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Friday, December 4, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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Hospital Job Growth Surge Continues in November

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 4, 2009

The nation's unemployment rate fell slightly in November to 10%, and for the third straight month hospitals continued to see solid payroll additions, with 7,000 new jobs created, according to new Bureau of Labor Statistics seasonally adjusted preliminary data released this morning.

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Healthcare Sector Online Job Ads Remain Sluggish

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 3, 2009

A new report shows that the growth of overall online job listings in most employment sectors was sluggish in November, and fell slightly among healthcare practitioners, technicians, and support personnel. The Conference Board's Help Wanted Online Data Series report found that advertised vacancies for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations fell by 36,000 listings in November.

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Judge Gives Preliminary OK to $350 Million UnitedHealth Settlement

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, December 4, 2009

A federal court judge on Thursday granted preliminary approval of a $350 million settlement that involves the American Medical Association, UnitedHealth Group, and UnitedHealth's subsidiary, Ingenix. The case deals with Ingenix's database that many insurers used to determine "prevailing" and "usual, customary and reasonable charges" for out-of-network physician services.

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Women's Preventive Services Now Part of Senate Reform Bill

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, December 4, 2009

On its fourth day of floor debate, the Senate finally began to vote on amendments to the healthcare reform bill on Thursday. Getting the first nod in a 69-31 vote was the amendment proposed by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) on Monday that would promote and expand preventive healthcare for women. Insurers would now cover a range of women's health screenings and would encourage no copays for those services.

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Survival in New Era of Enforcement a Tall Order for Hospitals

By: Andrea Kraynak, for HealthLeaders Media, December 3, 2009

The struggling economy has left many hospitals with thin wallets, and government auditors are gunning for what's left. Dealing with the enforcement is a tall order for hospitals caught in a tough economic environment, with decreasing reimbursement and increasing regulatory demands.

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Almost 40,000 Qualified Nursing School Applications Turned Away

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 3, 2009

Enrollment in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs increased 3.5% in 2009, but nearly 40,000 qualified applicants were turned away, according to preliminary data released by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Even with a decade of enrollment increases, and the continued heavy demand for nurses, AACN's 29th Annual Survey of Institutions with Baccalaureate and Higher Degree Nursing Programs found that nursing schools are still hindered by a shortage of faculty, insufficient clinical education sites, and budget cuts.

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Inspector General Saved Billions in Healthcare This Year

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 4, 2009

The Office of Inspector General announced Thursday that it saved $20.97 billion for fiscal year 2009 and highlighted six of the cases that led to those recoveries or savings. The $20.97 billion includes $16.48 billion in implemented recommendations for how to put funds to better use, $4 billion in "investigative receivables," and $492 million in audit receivables.

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Two Ways to Correct Safety Regulation Violators

By: Evan Sweeney, for HealthLeaders Media, December 4, 2009

Unless they work in a medical facility with perfectly compliant employees, safety directors and infection preventionists are usually forced into the unenviable, but inevitable job of confronting a healthcare worker who is not adhering to safety and infection control regulations. Finding the right approach can often be challenging both in smaller private medical practices and in larger hospital systems.

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New Physician Oath: First, Reward Quality Care

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, December 3, 2009

Most physicians are good at following the creed to first, do no harm. But what comes second? For many physicians, that depends on the financial incentives that reward how they deliver care.

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Failure to Communicate: Setting the Record Straight on Mammographies

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

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released its breast cancer screening guidelines—and started confusion about what they actually meant.

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