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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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Insurers to Sebelius: Stop Vilifying Us

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

Citing an analysis by Goldman Sachs that competition in the insurance market is so weak that insurance companies can continue to raise rates even if it means losing customers, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asked five health plan leaders to "publicly justify" their proposed health insurance premium increases. Sebelius' request was similar to what she made after a White House meeting with healthcare leaders last Thursday.

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Under Pressure from Justice Department, Michigan Insurers Spike Merger Plans

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

A subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan that sought to buy the membership of its largest competitor collapsed following threats by the Justice Department that it would file an antitrust lawsuit to block the acquisition. Blue Care Networks of Michigan, the subsidiary of BCBS Michigan, sought the merger with Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan.

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Nonprofit Group Will Lead $3 Billion Meaningful Use Initiative in California

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

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Cal eConnect as a new nonprofit organization that will help hospitals, physicians, clinics, and other providers purchase appropriate health information exchanges under meaningful use rules, and thereby capture more than $3 billion in stimulus funds, the biggest chunk for any state, over the next decade.

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Foreign Health Courts Could Serve as Model for U.S.

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

In his healthcare reform proposal to Congress last week, President Obama—under fire from the GOP for failing to address tort reform—called for including up to $50 million to fund demonstration projects to test medical malpractice case alternatives such as health courts. While health courts are not well-known in the U.S., several countries have systems in place that could provide alternative models to jury trials in malpractice cases.

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Hospitals Debate the Pros, Cons of White Coats for Doctors

By: Karen M. Cheung, March 8, 2010

The physician's white coat can be a godsend to any indecisive dresser; the doctor has a set uniform each day, not giving it a second thought. However, the politics of the iconic white coat runs deep in most institutions' hierarchy and tradition.

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Hospitals Should Review Joint Commission Standards in Light of DC Nurse Firings

By: Scott Wallask, for HealthLeaders Media, March 8, 2010

The firings of 15 nurses and six other essential personnel by Washington (DC) Hospital Center for failing to show up to work during blizzards opens the door to discuss what The Joint Commission expects of hospitals and staff during an emergency. Joint Commission emergency management standard EM.02.02.07 comes into play with this situation.

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Should Feds Remove Small Practices from Red Flags Compliance?

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, March 8, 2010

An author on Red Flags Rule compliance says that eliminating small practices from complying with the FTC's identity theft prevention program regulation would lead to more identity violations. In December 2009, the U.S. District Court issued a summary judgment in favor of the American Bar Association that said the Red Flags Rule does not apply to attorneys or law firms.

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VHA, Tidewater GPO Sign Strategic Sourcing Agreement

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

Healthcare network VHA Inc. has signed a five-year strategic agreement with Omnicare Inc. subsidiary Tidewater GPO, a group purchasing organization for long-term care providers. The agreement gives Covington, KY-based Tidewater's approximately 4,000 members access to VHA's non-acute care portfolio for food and food distribution services with U.S. Foodservice.

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Bill Transparency: Lessons Learned South of the Border

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

Patients have been calling for bill transparency for years, yet most U.S. facilities don't answer the call.

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Do Family, Friends' Photos Trigger HIPAA Violations?

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

Digital cameras are standard equipment on most cell phones. This could make anyone walking into your hospital a potential photojournalist.

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