HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - December 12, 2007
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Costs Imperil Farm Families and Their Rural Providers
Ben Cole, for HealthLeaders Media
American farmers and ranchers, for the most part, aren't having trouble finding health insurance, according to a recent study. But the same report also draws another more unsettling conclusion: Having insurance may not be good enough. [Read More]
December 12, 2007
Editor's Picks

New study to look at lack of rural physicians
Boise State's Center for Health Policy and Family Medicine Residency of Idaho are teaming up to investigate what doctors are looking for when they decide whether or not to practice in out-of-the way communities. Researchers will then rate Idaho communities on characteristics important to prospective physicians, such as remoteness, scope of services offered at local hospitals, and loan repayment programs. After finding these characteristics, the groups will help rural towns attract physicians by offering programs and services as identified by the docs. [Read more]

On-call ER crisis still on gurney in Florida
Despite the problem being identified years ago, efforts to develop a solution to the severe shortage of medical specialists handling emergencies in Palm Beach County, FL, continue to flounder. Meanwhile, patients continue to face life-threatening delays in getting a specialist when they need it most, say hospital officials from throughout the county. [Read more]

Medical companies form group to protect electronic health records
A consortium of nine companies in the healthcare industry is banding together to create a set of security practices to better protect the information in electronic medical records. The consortium is a response to a recommendation by a healthcare industry task force that examined vulnerabilities in the way health information is exchanged electronically. The standards are expected to be finalized by the end of 2008. [Read more]

System being designed to help hospitals figure out if patients will pay
A new tool called medFICO creates a score that judges a patient's ability to pay his or her hospital bill. The medFICO score could debut as early as this summer in some hospitals, and it is already being questioned by consumer advocacy groups that fear it will be checked before patients are treated. In response, creators of the system say hospitals will only be able to check the score after the patient is discharged. [Read more]

Pennsylvania senate OKs dollars for doctors, but not for insurance
The Pennsylvania Senate has voted to extend a malpractice insurance subsidy for doctors and hospitals through 2008, but has rejected an effort to divert a surplus from a malpractice reserve fund to pay for adult health insurance. The bill also allocates money to help doctors and other healthcare providers pay for medical malpractice insurance coverage. Doctors who accept the insurance help, however, must not move outside the state for at least a year. [Read more]
Leaders Forum

PHRs Fulfill Consumer Needs for Data Access and Control
Until recently, personal health records have taken a back seat to electronic medical records as the healthcare industry continues its struggle to establish health data exchange standards. Personal health records, however, can fill a big information gap for patients, says contributor Jodi Amendola. [Read more]
Resources from HealthLeaders Media

  • Learn how your hospital can use quality data to your advantage.

  • With A Marketer's Guide to Physician Relations from HealthLeaders Media, learn how to take your physician relations program to the next level.
  • From HealthLeaders Magazine
    20 People Who Make Healthcare Better
    Who is finding innovative solutions to healthcare's myriad problems? Who is showing courage in the face of daunting challenges? In short, who is genuinely making a difference in healthcare? [Read more]
    Community Call
    Discussion Board
    Each week, Community Call will pose a question to encourage community and rural hospital leaders to share success stories and best practices. This week's question is
    How can a consortium of hospitals in one region work together to offset a shortage of medical specialists?
    Audio Feature
    Live from Top Leadership Teams: Fred Gaschen, executive vice president, discusses how Radiological Associates of Sacramento improved satisfaction among patients, referring physicians, and employees.
    Sponsor Community and Rural Hospital
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