HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - August 6, 2008 View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free

Tight On Cash,
But Need Advice?
Carrie Vaughan, Editor, Community Hospitals
A few factors work against executives in small rural hospitals when they need advice. First, there may be no one around to ask. Money is also a top concern. In addition, some rural leaders simply don't know where to look for advice and information. But here are some places to start. [Read More]
August 6, 2008
Editor's Picks

Community hospital shuts down its maternity ward
In an effort to stave off bankruptcy, Long Island College Hospital is closing its maternity ward and selling the building that houses its obstetrical clinics. The hospital's obstetric and gynecology services accounted for $11 million of the hospital's $32 million in losses last year. Looking ahead, I think we'll see an increasing number of community hospitals forced to make some similar, yet difficult, decisions in order to keep their doors open. [Read More]

David versus Goliath
As this story illustrates, some community hospital executives in the Greater Cleveland area are losing sleep as healthcare giants like the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals expand services into their neck of the woods. This trend is creating some unlikely partnerships, as well. Small community hospitals that were once rivals are now looking at each other as peers and banding together in an effort to maintain their autonomy. [Read More]

Stroke treatment decisions may have just gotten easier
Recruiting neurologists to community and rural hospitals is a tough sell because there just isn't the volume of patients often required to support the specialist. Still, community hospitals need to be able to act quickly when a stroke patient arrives at their door because time is of the essence. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego Medical Center recently found that physicians were able to make better decisions using telemedicine rather than telephone consultations, when evaluating stroke patients across distant sites. Stroke specialists made the correct decision about treatment 98% of the time using telemedicine, compared to 82% of the time when doing a telephone consultation. [Read More]

Making a difference
Here's a nice story about Sally Messick, a nurse practitioner who makes a four-hour drive from her home every week to provide healthcare to rural residents in Engelhard, NC. [Read More]

Congress allows Medicare physician scarcity incentives to expire
Physicians practicing in federally designated physician shortage areas used to receive a 5% bonus payment each quarter from Medicare, but that is no longer the case—Congress allowed the bonus program to expire at the end of June 2008. Industry experts are concerned that without the program many physicians will leave their practice or choose not to practice in PSAs, which could jeopardize access to care for some 7.5 million Medicare beneficiaries. [Read More]

No Community and Rural Next Week
HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly will take next week off, but will return with a new issue August 20.
Leaders Forum

Implications of Severity-Graded DRGs for Service Line Structure
While changes to severity-graded DRGs should ideally tie Medicare payments to hospital costs, more accurately reflecting the severity of illness, healthcare infrastructures are in need of reorganization. In Part II of this article, the authors detail how to improve quality of service and patient care by restructuring service lines in response to the new cost-based DRG system. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

CMS Releases 2009 IPPS Final Rule
Brian Murphy, CPC and Andrea Kraynak, CPC-A, for HCPro, Inc. – August 1, 2008
Cape Cod hospital CEO maps turnaround
Boston Globe – August 4, 2008
Hospital in Newark gets sold and saved
The Star-Ledger – August 4, 2008
Jefferson Medical Center buys Bethel Park, PA, facility
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – August 4, 2008
Holy Cross develops proposal to build hospital in Germantown, MD
Washington Post – August 5, 2008
Blue Island, IL, says goodbye, St. Francis Hospital; hello, MetroSouth Medical Center
Chicago Tribune – July 31, 2008
High prices at the pump complicate health choices
American Medical News – August 6, 2008
Senators slam Indian Health agency for lost items
Washington Post – August 1, 2008
From HealthLeaders Magazine
The Hospital of the Future
  Sure, your organization offers sophisticated, compassionate care. But the patients of tomorrow will want much more than that. [Read More]