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Thursday, December 17, 2009

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Daily news & Analysis


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Hospital Leaders: How to Add Value to Healthcare

By: December 17, 2009

The current relationship between hospitals and physicians has been built around rewarding for volume of services and not quality. That model is breaking down as reformers in Washington have hospital and physician inefficiency in their sights, with Medicare pushing toward value-based purchasing and experimenting with a payment system that rewards a system of coordinated care. In this HealthLeaders Media Breakthroughs report that you can download for free, four leading hospital systems—Gundersen Lutheran Health System, Sanford Health-MeritCare, SSM Health Care, and Virginia Mason Medical Center—share the lessons they have learned about adding quality to healthcare.

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House Postpones Medicare Payment Cut Until March

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, December 16, 2009

Looking to wrap up a variety of end-of-session items Wednesday, the House of Representatives incorporated into its $636 billion defense spending bill a provision that will prevent a 21% cut in Medicare payments to physicians until March 1. Major medical groups, noting that time was running out, said they would support a short postponement of the cuts so that Congress would have time to pass healthcare reform legislation.

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Senate Health Reform Vote May Not Happen Until After Christmas

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, December 17, 2009

Healthcare reform came to a standstill on the 17th day of Senate floor debate on Wednesday with the request by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to read out Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) 767-page amendment supporting a single-payer system. The reading could create a series of procedural hurdles to keep Democrats from passing the reform bill before Christmas.

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Doctor-owned Hospitals Worried Reform Will Cripple Them

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 17, 2009

There's not much love between physician-owned surgical facilities and the mainstream hospitals against which they compete. But now the long-time tension and rancor are turning especially nasty. Provisions in both House and Senate versions of health reform bills would restrict doctor-owned hospitals' ability to expand, prompting the two groups to go at each other again.

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Number of Uninsured Americans Rose in First Six Months of 2009

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 17, 2009

Nearly 60 million people in the U.S., or about one in five, had no health coverage for at least part of an 18-month period between January 2008 and June 2009, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's an increase of about 4 million people from previous estimates released in August 2007.

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NJ Hospitals Pay $7.95M to Settle Medicare Whistleblower Allegations

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 16, 2009

Our Lady of Lourdes Health Care Services Inc. will pay the government $7.95 million to resolve allegations that two of its New Jersey hospitals defrauded Medicare, the Justice Department has announced. The hospitals are Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden and Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County in Willingboro.

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Pre-diabetes, Children's Wellness Programs Look to Get South Carolinians Active

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, December 16, 2009

In an attempt to reach out to pre-diabetics and improve children's physical activity, BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina is adding two disease management programs in January. Under its Great Expectations umbrella of services, the insurer will enroll all members with pre-diabetes conditions into a new program and will kick off "WalkingWorks for South Carolina Schools," which will promote physician activity to reduce childhood obesity, a major risk factor for diabetes.

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Medical Tourism Options Expand to Puerto Rico

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 16, 2009

Medical travel facilitator Companion Global Healthcare Inc. has brought two HIMAHEALTH network hospitals in Puerto Rico into its network of off-shore hospitals that treat American patients at prices lower than those at mainland facilities. CGH said it will offer medical travel assistance and reduced pricing for individual clients and employer group members at either HIMA San Pablo Bayamon or HIMA San Pablo Caguas.

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AHA Names Montgomery to Board of Trustees

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 16, 2009

The American Hospital Association has elected veteran Arkansas healthcare executive Raymond W. Montgomery II to its board of trustees for the term beginning Jan. 1. Montgomery has been president/CEO of White County Medical Center in Searcy, AR, since 1992.

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Native Americans Four Times More Vulnerable to H1N1 Death, Says CDC

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 16, 2009

Hospitalizations and deaths from the H1N1 virus this year are much higher among Native Americans and Alaska Natives than other racial or ethnic groups, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in cooperation with a 12-state investigation project.

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How a Small Oklahoma Town Reduced Costs Through Patient Literacy

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 16, 2009

Might the city of Duncan, a community of 22,000 people 80 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, hold the secret to squelching healthcare costs without sacrificing quality?

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Four Presents Health Insurers Want Under Their Trees

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, December 16, 2009

What does a health insurance leader want this year? Here are four gifts they would like to see under their Christmas trees.

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Making Healthcare Better with Patient Engagement

By: Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, December 16, 2009

We're not yet at the stage where consumers are using price and quality data to make decisions about where to go for care, but they are getting better at taking charge of their health.

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