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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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House Starts Health Reform Reconciliation Process

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, January 6, 2010

The wheels of healthcare reform reconciliation began to turn this week with closed-door discussions among House leadership. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), appearing with House Democratic healthcare leaders during a briefing break on Tuesday afternoon, was upbeat about the process. However, Pelosi appeared to indicate that the House would not automatically roll over and just approve what the Senate advocates in its bill.

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Healthcare Spending Growth Slowed in 2008, But Still Outpaced GDP, Says CMS

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 6, 2010

Healthcare spending in the United States grew 4.4% in 2008, to $2.3 trillion or $7,681 per person, the slowest rate of growth since the federal government started officially tracking expenditures in 1960, CMS reported. Even with the slower growth, however, healthcare spending continued to outpace overall economic growth, which grew by 2.6% in 2008 as measured by the Gross Domestic Product. The findings are included in a report by CMS' Office of the Actuary.

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Current EMRs May Be More Helpful With Billing Than Care Coordination

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

A gap appears to exist between policymakers' expectations of commercial electronic medical records in supporting care coordination and the way they are actually used by providers and clinicians in the healthcare environment, according to a new analysis.

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CMS Asks Providers: How Are We Doing?

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 6, 2010

CMS has launched its fifth annual healthcare provider satisfaction survey of the Medicare fee-for-service contractors that process and pay more than $370 billion in Medicare claims each year. The Medicare Contractor Provider Satisfaction Survey offers Medicare FFS providers an opportunity to give CMS feedback on their satisfaction, attitudes, perceptions, and opinions about the services provided by their respective contractor.

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Minnesota Hospital to Pay $846K to Settle Whistleblower Suit

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

Wheaton Community Hospital, the City of Wheaton, MN, and a physician at the hospital will pay $846,461 to settle whistleblower allegations that the hospital's admission practices violated the False Claims Act, the U.S. Justice Department said.

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St. Petersburg's New All Children's Hospital Will Open This Week

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 6, 2010

The $403 million All Children's Hospital complex in St. Petersburg, FL, will open on Saturday morning, the culmination of a major construction project that began in May 2005. The 10-story, pediatric specialty hospital, located two blocks from the old hospital, is the central focus of the complex, which also includes a seven-story outpatient care center, a 700-space parking garage, and a central energy plant designed to keep the hospital fully functional for up to three weeks during a disaster or power interruption.

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Nine Healthcare Executives Respond to the Meaningful Use Definition

By: Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media, January 5, 2010

I asked industry leaders whether they thought the meaningful use bar was set too high or low, and what they thought was the most significant change to the HIT Policy Committee's recommendations.

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Nurse Scheduling Software Helps Reduce Use of Agency Nurses

By: Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, January 5, 2010

Many organizations are using new technology for staffing, investing in software that allows them to offer open shifts to staff, decrease nurse managers' workloads, and increase flexibility for nurses.

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