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Friday, February 5, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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Do Sleepy Medical Residents Jeopardize Patient Care?

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 5, 2010

The agency that accredits U.S. medical schools should limit allowable residents' consecutive work hours to 16 instead of 30 because the long shifts lead to errors that threaten lives of patients as well as their own, the health watchdog Public Citizen said Thursday. The advocacy group's leaders want more relaxed work rules in medical schools and has launched a Web site to pressure the accreditation agency to establish them. The site is set up to collect patients' and residents' stories of harmful errors by medical students who didn't get enough sleep.

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Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Malpractice Award Limits

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 4, 2010

An Illinois law that caps medical malpractice noneconomic damages awards at $1 million for hospitals and $500,000 for physicians was struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court, which ruled that the five-year-old law violates the separation of powers provision in the state constitution.

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Obama's Budget: More Money, New Name for Comparative Effectiveness Research

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, February 4, 2010

While Congress may not have approved healthcare reform legislation yet, one of the more well-discussed—and sometimes controversial—areas included in the reform bills was included in President Obama's proposed fiscal 2011 budget: comparative effectiveness research. However, a scan of the proposed budget will detect no references to "CER;" its new name is instead: "patient-centered health research."

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Nurses Split on Obama's Proposed Budget

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, February 5, 2010

The American Nurses Association supports the Obama Administration's 2011 proposed budget that generally maintains previous funding levels for registered nursing programs. But the Visiting Nurse Associations of America says that "serious concerns remain" about possible budget cuts that could significantly impact home health. Even the ANA, which praised the president's resolve to strengthen nursing programs, acknowledges most of the funding is not ideal.

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Healthcare Created 14,500 New Jobs in January

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 5, 2010

The healthcare sector created 14,500 new jobs in January and overall employment from all business sectors fell by 20,000 jobs, even as the unemployment rate fell from 10% to 9.7%, new Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data released this morning show. Ambulatory services accounted for 15,000 payroll additions in January, physicians' offices accounted for 5,600 payroll additions, and hospitals accounted for 5,000 new payroll additions.

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State Lawmakers Rising Up Against Mandatory Health Insurance

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, February 4, 2010

State legislatures are getting fired up over health insurance. At least 31 states have enacted measures to oppose any proposed federal government healthcare insurance coverage mandates and several more are expected to follow. Health insurance leaders are watching the state lawmakers' decisions—and they are not happy about it.

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OCR Leader: No HIPAA Enforcement Schedule Yet

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, February 4, 2010

HITECH called for "periodic audits" to ensure HIPAA compliance, but as of today the Office of Civil Rights has not created a calendar of when those periodic audits will take place. Sue McAndrew, the deputy director for Health Information Privacy for OCR, said OCR is working with a HIPAA privacy and security expert to help the organization "map out essentially the range of options that we have and what would be the most effective."

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Missed Opportunities for Malpractice Reform

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, February 4, 2010

Not only has there been little progress in addressing the problems related to medical liability reform, but discussions about malpractice and defensive medicine have been largely absent from the larger reform debate.

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Seeking Quality Healthcare for Today's Seniors

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, February 4, 2010

Can we continue to take care of—and pay for—the senior citizen population the same way we have in the past? The answer is becoming evident: No.

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