HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - January 21, 2009
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Want to Teach Docs New Tricks? Get 'em While They're Young
John Commins, Editor, Community Hospitals
The way medical care is delivered has to change quickly to adapt both to a shortage of physicians and an aging and chronically sicker demographic. This is particularly true in rural America. [Read More]
January 21, 2009
Editor's Picks

Now that the party's over, healthcare tops Obama's priorities list
The transition from candidate to nominee to president-elect to the nation's 44th president was completed on Tuesday for President Barack Obama. Now comes the hard part. At his inaugural speech, Obama acknowledged that the nation was enduring a "winter of our hardship," and he reiterated his plans for massive federal spending to jumpstart the economy, particularly in areas like alternative energy, infrastructure repair, and healthcare. Stay tuned. [Read More]

Iowa hospitals see uninsured patient volume soar
The problem with so many of these economy-related healthcare stories are that for anyone paying attention, this really isn't news. Iowa hospitals are seeing an increase in uninsured patients! Stop the presses! What is really, truly frightening about all of this, is that nobody knows where the bottom is. How deep with this recession go? How many more hospitals will shutter, or cut services, or layoff staff? The Iowa Hospital Association, using full-charge figures, said statewide charity-care services jumped 26% in the third quarter of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007. There is nothing to suggest that the economy will get better anytime soon. [Read More]

MRSA spikes in children's ear, nose and throat infections
The Associated Press is reporting that researchers have found an "alarming" increase in children's ear, nose and throat infections nationwide caused by dangerous drug-resistant staph germs. Other studies have shown rising numbers of skin infections in adults and children caused by these germs, nicknamed MRSA, but this is the first nationwide report on how common they are in deeper tissue infections in the head and neck, the study authors said. These include certain ear and sinus infections, and abscesses that can form in the tonsils and throat. The study found a total of 21,009 pediatric head and neck infections caused by staph germs from 2001 through 2006. The percentage caused by hard-to-treat MRSA bacteria more than doubled during that time from almost 12% to 28%. [Read More]

Hospital misery update: Grim news from around the nation
This is getting to be a weekly event here at Community and Rural Hospitals. These stories speak for themselves: As I said before, this is neither a comprehensive nor a chronological list of layoffs. My methodology is simple. I go to Google, type in "hospital," "layoffs," and "2009" and list whatever pops up on the first few pages.

Healthcare among few bright spots in U.S. employment picture
On the other hand . . . Here's a piece from the Wall Street Journal. Yes, for all the misery out there, the healthcare sector is about the only "industry" seeing job growth. The story was undoubtedly influence by my own trenchant analysis this week on our Human Resources pillar which said pretty much the same thing, only better, and earlier. [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

Boston hospitals not paying fair share, group says
Boston Globe ? January 21, 2009
St. Charles County, MO, hospital will add office space
St. Louis Post-Dispatch ? January 20, 2009
Baptist appeals Novant Health's Clemmons, NC, hospital
The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area ? January 20, 2009
Healthcare meets social networking
Jacksonville Business Journal ? January 21, 2009
Incentives push more doctors to e-prescribe
Wall Street Journal (subscription required) ? January 21, 2009
St. Bernard Parish wants to take on hospital
New Orleans Times-Picayune ? January 21, 2009
Rhode Island hospitals: Cuts in budget could 'destroy us'
Providence Journal ? January 20, 2009
Bristol (CT) Hospital ends 2008 with small profit
Hartford Courant ? January 20, 2009

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

ED Overhaul 2009: Five Improvements to Make Today (Live)
Incentive-Based Compensation Plans to Enhance Physician Performance (Live)
Strategic Marketing Lessons from Other Industries (Live)
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Flat-World Healthcare
The Globalization of healthcare is no longer an uncertain trend in the distant future. [Read More]
Service Line Management
A Spinal Shift
As minimally invasive procedures consume a larger portion of spinal care, provider organizations have many opportunities—and challenges—in an increasingly outpatient service line. [Read More]
Community Call
Discussion Board
Do you have any idea when this recession will bottom out? How is the economic crisis affecting operations at your hospital?
Audio Feature
Five-Minute House Call with Country Doctor of the Year: An interview with David Watson, MD, a family practitioner for more than 50 years in Yoakum, TX, who was recently named Country Doctor of the Year by physician staffing group Staff Care. Doc Watson, as he is known around Yoakum, shares his thoughts about the "vanishing breed" of doctors who dedicate their careers and their lives to the tiny rural communities they serve. [Listen Now]
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