HealthLeaders Media Finance - March 30, 2009 | Bundling: Is What's Good for the Consumer Good for You? View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Bundling: Is What's Good
For the Consumer Good for You?

Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Finance

I write about a variety of subjects that I think are, or ought to be, important to those of you running finance at healthcare organizations. You're quick to let me know when I'm off target, and quick to praise when I'm on. I appreciate that. Recently, I wrote a column on the President's idea to "bundle" healthcare payments. [Read More]

  March 30, 2009

Editor's Picks
Insurers offer to soften a key rate-setting policy
In an attempt to head off further regulation, insurers have offered to remove pre-existing conditions from their rate-setting criteria. It remains to be seen whether doing so will matter much, except in the individual market, which until now has been one of the few rapidly growing sectors of the health insurance market. This move, should it actually come to pass, should be a positive for hospitals because such patients in the past may have received care as uninsured, often contributing to hospitals' bad debt problems. [Read More]
Blue Cross Official: Medicare Advantage Cuts Will Increase Premiums, Force Millions Out of Program
My colleague Les Masterson has an interesting analysis here regarding Medicare Advantage. Democrats have hated the program since its inception during the Bush administration, and figure that its high administration costs are too big a pill to swallow in a healthcare budget that seems to grow exponentially year after year. Clearly, they're a moneymaker for health plans, so they can be expected to resist change, but what about seniors who like their plan and have come to depend on it rather than traditional Medicare? Getting these rolled out so seniors could understand was hard enough. Is it really prudent to remove the incentive for health plan participation just when seniors who have chosen to go with Medicare Advantage are getting used to it? [Read More]
Philadelphia's Northeastern Hospital to close
Admittedly unscientific, it seems as though I've seen at least one hospital closure a week in monitoring the news over the past few weeks. As I wrote back in November, it's probably good for the rest of the struggling herd of hospitals that a few weak players are being weeded out, but as many of you know it's not that simple in the hospital business. The issue is, contrary to how things work in other industries, the hospitals that close typically are dealing with a higher portion of the uninsured and money-losing Medicaid patients. Those patients have to go somewhere, and they will likely cut into the strained balance sheets at better-performing hospitals as the shaky economy continues. [Read More]
Finance Forum
Physician-Hospital Alignment Isn't Just About Playing Good Defense
When it comes to their position in the marketplace, hospitals often look at physician-hospital alignment as a defensive strategy—a way not to lose their current referral base and market share. However, not only is physician-hospital alignment an essential strategy to improving market position, it is an imperative in these trying economic times that are impacting hospitals and physician practices alike. [Read More]
Finance Headlines
UConn officials say governor's position on hospital merger a mistake
Hartford Courant - March 25, 2009
Florida's Baycare plans $200 million bond offering
Tampa Bay Business Journal - March 24, 2009
St. Francis may put Indianapolis construction project on hold due to economy
Indianapolis Star - March 21, 2009
New York City hospital system to cut jobs and programs
New York Times - March 19, 2009
University of California Regents concerned about finances for MLK Hospital
Los Angeles Times - March 20, 2009
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
SOS: Public Hospitals
HealthLeaders August 2008 On the brink even during good economic times, many public hospitals are operating in technical insolvency amid a painful recession. But they 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]
Money Talk

Moses Taylor Hospital, Scranton, PA
Rating: B-
Outlook: Stable
Affected Debt: $33.7 million
Agency: Standard & Poor's
Remarks: Outlook revised from negative because of revenue initiatives and charge increases that should yield positive results.
[Read More]
Audio Feature

Finance Leaders Survey: John Winfrey, CFO at DCH Health System in Tuscaloosa, AL, offers insights on the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2009, discussing the top drivers of healthcare costs and the financial implications of possible healthcare reform plans. [Listen Now]

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