HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - March 12, 2008
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Juggling Act
Carrie Vaughan, Editor, Community Hospitals
Many community and rural hospitals rely heavily on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, so I doubt that any of you were too surprised by President Bush's proposal, which seeks to rein in Medicare costs by reducing payments to hospitals. Even if hospitals receive a reprieve from reimbursement cuts this year, the current reimbursement rates likely won't last too much longer. [Read More]
March 12, 2008
Editor's Picks

State officials in Alabama want CON fast track
Getting a new hospital approved in states with a certificate-of-need law can be a time-consuming endeavor. Just ask Madison (AL) County officials who have been waiting more than seven years for either Crestwood Medical Center or Huntsville Hospital to be awarded the right to construct a new full-service hospital in western Madison County. Frustrated with the process, Madison County officials wrote to Gov. Bob Riley asking for changes to the CON process. Similarly, HCA Virginia has reached an agreement with Loudon County officials to seek a postponement of the court case surrounding their request to build the 164-bed Broadlands Regional Medical Center. HCA, which filed its suit in Loudoun Circuit Court after the Board of Supervisors denied its zoning application in 2005, announced plans to resubmit a zoning request for the project. [Read More]

Mounting concern over Medicaid
The Bush administration proposed changes in Medicaid funding that would shave about $15 billion from the program in the next five years. But many hospital leaders--especially those in rural areas--are concerned that these changes will put them in the red or force them to cut services in their communities. [Read More]

Rural families spend more on health insurance
Farmers and ranchers in North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota are struggling financially because of the cost of health insurance. According to a report by The Access Project, a research organization at Brandeis University in Boston, farm and ranch families in those states are at a disadvantage because they often have to purchase health insurance in the individual market. Thirty-six percent of families surveyed are paying an average of $4,359 more than their counterparts who get insurance through an employer. For more on the issue, my colleague Ben Cole wrote about how the financial woes of American farmers and ranchers could impact rural hospitals. [Read More]

Going 'green' can save you money
As Martha Stewart would say, "Helping the environment is a good thing." And Seattle-area hospitals would probably agree. While protecting the environment and boosting employee morale are often reason enough to implement recycling and other "green" initiatives, some hospitals have been able to cut costs and improve the bottom line, as well. [Read More]

Global coverage
I would like to introduce you to HealthLeaders Media Global, a free e-newsletter that will provide information on the business of healthcare management from around the globe. This week, Editor Rick Johnson discusses how the leaders of the United Arab Emirates are focusing on enhancing the healthcare system as a cornerstone of the region's economic development. [Read More]
Leaders Forum

ED Revenue Cycle Management
Emergency department revenue cycle management has never been more critical than in 2008. The skills of physicians, nurses, case managers, HIM, chargemaster staff members, and compliance staff members come into play for optimal revenue cycle management in the ED. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

Medicare: The $34 trillion problem
Fortune - March 4, 2008
Bill includes provision to crack down on doctor-owned hospitals
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - March 6, 2008
Hospital 'tax' proposed to help pay for care in Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - March 10, 2008
Staff revolts at Iowa hospital, management says it's manageable
Des Moines Register - March 6, 2008
More schools offer expanded health centers
Cincinnati Enquirer - March 10, 2008
As population grows older, geriatricians grow scarce
Washington Post - March 11, 2008
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Love Thy Vendor?
Providers and IT suppliers don't get along, right? You can build a partnership of trust with your vendor--and actually get what you pay for. Here's how. [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 "Any ideas on how to get new executives up to speed quickly and meshed into the culture of the executive team?"
Audio Feature
HIMSS 2008: IT Makeover: Randy Cox, chief information officer at Riverview Hospital, Noblesville, IN, describes how he enlisted department leaders to define what they needed in an enterprise IT makeover.
Sponsor Community and Rural Hospital
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