HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - February 11, 2009 View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free

Talking 'Bout
Our Generations
John Commins, Editor, Community Hospitals
The other day, one of my co-workers forwarded an e-mail that he'd received from a consultant offering strategies for retaining and motivating "Millennial" workers. And recruiting and retaining workers are among the top priorities of healthcare leaders in rural and urban America, according to the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2009. [Read More]
February 11, 2009
Editor's Picks

HealthLeaders Unveils Health Industry Survey '09
Extra! Extra! If you haven't seen our new HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2009, please take a look now. The Web page features downloadable reports covering CEOs, finance, technology, quality, marketing, health plan, physician, and community and rural leaders. As a special feature, data has been extracted based on community and rural status. The survey includes some common questions for all respondents, and some questions directed to leaders in specific areas. We want feedback from our community and rural readers. Do the survey results surprise you? Do they confirm what you already knew? Or, are they flat-out wrong? Let us know what you think. [Read More]

Tennessee governor takes HHS fight public
Before I joined HealthLeaders Media, I was a reporter for seven years in Nashville, TN, where I covered state politics, including Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and his efforts to reform TennCare, the state's monstrously large Medicaid waiver program. So, I've been closely watching this media speculation about his chances to become the next HHS secretary. The criticism of Bredesen from healthcare coverage advocates is fair—but only if you believe that the sole responsibility of a governor is to provide healthcare for the poor. Bredesen understands that he has to fund public education, public safety, and several other basic and vital programs that all state governments are charged with providing. He also has to provide for a balanced budget in a state with one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation. Yes, he cut TennCare, but only because the run-away program he inherited was growing by double digits annually when he took office and threatened to consume the state's budget.

Can he do the job at HHS? Of course! He's usually the smartest guy in the room and he is very much a problem-solver. Bredesen's biggest obstacle, however, is that he is the polar opposite of Tom Daschle, who was the front-running candidate at HHS until he flunked driver's ed. Daschle is the ultimate insider, the guy who knows how to stroke egos, the guy who knows what buttons to push, and where the bodies are buried. Bredesen would come to Washington, DC, very much the outsider. He couldn't even count on the home-state support of Tennessee Republican Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander.

Beyond that, there is the question of temperament. Simply put, Bredesen doesn't suffer fools gladly, and there are simply too many fools in Washington. I have a hard time believing he could mask his contempt for the do-nothing ideologues and obstructionists who have no idea what it's like to run a large bureaucracy, and who don't know what a balanced budget looks like. On another front, Ron Pollack with Families USA—the consumer group that has aggressively rapped Bredesen—is reporting today that Kansas Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, considered the top candidate, would take the HHS job if it was offered. [Read More]

Leaders Forum

How Post-acute Care Can Improve Hospital Financial Performance
Although the current economic environment is negatively impacting the entire healthcare industry, many health systems are realizing that post-acute programs, which often take a backseat in many hospitals, can generate some much needed financial returns for the organization. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

Analysts say number of uninsured Americans to grow
AP/Yahoo News ? February 11, 2009
Sobering results for cost-cutting Medicare project
AP/Yahoo News ? February 11, 2009
UnitedHealth and IBM test healthcare plan
New York Times ? February 9, 2009
Louisiana hospital empty as debate rages over funds
USA Today ? February 9, 2009
Massachusetts governor issues grants to financially struggling hospitals
Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report ? February 11, 2009
Michigan hospitals need help, association warns
Detroit Free Press ? February 6, 2009

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

Solving Your Nurse Shortage: Long-Term Strategies That Work (Live)
Form 990H: Act Now to Protect Your Reputation (Live)
ED Overhaul 2009: Five Improvements to Make Today (Live)
Incentive-Based Compensation Plans to Enhance Physician Performance (Live)
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Back to Basics
  The strategy for surviving the economic downturn? Invest in core strengths, scrutinize staffing and operations, seize partnership opportunities—and get down to work. [Read More]
Service Line Management
Essential and Expensive
  Patient demand for intensive care services continues to rise—but ICUs cost a ton of money. Here's how some providers are making intensive care worth their financial while. [Read More]
Community Call
Discussion Board
Who do you think President Barack Obama should nominate for HHS secretary now that Tom Daschle is out of the mix?