HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - November 19, 2008 View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free

Obama's a Great
Unknown for Rural Health
John Commins, Editor, Community Hospitals
Will President-elect Barack Obama be a plus or a minus for rural healthcare? Medical economist Jeff Bauer says it's hard to say because the president-elect and product of Chicago doesn't have a history on the issue in his few years in the U.S. Senate. [Read More]
November 19, 2008
Editor's Picks

Healthcare lobbyists advance on Capitol
Healthcare lobbyists from all parts of the spectrum are storming Congress again pushing their particular pet plan for the nation's scarce public healthcare dollars. The AARP wants more money for state Medicaid programs and a healthcare stimulus package. Joining AARP in the halls of power are the advocates for a single-payer healthcare system, which just about everybody with a say-so says is off the board. On the other side of the chasm are advocates for Medicare Part D, the controversial love child of the now-defunct GOP Congress, lame duck President George Bush, and the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Part D—seen by many as a taxpayer-funded sop to drug and health plans—could see some changes under the Democrats, such as negotiated drug prices. [Read More]

Hospital delays plans to close natural birthing center
Pram-pushing, progeny-packing, pro-pediatric protestors apparently have prompted Beverly Hospital to delay a plan to cease deliveries at the hospital's natural birthing center, one of only two such facilities in the state. While acknowledging the effectiveness of the grassroots protest, Northeast Health System, which owns the hospital, says it will continue to examine the issue and has not ruled out closing the birthing center at a later date. [Read More]

Hospital layoffs updates in Tennessee, Ohio
More bad news for the "recession-proof" hospital industry. HCA Inc., the nation's largest hospital chain, is closing the emergency department at is 38-bed hospital in Portland, TN, north of Nashville. The cuts are expected to affect about 60 employees and officials at the hospital are calling it a "prudent business strategy given the current business environment we face today." In a separate item, TriStar Health System, an HCA subsidiary, will cut 50 administrative and management jobs next year. There is also news of layoffs at the MetroHealth System in Cleveland, where 112 positions—many unfilled—will be eliminated in the coming year.

LA governor proposes Medicaid restructuring
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has offered an outline for a dramatic restructuring of the state's $7 billion Medicaid system, which serves about 4.3 million poor Louisianans. The proposal—Louisiana Health First—essentially restructures the Medicaid program by creating private managed-care networks to deliver the healthcare. Whether or not the plan has any traction, it is sure to get a lot of attention because Jindal is seen as a rising star in the GOP and is often mentioned as a leading presidential candidate in 2012. So, it will be interesting to see how the Obama administration reacts to a sweeping plan proposed by a potential future opponent. [Read More]

Happy Thanksgiving!
From all of us at HealthLeaders Media, have a happy Thanksgiving holiday. HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly will not publish next week, but will be back December 3.
Leaders Forum

Healthcare Transactions in a Challenging Capital Market
Although healthcare transaction activity has slowed during the downturn in the economy—particularly with regard to acquisitions by private equity buyers—investment banks, private equity houses, hedge funds, and lenders continue to aggressively seek healthcare deals. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

AARP orders investigation concerning its health insurance marketing
New York Times ? November 19, 2008
Pilot program to put AZ Medicare patients records online
Cronkite News Service/Arizona Star ? November 19, 2008
GE, Mayo Clinic, others develop health record tech
Cleveland Plain Dealer ? November 19, 2008
Ted Kennedy asks Hillary Clinton to head Senate healthcare team
Los Angeles Times ? November 19, 2008
Editorial rips care for chronic illness in U.S.
New York Times ? November 19, 2008

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