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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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Sebelius Lashes Out at Anthem for Premium Increases

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, February 8, 2010

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is demanding that Anthem Blue Cross publicly justify its decision to raise member premiums by as much as 39%. In a letter to Leslie Margolin, president of Anthem Blue Cross, Sebelius bashed the premium increases at a time when WellPoint, Anthem's parent company, "earned $2.7 billion in the last quarter of 2009."

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Millions of H1N1 Doses Will Expire on Feb. 15

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

All lots of monovalent 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine in pre-filled syringes manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur—and not included in two earlier recalls—have a shorter expiration period than indicated on the label, according to a new health alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To ensure that the vaccine meets potency standards, the vaccine—which had previous expiration dates ranging from March 2011 to June 2011—should be used by Feb. 15, the manufacturer said. These lots were shipped between November 2009 and January 2010.

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10 Ways to Improve Handoffs in Your Hospital

By: Julie McCoy, February 8, 2010

The way the medical community views patient handoffs is evolving. Handoffs were once seen simply as the last thing physicians did before leaving the hospital. Now, more physicians realize it's a skill that needs to be taught, practiced, assessed, and improved upon. These 10 tips will help improve your residents' handoffs skills and preserve patient safety.

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Three Tips to Help Ensure Effective EHR Implementation

By: Andrea Kraynak, for HealthLeaders Media, February 8, 2010

Just getting started with your transition to an EHR? Consider these tips from experts in the field as well as some of the providers who've been in your shoes.

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CT Hospital was Prepared for Power Plant Explosion

By: Scott Wallask, for HealthLeaders Media, February 9, 2010

Sunday night's explosion at a power plant in Middletown, CT, brought with it hospital disaster response repercussions. Middlesex Hospital, a 275-bed community hospital in Middletown, was quickly put on alert about a potential mass casualty event, says Jim Hite, the facility's emergency planner and director of safety and security. The medical center uses the Hospital Incident Command System, a popular incident management setup that uses a series of job action sheets to define staff roles during an emergency response.

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MassGeneral Program Brings Remote Doctor to the Bedside 24/7

By: Ben Cole, for HealthLeaders Media, February 8, 2010

A "home-to-hospital" program in use at MassGeneral Hospital for Children uses real-time video communication that enables on-call attending physicians, from their home, to personally examine patients and communicate directly with staff, other specialists, and even the patients' relatives.

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Health Insurers Need to Focus on Climate Change

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, February 9, 2010

Potential climate change litigation affecting insurers may be just beginning. A potential flood of lawsuits "will pose a challenge" especially because of demands for insurance carriers to cover defense costs or other liabilities, says attorney Stephen Rosenberg of Boston, writer of the Boston ERISA and Insurance Litigation Blog. "Everything eventually makes its way through the insurance industry, in terms of any types of new lawsuits or liability theories," Rosenberg wrote. "Litigation over climate change will be no different. The suits are coming."

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Adventist, Howard Foundation Building New Hospital

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 9, 2010

Adventist Health has signed an agreement with the Frank R. Howard Foundation to build a new, 25-bed community hospital in Willits, CA. Adventist Health will continue to lease the existing hospital from the foundation while funding construction of the hospital in Willits, located about 118 miles north of San Francisco.

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Unions, Management Cooperate to Save NJ Hospital

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

News that St. Mary's Hospital in Passaic, NJ, was emerging from bankruptcy after declaring about $100 million in debts last March provides an example of what can happen when unions and management work together.

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There are Big Bucks in Better Patient Flow

By: Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, February 8, 2010

Improving your patient flow could potentially save your facility hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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