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Updated: 23 hours 32 min ago

'Early Offer' Malpractice Programs May Spur Reform

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:56

Much of the activity in what one researcher calls "second-generation" malpractice reform is occurring not in state legislative chambers, but at the hospital level through a variety of medical injury dispute resolution programs.

Categories: Healthcare News

Narrow Networks Cut Costs, Not Quality, Economists Say

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:47

Research on Massachusetts government workers finds no evidence that narrow network enrollment is associated with a shift towards lower quality hospitals.

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Better HCAHPS Scores Protect Revenue

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:42

Providing an excellent patient experience is tied more closely than ever to reimbursements.

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Severe respiratory illness spreads to Northeast

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:25

The severe respiratory virus believed to have sickened hundreds of U.S. children in Midwestern and Western states has now spread to the Northeast, health officials report. The New York State Department of Health confirmed on Friday more than a dozen cases of infection with Enterovirus D68, which sometimes requires hospitalization, especially for children with asthma. And on Saturday, the Connecticut Department of Public Health said it had received reports from two hospitals in different parts of the state of clusters of severe respiratory illness among young children that could be due to Enterovirus D68.

Categories: Healthcare News

Six MS hospitals sued for patient data breach

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:23

Six plaintiffs are suing six Mississippi hospitals and their parent company, alleging the facilities did not properly secure sensitive patient information. The complaint, filed Sept. 11 in federal court in the Southern District of Mississippi, says the plaintiffs were patients at the hospitals, and are at increased risk of identity theft because identifying information was made available to "thieves and hackers." The hospitals listed as defendants are Central Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, River Region Medical Center in Vicksburg, Madison River Oaks Hospital in Canton, Crossgates River Oaks Hospital in Brandon, River Oaks Hospital in Flowood and Natchez Community Hospital.

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Some cancer experts see 'overdiagnosis,' question emphasis on early detection

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:20

Early detection has long been seen as a powerful weapon in the battle against cancer. But some experts now see it as double-edged sword. While it's clear that early-stage cancers are more treatable than late-stage ones, some leading cancer experts say that zealous screening and advanced diagnostic tools are finding ever-smaller abnormalities in prostate, breast, thyroid and other tissues. Many are being labeled cancer or precancer and treated aggressively, even though they may never have caused harm. As a result, these experts say, many people may be undergoing surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and other treatments unnecessarily, sometimes with lifelong side effects. [Subscription Required]

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Despite warnings, antibiotics still overprescribed in kids

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:18

Despite warnings from public health experts that overprescribing antibiotics could lead to difficult-to-treat "superbugs," doctors are prescribing antibiotics to children about twice as often as they are actually needed, a new study found. Researchers at Seattle Children's Hospital examined past studies between 2001 and 2011 to see how doctors treated common childhood respiratory infections, conditions including sore throats, ear infections and sinusitis. They found that although only 27.4 percent of the infections were caused by bacteria and could therefore be treated with an antibiotic, a whopping 57 percent of them were actually treated with antibiotics. That amounts to 11.4 million unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics per year, researchers say.

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CEO Exchange: Preparing for Population Health

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:59

At the annual HealthLeaders Media CEO Exchange, leaders of hospital and healthcare systems speak candidly about both the difficulty and necessity of managing the health of populations.

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Advocate, NorthShore Deal Would Create 16-Hospital System

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:52

The successful merger of two Chicago-area healthcare organizations would result in the 11th largest not-for-profit healthcare system in the country and serve 3 million people.

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Power of price: In South FL and the nation, healthcare costs often are shrouded in secrecy

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:34

At a hearing to discuss the rising costs of healthcare benefits for Miami-Dade County employees this year, a labor union consultant raised his hand to ask what seemed like a basic question. Could the committee charged with reducing Miami-Dade labor?s healthcare expenses look at the spreadsheet showing the rates that the county pays local hospitals and doctors for medical services to employees? "We really need to understand where the money is being spent in order to be insightful about benefit design changes," said Duane Fitch, a healthcare consultant for SEIU Local 1991, which represents physicians and nurses at the county-owned Jackson Health System.

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Hospital mergers may lead to higher prices

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:32

Those paying for health care in the U.S. worry megamergers like the proposed marriage between Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University HealthSystem will lead to higher prices. The proposed merger, which would create the 11th largest tax-exempt hospital operator in the U.S., treating 3 million patients annually, comes at a time when employers, insurers and the Affordable Care Act are working to keep a lid on health care costs by paying medical care providers to keep patients healthy and out of the hospital. Hospitals that merge are trying to gain more leverage as economic forces move away from traditional fee-for-service medicine that critics say leads to unnecessary tests and procedures to so-called "value-based" medical care that rewards doctors and hospitals in a bundled or per-patient rate that requires providers to coordinate care and produce better health outcomes.

