HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - January 30, 2007
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Project to Implement Regional EMRs in MS
Ben Cole, for HealthLeaders Media
More than two years after the devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina, the healthcare community in the Gulf Coast region is still recovering. But an electronic medical record project spearheaded by the Mississippi-based Coastal Family Health Center may help with the rebuilding process. [Read More]
January 30, 2008
Editor's Picks

Too much staff, too few patients, says Pennsylvania hospital's chief
Willie E. Wilson, the interim chief executive officer of the former Aliquippa (PA) Community Hospital described mass employee firings earlier this month as "gut-wrenching" but said it was a cost-cutting move crucial to the debt-burdened facility's survival. He added that there are an average of only 25 to 27 inpatients each day in the 96-bed facility, which was recently renamed Commonwealth Medical Center. Wilson described lower costs and physician recruitment as the cornerstones to turning around the hospital, which has experienced past battles with bankruptcy, debt, licensing problems, a declining number of patients and labor friction. [Read more]

Health system, clinic look to grow in Texas
St. Luke's Episcopal Health System and affiliate Kelsey-Seybold will soon open an emergency center and medical clinic in northwest Harris County, TX. The initial phase of the 40-acre project will be open in late spring, and the health system also hopes to build a community hospital on the site. The projects will advance St. Luke's strategy of expanding into Houston's suburban areas. David Koontz, senior vice president for St. Luke's, told the Houston Chronicle studies show the area's growth would support a new hospital. [Read more]

Massachusetts-based health network to keep care close to home
Brockton (MA) Hospital's Signature Healthcare program has created a community-based network of doctors on the South Shore of Massachusetts who share patient medical records and databases. The goal of the network is to keep local patients who might otherwise go to Boston for care, particularly from specialists. The network is the first one south of Boston to be based on other regional models, such as the Lahey Clinic in northeastern Massachusetts, and the far larger Partners HealthCare Systems Inc. of Boston. Signature officials say patients will find everything they need under the Signature brand, from primary care physicians to acupuncture specialists. Under the new system, a primary care doctor who might have referred patients to a specialist at a Boston hospital will now refer to a specialist in the network, said Signature representatives. [Read more]

Hospital industry may hit rough patch, Moody's warns
Although the nation's hospitals have enjoyed steady and even improving finances in recent years, they could see some rough times ahead, according to a report from Moody's Investors Service. Moody's said its "stable" outlook for 2008 will be less certain in 2009 and 2010 should the economy take a turn for the worse. The Chicago Tribune reports that more hospitals are turning to mergers and acquisitions as a way to gain economies of scale and clout with health insurance companies who pay for hospital medical services to respond to the increasing numbers of uninsured patients. In addition, hospitals are looking at mergers and other strategic initiatives as a way to raise cash to expand and upgrade facilities, according to the Tribune. [Read more]

HRSA seeks comment on small rural hospital grant program
The Health Resources and Services Administration is seeking comments from the public on its plan to institute a permanent deviation from a policy in HHS with regard to HRSA's Small Rural Hospital Grant Program. The grant program is designed to assist eligible small rural hospitals in implementing HIPAA compliant Prospective Payments Systems in order to reduce medical errors and improve patient quality. The current HHS policy reimburses full administrative costs for adoption of such systems, which can run up to almost 50 percent of the grant money, according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. HRSA is now considering changing the policy to only reimburse administrative costs up to only 5 percent of the grant, allowing 95 percent of the grant to go to carrying out the objectives of the grant program. [Read more]
Leaders Forum

Beyond the Financial Rewards of Pay-for-Performance:
Pay-for-performance is a fundamental change in payment methodology that could transform how healthcare is delivered more than the current prospective payment system and managed care plans. Pay-for-performance programs, which are designed to align healthcare payments with clinical best practices and quality thresholds, are becoming commonplace across the country. Levels of adoption suggest that pay-for-performance is likely to stay and may eventually be rolled out across most payers. [Read more]
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Why Is The ED Such A Pain?
The emergency department has a culture all its own with a unique set of challenges to match. It's also your hospital's window to the community. So you'd better make it work. [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 "In light of Moody's potentially dire financial projections for the healthcare industry, what type of strategic initiatives can small hospitals participate in to raise cash for expansions and upgrades?"
Audio Feature
Physician Creates, Offers Free EMRs: Shelbourne, MA-based physician Stefan Topolski MD, discusses the development of his own electronic medical record program--and why he decided to give it away to other doctors for free.
Sponsor Community and Rural Hospital
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