HealthLeaders Media Finance - October 6, 2008 | Knee Replacement Surgery? Please Hold For Your Price View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Knee Replacement Surgery? Please Hold For Your Price
Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Finance

As I wrote last week, when given a choice, employees are largely not opting for the high-deductible health plan option as their health plan due to a variety of factors. But the truth is, many employees aren't getting that choice. For those people, price and quality are perhaps the biggest variables in whether they decide to get needed care at your facility or somewhere else. Problem is, most of you can't give them that information—at least not quickly or easily. So wouldn't it be smart to figure out how you can? Well, here's how. [Read More]
  October 6, 2008

Editor's Picks
Coal company pays Mayo Clinic prices to save on healthcare
This is a story I wish I'd written. Oh well. Can't get 'em all. But the gist is this: Foundation Coal Holdings has been sending its employees hundreds of miles across the country to see doctors at hospitals with higher quality ratings when they have a problem?even to such institutions as the Mayo Clinic, where you'd think costs would be higher. In some cases, they are, but overall, the company has saved about 5% a year on its healthcare costs since the program took full effect in 2005. In a time when healthcare costs tend to do nothing but go up, here's a ray of light showing that even in healthcare, you get what you pay for. [Read More]
Community Health to take over HealthSouth's Birmingham white elephant
Trinity Medical Center, an Alabama hospital owned by for-profit giant Community Health Systems, has decided to take over the shell of HealthSouth's much-touted "digital hospital" in Birmingham. The required build-out of the facility will cost $236 million, in addition to the $200 million the Richard Scrushy-run company spent on it before he was unceremoniously dumped from the CEO spot after an accounting scandal several years ago. The move throws into doubt a planned move by Trinity to a site in suburban Irondale, the local government of which is understandably not happy. On a national scale, this isn't that big of a deal, but we got the press release on this deal, too, and Trinity takes great pains not to use the words "health" or "south" anywhere near each other, much less the word "HealthSouth," which I found both silly and hilarious. [Read More]
Rising healthcare costs change behavior
An increasing number of employers are starting to offer benefits that are worlds less generous than they were only a year ago. In fact, many employer-based health plans are starting to look a lot like the plans that people can get in the individual market, long a health insurance backwater. That means healthcare's high prices are finally causing families to cut back on healthcare. We'll see what that portends for providers, but it seems to me that this news, as I mentioned in my column above, makes it imperative for hospitals to begin to focus on demonstrating their value to patients as many experts have been preaching for a while now. [Read More]
The financial crisis takes a toll on hospitals
Just a short blog entry here on the problems hospitals are having related to the financial crisis. The analysis isn't very deep, but the comments are pretty interesting. [Read More]
Finance Forum
Margins Squeezed? Here's Where to Find Operational Efficiencies
The current economic downturn has caught many businesses, including healthcare organizations, in an unanticipated margin squeeze. The impact is being felt from the declining value of investment portfolios, reduced access to capital, increasing supply costs, and a rising proportion of uninsured patients. So what can your organization do to ensure that it is generating the margin necessary to fund future operations and investments? A margin improvement audit may be the solution. [Read More]
Finance Headlines
HCA chief Bovender to retire
The Tennessean - September 30, 2008
Baylor reveals funding plans for Dallas cancer center
Dallas Morning News - September 27, 2008
Chicago hospital files for Chapter 11
Chicago Tribune - September 29, 2008
Paying workers to go abroad for healthcare
Wall Street Journal (subscription required) - September 30, 2008
Massachusetts gets $10.6 billion from feds for healthcare program
Boston Globe - October 1, 2008
Doctors learn dollars, cents of healthcare
The Tennessean - September 28, 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

Adena Health System, Chillicothe, OH
Rating: A3
Outlook: Positive
Affected Debt: $140 million
Agency: Moody's Investors Service
Remarks: Outlook revision from stable based on expectation that Adena will continue to grow cash flow over the next two years in order to improve debt measures. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Controversy Over RAC: With the controversial Recovery Audit Contractor program going nationwide by 2010, many hospitals are concerned that while the demonstration program recovered $371 million in overpayments to hospitals, more than 96% of the improper payments were overpayments collected from providers and only 4% were underpayments repaid to providers. Further, the research conducted by my guest, Michelle O'Daniel, director of member relations with VHA's West Coast office, shows that 31 VHA member hospitals were required to return nearly $46 million to CMS as a result of the audits but that once appealed, approximately 90% of the RAC rulings were overturned. [Listen Now]

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On Demand: Marketing Obstetrics: Strategies for Service Line Campaigns
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