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Friday, February 26, 2010

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Daily news & Analysis


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Three Reasons Health Summit Could Kickstart Reform (and 3 Barriers that Remain)

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, February 26, 2010

At Thursday's healthcare reform summit meeting in Washington, President Obama and selected members from the House and Senate came to either agree—or disagree—with the current state of healthcare reform. Basically, they came, they sat, and they talked and talked. But will it move healthcare reform to the next level?

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Healthcare Summit Dilemma: How Do You Lower Health Costs?

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, February 25, 2010

Focusing on the point that "it's not where we differ, but where we agree," President Obama kicked off the healthcare summit Thursday morning. The first topic with leading congressional leaders involved in the healthcare reform discussion: how to pay for healthcare.

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Eight Health Leaders Respond to Obama's Healthcare Summit

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 26, 2010

During President Obama's health reform summit Thursday, it became clear that very deep divisions remain. And it is unclear whether any package can conquer entrenched Republican opposition. Was it political theater or real progress toward meaningful reform? We asked health leaders to comment on what they took away from the debate. Here's what they said.

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Learn How Health Systems Remain Mission Driven, Financially Strong

By: HealthLeaders Media, February 26, 2010

The latest HealthLeaders Media Breakthroughs is online and provides multimedia-rich case studies that show how four leading hospitals are thriving despite the difficult economy. In this Breakthroughs report, HealthLeaders Media spoke to four leading hospital systems—Banner Health, Southwest General Health Center, The University of Kansas Hospital, and Parkland Health & Hospital System. These hospital leaders shared lessons on how to continue to press forward during this economic environment, including: Identify cost-cutting measures that also add value to care efficiency; make strategic investments in areas under your control; and refocus on the fundamentals of financial discipline.

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RAND: Obama Reform Plan Would Insure 30 Million, Cost Less than Congress Plans

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 26, 2010

The number of uninsured Americans would be reduced by 30 million, or 56%, by 2019 under President Obama's health reform plan, about the same as in the Senate and House versions of health reform proposals, according to a new study released by RAND Health. Also under the President's plan, which was released Monday, the number of non-elderly people with employer-sponsored plans would go from 156 million to 162 million, and the number of insured through Medicaid or State Children's Health Insurance Programs would go from 38 million to 50 million.

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California AG Investigating Health Plans on Rate Increases

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 26, 2010

Saying health plan rate increases are "devastating to Californians . . . and possibly illegal," California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. subpoenaed seven insurance companies operating in the state. "Our best attorneys are going to get to the bottom of this, and where we find violations of California's unfair business laws, we intend to stop them," Brown said in a statement.

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Uninsured Patients Flood Public Hospitals, Putting Them at Risk, Says Survey

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, February 26, 2010

The number of uninsured patients treated at public hospital systems increased 23% from 2008 to 2009, resulting in a severe financial strain on the system that may force hospitals to close their doors, according to the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. A NAPH survey of 41 healthcare systems reported a 10% increase in uncompensated care costs, on average, with $2.3 million per member.

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What Would Taking Away Health Insurers' Antitrust Protections Mean?

By: John Commins and Joe Cantlupe, February 25, 2010

Depending upon who is talking, legislation to strip health insurance companies of antitrust exemptions will spur competition and lower costs; have no impact; or actually make things worse.

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Watching Practitioner Placement Trends Can Help Your Hospital

By: Emily Berry, February 25, 2010

Being able to predict practitioner placement trends in your medical staff can help you budget for enough FTEs in your medical staff services department, update privileging forms before a new wave of specialists arrive, and prepare for a shift in medical staff culture.

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Suicide Risk Assessment an Important Part of Joint Commission Survey

By: Heather Comak, for HealthLeaders Media, February 25, 2010

Identifying patients at risk for suicide has been a requirement of the National Patient Safety Goals since 2007. Since that time, inpatient suicide remains the second most frequently reported sentinel event to The Joint Commission, after wrong-site surgery.

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HHS Offers $100M to Improve Children's Health IT

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, February 26, 2010

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $100 million in grants this week for health IT projects in 18 states for children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Different states, and combinations of states, will develop a variety of programs, including a pediatric electronic record format and health IT strategies in children's health data.

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Why Are Doctors Working Fewer Hours?

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, February 25, 2010

The number of hours that an average physician works each week dropped sharply in the last decade. Understanding why is particularly important at a time when Congress is struggling to prevent a 21% cut in Medicare payments.

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The Quality Quandary: When Less Is More and More Is Less

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, February 25, 2010

When you think about it, quality in healthcare is all about improvement. But should this improvement cost more—or less?

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