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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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Limiting Employer Tax Exclusion May Help Pay for Health Reform

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, June 8, 2009

Congress may find it difficult to finance universal coverage unless it limits to some extent the exclusion of employers' health insurance payments from employees' income and payroll taxes, according to a new study.

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Emergency Physicians Press Congress on Health Reform

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 8, 2009

The American College of Emergency Physicians, still stinging over its exclusion from the high-level healthcare reform debate, has launched a campaign to urge Congress to address emergency patients' needs as they take up the issue this month.

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Double-digit Rate Hikes Projected for Health Plans

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 9, 2009

Many popular private healthcare plans that cover nearly 100 million Americans will see double-digit rate increases into 2010, according to a national survey of more than 100 health insurers, HMOs, and third-party administrators. "Although our survey reveals a slight decrease in cost trends since our prior study, there are signs that we're going into another cycle of high trends," says Harvey Sobel, a principal and consulting actuary at Buck Consultants, who directed the survey.

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Hoping to Prevent Scams, State May Require Licensing of Discount Health Plans

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 9, 2009

California regulators hope to soon become one of the first states to mandate that discount health card plans be licensed as managed care organizations in an effort to prevent consumers from buying into fraudulent schemes. "We've been investigating these companies for about four years, and we've received thousands of complaints," says Lynne Randolph, spokeswoman for the state Department of Managed Health Care, who estimates that there have been 300 discount card companies operating, with 150 at any point in time throughout the state.

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Most Hospitals Working Toward Creating Strong Cultures of Safety

By: Heather Comak, for HealthLeaders Media, June 8, 2009

This year's Briefings on Patient Safety Culture of Safety Survey results show that while the overwhelming majority of hospitals are addressing their cultures of safety, there are certain areas to which more attention could be paid in the future.

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Themed-soda Machines: A Refreshing Taste of Safety

By: Scott Wallask, for HealthLeaders Media, June 9, 2009

A piece of Americana is for sale, but it may be the real estate on the outside of the item that will get your attention when it comes to hospital safety education. American Soda Machines of Denver refurbishes old vending equipment that disperses soft drinks. As part of the process, the company also customizes the outer skin of its machines for customers—with themes of sports, animals, and, yes, hospitals.

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Politicking Interferes With Strategic Planning

By: Michelle Ponte, for HealthLeaders Media, June 8, 2009

The talk and political posturing in Washington is causing fear and a hunker-down mentality that is unlikely to pass until we can get some clarity on what the future of healthcare reform.

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Are Hospitals Due for Another Round of Layoffs?

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 8, 2009

For the last six months or so I've tried to keep track of hospital layoffs across the country: I'd Google "hospital" and "layoffs" and "2009" and see what popped up.

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