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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

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Daily news & Analysis


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Senate Inches Closer to Delay Doc Pay Cut until September 30

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, March 10, 2010

The Senate has cleared the way to vote on delaying a 21.2% physician pay cut vote in Medicare reimbursement until September 30. In a procedural action, the Senate voted Tuesday to move on a $150 billion package of legislation, including tax extenders and unemployment aid that the White House said is critically important to the country's economic recovery. The final vote may take place today.

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One Year Later: What Have We Learned from H1N1?

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 10, 2010

It's been nearly a year since H1N1 arrived in the U.S. How has the healthcare system responded and is the nation any more prepared for a larger health crisis? The good news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that there's no evidence that the virus is mutating in such a way to cause a different spectrum of illness. But there's no way to predict what will happen this year.

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CMS Drops Fox Insurance From Medicare Part D

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, March 10, 2010

Saying the health insurer was jeopardizing "the health and safety" of Medicare Part D enrollees, CMS terminated its contract with Fox Insurance Company on Tuesday. The decision comes less than two weeks after CMS told Fox it could not enroll new members or market its Part D offering because CMS alleged the insurer was not following "Medicare's rules for providing prescription drug coverage to its enrollees."

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Senate Committee Requests Investigation of Long-Term Care Hospitals

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, March 10, 2010

A Senate panel is looking into allegations that some Medicare beneficiaries receiving care in long-term care hospitals "are being exposed to an unreasonable risk of harm." Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Minority member Charles Grassley (R-IA) said Tuesday that they are asking the General Accountability Office to investigate problems related to care and safety at the facilities that treat patients for an average of 25 days or more.

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Study Links High Hospital Occupancy to Higher Death Risk

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

A new study found that patients admitted to full or near-full hospitals increased their risk of dying by 5.6%. University of Michigan Health System researchers also found that having more nurses made patients safer, but weekend admission and admission during seasonal flu increased the risk of death.

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Nurses Say Distractions Cut Bedside Time by 25%

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

Hospital nurses spend three hours of a typical 12-hour shift away from the patients' bedside to complete regulatory requirements, redundant paperwork, and other non-direct care, a recent online survey of more than 1,600 nurses shows.

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Joint Commission Working on Breast Cancer Care Quality Measures

By: Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media, March 9, 2010

The Joint Commission's Division of Quality Measurement and Research has been contracted to complete a portion of a project to develop quality measures to assess and improve care for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy in an ambulatory setting, according to an official announcement from the accrediting organization.

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More to HIMSS than EHRs: Four Technologies for Patients and Providers

By: Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, March 9, 2010

Amidst the buzz about clinical data sharing and the accompanying alphabet soup of acronyms, it's easy to forget that the annual HIMSS conference is also a showcase for technology. Here are four products that impressed me.

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Blizzardgate Firings Threaten Nurse Morale

By: Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, March 9, 2010

The news that one of Washington, DC's largest hospitals has fired several nurses and other staff for failing to report for their shifts during the district's heavy snowstorms caught me by surprise.

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