HealthLeaders Media Finance - October 8, 2007 | Readers Strike Back View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Readers Strike Back
Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Finance

With several columns since the last time I shared readers' thoughts, your comments are starting to pile up. One recent column generated the most feedback, by far, of any opinion piece I have yet written for this e-newsletter. In it, I discussed whether physician compensation was a chief culprit of healthcare cost inflation. Thankfully, with one exception, your responses managed to avoid insulting my appearance, my genetic heritage or my personal hygiene. [Read More]
  October 8, 2007

Editor's Picks
President vetoes child health bill
President Bush claims a bipartisan bill to expand health insurance to children is simply a back-door attempt to "federalize healthcare," so he followed through on his threatened veto of the bill last week. The move left him even isolated from many Republican lawmakers who helped craft the bill with Congressional Democrats, which control both houses. Democrats postponed a veto override vote until Oct. 18, as Bush sounded a conciliatory note by suggesting he might allow a $5 billion increase from his original budgeted target for the so-called SCHIP program, but even that concession would leave the bill far short of the current bill's funding. The program provides health insurance to poor families who earn too much to get insurance through Medicaid, and Bush's veto on such a bipartisan bill seems curious, especially in light of his previous support for such "federalization" programs as Medicare Part D, the prescription drug assistance program passed while Republicans held Congressional control. [Read More]
Is GM's health plan contagious?
By now you've heard that General Motors has struck a deal with the United Auto Workers on retiree healthcare obligations, which were strangling the car giant's ability to compete with lower-cost auto makers like Toyota, which recently took GM's spot as the world's biggest automaker. The GM-UAW deal hinges on the company's funding of a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, a trust-fund-like entity managed by the union intended to pay for retirees' healthcare expenses. Writers David Welch and Nanette Burns take a look at the mixed record of such trust funds--yes, they've been implemented before, but never on such a large scale--and make some assumptions about whether GM's plan, as well as the others that are sure to follow from Ford and Chrysler, are likely to work. [Read More]
How U.S. health plans can succeed in the changing healthcare environment
We have an interesting report here from IBM on how the cost (un)sustainability of the U.S. health system will force big changes on these powerful companies. You'll find familiar statistics here, but this report differs from many other consulting firm white papers in that it actually makes reasoned predictions about how the coming changes will play out--especially for health plans. You'll have to register to download the full report, but even the executive summary contains significant analysis. [Read More]
Microsoft rolls out personal health records
While other big players in the race to capture personal health records appear to have stalled, Microsoft unveiled to great fanfare its new free personal health record offering, HealthVault, this week. The software giant's strategy seems smart--developing partnerships with leading healthcare providers who, with a patient's permission, can populate the patient's health record on Microsoft's servers. At that point, data transfers would become automatic. [Read More]
Finance Forum
Finding New Revenue For Profitable Growth
Why is finding new revenue for profitable growth so difficult in healthcare? Bill Phillips and Terry Schmidt offer several specific opportunities for profitable growth at your hospital. You may be working on some of them already, but these authors provide several opportunities you probably haven't considered. [Read More]
Finance Headlines
Healthcare reform is years away, insurers' lobbyists say
Dallas Morning News - October 8, 2007
Central Washington Hospital plans expansion instead of move
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - October 8, 2007
Voters may replace aging Dallas public hospital
Dallas Morning News - October 8, 2007
DC council backs hospital purchase
Washington Post - October 8, 2007
Medicare to ease cuts to hospitals
Detroit Free Press - October 8, 2007
Upcoming Events
HealthLeaders Media News - October 8, 2007
From HealthLeaders Magazine
EMR Pushback
HealthLeaders September 2007 Electronic medical record systems promise a long list of benefits, but most physician practices remain unconvinced. Can clinical IT proponents entice physicians to retire their paper charts for good? [Read More]
Money Talk

A look at one hospital's struggles to improve

Lake Forest Hospital Foundation, Lake Forest, IL

Rating: A3
Outlook: Stable
Affected Debt: $74 million
Agency: Moody's Investors Service
Remarks: Revised outlook to stable based on significantly improved operating performance and liquidity ratios over the last two years.
[Read More]
Audio Feature

Evanston's Dilemma: Mark Neaman, CEO of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare in Chicago, discusses what a recent Federal Trade Commission ruling means for the health system and its immediate and long-term future.
The Voice for Healthcare Consumers: Regina Herzlinger, The Nancy R. McPherson professor of business administration chair at Harvard Business School, talks about the need to refocus the control of healthcare away from providers and shift it to consumers, and her admiration for a European health system that closely mirrors the vision she has for the United States.
Sponsor HealthLeaders Media Finance

Contact Lisa Brown, Director of Integrated Sales, at or call 781.639.1872.
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