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Monday, November 9, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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House Approves Healthcare Reform Measure by Slim Margin

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, November 9, 2009

Shortly before the clock ticked down to midnight, the House passed the healthcare reform bill (HR 3962) on Saturday by a narrow margin (220-215). Thirty-nine Democrats voted against the bill, while one Republican, Joseph Cao of Louisiana, voted for it. The bill's estimated cost is $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years.

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Healthcare Reform in the Senate: Three Areas that Will Need to Be Addressed

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, November 9, 2009

With the House's passage of HR 3962 Saturday night, many predictions abounded if healthcare reform was on its way to passage or dead on arrival. While the compromise bill has yet to emerge from the Senate, here are three areas that will need to be addressed if healthcare reform can move forward in the Senate.

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Hospital Job Growth Surged in October

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 6, 2009

Even as the nation's unemployment rate hit 10.2%—the highest in 26 years—hospitals reported a surge of 10,000 payroll additions during October. This represents the largest single month of hospital job growth in nearly one year—as the overall healthcare sector continues to be one of the few job engines in the sluggish economy, according to new Bureau of Labor Statistics seasonally adjusted preliminary data released this morning.

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Hospitals Rebound from Dismal 2008

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

One year after reporting that half of the nation's hospitals were running red ink, a new study released finds that 80% of hospitals are back in black, with overall margins approaching levels not seen since the economy tanked. "If they had a 401(k) statement to look at, it'd be lower than it was two years ago. But in terms of the operational financial statistics like margins and liquidity, it looks like hospitals in large part have returned to prerecession conditions," says Gary Pickens, chief research officer at the Center for Healthcare Improvement at Thomson Reuters, which produced the study.

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AMA President Warns of Access Crisis if SGR Fix Fails

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, November 9, 2009

One day after announcing the American Medical Association's support for two healthcare reform bills in the House, AMA President J. James Rohack, MD, told an audience of business executives that a failure to fix the sustainable growth rate formula could lead to a "crisis of access." Speaking at the Harvard Business School Health Industry Alumni Conference, Rohack stressed the importance of H.R. 3961, a bill that eliminates the sustainable growth rate formula in Medicare that will mandate a 21% cut in reimbursements this January.

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Survey: Half of Nonprofit Hospital Boards Don't Value Clinical Quality as Top Concern

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

Half of the board chairs of the nation's nonprofit hospitals said their boards don't rank clinical quality as one of their two highest priorities, according to results of a Harvard survey said to be the first of its kind. However, chairs of boards that did prioritize quality oversaw hospitals that performed better on national Hospital Quality Alliance measurements than hospitals where boards didn't rank quality of highest importance.

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Hand-hygiene Rates Improved Through Variety of Reinforcement Styles

By: Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media, November 6, 2009

It takes more than one method to bring a hospital's hand-hygiene compliance rate up over 90%. At Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital in St. Peters, MO, it was a matter of trial and error to reach its compliance goal.

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Proper Use of Emergency Kits Essential in Nursing Homes

By: MacKenzie Kimball, for HealthLeaders Media, November 9, 2009

Facilities must follow certain procedures and requirements to ensure their use of emergency kits is in compliance with federal and state law. Noncompliance could attract the attention of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which recently audited numerous long-term care pharmacies and facilities for noncompliance with Controlled Substances Act.

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What If All Your Reimbursement Was Medicare?

By: Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, November 6, 2009

If healthcare reform passes, and even if the public option pays you as much as 99% of costs, much higher than Medicare, you still come out way behind over time.

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