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Monday, March 8, 2010

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Congress Will Have Trouble Meeting President's Latest Health Reform Deadline

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

In the healthcare reform proposal that President Obama sent to Capitol Hill last week, a new proposed deadline went with it—the end of March. That's when he would like Congress to approve a new health reform bill. But if the past year is any indication, this ambitious deadline will face major challenges.

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Five Ways Health IT Leaders Can Fight Medicare Fraud

By: Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2010

Fair warning to health IT professionals: Harry Markopolos, the man who infamously warned the government that Bernie Madoff was up to something fishy, is setting his sights on Medicare fraud. Markopolos wants IT and other healthcare leaders to join him in the hunt for fraud. Here are five ways they can help.

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Blumenthal: ONC Shifting From HIT Policy to Implementation

By: Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, March 8, 2010

In the near future, electronic health records and other health information technology will be as accessible and important as the stethoscope, the operating room, or the exam table. And there's no question that that the federal government will be required to support the acquisition of health technology, added National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal, MD, at the HIMSS convention in Atlanta last week.

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Physicians Worried Proposed Meaningful Use Will Decrease Productivity

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, March 8, 2010

An overwhelming number of physicians say changes that may be necessary to meet more than two dozen "meaningful use" criteria proposed in a Medicare electronic health record incentive rule would lead to decreased provider productivity, according to the Medical Group Management Association. In responses to a MGMA questionnaire, physicians expressed confusion about the proposed rule, and its potential impact. Some said the program is unworkable, according to the MGMA.

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Health IT Design That Keeps End-Users in Mind

By: Heather Comak, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2010

As health IT increasingly becomes a part of clinicians' everyday jobs, it's important to consider their design. If HIT is not designed with the end-user or end-facility in mind, it may fail at facilitating patient safety.

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Avoid RAC Threat by Understanding Extrapolation Process

By: James Carroll, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2010

During the demonstration project, RACs chose not to apply the process of extrapolation, and while they have yet to use it during the permanent program, the fact remains that it is still a potential threat. Understanding how the extrapolation process works will prove to be valuable to providers in the end.

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Healthcare Must Expand Primary Care Models, Says Report

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2010

To strengthen and support primary care in the future, health leaders need to consider new ways to organize providers—including primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants—and to expand their roles in delivering care, according to new recommendations from a group of healthcare leaders convened by the Macy Foundation.

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AHA: New IRS Method Doesn't Show True Costs of Charity Care

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

Schedule H, the Internal Revenue Service's new method of quantifying nonprofit hospitals' charity care and community benefit, fails to meet its goal and should be changed, the American Hospital Association said. Instead of giving American taxpayers a view of the value of hospital contributions that individual hospitals and hospital systems provide, Schedule H on Form 990s, will tell only a portion of the story, said Melinda Reid Hatton, AHA senior vice president and general counsel.

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Therapy Cap Exceptions Extension Helps Long-Term Care Facilities

By: MacKenzie Kimball, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2010

The Temporary Extension Act of 2010 that aims to help unemployed Americans, including extending unemployment insurance and premium assistance for COBRA benefits, also extends the exceptions process for Medicare therapy caps to March 31, 2010.

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Physician Malpractice Payments Decreased in 2009, Says Public Citizen

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2010

Malpractice payments in 2009 were the lowest in inflation-adjusted dollars since 1992, according to Public Citizen, a liberal watchdog group. Public Citizen said the data contradict claims that malpractice litigation is to blame for rising healthcare costs, and that changing the liability system to the detriment of patients will not curb healthcare costs.

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Would You be Comfortable in a Health Court?

By: Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2010

One of the more intriguing ideas President Obama recently put forward in hopes of attracting Republican members of Congress to health reform is initiating so-called health courts.

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