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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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Health Spending Is Taking Up Bigger Chunk of National Purse

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

Though the rise in healthcare spending has slowed, it's taking up a much bigger space in the nation's budget, says a new report.

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Increasing Losses of Health Coverage May Put Pressure on for Public Insurance

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, May 5, 2009

With an estimated 2.4 million workers having lost their health coverage provided through their jobs since the start of the recession, is now the time to start talking about a public plan option? According to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont), the answer is in due time. "This is one of the 800-pound gorillas. Some say they will not support legislation without a new public insurance plan. I have told everybody that everything is on the table," Baucus said during a conference call introducing new reports from the Center for American Progress on the uninsured in the U.S.

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Report: Rural Patients Pay More, Receive Less Care Than Urban Patients

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

A new federal report says rural Americans pay a lot more for healthcare that is tougher to find and less specialized than for citizens in urban areas. And, the report said, the situation is exacerbated by the recession.

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Community Health Centers Could Save Money, Promote Care

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

Almost half of the medically underserved areas nationwide lacked a community health center site in 2007—down 3% since the previous year, according to Government Accountability Office (GAO). This increase in centers is related in part to more federal funding for the centers, according to a GAO official.

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Proposed IPPS Rule: Low Rates, Not Many Changes

By: Lisa Eramo, May 4, 2009

The long-awaited fiscal year 2010 Inpatient Prospective Payment System proposed rule is out, and with it comes good and bad news for hospitals. Although there aren't a whole slew of changes related to Medicare Severity DRGs, hospital acquired conditions, and the present on admission indicator, hospitals will see historically low payment updates with a phased-in documentation and coding adjustment to take place over time.

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Facility Identifies 4 Ways to Lower CLABSI Rates

By: Heather Comak, May 4, 2009

To prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections, Swedish Medical Center in Seattle has found sharing information with staff members and simplifying techniques has made all the difference.

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Childhood Game Inspires Hospital Emergency Department

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

Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is using peer pressure and the threat of humiliation in a playful game of "Tag, You're It!" in hopes of reducing hand-washing lapses among the busy emergency staff.

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Cigarette Bans May Face Determined Smokers, Insulted Neighbors

By: Scott Wallask, for HealthLeaders Media, May 5, 2009

A trio of hospitals in a Florida community will be among the latest to embrace smoke-free campuses this year, but a bumpy road may be ahead of them in terms of dealing with the practical repercussions of the transition. The three hospitals involved, all in Panama City, FL, include Bay Medical Center, Gulf Coast Medical Center, and HealthSouth Emerald Coast Rehabilitation Hospital.

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Swine Flu Just 'Business as Usual' for Hospitals

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

Hospital officials are not in denial about the potential problems posed by swine flu, nor are they ignoring the issue. But they expressed confidence in their hospitals' measured responses to the virus.

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I'll See Your 10 HACs and Raise You Three

By: Michelle Ponte, for HealthLeaders Media, May 4, 2009

Hospitals have been making big preparations for the HAC provision, the latest installment of CMS' value-based purchasing initiative. But with the threat of lower reimbursements right around the corner, agility is the key.

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