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How doctor-owned outpatient medical centers differ from hospitals

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:29

Now: the rising use of outpatient medical centers for surgeries and other procedures. It's a corner of the American health care market that rarely gets public attention. But after the death of comedian Joan Rivers, who suffered from complications at one facility in Manhattan, there are larger questions being asked about those centers, as their numbers are growing. There are more than 5,000 of them performing a total of 23 million surgeries a year. Joan Rivers first went to the Yorkville Endoscopy Center on August 28. But she suffered complications and was rushed by ambulance to Mount Sinai Hospital that day. She never regained consciousness and died September 4. It is still not clear what went wrong or what procedure she was undergoing.

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Project aims to help rural KS hospitals track quality

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:26

A two-year project aimed to improve the care patients in rural Kansas hospitals receive, and while results are still preliminary, participants think they have done that. The Collection to Action Coalition included the Kansas Foundation for Medical Care and 22 critical access hospitals that were collecting data to assess care quality but wanted help analyzing it to determine where they could improve their care related to pneumonia, congestive heart failure, immunizations and emergency medicine, though not all hospitals analyzed all four measures. The project began in September 2012 and ended Aug. 31.

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Coverage gap leaves rural TN hospitals on life support

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:24

Four rural hospitals have closed and dozens are at risk of shuttering: That's the fallout, some say, from Gov. Bill Haslam's decision not to join the Affordable Care Act in 2013 and tap into millions in promised federal funds for Tennessee's financially-strapped health care institutions. Of some 125 hospitals statewide, three facilities closed in West Tennessee since the governor rejected conventional Medicaid expansion – Haywood Park Community Hospital in Brownsville, Camden General and Gibson General. Another in Scott County in East Tennessee shut down, before reopening, according to Tennessee Hospital Association Executive Director Craig Becker.

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Two NY hospitals to offer free hip and knee replacement surgeries for qualifying patients in December

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:22

In an era of soaring health care costs, one word rarely encountered is "free," but local doctors will, for a few days in December, offer no-charge hip and knee replacement surgeries for patients who qualify. Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream and Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan will provide the operations for a few needy patients who are either uninsured or underinsured. Both hospitals are part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. Dr. Giles Scuderi, vice president of North Shore-LIJ's orthopedic services, will perform surgeries at Franklin. He has been offering the free service since 2011.

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IL hospitals penalized for readmissions

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:20

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services announced this month that it will collect more than $16 million from hospitals in penalties for what the state considers preventable patient readmissions. Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox owes $14,245 for not reducing the number of potentially preventable readmissions, according to state data. That is on the low end among the 82 hospitals being penalized. Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, and Morris Hospital and Healthcare Centers do not have to pay penalties.

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More US hospitals adopting 'baby-friendly' policies

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:18

At the growing number of hospitals in the United States that are certified as "baby-friendly," the naked, often unbathed infant is put on the mother's bare chest within the first hour of birth. Mothers are to nurse "on demand" whenever babies are hungry. No pacifiers are available. Formula may be provided, but only on request, and only after, in some instances, mothers sign a waiver acknowledging that using a bottle could impede breast-feeding. Lactation consultants roam the floor. And healthy babies, if possible, are rarely, if ever, taken to the nursery. If a mom wants to send her newborn, staff members often have to ask why and then fill out paperwork explaining the reason.

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CEO Exchange: Pressure is On to Partner, Drive Quality

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 06:43

Finding growth opportunities through partnerships while managing the disruptive nature of healthcare transformation is difficult but necessary, say hospital and health system chiefs attending HealthLeaders Media's annual CEO Exchange.

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Slideshow: Physician Alignment—New Leadership Models for Integration

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 06:40

This HealthLeaders Media intelligence report explores how physicians and their employers face an uncertain future highlighted by complicated regulatory requirements, unique local environments, and the need to stay financially sustainable.

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House OKs Cassidy's 'keep your plan' bill

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 06:31

The House passed legislation Thursday to allow people to keep their insurance plans under ObamaCare even if the coverage doesn't meet all of its requirements. Twenty-five Democrats broke ranks to help pass the bill in the 247-167 vote, including Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Nick Rahall (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), who are among the most vulnerable incumbents running for reelection this year. The vote offered those Democrats an opportunity to distance themselves from the president on the still-controversial Affordable Care Act. The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a medical doctor who is campaigning to unseat Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) in a closely watched race that could decide which party controls the Senate in 2015.

Categories: Healthcare News