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Friday, January 8, 2010

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Three Health Reform Sticking Points That Worry House Democrats

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, January 8, 2010

Before leaving the White House following a meeting with President Obama on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said at a briefing that there was "so much area of agreement" between the House and Senate healthcare reform bills. "I'd prefer to focus on that," she said. "The truth is that there is so much agreement in the bills, but sometimes we approach the issue differently." House Democrats, who will officially reconvene next Tuesday in Washington following a four-week winter break, may not be so complacent about the areas of disagreement.

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Healthcare Created 267,000 New Jobs in 2009

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 8, 2010

The healthcare sector created 267,000 new jobs in 2009, including 22,000 payroll additions in December, new Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data released this morning show. The overall economy shed 85,000 jobs in December as the nation's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 10%, according to BLS preliminary data.

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States Not Reporting Adverse Events May Harm Patient Safety, Says Inspector General

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 8, 2010

Public reporting of adverse events occurring in hospital settings—a strategy seen as a way to improve safety—is limited and inconsistent state by state, according to a memorandum issued this week by the Office of Inspector General. Seven state systems disclose more information than others and may serve as models, but three states have less extensive disclosure systems and seven systems have no public disclosure, the report said. Only 17 systems were reviewed.

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HHS Unveils Health Security Strategy for Emergencies

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 7, 2010

HHS today released its first National Health Security Strategy to protect public health during large-scale emergencies, such as natural disasters, bioterrorism strikes, and pandemics. The strategy sets priorities for government and non-government activities over the next four years.

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National Quality Forum Endorses Electronic Data Measures for Quality Improvement

By: Heather Comak, for HealthLeaders Media, January 7, 2010

The National Quality Forum released a set of 70 measures this week that guide the standardization of electronic data for quality improvement. The measures combine data from two or more electronic sources, such as administrative claims or pharmacy systems. The measures also cover 16 conditions, including bone and joint conditions, cardiovascular disease, asthma and respiratory illness, and diabetes.

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GAO Calls for Stronger Credentialing, Privileging Oversight at Facilities

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, January 8, 2010

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), after reviewing credentialing, privileging, and performance monitoring procedures at several Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, has called for several areas of improvement among those facilities. GAO's interest began when seven out of 180 patients died—a rate that was far greater than expected—between October 2006 and March 2007 at a VA medical center in Marion, IL. This prompted an investigation by the VA Office of Inspector General, which later issued a report that identified numerous deficiencies related to credentialing, privileging, and monitoring surgical care.

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Incentive Program Supports Educational, Patient Care Goals for Resident Physicians

By: Julie McCoy, January 7, 2010

In an effort to improve and reinforce residents' commitment to patient satisfaction, quality of care, and safety, the University of California, San Francisco graduate medical education program and its major affiliate institution, UCSF Medical Center, has established a goal-based incentive program that allows trainees to earn up to an extra $1,200 per year.

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Insurance Commissioners Seek States' Control in Healthcare Reform

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 7, 2010

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners told Congress this week it supports health insurance exchanges, but wants them to be established and administered at the state level. NAIC said it backs the goals of healthcare reform to curb rising costs and improve quality of care, but added consumers will benefit most from reform that ensures continued consumer protection at the state level.

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How Meaningful is Meaningful Use?

By: Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, January 7, 2010

Last week, CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Improvement Technology released regulations for public comment defining meaningful use and setting certification standards. So how did they do?

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Getting Everyone on the Same Page to Achieve Healthcare Value

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, January 7, 2010

An Institute of Medicine roundtable made up of influential figures in various sectors of American healthcare has come up with suggestions on how to get everyone on the same page to achieve value.

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