HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - July 2, 2008 View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free

In Healthcare, Every
Penny Counts
Carrie Vaughan, Editor, Community Hospitals
Airline carriers are scrambling for ways to offset rising fuel costs. The solution? Pass those costs onto someone else. So what does all this have to do with community hospitals? Your purse strings are about to get tighter with likely reimbursement cuts, as well. So how do you plan to offset those losses? [Read More]
July 2, 2008
Editor's Picks

Sign of the times
We'll see more hospitals downsizing their staff or operations as they struggle to cope with the current financial climate and potential reimbursement cuts. Here are two examples. MeritCare, North Dakota's largest healthcare system, hopes to improve its bottom line by closing a rural clinic in LaMoure, ND, and laying off 90 employees, including nurses, clerical staff, and managers. Likewise, St. John Health in Michigan announced it would downsize two emergency facilities—Detroit Riverview and Conner Creek Village—to urgent care centers. Riverview, a 270-bed hospital that closed in June 2007, will retain its pharmacy and X-ray services and Conner Creek will continue to offer some mental health programs.

Blood substitute could save rural patients
A blood substitute called polyheme could help save rural patients when there is not immediate access to real blood for transfusions, according to a study by Denver Health Medical Center. Small hospitals are challenged to keep enough real blood in stock for emergency care because it can only be stored for 42 days. The FDA is deciding whether to approve polyheme. [Read More]

Centralizing hospitalists
More community hospitals are implementing hospitalist programs—including some critical-access hospitals. This story discusses the pros and cons of SSM St. Mary's Health Center's hospitalist strategy. The St. Louis-based facility assigns hospitalists to specific units so that they are not wasting time traveling between patients on different floors. [Read More]

Docs get a reprieve
The Bush administration is freezing a scheduled 10% fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, which will give Congress time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess. [Read More]

More Americans delay healthcare
Uninsured patients in rural America often postpone seeking medical care, and by the time they do seek treatment their condition is often more severe. However, they are not the only ones foregoing treatment—17% of insured patients postponed medical care due to cost in 2007, as well. This is up from 11% in 2003, according to a report by the Center for Studying Health System Change. [Read More]
Leaders Forum

A Glimpse at the Future of Pay for Performance
Contributor Tim Ward discusses Pay for Performance and his predictions for P4P's future. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

Erie County, NY, loses suit to shut hospital
Business First of Buffalo – June 26, 2008
Medicare proposes changes for imaging, dialysis
Reuters – June 30, 2008
Oklahoma students learn to provide rural healthcare
Muskogee Phoenix – July 2, 2008
Five Palm Beach County, FL, hospitals cited for denying ER care
South Florida Sun-Sentinel – June 30, 2008
Providence Health to buy Tarzana Regional Medical Center from Tenet
Los Angeles Times – July 1, 2008
Georgia to identify gaps in trauma care
Atlanta Journal-Constitution – June 17, 2008
New Jersey moves closer to universal healthcare
Philadelphia Inquirer – June 27, 2008
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Weaning Your Hospital Off of Medicare
  How can your hospital maintain its level of service and its margin? It's time to get creative. [Read More]
Community Call
Discussion Board
Sharon Roush, the chief executive officer of 198-bed Capital Regional Medical Center in Tallahassee, FL offers advice on how to lower emergency department wait times. Capital Regional improved its arrival-to-physician time from a 67-minute baseline average from January to June 2007 to 26 minutes in June 2008.