HealthLeaders Media Finance - September 22, 2008 | An Odd, Bad Feeling View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
An Odd, Bad Feeling

Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Finance

I had a great column set to go this week. It was written in advance, which was good because I have to go out of town. But in the midst of Wall Street's financial meltdown last week, I saw something so disconcerting that I just had to scrap that planned column and write about something else. [Read More]
  Sept. 22, 2008

Editor's Picks
Missouri hospitals' suit against tobacco companies is large in every dimension
I guess time has no meaning in a lawsuit. By the time a 10-year-old lawsuit against Big Tobacco gets heard, the people who filed it just might be dead, if current progress is any indication. Already one hospital that was party to the suit has closed and 12 others have dropped out for various reasons. The suit seems to make sense in a way. Hospitals that treated smokers without insurance want tobacco companies to pay their bills because their product causes illness. But it's difficult. Tobacco was and is a legal product. Similar suits in other states have been thrown out, but if hospitals win this one, look for other hospitals and municipalities to jump right back in. [Read More]
Staten Island hospital settles charges of overbilling
In one of the largest settlements ever from a single hospital, Staten Island University Hospital has settled charges it overbilled government health insurance programs by as much as $88.9 million between 1994 and 2005. It's the third time in the past 10 years that this hospital has settled multimillion-dollar claims from the government that it knowingly defrauded the programs. Is there no recidivism clause with hospital fraud? No criminal charges have been filed because, prosecutors say, no executive of the hospital benefited personally from the fraud, I don't know that I agree. If they got to keep their jobs because of overstated results, that seems like a personal benefit to me. [Read More]
Michigan hospitals take a hit to care for patients
While you can sometimes argue that uncompensated care numbers are inflated in various ways, when a state's hospitals collectively spend $2.6 billion in one year on care that they're not reimbursed for, we have a problem. Hospitals are cutting staff and ending programs to cope with the shortfall, but ultimately, when bills of this magnitude aren't paid, it ultimately comes to rest on the insured, which are rapidly running out of money to make up the difference. [Read More]
Finance Forum
Service Line Portfolio Analysis: Identify Leaders and Laggards
Is it common knowledge among your management team which service lines are the most and least profitable? Don't be too quick to answer. You might be surprised how they hold up under analysis. Authors Francine Machisko and Aaron DeBoer take you through a detailed service line analysis to identify leaders and laggards in your service line portfolio. [Read More]
Finance Headlines
Economists take critical view of candidates' healthcare plans
AP/Yahoo! News - September 16, 2008
St. Bernard Parish may replace hospital board
New Orleans Times-Picayune - September 17, 2008
Resurrection Health Care names new CEO
Chicago Tribune - September 16, 2008
Clarian Health details plans for new hospital
Indianapolis Star - September 16, 2008
Adventist Health to sell Laguna Beach health center
Sacramento Bee - September 13, 2008
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
10 Events That Could Change Healthcare
HealthLeaders September 2008 No one knows what the future holds, but several scenarios could significantly alter the healthcare landscape and pose formidable strategic, financial, and clinical challenges for senior leaders. Get ready. [Read More]
Money Talk

St. Anthony's Medical Center, St. Louis, MO
Rating: A2
Outlook: Stable
Affected Debt: $152 million
Agency: Moody's Investors Service
Remarks: Outlook revised from positive because of softening operating performance in 2007 and the unaudited 2008 fiscal year and competition from larger systems in the St. Louis metro area. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Challenges in Finance: This week's audio file is a recent conversation I had with Stephen Farber, former Tenet Healthcare chief financial officer, about CFO challenges, hospitals potentially using credit scores to deny care, and the biggest challenges to revenue cycle improvement. Now chairman and CEO of Connance, which helps hospitals recover patient revenue, Farber had some interesting answers, to say the least. [Listen Now]

September 25, 2008: Service Line Strategies Workshop 2008: Cardiovascular
October 7, 2008: Physician Compensation Planning: Key Techniques for End-of-Year Evaluations
October 21, 2008: Move Now or Suffer Later: Lessons on Giving Patients Price and Quality Data
October 28, 2008: Case Studies in ER Marketing: Three Targeted Efforts That are Getting Results
On Demand: Marketing Obstetrics: Strategies for Service Line Campaigns
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