HealthLeaders Media Finance - December 10, 2007 | Fresh Pain For Providers, Too View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Fresh Pain For Providers, Too
Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Finance

Depending on whether you believe the hype or not, there are up to 47 million uninsured in this country. When they get sick, they go to your emergency room. For years, you have taken care of them and written off their debts. So you've been training people not to pay for years, and now it's coming back to bite you with a vengeance. You can't afford to do that anymore--and for that, you're the villain. [Read More]
  Dec. 10, 2007

Editor's Picks
Ex-UnitedHealth CEO to pay big
It's kind of like paying taxes on winning an illegal lottery to me, but former UnitedHealth CEO William McGuire, MD, will be giving up about $600 million in ill-gotten compensation if a court approves a stock option surrender agreement reached between McGuire and the health insurer he led since 1992, but left in disgrace early last year. I wrote at the time that you shouldn't shed any tears for McGuire, who walked away with an estimated $1.1 billion in compensation. I don't think that's changed, but maybe now he'll have to look for a smaller private island. Other former executives will have to disgorge stock options that were unethically backdated. [Read More]
Democrats get infusion of campaign money from healthcare
Across the country, healthcare dollars are going more often to Democrats than in the past. The Morning News reporter takes it as a sign that the healthcare industry is more ready for reform than ever. But maybe it's the opposite. The more candidates rattle sabers at the healthcare establishment, such reasoning goes, the more money we need to give them to maintain the status quo. Call that attitude cynical, but many of our elected officials have proved time and again that money buys access, and access often can buy votes. [Read More]
Humana on the hot seat for Medicare practices
States may soon start looking to fine Medicare Advantage purveyors for activities that got Humana in trouble in Oklahoma. The state insurance commissioner fined the insurer $500,000, the most allowable by law, for deceptive business practices that included accepting business from independent agents not licensed to work in the state. That's nearly as much as the federal government has fined all MA providers in total since the program was enacted, and Oklahoma's insurance commissioner says he would have fined Humana a lot more if he could have. Other state authorities are pushing for reforms to ameliorate such plans' shortcomings. [Read More]
California heavyweights wage battle for next trauma center
Kaiser and Methodist Hospital of Sacramento will soon find out who's won the right from county supervisors to build a new trauma center in the southern part of Sacramento County scheduled to open in 2010. The fight has turned somewhat nasty in that Methodist, after losing the first round when Kaiser got a crucial recommendation from the Sacramento County Health and Human Services director, has started to enlist community leaders in ads extolling their own virtues and pointing out Kaiser's presumed faults. [Read More]
Carolina hospital expects $1M in savings from joining alliance
Talk about gaining efficiency: Carteret General Hospital has already saved $500,000 in the first month since joining a new supply chain alliance. It expects to save at least $1 million, and probably more, during the first year of the affiliation. [Read More]
Finance Forum
Why Hospitals Should Not Delay Section 409A Compliance
If your organization sponsors any non-qualified compensation plans--and you know who you are--don't let a one-year IRS extension of the deadline for Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code be an excuse to postpone your compliance efforts. [Read More]
Finance Headlines
Physicians protest sale of Denver hospital to Catholic system
The Denver Post - December 6, 2007
Illinois hospital closer to expansion OK
Chicago Tribune - December 6, 2007
Survey: St. Louis physicians short on business savvy
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - December 5, 2007
Healthcare execs float plan for the uninsured
New Orleans Times-Picayune - December 5, 2007
Upcoming Events
HealthLeaders Media News - December 10, 2007
From HealthLeaders Magazine
20 People Who Make Healthcare Better
HealthLeaders November 2007 Who is finding innovative solutions to healthcare's myriad problems? Who is showing courage in the face of daunting challenges? Who is genuinely making a difference in healthcare? The HealthLeaders 20 offers a snapshot of people from multiple corners of the industry who have made healthcare better in ways both large and small. [Read More]
Money Talk

A look at one hospital's struggles to improve

Berkshire Health Systems, Pittsfield, MA

Rating: BBB+
Outlook: Positive
Affected Debt: $121 million
Agency: Standard & Poor's
Remarks: Outlook raised from stable thanks to consistent level of profitability during the past three-to-four years and improvement in utilization volume at both hospitals. [Read More]
Audio Feature

These Days, Nurses Get More Respect: Deborah Zastocki, CEO of Chilton Memorial Hospital in Pompton Plains, NJ, discusses a shift in thinking whereby healthcare executives are now seeing nurses not as overhead but as rainmakers.
Sponsor HealthLeaders Media Finance

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