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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

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Daily news & Analysis


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Obama Leaves Public Option Out of Reform Plan

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, February 22, 2010

The 10-year, $950 billion healthcare reform package called for by the Obama administration leans more toward the Senate bill approved in December. Missing from the bill is a public insurance option, but taking on new significance is a section that calls for protection from rising health premium costs. Approximately 31 million would be covered under the proposal, which will be discussed this Thursday at the healthcare summit.

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Four Provisions Not Part of Obama's Reform Plan

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, February 23, 2010

Almost as important as the items included in President Obama's proposed healthcare reform summary released Monday are those items that were excluded. Many of these items initially were included in the House bill (HR 3962) passed in early November. As the President prepares to meet with congressional leaders on Thursday, here's a list of topics that appear excluded from the current discussion.

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Five Health Leaders Respond to Obama Proposal

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 23, 2010

Four days before his health reform summit, President Obama released an 11-page sketch of the most important provisions he hopes to retain. HealthLeaders Media asked several health officials representing a variety of interests to express their views of his $950 billion plan. Here's what they had to say.

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32 Large Patient Data Breaches Since September, Says OCR

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, February 23, 2010

OCR posted on its Web site a list of covered entities this week that have reported breaches of unsecured PHI affecting more than 500 individuals, fulfilling its obligation under HITECH. The HHS organization, which oversees enforcement and compliance of the HIPAA privacy and security rules, reports that since September 22, 2009, 32 covered entities have reported breaches that affected at least 500 individuals.

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Will the Feds Delay HITECH Business Associate Provisions?

By: Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, February 22, 2010

The OCR may delay enforcement of the HITECH provisions regarding business associates because it has yet to publish its own regulations surrounding those provisions.

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Doctors Oppose Proposed Discount Health Plan Regulations

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 23, 2010

The influential California Medical Association is trying to block a state effort to strengthen licensing of so-called "discount health plans," saying the regulation would legitimize a business model that's often fraudulent, illegal, and impossible to police. "Discount health plans are not health plans, not health insurance, and frequently not even discounts," said CMA president, Brennan Cassidy, MD. "These plans are dangerous deceptions for patients, who think they are getting some benefit or coverage, but in fact are getting absolutely nothing."

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RAC Auditors Interested in Providers' Placement Orders

By: James Carroll, February 22, 2010

Admission orders are an important area of focus for auditors charged with the responsibility of recouping improper Medicare payments. Billing for an inpatient admission is dependent on the physician's order. For this reason, auditors will keep a keen eye on placement orders.

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Sepsis, Pneumonia Caused by HAIs Killed 48,000 Patients in One Year, Study Says

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, February 23, 2010

In one of the largest national studies to date, two common conditions—sepsis and pneumonia—caused hospital acquired infections that killed an estimated 48,000 people and cost the healthcare system $8.1 billion in one year, according to researchers in a new study. The researchers looked at HAIs that are often preventable, such as a serious bloodstream infection that could occur during surgery.

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Eon Labs to Pay $3.5M for Medicaid False Claims

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 22, 2010

Eon Labs Inc. will pay the federal government $3.5 million to settle False Claims Act allegations raised in a whistleblower suit relating to drug maker's Nitroglycerin Sustained Release capsules, the Justice Department announced. The FDA ruled in 1999 that Nitroglycerin SR had unproven effectiveness and issued a notice to withdraw approval of the drug, which made it no longer legally eligible for Medicaid reimbursements, DOJ said in a media release.

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Five Hospital Leaders Reveal their Secrets to Better Patient Experience

By: Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, February 22, 2010

With the costs surrounding uncompensated care expected to rise, you might think that other areas such as patient experience might slip from importance—but you'd be wrong.

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Don't Let Your Wellness Program Obsess Over Weight Loss

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 22, 2010

If the focus of your wellness program is weight loss, you could be wasting time and money, and maybe even endangering your employees' health.

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