HealthLeaders Media Corner Office - July 10, 2009 | Four Keys to Competition Under Bundling View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Four Keys to Competition
Under Bundling

Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Leadership

If you're leading a part of or an entire health system, life is about to get a little tougher—at least in the short-to-medium term. Healthcare reform has galvanized the president and lawmakers, and while most have no idea how healthcare reform will ultimately shake out, there are strategic changes you can make right now to prepare, despite the uncertainty of how the law will ultimately look.
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  July 10, 2009

Editor's Picks
Hospitals could lose their tax breaks
As Senators work on healthcare reform legislation, they are considering provisions that would cut the billions of dollars in tax breaks U.S. hospitals receive. More than half of the 5,482 hospitals in the U.S. are nonprofits that don't pay federal, state or local taxes, according to the American Hospital Directory. These tax exemptions are meant to help hospitals shoulder the costs of providing such free care, but this Wall Street Journal article notes that some nonprofit hospitals have amassed big cash surpluses even as they engaged in aggressive bill-collection tactics. Those pushing for cuts to the tax breaks say any federal healthcare overhaul that provides for the uninsured would reduce the need for charity care anyway. [Read More]
PHA: Draft Bill Threatens Existence of Physician-Owned Hospitals
Large U.S. hospital associations are being criticized for their agreement with the Obama administration to cut $155 billion in Medicare hospital spending and asking in return for public option payment rates to be higher than Medicare levels. Reps from the industry trade group Physician Hospitals of America claims the agreement would prove "devastating" for physician-owned hospitals, and "demonstrates the desperation of many hospitals to remove healthcare decisions from the hands of those who should have the biggest say, the physicians and patients." [Read More]
Obama Healthcare Reform Called a 'Shell Game'
In this article by my colleague John Commins, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation provides more harsh criticism of the high-profile agreement between hospitals and the Obama administration. Dennis Smith, who is also a former acting administrator of CMS under President George W. Bush, says the deal that will sacrifice about $155 billion in Medicare and Medicaid payments over the next decade to help pay for healthcare reform is just smoke to hide the true cost of healthcare reform from taxpayers. "It's a shell game. It's political fanfare, but there is no substance to this," Smith tells HealthLeaders Media. [Read More]
Discord on healthcare reform dulls luster of new pacts
As the Obama administration tries to boost the healthcare reform effort with financial concessions from the hospital industry that are mentioned above, it is also confronting dissension from some Democrats and possible opposition among key constituencies. There are several other warning signs for the administration as it pushes health reform, including a slipping timetable in the Senate, internal division in the hospital industry and mounting tensions between AARP and the pharmaceutical industry, notes this article from the Washington Post. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines
Democrats open to idea of forming health co-op
Wall Street Journal - July 10, 2009
New 30-Day Readmission Rates Listed at HHS Web site
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media - July 9, 2009
Cash-strapped Louisiana hospitals to work together to cut costs
New Orleans Times Picayune - July 9, 2009
Dallas hospital leads way to lower heart failure readmission rates
USA Today - July 9, 2009
New Orleans hospital leader leaving
New Orleans Times Picayune - July 8, 2009

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New Class of Professionals Needed for Healthcare IT Transformation While there is almost universal agreement on the need to transform our nation's healthcare system, few stakeholders agree on specific solutions. But what is certain is that healthcare transformation will require new models for sourcing, processing and distributing richer, more complex data in ways that facilitate collaboration, real-time decision-making and hands-free automation. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Reform and the Healthcare Leader: Paul Keckley, executive director of Deloitte's Center for Health Solutions, has his eye on Washington and the multitude of healthcare reform proposals making their way through the legislative minefield. He joins us to talk about the latest developments in healthcare reform and how they might affect your organization in the near future. [Listen Now]
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