HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - November 12, 2008 View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free

Let Need Drive Finances
For Capital Projects
John Commins, Editor, Community Hospitals
Community and rural hospitals considering renovations on their aging buildings or altogether new construction should not be discouraged by the down market and the credit crunch, says Bill Wilson with Lancaster Pollard. Hospitals should let need drive finances, Wilson says, not the other way around. [Read More]
November 12, 2008
Editor's Picks

AMA to study repatriation of uninsured
The New York Times recently ran stories about a Florida hospital's efforts to deport a brain-injured illegal alien from Guatemala. The issue has set off a firestorm. Last month, the California Medical Association voted to oppose forced deportations. The AMA isn't going that far. At their annual meeting this week in Orlando, the AMA House of Delegates voted to study the gut-wrenching issue. Nobody disputes that nonpaying illegal aliens are a tremendous burden on the nation's hospitals—and taxpayers. But ham-fisted deportations of seriously ill, poor people—essentially sending them to their deaths—is not the answer. There is enormous potential for blowback on this and the nation's hospital and physician associations would do well to tread lightly. [Read More]

Obama urged to overhaul healthcare, stat
Turns out it's not just the economy, stupid! Advocacy groups representing business, labor and retirees want Barack Obama to enact comprehensive healthcare reform, upping the pressure on the president-elect to tackle the issue quickly after he takes office. In a letter to Obama, the Business Roundtable, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, AARP, and the Service Employees International Union urge that a healthcare overhaul be a priority in the administration's first 100 days. I'm wondering: When four diverse groups such as these agree on an issue, does this mean that a major overhaul of the nation's healthcare delivery system is at hand? Or, is this a sign of the End Times? [Read More]

Providers fear rough transition to new, complicated insurance codes
Few are disputing the need for ICD-10, the CMS-designed coding system for insurance billing. Medicine is a complicated business, after all. However, a growing number of healthcare providers—particularly doctors in private practice—are complaining that the three-year transition window that CMS has scheduled isn't long enough, given the complexity of the task. They may have a point. When completed, ICD-10 will have 155,000 codes, 10 times as many codes in place as are used now. [Read More]

Audio Feature: Healthcare in a Time for Change
Will a new era of historic change in America be a time of historic change in healthcare? In this exclusive 30-minute audio event, HealthLeaders Media Editor-in-Chief Jim Molpus asked U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Alegent Health CEO Wayne Sensor and North Shore-LIJ Health System CEO Michael Dowling to share their hopes. "Nothing is easy, but I am convinced that 2009 will be a great year to improve American healthcare," says Cooper. [Listen Now]

Physicians get the bum's rush at West Penn
One day after four physicians working at Health Center Associates gave their three-week notice of departure to West Penn Allegheny, they were told to immediately leave the premises. As surprising as that was for the physicians, it was more surprising to their patients, about 12 of whom where in the waiting room when the docs were ousted. West Penn wasn't commenting on their hasty action, so I will. What were you thinking? Unless these physicians did something illegal, or posed some immediate threat to their patients, this was dumb! We are a nation in the midst of a growing physician shortage. This is hardly the sort of behavior you can put on a recruiting poster. [Read More]
Leaders Forum

Weathering the Financial Storm
Everyone is feeling the pinch of the ailing economy. Meanwhile, the government is tightening reimbursement regulations and seemingly trying to take back money it has already paid hospitals. What can hospitals do to weather this financial storm? The obvious answer is anything that will improve the bottom line. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

Florida hospital's executives get dramatic pay hikes
The Ledger (Lakeland, FL) ? November 12, 2008
HCA to conserve cash, pay debt with bonds
The Tennessean ? November 7, 2008
Intestinal pathogen a growing threat
Wall Street Journal (subscription required) ? November 11, 2008
U.S. hospitals use more antibiotics despite concerns
Reuters ? November 12, 2008
Expecting donations to fall, hospitals brace for bad news
New York Times ? November 11, 2008
Parents protest Tampa Bay, FL, doctor ? November 12, 2008

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

5 Ways to Hospital-Physician Quality: Goals, Incentives, Dialogue, Staff, IT (Live)
Grow Outpatient Revenues Now: 3 Impact Strategies (Live)
What Your Practice Is Worth: Calculating Fair Market Value (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
Has the slowing economy forced you to cancel, delay or reconsider renovation or construction projects at your hospital? If you're going ahead with your project, have you had to change financing plans because of the market conditions? What financing options are you using?
Audio Feature
Costs of the Credit Deep Freeze: Al Stubblefield, CEO of the Baptist Health Care Corporation, discusses the freeze in the credit markets and how that's affecting hospitals' expansion and M&A plans for the coming year and beyond. [Listen Now]