HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - October 29, 2008 View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free

Broadband Provides Big Bang for Federal Bucks
John Commins, Editor, Community Hospitals
U.S. Rep. Lee Terry, R-NE, said there is little enthusiasm in Washington, DC, to cut spending on cost-effective programs like eICU, which uses broadband to connect America's rural hospitals with off-site medical experts. [Read More]
October 29, 2008
Editor's Picks

Democrats predict Medicare funding battle
Congressional Democrats, eagerly expecting their numbers to increase in next week's general election, are anticipating a big battle next year over spending for the $431.5 billion Medicare program, which has nearly doubled in size since 2000. Some of the big losers could be private insurers, who could see cuts in payments, and the pharmaceutical industry, as lawmakers push for new rights for the federal government to negotiate drug prices. [Read More]

Despite incentives, hospitals slow to adopt EMR
A new study shows that hospitals have been cautious about federal incentives that subsidize the cost of EMR systems for affiliated physicians. The Center for Studying Health System Change findings reflect how barriers still remain to adopting new technology that many experts insist would reduce medical costs and improve patient care. [Read More]

Medical debts mount for American consumers
There are growing indications that medical debt is playing a role in the nation's rising numbers of bankruptcies and home foreclosures. Last April, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 28% of Americans reported that they or their families had had a serious problem paying health insurance or medical bills because of changes in the economy. The Commonwealth Fund says 41% of working-age adults—72 million people—have medical debt or a problem paying medical bills, up from 34%—or 58 million people—in 2005. [Read More]

Texas hospital chain lays off 49, blames sour economy
Here's what happens when economic downturns force patients to delay elective and non-urgent healthcare procedures. Texas Health Resources, the 13-hospital, nonprofit system isn't seeing the growth it had planned for in 2008, and has laid off 49 people at facilities in Tarrant, Dallas, Collin and Erath counties. A THP official says the layoffs were mostly staff positions not directly related to patient care. It's not clear yet if more layoffs will occur this year for the system, which employs 18,000 people. [Read More]
Leaders Forum

Win Federal Contracts With FAR
You can't win a federal healthcare contract without knowing something about the Federal Acquisition Regulation, commonly known as "the FAR." It's a necessary evil with which any healthcare organization must become reasonably familiar in order to capture a federal contract and perform successfully once that contract is awarded. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

States cut health coverage for poor
USA Today – October 29, 2008
Georgia homeowners win round in court fight vs. hospital development
Atlanta Journal-Constitution – October 28, 2008
Hospitals ease ER crowding with ward beds in halls
AP/Yahoo News – October 27, 2008
Doctors and insurers blame each other for administrative headaches
Los Angeles Times – October 23, 2008
Bailout seen hitting Obama, McCain health plans
Reuters/Yahoo News – October 23, 2008

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

Financial Meltdown: Managing Through The Crisis (Live)
5 Ways to Hospital-Physician Quality: Goals, Incentives, Dialogue, Staff, IT (Live)
Grow Outpatient Revenues Now: 3 Impact Strategies (Live)
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Model for Success
  Running a medical group has never been more complex. But many practices have found ways to not only survive—but thrive. [Read More]
Community Call
Discussion Board
Given the country's current fiscal crisis, would federal funding that is used for rural telemedicine projects be better spent on other healthcare ventures?