, 2009

Across the country, regional variation in service use is not equivalent to regional variation in Medicare spending, according to a new report compiled by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. In fact, "the two should not be confused," MedPAC noted in the report compiled for Congress, which has focused on variation and Medicare payments in both reform bills.

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Flurry of HIPAA Activity Expected Over Next Three Months

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, December 2, 2009

The Office for Civil Rights in all likelihood will publish a draft or interim final rule outlining the new requirements for composing and updating business associate contracts in February, the same month BAs must comply with HIPAA's security rule.

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Do Not Look to Military Health System as Universal Model, Says Report

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 3, 2009

The military system of healthcare may be one example of universal coverage for a population, but applied on a broader scale with variations of a so-called public option, it may not match what is now available for civilians. And it won't solve the nation's healthcare access problems. Those conclusions came in a report from Mathematica Policy Research, a nonprofit research group, which says that based on a look at the military healthcare system, without strengthening primary care and public health initiatives, universal coverage alone won't solve access to care problems in the U.S.

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Nursing Performance Database Hopes to Improve Quality

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 2, 2009

The American Nurses Association has created a review board to screen proposals from healthcare researchers who want to access its National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators. The NDNQI program collects data quarterly from nursing units at 1,500 participating hospitals, and evaluates the connection between the quality of nursing care and patient outcomes on measures.

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Learning From Our Mistakes 10 Years After To Err Is Human

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 2, 2009

As health providers recall the 10-year anniversary of the Institute of Medicine's celebrated wake-up call, "To Err Is Human," what key things have we learned?

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Two Common Barriers in Medicaid--and How to Overcome Them

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, December 2, 2009

Insurers that don't have experience in Medicaid are showing interest in getting involved in the Medicaid managed care world. There are some concerns for those without Medicaid experience though.

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Patient Experience: Four Benefits and Five Priorities

By: Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, December 2, 2009

Hospitals and health systems have had an eye on patient satisfaction over the past few years and have, more recently, been ramping up their patient experience initiatives—and it's starting to show.

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