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Although healthcare-acquired infections have received wide spread attention from hospitals, healthcare associations, and regulators, they remain a serious patient care issue and an avoidable high expense. The 2010 goal set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to decrease HAIs by 40% by 2013—which would result in 1.8 million fewer injuries to patients—was not met. Starting October 1, 2014, hospitals with the highest rates of preventable HAIs will be penalized 1%, adding to existing federal penalties. Hospitals and health systems can invest in...

Consolidation in healthcare has been the trend for many years, and it shows no sign of abating as provider organizations look to redesign care delivery models and prepare for the shift toward population health management and value-based purchasing. For those institutions that have already undertaken an acquisition, many challenges exist, including merging IT infrastructures, blending different organizational cultures, and balancing local versus corporate control. With so much at stake during the transition process, senior leaders have to set and execute the right...

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The changes in healthcare delivery that hospitals and health systems seek in today's market cannot be accomplished without the cooperation of physicians. Conversely, many physicians find that they need relationships with hospitals to guarantee patient volume and income. Physician-hospital alignment is the phrase used to describe the ideal state of physicians in lockstep with strategic goals. But achieving alignment is complex. The trend of employing physicians continues, yet employment does not necessarily lead to integration. Whether employed or independent, and...

As healthcare margins tighten and cost-cutting takes center stage, professionally run healthcare organizations seek efficiency gains in their financial operations. Large cost-saving opportunities lie in the revenue cycle and vendor management. Financial officers must learn to work smarter with a range of vendors, contractors, and outsourcers; with payers; and with self-pay patients through revenue cycle and payment channels. From high-deductible health plans that cause bad debt problems to Recovery Audit Contractors to coding changes to medical necessity judgment...

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