HealthLeaders Media Finance - February 23, 2009 | Healthcare, Meet the Great Deleveraging View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Healthcare, Meet the Great Deleveraging
Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Finance

Debt is a proverbial four-letter word these days, and not just because it actually has four letters. After years of easy money and low interest rates, the worm has turned—and quickly. The hospitals that are thriving five or 10 years from now will be those that focused their attention on improving operations and growing organically right now. [Read More]

  February 23, 2009

Editor's Picks
Commonwealth Fund comes up with new nationwide health insurance plan
The Commonwealth Fund has proposed a comprehensive mix of public and private sources of health insurance that would in return require people to carry health insurance. The plan reflects the political reality that it would be near impossible to get a universal, government-run health insurance plan approved even in a heavily Democratic legislative and executive landscape. The plan would be similar to the public-private partnership that created the state of Massachusetts' health plan—a two-year-old program that requires people to carry health insurance or face tax penalties. Similar carrot-stick incentives exist in that plan to encourage businesses to cover their employees. Commonwealth's plan is similar in many ways to plans outlined by other lobbying/public interest groups like the American Hospital Association, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and the Federation of American hospitals. Most of us agree that the current "system" is too expensive and doesn't deliver the quality people deserve for their money. My hope is that we can find some common ground among these plans and get this thing done once and for all. [Read More]
Looking for a break in the clouds
Looking to borrow money for your hospital or health system? It's getting better out there, says Jim Cain, although borrowing is still much more difficult and more expensive than it was, say, two years ago. [Read More]
Stimulus Spends On Healthcare Today To Save For Tomorrow
Here's a succinct analysis of the healthcare portion of the new $787 billion stimulus package signed into law by President Obama last week by my colleague John Commins. Among the nuggets: If you don't take advantage of the money available to outfit yourself with an EMR, don't be surprised if you're not able to do business with Medicare in a few years. [Read More]
Finance Forum
10 Critical Actions to Minimize RAC Recoupment
As hospitals watch their self-pay accounts receivable and bad debt increase, they find themselves in a bind. On the one hand, they know that the cost of collecting from patients is high, and that the likelihood of getting paid drops after patients leave the hospital. On the other hand, they must be sensitive to community relations and their social mission. But there is a bit of an ironic solution. Automating the self-pay financial clearance and collection process helps patients pay their bills. [Read More]
Finance Headlines
Recession weakens hospitals' capital spending projects
Dallas Morning News - February 16, 2009
Virginia board ends seven years of debate on Broadlands hospital
Washington Post - February 19, 2009
U.S. to compare medical treatments under stimulus law
New York Times - February 15, 2009
Healthcare winners and losers in the stimulus package
Los Angeles Times - February 17, 2009
Pennsylvania hospital shuts down
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - February 13, 2009
Wellpoint to pay $10 million to replace Ingenix database
Wall Street Journal - February 19, 2009
Top five indicators of your hospital's financial strength
Sg2 Health Care Intelligence - February 11, 2009
Union wants Boston's Beth Israel to reevaluate ties with stockbroker board member
Boston Globe - February 19, 2009
Alabama hospitals battle over proposed new medical center
Birmingham News - February 18, 2009
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Back to Basics
HealthLeaders August 2008 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]
Money Talk

Lee Memorial Health System, Ft. Myers, FL
Rating: A
Outlook: Negative
Affected Debt: $180 million
Agency: Standard & Poor's
Remarks: Outlook revised to negative because of considerably weaker operating results and cash flow than projected at the time of financing.
[Read More]
Audio Feature

Vulture Valuations: Leigh Walton, a partner with the law firm of Bass Berry and Sims and the co-chair of that firm's Healthcare Practice Group, discusses the prospects for healthcare M&A in the coming year and beyond.
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