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Hospital Chiefs Still Grappling With Reform

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 24, 2011

Last year, in part because of the changes reflected in healthcare reform legislation that were then under discussion, Carle set in motion plans to purchase a 350-physician specialty group, a large community clinic and a radiology practice to streamline a continuum care and collaborate with their providers instead of compete with them.

There were more than 150 sessions offered over the week-long session and it was hard to choose which ones to attend. These five areas illustrate the major themes of the conference:

1. Physician alignment and employment, "integrated delivery systems" medical homes or accountable care organizations. ACHE's Dolan says that more and more, physicians are coming to hospitals asking for jobs. "They no longer want to be independent," he says. Sessions attempted to help hospital and physician group leaders understand how they can those deals to avoid anti-trust or other legal problems, and how aggressively they must vet their prospective partners.

2. Board governance and new responsibilities and liabilities of hospitals' boards of directors, new rules that dictate board behavior, conflict of interest, transparency or disclosure.

3. Supply chain issues and comparative effectiveness analysis of services, supplies and medical devices. How to settle disputes over what gloves to buy, what hand sanitizers to install , and which  implants to persuade surgeons to use. How to successfully analyze worth and keep everybody happy.

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