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Friday, March 5, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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Insurers, White House Don't Agree on Who's to Blame for Rising Health Costs

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

Leaders of the nation's four largest health plans told HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a White House meeting Thursday that they share a "common purpose" with her to improve the nation's healthcare system, but they defended their proposed double-digit rate hike in the individual market. The meeting was seen as cordial and somewhat productive, but essentially broke no new ground, with both sides sticking to their months' long talking points.

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Court Rules State Can Use Doc Licensing Fees to Help Bridge Budget Gap

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

California doctors lost the first round in their court fight to speed up the state's processing of medical licenses for some 7,100 new physicians whose clearance is delayed because of state worker furloughs ordered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the doctors say they may appeal.

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Get Moving to Catch Early EHR Meaningful Use Incentives

By: Andrea Kraynak, for HealthLeaders Media, March 4, 2010

Hospitals with electronic health records may be eligible for meaningful use incentives as early as October 2010, and physicians follow soon after. But waiting for the release of final rules on the incentive program and EHR certification before moving forward may not be wise.

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Harmful Event Detection Misses Problems, Results in Medicare Overpayments, Says OIG

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 4, 2010

The system that CMS uses to identify hospital-caused incidents that harm patients misses many such adverse events, resulting in Medicare overpayments and lost opportunities to prevent their recurrence, as required by federal law, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General.

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Pelosi: Abortion Issue Will Not Slow Down Health Reform

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2010

In what some may think as "deja vu all over again," could the abortion issue overshadow many of the other issues contained in the healthcare reform legislation? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), speaking at her weekly briefing, doesn't think so. At the current time, the debate about abortion is not there because the bill is "not about abortion," she said.

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Healthcare Adds 12,000 New Jobs in February

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

The healthcare sector created 12,000 new jobs in February, even as overall employment from all business sectors saw 36,000 jobs lost, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data released this morning. The national jobless rate remained steady at 9.7%.

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$4 Billion in Fraudulent Medicare Charges Found in 2009

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

The Office of Inspector General recovered $4 billion in fraudulent Medicare charges last year, but that sum is "just the tip of the iceberg" in the amount of corrupt practices overcharging taxpayers, Daniel Levinson, the agency's chief, testified Thursday. "More disturbing, even if the rate of fraud remains constant, as healthcare expenditures continue to rise, the financial impact of healthcare fraud will continue to increase," he said.

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AHRQ: Hospital Patients Less Likely To Get Necessary Care on Weekends

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 4, 2010

Patients admitted to a hospital on a weekend are half as likely to get procedures they need on the same day they arrive than if they were admitted on a weekday, according to a federal report that officials say is the first of its kind. The study also disclosed that 2.4% of patients admitted on the weekend died in the hospital, compared to 1.8% of patients admitted during the week.

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Nursing Initiative Looks to Better Understand Patients' Cultures

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

The American Nurses Association plans to launch a diversity awareness resource center this year to better serve the "full complexity of the U.S. population" in healthcare settings, ANA officials say. The resource center will give nurses the opportunity to ensure fair and equitable treatment of patients, particularly for individuals facing difficult health and financial issues, according to the ANA.

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Medicare Cuts Delayed, Not Eliminated

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

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to postpone a Medicare reimbursement cut until the end of March. But so what?

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Balancing Radiation Risks, Benefits, and Quality

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

Recent studies and reports linking radiation overexposure to cancer risks, illness, and even death may be the start of a new era in the diagnostic and therapeutic uses of radiation.

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