HealthLeaders Media Finance - March 17, 2008 | Is P4P Working? View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Is P4P Working?
Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Finance

Well, that depends on what you mean by "working." Does P4P improve healthcare quality while holding down increases in cost? Does it bring better value for the healthcare dollar? The jury appears to still be out on those more pointed questions. [Read More]

  March 17, 2008

Editor's Picks
Mayo unveils health payment reform wish list for next president
I heard a lot about comprehensive healthcare payment reform at the Pay-for-Performance Summit in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago. The idea of paying more for better outcomes and requiring health insurance coverage seems to be the next big thing. But it seems to me that the key for these types of policies to really work at cutting the cost of healthcare and improving quality is a political will to allow poor-performing hospitals to go out of business. What do you think the chances are of allowing that to happen? [Read More]
Pennsylvania "hospital tax" proposed to help pay for care
There's a new tax idea to help hospitals in Pennsylvania, and guess who's paying? Hospitals. I know, it sounds crazy. In a scheme that could only be devised by government bureaucrats, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare proposes to increase Medicaid payments from the federal government by taxing some 33 hospitals up to $100 million annually. The "assessment," which some are calling a tax, is based on net patient revenues at acute-care hospitals in the state's two largest counties, and would increase state Medical Assistance payments for services to the elderly and poor. The assessment would also enable health providers to get higher federal Medicaid reimbursements, which rise as state payments rise. In this follow-up piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer, hospital leaders seem justifiably skeptical. [Read More]
UNC pilloried for asking patients to pay up front
What are hospitals to do? They get cuts in reimbursement from the federal government, and cuts from commercial payers. Then they have the temerity to ask patients to pay up front for procedures? The gall. True, hospitals need to do a better job of estimating the payment amounts patients are likely to owe, but patients need to take some responsibility here too. People have gotten used to putting hospital and healthcare bills at the bottom of the pile. That's the fault of hospitals. But with the federal government unwilling to increase reimbursement substantially and commercial plans increasingly unwilling to cross-subsidize other payers, writing off bad debts just isn't going to cut it anymore. [Read More]
HealthLeaders Media launches new e-newsletter
The U.S. may offer the most expensive healthcare in the world with some not-so-great outcomes, but that hasn't stopped many foreign countries from tapping the expertise of those who run some of the most respected healthcare institutions in the United States. Many countries are doing deals with top-tier providers like Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins, among others, to run hospitals in their countries. HealthLeaders Media is going global, too, with the launch of our newest e-newsletter, HealthLeaders Media Global. My colleague Rick Johnson is handling this one, and his first attempt at tackling this growing area of interest can be found here. [Read More]
Finance Forum
How to Ride Out the Financial Market Turbulence
It seemed like a reasonable strategy at the time--getting the lowest possible interest rates on debt issuance by using auction-rate financing and by obtaining insurance backing to reassure investors. In fact, since 1984, when auction rate debt first emerged in tax-exempt hospital financings, the strategy has worked well. In the course of two decades, only 13 auctions failed to place the debt offering. But in the second half of 2007, there were 31 failed auctions for auction-rate debt, and the situation has further deteriorated with many more failed auctions and soaring rates. What can hospitals do to get out of this mess? [Read More]
Finance Headlines
Another retail health clinic concept bites the dust
Chicago Tribune - March 13, 2008
Wellstar Health to buy rural Georgia site
Atlanta Journal-Constitution - March 10, 2008
McKinsey talks with Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove
The McKinsey Report - March 2008
Hospitals to get almost $1 million each in Medicare settlement
Wall Street Journal (subscription required) - March 13, 2008
Massachusetts leaders seek to change healthcare payment system
Boston Globe - March 13, 2008
Upcoming Events
HealthLeaders Media News - March 17, 2008
Sponsored Headlines from IBM

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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Your Hospital, the Entrepreneur
HealthLeaders March 2008 Forget those fixed-income investments. Many organizations are funding early-stage healthcare ventures that can yield not only healthy financial returns, but also improved efficiencies and better quality care. [Read More]
Money Talk

A look at one hospital's struggles to improve

Oconee Regional Medical Center, Milledgeville, GA

Rating: BB+
Outlook: Positive
Affected Debt: $29.6 million
Agency: Standard & Poor's
Remarks: Outlook revised to positive because of sustained improvement in operating performance over the past three fiscal years coupled with growth in liquidity. [Read More]
Audio Feature

The Gains in Venture Capital: I spoke with Matthew Hermann this month for my cover story on hospital entrepreneurship. Some hospitals are investing in venture capital not only for the potential financial gains, but also to be able to take advantage of the innovative solutions being developed by the companies in which these funds invest. Ascension Health Ventures, which Hermann runs, is a so-called "capitive" investment vehicle for Catholic health system giant Ascension Health that focuses on investments in early-stage healthcare companies, among other investments. Before joining AHV, he served for five years as vice president with a New York-based venture capital management company focused on early- to mid-stage healthcare services and information technology companies. [Listen Now]
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