HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - January 28, 2009 View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free

Community Hospital's Work Makes the Grade
John Commins, Editor, Community Hospitals
Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna, OH, 35 miles southeast of Cleveland, has made HealthGrades list of Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence. Robinson, a community hospital with 150 staffed beds, serves the 12,100 residents of Ravenna and the 142,585 or so souls living in Portage County. [Read More]
January 28, 2009
Editor's Picks

Snakebite! Unemployed workers can't afford COBRA
This just in from the Department of Duh! Here's the scenario: You've lost your job and you're giddy with the thought of making ends meet with that temporary unemployment check for $300 of $400 that you get every week or so. With that, you're expected to provide food and shelter and healthcare for your family. The problem is that the same family coverage that cost you about $3,200 a year when you had a job and a revenue stream will now cost you $13,000 when you have no way to pay for it. Thus, only 9% of eligible unemployed workers use it, the Commonwealth Fund reports. I've never understood COBRA, maybe because I've never been able to afford COBRA when I've needed it, just like the 91% of unemployed workers who don't use it. To me, it's a cynical and deviously devised faux safety net program that politicians and health insurance companies tout to show that our healthcare delivery system is compassionate and that people won't fall through the cracks. [Read More]

Grady Memorial bills other counties $75 million for care
Out-of-county deadbeats and charity patients are always a source of irritation for metropolitan health systems. But the issue tends to flare up during tough economic times, like now. Cash-strapped Grady Memorial in Atlanta has sent the doughnut counties a bill for $75 million. Oftentimes these billing disagreements are freighted with other issues, like race and class. The metropolitan areas resent the generally more affluent—and whiter—doughnut counties for ignoring their charity care responsibilities. That's a legitimate gripe but it doesn't mean they'll get paid. [Read More]

Nashville leads effort to combine health payments
Here's an interesting story out of Guitar Town. The Tennessean reports that two Nashville hospital chains are leading the effort to tear down healthcare micro-system "silos" and create a single, comprehensive payment to cover a bundle of services. The CMS-backed demonstration project, called Acute Care Episode Demonstration, is supposed to save money by coordinating clinical oversight for a single episode of care—such as a stroke or coronary arterial bypass surgery. CMS has picked five health systems to participate in the project, including Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa, OK, and Lovelace Health System in Albuquerque, NM, both of which are owned by Ardent Health Services of Nashville. Also selected was Baptist Health System in San Antonio, owned by Vanguard Health System in Nashville. The final two participants are the Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City and Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver. [Read More]
Leaders Forum

Where's the Value in Healthcare?
Patients today seek healthcare information and treatment from a variety of sources, and HealthLeaders contributor John Morrow offers five strategies that healthcare executives can use to better demonstrate their organization's value to these newly empowered consumers. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

Leaders of healthcare workers union are relieved of duty
Los Angeles Times ? January 28, 2009
Some fear window is narrow for healthcare overhaul
Boston Globe ? January 28, 2009
States take aim at Medicaid
Wall Street Journal ? January 28, 2009
Emergency room doctors sue state of California
Los Angeles Times ? January 28, 2009
A giant battle over Medicaid is brewing in Minnesota
Minneapolis Star Tribune ? January 27, 2009
Naperville, IL, hospital given green light for emergency center
Chicago Tribune ? January 28, 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 (On Demand)
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Flat-World Healthcare
  The Globalization of healthcare is no longer an uncertain trend in the distant future. [Read More]