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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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California Lawmakers Want AG to Investigate Sutter Health

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

Sutter Health, a 26-hospital system in Northern California, is on the hot seat amid accusations that it illegally extracted nearly $90 million from a Marin County hospital it now operates—but may soon compete against—as well as for questionable practices involving its relationships with three other hospitals.

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Baucus Healthcare Reform Framework Drops Public Policy Option

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

Just in time for President Obama's speech before Congress on healthcare tonight, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, released on Tuesday a "framework"—but not the actual bill—of the plans under consideration by his bipartisan six working group. As expected, the public insurance plan is out, and the state co-op plans are in.

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Medicare Spent $1.8 Billion for Improperly Filed Nursing Home Care

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

Medicare spent $1.8 billion in 2006 for hospice services for nursing home patients who did not meet requirements for that category of care, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General. In fact, 82% of hospice service claims for beneficiaries in nursing facilities did not meet at least one Medicare coverage requirement for that level of care. Such requirements include submittal of an "election statement," which is documentation that the beneficiary understands that hospice care is palliative rather than curative or documentation that the terminally ill beneficiary waives Medicare coverage of certain services, the report said.

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Four HIPAA Compliance Tips for Business Associates

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, September 9, 2009

The HITECH Act was a long time coming, especially because it holds business associates of covered entities accountable for compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule and the use of disclosure provisions of the privacy rule. This is crucial, according to Daniel Nutkis, CEO of The Health Information Trust Alliance. HealthLeaders Media recently caught up with Nutkis for a Q&A about HIPAA privacy and security. Here are some more highlights.

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Justice Department OKs Joint Hospital Effort

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

The Department of Justice has raised no objections to a proposal by Savannah, GA-based Memorial Health Inc. and St. Joseph's/Candler Health System to form a money-saving joint purchasing agreement for surgical and medical supplies.

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Washington Hospital Attempts Regional Affiliation with Nearby Health Systems

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

After more than a year of internal discussions, officials at Stevens Hospital in suburban Seattle have asked an independent consultant to open formal talks with several nearby healthcare systems in the hopes of creating an affiliation. The consultant, Howard Thomas, has been told by the public hospital's board of commissioners to begin work immediately on defining the affiliation process and the specific proposed terms of affiliation for the 156-bed, 45-year-old facility in Edmonds, WA.

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New Joint Commission Policy Affects Survey Options for Hospitals

By: Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media, September 8, 2009

The Joint Commission has announced a new policy for accredited hospitals seeking deemed status. This new policy will align awarding of Joint Commission accreditation with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Certification Numbers.

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Unions' Merger Creates Daunting Adversary for Hospitals

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

Healthcare news was made outside of the Beltway recently with the announcement that three of the nation's largest nurses unions would merge and form the nation's largest registered nurses union.

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Impact of the HITECH Act on a Michigan Hospital's IT Strategy

By: Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media, September 8, 2009

Frank D. Sottile, MD, chief medical officer at 290-bed Crittenton Hospital Medical Center, speaks about Crittenton's journey to an electronic medical record system and the impact of the HITECH Act.

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The Art of Balancing Risk

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

Hit with huge investment losses, some hospitals are steering clear of riskier, less liquid transactions.

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Flu Inspires New Strategies to Fight, Slow Spread of H1N1

By: Ben Cole, for HealthLeaders Media, September 8, 2009

As health officials all over the world continue efforts to prepare for and prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus, new strategies are emerging to help in the fight.

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