HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - March 25, 2009 View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free

Tiny Texas Hospital Grabs EHR Bull by the Horns
John Commins, Editor, Community Hospitals
With the federal government offering about $36 billion over the next seven years to incentivize health IT, several strategies are emerging among hospitals grappling with how to undertake the task. Some hospitals are taking it very slow and waiting to see what guidelines and standards emerge from the federal bureaucracy, waiting to see other providers succeed or fail, and waiting to see if EHR actually works. But don't count Parkview Hospital in Wheeler, TX, among the wait-and-see crowd. [Read More]
March 25, 2009
Editor's Picks

The house call, once near extinction, is making a comeback
The Washington Post has an interesting story about the return of the house call by physicians, nurses, and other providers. The main impetus for the move back home may be Medicare changes that make house calls more easily billable. This is smart policy. As the nation grays, expect the number of house calls to increase. In many instances, it makes more sense to see elderly, chronically ill, and infirmed people in their own homes, where they are more at ease in a comfortable and familiar setting. In northern states, seeing patients at home reduces the wintertime risk that they may become either snow-bound, or injured attempting to navigate icy sidewalks and streets. (It'd be interesting to know the numbers of elderly who are injured while on their way to the doctors' office.) Medicare modified its billing procedures in 1998, making it easier for practitioners to receive payment for home visits to the elderly and chronically ill and increasing payments by 50%. Since then, the Post reports, Medicare statistics show a large bump in physician house calls, from 1.5 million in 2000 to almost 2.2 million in 2007. [Read More]

New York program brings doctors to remote, underserved regions
New York State is awarding at least $22 million over the next five years under a grant program to get more doctors into the secluded corners of Upstate New York and poor neighborhoods around New York City. The program—Doctors Across New York—is supposed to help the more than 25% of New York's population living in areas designated as underserved. About $11 million of grant money will help doctors repay medical school loans in exchange for a five-year commitment to work in underserved communities. The remaining $11 million will be used to help physicians expand or establish medical practices. [Read More]

Business booms at Iowa discount clinics
When people lose their jobs, it usually means they lose their health insurance. So, when they need healthcare, they'll shop around for a bargain. Planned Parenthood, for example, says its 18 Des Moines, IA-area health centers saw 19,000 patients in the six months that ended Jan. 31, a 34% increase from the same period a year earlier. Planned Parenthood says uninsured patients know the agency charges on a sliding scale, with lower fees for people with smaller incomes. At the Free Clinics of Iowa, volunteer nurses and doctors saw an 80% increase in patients from 2005 to 2007. Expect those numbers to hold steady or grow as long as the economy sputters. [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 30. [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

A health plan for all and the concerns it raises
New York Times ? March 25, 2009
Insurers offer to soften a key rate-setting policy
New York Times ? March 25, 2009
Maryland Medicaid crackdown can't beat industry opposition
Baltimore Sun ? March 25, 2009
Fewer than 1,000 enroll in Cover Florida
Tampa Bay Business Journal ? March 25, 2009
Many health insurance rates going up this year in Washington state
Seattle Post-Intelligencer ? March 25, 2009
Report: Texas health insurance costs have risen 7 times faster than incomes
Dallas Morning News ? March 25, 2009

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

Service Lines Strategies Workshop: Cardiovascular Physician Alignment (Live)
Compensation Packages to Recruit and Retain Physicians in Today's Economy (Live)
Marketing Neurosciences: Service Line Strategies for Marketers (Live)
Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Joint Replacement (Live)
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SOS: Public Hospitals
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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]