HealthLeaders Media Finance - December 15, 2008 | Benefit Plans That Limit Everything But Your Losses View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Benefit Plans That Limit
Everything But Your Losses

Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Finance

If you're fed up with high-deductible health plans, so-called limited-benefit plans should be making steam come out of your ears. They've been around for a few years, but their growth is accelerating. And they're now being offered not only by the usual fly-by-night suspects, but also by well-known traditional health insurance plans like Blue Cross and Blue Shield. [Read More]
  December 15, 2008

Editor's Picks
Weak oversight lets bad hospitals stay open
Is it weak oversight that's letting bad hospitals stay open, or is it more a system that pays based on procedures whether they are of good or poor quality? This article suggests that some sort of national oversight board would reduce this problem, but I'm not so sure another bureaucracy is the answer. Certainly the patchwork quilt of regulators out there now aren't solving the problem, and neither is Medicare's threats of nonpayment for certain hospital-acquired conditions, but it's a start. Perhaps a national enforcement board could make a difference if it had the right powers, but the local political pressure that's applied when a hospital is in danger of closing is a powerful force to try to combat. [Read More]
Boston tax hunt targets exempt hospitals
How does a local government get tax-exempt organizations to voluntarily pay taxes? Perhaps anyone who's interested should ask Boston, which already gets its financially well-off academic institutions to give it $32.4 million annually in "payments in lieu of taxes." Still, Boston would like them to pay more, as Mayor Thomas Menino is forming a task force to negotiate better payments from universities and hospitals. The city has already come out with numbers to back what some may see as strong-arm tactics: the institutions would pay between $300 million and $400 million if they were not tax-exempt. Sounds to me like they're not really tax exempt as it stands, but that's another story. [Read More]
Big donors to get naming rights at new Parkland Hospital
There's a new meaning for "Big D" in Big D. That is, big donations. Turns out that naming rights for trauma centers and burn centers, surgery suites and even patient rooms are up for grabs for high-level donors to the new Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Southwest Airlines Burn Center anyone? Don't look for anything like what some politicians in New York want to do with the new Mets stadium, which is to be named Citi Field, not Citi/Taxpayer Field, as some wags have suggested, in light of the massive financial bailout we're all paying for. I think it's a great idea. How about the Frito-Lay/Taxpayer Trauma Center. Has a nice ring to it, is all I'm saying. [Read More]
Happy Holidays!
From all of us at HealthLeaders Media, have a happy and safe holiday. HealthLeaders Media Finance will not publish next week, but will be back December 29.
Finance Forum
Battling the Downturn
If there's one thing that healthcare professionals have learned in these trying economic times, it's that despite some claims to the contrary, the healthcare industry certainly isn't recession-proof. HealthLeaders Media guest columnist Mike Alkire offers some suggestions on what your hospital can do to minimize the effects of the economic crisis. [Read More]
Finance Headlines
Ascension still committed to Caritas deal
Boston Globe - December 9, 2008
Michigan hospitals feeling financial pain
Detroit Free Press - December 7, 2008
Twin Cities health groups to cut 613 jobs
Minneapolis Star-Tribune - December 8, 2008
Louisiana hospital seeks money to build
New Orleans Times-Picayune - December 10, 2008
Aurora Health to buy stake in Franklin, WI, surgery center
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel - December 8, 2008
Georgia hospital begs county commission to back $40M bond
Atlanta Journal-Constitution - December 9, 2008
Novant hospital still nixed, appeal planned
The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area - December 9, 2008
Experian to add work for hospitals
Wall Street Journal (subscription required) - December 10, 2008
From HealthLeaders Magazine
20 People Who Make Healthcare Better
HealthLeaders July 2008 In our annual HealthLeaders 20, we offer profiles of individuals who are making a difference in today's complex healthcare world. [Read More]
Service Line Management
Here Come the Seniors
The well-documented influx of baby boomer patients promises to increase the already high demand for senior services. But the prospect of expanding a service line that relies so heavily on Medicare has some hospital leaders jittery. [Read More]
Money Talk

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, Baton Rouge, LA
Rating: Aaa
Outlook: Stable
Affected Debt: $50 million
Agency: Moody's Investors Service
Remarks: Upgraded from A1 in conjunction with the conversion of its bonds from auction-rate mode to daily rate mode, and the delivery of an irrevocable letter of credit from JPMorgan Chase Bank. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Sea Change With Hospital Debt: As hospitals have lost insurance on their bonds due to failures at traditional bond insurers, investors are insisting that hospitals' debt be insured by their performance, says Thomas Royer, MD, president and CEO of Christus Health. [Listen Now]

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