HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - December 17, 2008
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Native Americans Provide Lesson in Patient-Centered Care
John Commins, Editor, Community Hospitals
Imagine going to a hospital where you don't speak the same language, where the staff don't act like you, and where they make references to treatments that are foreign to you. Now maybe you can understand the intimidation that some Native Americans can feel when they enter the hospital. [Read More]
December 17, 2008
Editor's Picks

New medical school opposed by osteopaths
The nation faces a shortage of primary care physicians, so who wouldn't be delighted by the news that the University of North Texas may create a new allopathic medical school? Apparently, osteopaths aren't crazy about the idea. They voted unanimously earlier this month to oppose the idea because they think it will threaten the status of the osteopathic school that has been in place at UNT for several decades. [Read More]

Balanced billing sounds benign, turns malignant
The California Supreme Court is soon expected to take up the issue of "balanced billing," which is what happens when a hospital or a physician gets stiffed by an insurance company and tries to collect from a patient who sought treatment outside of his or her network. A lower court has already upheld a regulation banning the practice but the California Medical Association has appealed. Warning: This issue has tremendous blowback potential for doctors and hospitals. The public is in no mood for stories about bill collectors threatening cash-strapped consumers over $300 emergency room bills. On the other hand, the health insurance industry is already loathed, so they don't really care what people think. [Read More]

States cut back on health budgets
As the recession eats away at tax revenues, the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers have issued reports showing that state governments are reducing spending for the first time since 1983. Sales and income tax collection shortfalls have prompted 22 states to trim their budgets by a combined $12.1 billion for the current fiscal year. The shortfalls could endanger state spending for Medicaid, which is usually the second-largest item in the state budgets after education. These cuts will come at a time when Medicaid enrollment is expected to grow because of rising unemployment. The states are hoping that the incoming Obama administration will provide a greater share of Medicaid funding. [Read More]

Happy Holidays!
From all of us at HealthLeaders Media, have a happy and safe holiday. HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly will not publish next week, but will be back December 31.
Leaders Forum

Are You Ready for Healthcare Reform?
Healthcare reform will likely be one of the top priorities President-elect Barack Obama and his administration tackles in the next couple of years. HealthLeaders Media contributor David Osborn discusses how U.S. hospitals can prepare for the next administration?s healthcare reform policies. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

Clayton County, GA, says no to Southern Regional hospital
Atlanta Journal-Constitution - December 17, 2008
Aliquippa, PA, hospital shuts down abruptly
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - December 15, 2008
In Virginia, concern about hospital's economic effect
Washington Post - December 15, 2008
California primary care doctors struggling to survive
Los Angeles Times - December 15, 2008
Massachusetts hospitals team up to fight cancer
Boston Globe - December 15, 2008

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

Service Line Strategies Workshop 2009: Women's Health (Live)
What Your Practice Is Worth: Calculating Fair Market Value (On Demand)
Grow Outpatient Revenues Now: 3 Impact Strategies (On Demand)

From HealthLeaders Magazine
20 People Who Make Healthcare Better
Healthcare faces a long list of daunting challenges. 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 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]
Community Call
Discussion Board
Is your hospital culturally competent? What steps do you take to ensure that the diverse cultural needs of your patients are met?
Audio Feature
Sea Change With Hospital Debt: As hospitals have lost insurance on their bonds, 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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