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Friday, April 9, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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New CMS Dashboard the Start of More Health Cost, Quality Transparency

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, April 9, 2010

A public Web site introduced this week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a dashboard that will permit tracking of how much is spent on Medicare patients in hospitals for many treated illnesses and conditions. But, under a transparency push at the federal level, expect to see more CMS data being made available this year.

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NY AG: Health Insurers Offering Expensive, Inferior Coverage to College Students

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 8, 2010

Health insurance plans that colleges, universities, and trade schools endorse or mandate for students cost too much for the coverage provided, and are running afoul of federal protections recently signed into law, according to a new report by the New York Attorney General's Office.

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Monetary Incentives, Marketing, Accountability Drive Hand Hygiene

By: Evan Sweeney, for HealthLeaders Media, April 8, 2010

Ask any infection preventionist about his or her major focus on hand hygiene compliance and you'll likely hear a number of strategies, obstacles, or frustrations with getting staff members to comply with hand hygiene best practices. Measuring compliance is just half the battle for IPs. Improving compliance is another challenge.

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Providers Should Prepare for RACs Expanding Into Medicaid

By: James Carroll, for HealthLeaders Media, April 8, 2010

As part of the healthcare reform package approved last month, federal government agencies must expand the current recovery audit contractor program to Medicaid and Medicare Parts C and D no later than December 31, 2010.

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All Hospitals Could Benefit from Hospitalist Programs, Say Advocates

By: Karen M. Cheung, for HealthLeaders Media, April 9, 2010

Hospitalist programs could help all types of institutions, according to speakers at the pre-course of the Society of Hospital Medicine annual meeting in Washington, DC Thursday. "I couldn't think of one institution that wouldn't benefit from [a hospitalist program]; it's pretty universal," said Martin B. Buser, MPH, FACHE, partner at Hospitalist Management Resources, LLC, in San Diego, CA. All institution types—large, small, urban, rural, community, teaching—could see advantages from implementing a hospitalist program, Buser added.

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Revised Resident Duty Hour Standards Will Focus on Three Areas

By: Julie McCoy, April 8, 2010

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Duty Hour Task Force recently provided a glimpse of what the committee is doing and what is left to do. New standards that the committee is working on will focus on three areas.

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McKesson Sells Asia Pacific Business to Medibank

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, April 9, 2010

McKesson Corporation announced Thursday that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its McKesson Asia Pacific (MAP) business to Medibank Private Ltd., an Australian health services provider and insurer that covers more than 3.4 million people. MAP is a provider of phone- and Web-based healthcare services and focuses on telephone triage, health and wellness advice, chronic disease management, and mental health services in Australia and New Zealand.

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More Costly Spine Surgery Has Higher Mortality Than Simpler Procedure, Says Study

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, April 9, 2010

Surgeons are performing more dangerous, difficult, and expensive spine surgeries involving fusion rather than simpler less expensive decompression procedures, with far more mortality and complications. Those are the findings by Richard A. Deyo, MD, and colleagues, who looked at adjusted data for all Medicare patients who had the more complex form of the surgery for spinal stenosis and found a 15-fold increase between 2002 and 2007, from 1.3 to 19.9 per 100,000 beneficiaries.

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Radiologists Face Health Reform Uncertainty

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, April 8, 2010

While the healthcare overhaul will bring radiologists more patients, some aspects of reform have left radiologists disappointed and forecasting difficult times ahead.

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Large Healthcare Purchaser Takes Risky Leap Into ACOs

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, April 8, 2010

Almost a year ago, the California Public Employees' Retirement System approved a pilot program that was essentially an accountable care organization that planned to reduce costs while improving healthcare quality and service.

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