HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - March 18, 2009 View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free

Feds Whistleblower Suit Sends Message to Healthcare
John Commins, Editor, Community Hospitals
The U.S. Justice Department has intervened in a 4-year-old whistleblower suit filed in New Mexico against Community Health Systems Inc. By doing so, President Obama is sending a message to the healthcare sector that there is a new sheriff in town. [Read More]
March 18, 2009
Editor's Picks

Unions' disunity is hurting the message
Unions are holding all the cards and poised to make some of the biggest membership gains in decades. There is a huge demand for healthcare workers, meaning the unions will be in a very strong position when it comes time to negotiate. They've got a strong friend in the White House with President Obama, who has promised to sign the so-called "check card" legislation that will aggressively increase union rolls. With the economy in tatters, Americans are coming more and more to see that unions are among the few entities addressing their concerns. So, with all this going on for them, what do the unions do? Schism! There's news out that the newly formed National Union of Healthcare Workers has been formed and recognized by North American Healthcare as the representatives for employees in more than 350 nursing homes in Northern California. But the SEIU and United Healthcare Workers West aren't recognizing the upstart union and they've vowed to fight it out. Nice going guys! Who needs conservative union bashers and right-wing kooks tearing down organized labor when the unions are doing it themselves? [Read More]

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas leads efforts towards healthcare reform
Tired of those annoying GOP gasbags and naysayers who populate the blogosphere and hog the airtime on cable news? Those hard-right ideologues who are still arguing about the New Deal and Roosevelt have already relegated the Republican Party to a regional party of the Bible Belt. But there is a small group of moderate Republican governors who may be the party's best hope of entering the 21st Century and they're led by unassuming guys like Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Don't be surprised if President Obama turns to these moderate Republicans for support as the battle over his healthcare reforms—whatever they eventually will be—intensifies. [Read More]

The more-devout want more care
This story seems counterintuitive. JAMA reports that terminally ill cancer patients who are devoutly religious are more likely to seek aggressive treatment than are the less devout. Obviously, one would think the opposite would be true. "People think that spiritual patients are more likely to say their lives are in God's hands—'Let what happens happen'—but in fact we know they want more aggressive care," said Holly G. Prigerson, the study's senior author and director of the Center for Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "To religious people, life is sacred and sanctified, and there's a sense they feel it's their duty and obligation to stay alive as long as possible." [Read More]

UC Irvine uses med students to staff health clinics
Talk about on-the-job experience. The physician shortage has gotten so bad in some parts of California that the UC-Irvine Outreach Clinic is using medical and nursing students to treat the poor and uninsured. The Los Angeles Times reports that some of the students are fresh out of undergraduate studies. Outreach Clinic opened in November and it's reportedly already having a positive effect on reducing emergency room visits for primary care. But rather than just providing poor and uninsured patients with a temporary fix, the clinic hopes to provide comprehensive healthcare that would include taking detailed medical histories, scheduling follow-up visits, providing necessary exams, and free or reduced-cost medications. While it's heartening to see these young medical professionals taking the initiative on such an important issue, it's also frustrating that we have to rely on students to deliver healthcare to such a fragile population. [Read More]

Are You Part of a Top Leadership Team?
HealthLeaders Media is gearing up for its fifth year of the Top Leadership Teams in Healthcare program that recognizes the best in senior leadership teamwork at hospitals, health plans, and medical group practices. This year's winners will be honored during HealthLeaders Media '09: The Hospital of the Future Now, an event planned for October 15-16 at The Palmer House in Chicago. If you and your organization have an outstanding teamwork story to share, go to the Top Leadership Teams site to learn more about the six categories, download an entry form, and submit your entry. The deadline to submit is April 29. [Learn More]
Leaders Forum

Five Action Steps to Help You Lead in Times of Economic Crisis
The economic crisis is presenting leaders with unforeseen challenges, and many of those leaders are not prepared to respond effectively, says HealthLeaders Media contributor Dan Sinnott. Here, Sinnott provides five actions that enable leaders to turn a crisis into an opportunity. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

Team effort in the House to overhaul healthcare
New York Times ? March 18, 2009
Milton (MA) Hospital finances in a bind
Boston Globe ? March 17, 2009
Stimulus Dollars Go to Medicaid, Health Clinics
Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media ? March 16, 2009
Wyoming pushes for more long-distance healthcare
AP/USA Today ? March 16, 2009
Information technology holds promise for advancing healthcare
Los Angeles Times ? March 16, 2009

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

Marketing Neurosciences: Service Line Strategies for Marketers (Live)
Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Joint Replacement (Live)
5 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience at Your Hospital (Live)
Solving Your Nurse Shortage: Long-Term Strategies That Work (On Demand)
From HealthLeaders Magazine
SOS: Public Hospitals
  On the brink even during good economic times, public hospitals can take heart from following the example of two that have managed well. [Read More]
Service Line Management
Beyond Obstetrics
  A changing female demographic has created new opportunities for hospitals to grow the women's health service line into much more than just labor and delivery. [Read More]