HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - January 14, 2009
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Obama Will Be a
Boon for Rural Health
John Commins, Editor, Community Hospitals
Judging by his comments on the campaign trail, and by the people he's picked for key Cabinet posts, I believe that the Obama presidency will be a boon for rural health. Here's why. [Read More]
January 14, 2009
Editor's Picks

Hospital layoffs roundup: Grim news from across the nation
I wanted to get some idea of how widespread the hospital layoffs are becoming. So, I Googled "hospital" and "layoff" and "2009" and I got five hits on the first page: Of course, if you looked at the newspapers last week, you could also find stories showing that the healthcare sector created about 372,000 new jobs in 2008—one of the few sectors in the economy that saw job growth. Widespread layoffs and healthy job growth! What does this say about the state of healthcare in the United States these days?

Pundit recommends buying off opponents to healthcare reform
As long as we're talking politics, here's an interesting opinion piece in The New Republic from Jacob S. Hacker, co-director of the Center for Health, Economic, and Family Security at U.C. Berkeley. With deficit spending expected to soar in an effort to stave off an economic depression, Hacker offers the Obama Administration a very practical strategy for getting opponents to support whatever healthcare plan he ends up proposing: Buy them off! "Britain's health minister was once asked how he had gotten doctors on board for the National Health Service," Hacker writes. "His reply: 'I stuffed their mouths with gold.' Money may not change everything, but it does make it easier to win friends, or at least divide and placate them." [Read More]

Long-term effects of ICU stays prompt physical, psychological health concerns
While physicians and hospital administrators may consider every discharge from the ICU a success story, it appears to be more complicated than that. Researchers who've tracked ICU patients for weeks and months after discharge are reporting long-term physical and psychological damage. In some instances, there are reports of post-traumatic stress disorder, even among patients who were heavily sedated. These ill affects have prompted some ICUs to try unusual therapies to help their patients cope, including brief walks for patients who are gravely ill and who must stagger around with IVs and feeding tubes attached. [Read More]

St. Bernard Parish ponders two sites for post-Katrina hospital
It's been almost 3.5 years since Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans and flooded out the only hospital serving neighboring St. Bernard Parish. But ever so slowly, progress is being made. The parish now has obtained $58 million to fund the construction of a new hospital but has to decide where to build it. The primary concern for parish hospital board members is the financial viability of the future hospital. They want to locate it on a site that will allow for future expansion and additional outpatient and diagnostic services. "We don't want to delay the hospital. That is not the goal here. But if the hospital is built and it does not survive, that would be a total disaster," Bryan Bertucci, MD, the parish's coroner and a hospital service district board member tells the Times-Picayune. "You owe it to the residents to make sure this thing is financially able to survive after you build the building itself." [Read More]
Leaders Forum

Key Trends and Implications for 2009
HealthLeaders Media contributor Steven T. Valentine discusses 10 trends that will have a significant impact on the healthcare delivery system, and where senior leaders and board members should be concentrating their efforts in the difficult year ahead. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-Iowa to cut 80 jobs
AP/Chicago Tribune ? January 14, 2009
Surgeon shortage pushes hospitals to hire temps
Wall Street Journal (subscription required) ? January 13, 2009
Trustees urge raise for Salinas, CA, hospital CEO
Monterey County Herald ? January 12, 2009
UnitedHealth Settles Suit Over Systemic Underpayment
Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media ? January 13, 2009
Utah health data network poised for exchange
Healthcare IT News ? January 14, 2009
New West Virginia University Hospitals-East hospital chief details new project
The Journal ? January 14, 2009

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

Incentive-Based Compensation Plans to Enhance Physician Performance (Live)
Strategic Marketing Lessons from Other Industries (Live)
Service Line Strategies Workshop 2009: Women's Health (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
Where do you think the Obama Administration could best focus its energies to improve rural healthcare access and delivery?
Audio Feature
What Can Your Hospital Learn from Other Industries? Diane Stover of Memorial Hospital and Health System in South Bend, IN, talks about how healthcare organizations can benefit from conducting "innovisits" with companies in other industries. [Listen Now]
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