HealthLeaders Media Finance - June 15, 2009 | Is Healthcare Past the Softer Cuts? View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Is Healthcare Past the Softer Cuts?
Michelle Ponte, Senior Editor-Finance

Is healthcare in its first wave of labor cost containment, or has it come to full blown cuts of what used to be the untouchables: salaries and jobs? Some experts say that healthcare is still doing better than other industries and is showing fewer layoffs and salary decreases. However, with the economy showing little improvement, healthcare may be destined for even deeper labor cuts. [Read More]
  June 15, 2008

Editor's Picks
What would a health overhaul cost? All eyes on the CBO
Washington has been dancing around naming an exact price tag for comprehensive healthcare reform. What politician wants his or her name attached to a cost estimate for potentially one of the most expensive pieces of legislation in our country's history? Still, Douglas Elmendor, head of the Congressional Budget Office, has been directed to take a stab at it. He is expected to deliver a report to lawmakers this week, estimating the savings from a healthcare reform package. So far, the CBO has been on the conservative side, estimating, for example, only $34 billion in savings over the next 10 years for EMR. [Read More]
Have a RAC Question? CMS Has Some Answers
Do you have an abstract question for CMS about RAC, such as "what is the reimbursement procedure and rate for photocopy charges associated with records for RAC audits?" CMS has the answer to this and 14 other new questions it recently added to its growing list of FAQs. One question not on the list: How to prevent a RAC audit in the first place. [Read More]
Infection Prevention Cuts May Be Costing Hospitals in Long Run
It's hard to believe that hospitals are cutting infection programs given CMS' value-based purchasing initiatives this year that penalize reimbursements for patients who develop a hospital-acquired infection. But it appears to be true, at least according to a survey last week by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. In fact, 41% of the nearly 2,000 APIC members polled said their budgets had been cut in the last 18 months due to the economy. Cutbacks included reduced staffing, hiring freezes, reduced education funding, and a reduced infection prevention budget. [Read More]
Lessons for Hospitals in a Tight Economy
Have hospitals taken this whole notion of saving too far? My colleague Dom Nicastro, identifies the extremes hospitals are taking to stay in the black. Dunn Memorial Hospital, for example, cancelled a fancy conference junket for its frontline employees and instead had them spend the week back home painting the hospital's waiting room. Much less fun than a trip, but more fun than unemployment. Dunn has implemented other cost savings, too, including restructuring shifts to provide light coverage on low-volume days. It is also working with fewer IT vendors and is spending less on travel. Check here for the entire list of projects Dunn has implemented. [Read More]
Finance Forum
Gain Control of Labor Costs While Saving Jobs
With constricted capital, shrinking revenues, and rising expenses, one untapped area of cost savings in healthcare is labor. HealthLeaders Media contributors Jill Schwieters and Dave Harper explain how to implement creative solutions in reducing labor expenses while preserving relationships and the brand. [Read More]
Finance Headlines
Cost of treating Connecticut uninsured up 40% since 2005
Hartford Courant - June 11, 2009
Feds Settle $2 million Medicaid Fraud Case with NJ Hospital
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media - June 10, 2009
Democrats nearing consensus on health plan
New York Times - June 10, 2009
Tax on health benefits weighed
Washington Post - June 10, 2009
Healthcare spending disparities stir a fight
New York Times - June 9, 2009
Hospitals Get Financially Smart
Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media - June 8, 2009
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Bundling By Decree
HealthLeaders June 2009 Can an industry addicted to payment for procedure survive episodic care? Geisinger has. [Read More]
Service Line Management
Faster, Safer Joint Replacements
Hospitals are fine-tuning the surgical process from start to finish in order to replace joints faster and safer than ever before. [Read More]
Money Talk

Temple University Health System, Philadelphia
Rating: BBB
Outlook: Negative
Affected Debt: $349.2 million
Agency: Standard & Poor's
Remarks: Outlook revised from stable based on large operating losses in fiscal 2008 and through the first nine months of fiscal 2009, as well as a continued decrease in liquidity. [Read More]
Audio Feature

How to Find an Extra Million Dollars: Can you pull out an additional million or two from your revenue cycle? After 25 years in the business Karen Bowden, president of consulting for ClaimTrust, knows all the places to look. In this interview she shares some of her revenue cycle tips, such as how to focus on high-value claims. [Listen Now]

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