HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - April 1, 2009 View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free

Local Hospitals Drive
Local Economies
John Commins, Editor, Community Hospitals
As important as community and rural hospitals are to the physical and mental well-being of the people they serve, these little hospitals are also economic dynamos that play a huge role in business development in their communities. [Read More]
April 1, 2009
Editor's Picks

Kaiser Permanente fires snooping employees
Bravo! The Los Angeles Times reports that 15 employees at Kaiser Permanente were fired and eight disciplined after testing revealed computer breaches at the Bellflower, CA, hospital, where Nadya Suleman gave birth to octuplets in January. Whatever our personal opinions of Ms. Suleman may be, (and, who doesn't have an opinion?) that in no way justifies this invasion of her medical files. This is a real hot button issue for me because it's fairly unequivocal. Either your hospital can be trusted or it can't. If patients can't have confidence in something as fundamental as this, they really can't have confidence in anything a hospital does. KP sent a strong message to its employees and customers that these violations will not be tolerated. [Read More]

Senate Democrats consider budget shortcut
There's a good piece in today's Washington Post about a divisive "reconciliation" procedure that Democrats are considering if they can't get Senate Republicans to support their healthcare package in the budget. While it may eventually ensure passage of healthcare legislation, it could also deeply polarize the debate, even more so than now. What? You expected this to be easy? [Read More]

Taxing healthcare benefits, an idea that won't go away
Be prepared to hear a lot more about this in the coming months, because this is an issue that will not go away. The Los Angeles Times reports that a growing number of Republicans and Democrats are more willing to discuss taxing some healthcare benefits to help pay for the enormous costs of reforming healthcare, which includes expanding coverage to 46 million uninsured Americans. [Read More]

Walgreens to offer free clinic services for unemployed patients
Is this purely symbolic? Will it help reduce hospital congestion? I don't know. But I like it, even if it is primarily a publicity stunt or a way to gin up new business. Walgreen's 700 or so Take Care clinics will provide free care for existing patients and their families who lost their jobs, effective this week, for the rest of 2009. There is a catch. The offer covers only existing patients who lose their jobs. Clients who become clinic customers in coming months—and who subsequently lose their jobs—will be eligible for the program, Walgreens told the Chicago Tribune. Walgreens won't disclose what sort of economic impact this may have on their business. [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

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—as 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]
This Week's Headlines

HHS nominee Sebelius amends tax returns
Wall Street Journal ? April 1, 2009
Health insurers face skeptical Senate panel
New York Times ? April 1, 2009
Columbia, TN-based Maury Regional Medical Center to cut 25 jobs
The Tennessean ? March 31, 2009
Possible cuts to Georgia Medicaid payments called 'devastating'
Atlanta Journal-Constitution ? March 30, 2009
Prince William Health System to join NC-based Novant
Washington Post ? March 30, 2009
Community health centers getting a U.S. booster shot
Philadelphia Inquirer ? March 30, 2009
Washington state hospitals to trim workers
AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer ? March 30, 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)
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]