HealthLeaders Media Corner Office - April 17, 2009 | Attention Joe CEO: Are You Thwarting Your Hospital's Charitable Mission? View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Attention Joe CEO: Are You Thwarting Your Hospital's Charitable Mission?
Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Leadership

The answer is: yes, according to recent research out of the University of Connecticut. Incentives at most nonprofit hospitals and health systems drive the nonprofit healthcare CEO to increase the occupancy rate of privately insured patients at the expense of uncompensated care and public-pay patients, says a University of Connecticut economics professor. Surprised? I'm not. While maximizing profits isn't—and shouldn't be—the highest item on your priority list, you do have to keep the doors open. So rather than dumping on hospital CEOs, I'm sympathetic. But that doesn't mean the current system of incentives couldn't use some tweaks.
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  April 17, 2009

Editor's Picks
California Hospitals Fight for Right to Hire Doctors
I thought all fads started on the West Coast. In this case, California finds itself way behind the times with laws that prevent hospitals from hiring doctors directly under a provision that prohibits the practice in order to avoid the so-called "corporate practice of medicine." According to my colleague Cheryl Clark, hospitals in the state are working to change that law. The effort pits two powerful organizations against each other, with the California Medical Association favoring the status quo and the California Healthcare Foundation, which supports hospitals, favoring a new approach. Hospitals nationwide have gotten back on the physician employment bandwagon in recent years, after nearly abandoning the practice for decades prior, with the exception of a few top-flight organizations like the Cleveland Clinic and Gundersen Lutheran Health System, to name two examples. The reason is because employing physicians aligns their goals with the goals of the hospital. Opponents say allowing hospitals to hire physicians means patient care won't be at the top of the list of physician priorities. Hogwash. The evidence is overwhelming to the contrary. [Read More]
Federal Panel Hears Advice, Concerns About Comparative Effectiveness Research
The new 15-member Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to assist federal agencies in coordinating and comparing the effectiveness of health services research, heard suggestions from the public on April 14 in Washington on where to focus its efforts. The goal of comparative effectiveness research is to provide information on the relative strengths and weaknesses of various medical interventions. But perhaps the larger goal is to provide a basis for value-based purchasing of healthcare services for federal payers. [Read More]
CMS Names 14 Communities for Hospital Readmissions Project
CMS announced the 14 communities around the nation that have been picked for its three-year pilot project to eliminate unnecessary hospital readmissions that cost Medicare billions of dollars annually in preventable care. One in five patients discharged from a hospital is readmitted in less than a month. The Obama administration and Congress should be very interested in how this three-year project plays out. Rather than applying a one-size-fits-all system among all 14 communities, expert teams will design customized solutions that address the underlying local drivers of readmissions for the project. Expect the Obama administration, should it fail to achieve meaningful action on its healthcare reform agenda during budget battles with Congress this summer, to lean heavily on this demonstration project's data as it tries to incorporate bundled payments into Medicare in future years. [Read More]
Allina to return $1.1 million to patients
Patients who paid more than 8% annual interest on medical debt between Jan. 22, 2007, and Jan. 31, 2009 will receive a rebate from Allina Hospitals & Clinics under a settlement with the Minnesota state attorney general, who had accused the system's for-profit MedCredit Financial Services unit of charging unlawfully high interest rates. [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.
This Week's Headlines
Drugmakers, hospitals raise prices
Wall Street Journal - April 15, 2009
Hospitals merge design and building to cut costs
New York Times - April 15, 2009
RI hospital ex-president gets three-year sentence for corruption
Providence Journal - April 13, 2009
California's Brotman Medical Center emerges from Chapter 11
Los Angeles Times - April 15, 2009
Medicare eyes costs in Miami
Miami Herald - April 14, 2009
Novel approach to health plans gains traction
Wall Street Journal - April 14, 2009
Plan to close Philadelphia hospital stirs anger
Philadelphia Inquirer - April 13, 2009
Webcasts/Audio Conferences
Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Joint Replacement (April 20)
5 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience at Your Hospital (On Demand)
Top 5 Healthcare Jobs
Medical Staff Coordinator: Highlands Regional Medical Center, Prestonsburg, KY. This position is responsible for all administrative functions of the organized medical staff, including maintaining a contemporary system of credentialing and recredentialing . . . [Read More]
CEO/Administrator: HealthSouth, Fort Smith, AR. The CEO is accountable for planning, organizing, and directing the hospital to ensure that quality patient care is provided . . . [Read More]
VP, Medical Center Finance: NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY. This position oversees and directs all aspects of operational, cash, capital budgeting, and forecasting . . . [Read More]
Director, Clinical Information Systems: Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. This position is accountable for the planning, project management, and implementation of both hospital and ambulatory clinical information system projects . . . [Read More]
Chief Nursing Officer: Town and Country Hospital, Tampa, FL. The CNO participates with members of the governing board, medical staff, administrative team, hospital management, and clinical groups in decision-making structures and processes . . . [Read More]
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Jump . . . or Get Pushed

HealthLeaders November 2008
The tough decisions you don't want to make now—but may have to. [Read More]
Service Lines Management
Redefining Cardio

The cardiovascular service line remains a dependable revenue generator for many hospitals. But a shifting market full of new options for patients means organizations must find ways to differentiate themselves. [Read More]
View from the Top

Culture as Competitive Advantage
Many of the same companies appear repeatedly on lists of the best places to work, the best providers of customer service, and the most profitable in their industries. Perhaps it's because their leaders spend so much time and effort developing their culture. And culture is an advantage that competitors find hard to duplicate. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Partners in the Cardio Service Line: Peggy Naas, MD, helps hospitals develop strategies to work with their physicians for VHA Inc. A growing trend for hospital leaders involves taking on physicians as employees, but describing the strategic importance of the trend as physician employment misses a big part of the equation. Peggy and I talk about various ways to structure service lines in ways that partner with physicians rather than direct them as in a traditional employer/employee relationship. She will join me, along with the founders of the Minneapolis Heart Institute on May 12 for a Service Line Strategies Workshop webinar on cardiovascular physician alignment. [Listen Now]
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