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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

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Daily news & Analysis


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How Do Five Quality and Value Issues Fare Under the Senate Reform Bill?

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, November 24, 2009

While approaches to public insurance options and health exchanges have dominated the discussions of the House and Senate healthcare reform bills, issues addressing quality and value have been threaded through the bills, sometimes matching each other, sometimes showing some differences in the individual bills. Here are five examples of quality and value in the Senate reform bill.

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Study: Burned Out, Depressed Surgeons More Likely to Make Major Medical Mistakes

By: Cheryl Clark, November 24, 2009

Nearly 9% of nearly 8,000 surveyed members of the American College of Surgeons said they'd made a major medical error in the last three months, and one-third attributed the mistake to a "lapse in judgment," rather than a system failure. Reporting those errors was strongly associated with burnout and depression manifested by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and decline in a sense of personal accomplishment, according to a new survey.

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Four Health Leaders Weigh in on Whether EMRs Save Money

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 24, 2009

Two groups of Harvard researchers last week reported separate study results showing health information technology systems do not save money. Those findings inspired several health officials, who are trying to improve quality and patient safety, to weigh in with their views. Here is what four health leaders think about whether electronic medical records can actually save money.

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Meaningful Use May Squander HIT Funds, Says MGMA

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 23, 2009

In a five-page letter from William F. Jessee, MD, president and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association, to David Blumenthal, MD, national coordinator for HIT for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Jessee wrote that federal officials must change the definition of "meaningful use" as it applies to health information technology implementation in order to avoid "needless squandering of resources and significant disruption to the nation's healthcare system."

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Iowa Medicaid Program is First to Receive EHR Incentive Grant

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, November 23, 2009

Iowa's Medicaid program will be the first to receive federal matching funds for "planning activities necessary to implement" the electronic health record incentive program, which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to CMS. CMS called the awarding of $1.16 million in federal matching grants "another key step toward developing a robust" health information technology infrastructure.

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New OSHA Directive: Tread Carefully with Respirator Shortages

By: Scott Wallask, for HealthLeaders Media, November 23, 2009

In releasing a new compliance document for inspectors visiting healthcare facilities treating H1N1 patients, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration makes two primary statements: Hospitals must follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines on protecting healthcare workers from H1N1 exposures and there must be a good-faith effort to provide workers with N95 respirators.

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Plan to Take Away Insurers' Anti-trust Exemption Removed from Senate Bill

By: Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, November 23, 2009

Health insurers can breathe easier. The Senate health reform bill no longer includes a provision to wipe out health insurance companies' anti-trust exemption. The proposed change would have striped away insurers' anti-trust exemption, which is part of the McCarran-Ferguson Act, a 1945 law that allows states to regulate insurers without federal government interference.

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