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Friday, August 7, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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Senate's Proposed Employer Mandate has 'Deep Flaws'

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 7, 2009

The Senate Finance Committee proposal to impose an employer mandate to either provide health insurance to workers or subsidize their health costs has "deep flaws" that would make it too expensive to hire lower-wage earners, minorities, women, and disabled workers, according to a new analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

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Medicare Rule Puts Patients at Risk

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 6, 2009

Millions of Medicare patients are being put at risk by a practice that allows physicians to be paid for care actually provided by non-physicians who have no verifiable credentials or appropriate training, according to a new Office of Inspector General report.

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Senate Finance Committee's Cooperatives Can't Replace Public Option

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 7, 2009

Consumer health cooperatives "are not yet ready for prime time" and "are certainly not a substitute for a public option" in health reform, Yale professor Jacob Hacker said yesterday. "Are cooperatives going to be effective in taking on these gigantic insurance companies? From everything I know from people who represent them, the answer is a flat 'no.' "Cooperatives, even if they're established after a lengthy period of development, would be small and scattered and lack the means to restrain cost increases or implement delivery of payment reform on a broad scale," said Hacker, who is one of the leading proponents of the public insurance option.

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10 'Basic Patient Safety Reforms' to Save 85,000 Lives, $35 Billion

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 7, 2009

The consumer activist group Public Citizen says it has 10 basic patient safety reforms that could save 85,000 lives and $35 billion annually. The report "Back to Basics," analyzes the results of several studies of treatment protocols for chronically recurring, avoidable medical errors. Most of the reforms in Public Citizen's report involve fundamentals as simple as practitioners consistently washing their hands, sufficiently tending to patients to prevent bed sores, and following simple safety checklists to prevent infections and complications stemming from operations.

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AHRQ Spearheads Effort to Add Patient Voice to Error Reporting

By: Heather Comak, for HealthLeaders Media, August 7, 2009

In the past 10 years, a fair amount of headway has been made in refining error reporting systems, especially since the Institute of Medicine report To Err Is Human. More recently, Patient Safety Organizations have taken shape and been introduced to the healthcare industry. One point of view missing from all of these reporting systems, however, is that of the patient and his or her family. However, a new project funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality aims to utilize the patient's perspective more when analyzing adverse events.

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Is There a Healthcare Reform Ad That Will Resonate with the Public?

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, August 6, 2009

Stakeholders and activists have spent more than $52 million on healthcare reform advertising, but the ads that may make the biggest difference are not on television. They're on the Internet.

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Business Associates and Covered Entities Should Comply with HITECH Requirements Now

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, August 6, 2009

Plenty of questions remain about the HITECH Act, but covered entities and business associates shouldn't wait for all the answers before moving forward with compliance.

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Why Physician Employment Is and Isn't the Answer

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, August 6, 2009

If you want an idea of where physician practice may be headed, listen closely to the comparisons of the best and worst providers in recent healthcare reform discussions.

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You Can Lead Patients to Quality Data, But Will They Use It?

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, August 6, 2009

When a patient decides to find a new physician or select a hospital, is he or she more likely to use government health quality data or data supplied by the health plan or employer? The answer might be neither.

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