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Thursday, January 14, 2010

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Daily news & Analysis


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Reform Provision Would Require Providers to Buy Testing Equipment for Obese Patients

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 14, 2010

Three paragraphs in the latest version of the Senate's health reform bill could lead to an enormous increase in the cost of medical diagnostic equipment for physician's offices, clinics, and hospitals, in part to accommodate the obese or morbidly obese. Within two years, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board would set standards to assure that people with "accessibility needs" can be treated "in physician's offices, clinics, emergency rooms, hospitals, and other medical settings," according to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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Seven Health Reform Provisions That Could Take Effect This Year

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, January 14, 2010

Although the House and Senate negotiators are still hammering out their plans for healthcare reform, lawmakers and healthcare stakeholders are playing a numbers game: carefully eyeing when specific projects are to be implemented and gauging how they can meet the deadlines. As far as healthcare leaders are concerned, meeting some of the timelines—especially for 2010—may be, in the words of one, "challenging."

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Medicare Payment Panel Likely to Remain in Final Reform Bill

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, January 14, 2010

While it may have dual names in the healthcare reform debate—such as the Independent Payment Advisory Board or the Independent Medicare Advisory Board—the possibility of its existence has created a firestorm of controversy in the healthcare community because of its perceived restrictions. However, the provision—now included in the Senate bill—may not be totally out in the cold.

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CT AG's Office Suing Health Net for Member Data Breach

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, January 13, 2010

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is suing Health Net of Connecticut, Inc., after the insurer reportedly failed to secure private medical records and financial information of 446,000 Connecticut members and then did not promptly notify them of the possible security breach for six months.

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Congress Eyes Review of Rapidly Rising Drug Costs

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, January 13, 2010

Congress will likely resume looking into the issue of rapidly rising drug costs following release of a Government Accountability Office report that prices of more than 400 brand name drugs increased by at least 100% between 2000 and 2008. These 416 brand name drug products represented 321 different drug brands.

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Report: AHIP Used Third-party TV Ads to Oppose Health Reform

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 13, 2010

Even as the health insurance lobby was publicly claiming to support healthcare reform last summer, the nation's largest insurers were reportedly funneling as much as $20 million through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to fund attack TV ads to hobble the effort, according to a news report. AHIP is acknowledging that it gave money to the chamber because is shares the same beliefs on health reform.

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St. Vincent, HealthSouth Expand Rehab Joint Venture

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 13, 2010

St. Vincent Health System and HealthSouth Corp. have announced that they are expanding their joint venture, St. Vincent Rehabilitation Hospital, in Sherwood, AR. The joint venture purchased a 23-bed St. Vincent Rehabilitation Hospital/Doctors, formerly operated by St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center, which will now be operated under the joint venture and will be managed by HealthSouth.

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Rural Minnesota Hospital Survives a Fight with the Feds

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 13, 2010

The five-year False Claims Act litigation against a 15-bed critical access hospital in remote Western Minnesota has ended. Wheaton Community Hospital and Medical Center will not have to close.

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Shifting Costs onto Consumers May Create Long-term Problems

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, January 13, 2010

Shifting healthcare costs to the individual will save money in the short-term, but could have long-range cost implications if the members are not following medication regimens.

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Words of Wisdom on Getting Advice from Outside Industries

By: Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, January 13, 2010

At the HealthLeaders Media Marketing Experience event this past fall, we asked participants to share with us their thoughts on what they've learned from companies outside of healthcare.

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