HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - August 19, 2009 View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free

What Is Really Scaring Americans About Advance Directives?
Cheryl Clark, Editor, Community Hospitals
Is anyone else having trouble understanding why so many people seem so upset about "advance directives" provisions in the Energy and Commerce Committee's health reform proposal? I read all 11 pages in section 1233 of "America's Affordable Health Choices Act," as well as all four pages of the amendment by Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas. Nowhere did I see anything about "killing Grandma," "euthanasia seeking death squads" or any mention of governments forcing beneficiaries to specify how they want to die. Nothing even comes close. [Read More]
August 19, 2009
Editor's Picks

Hospital Finances Rebounding
The end to healthcare's downturn may be near. A Thomson Reuters' Center for Healthcare Improvement report found positive operating margins in the first quarter of 2009 for all size categories of hospitals. And, the number of hospitals operating in the red is down to 30% in the first quarter of 2009, compared to 50% in the third quarter of 2008. [Read More]

In Times Like These, Take One Dose of Laughter
In the dog days of summer, when health reform news seems so angry and grim, a Maine family practitioner provides some chuckles. His nine-year-old Placebo Journal provides a spoof of all that is frustrating and ridiculous in the process of patient care—a kind of "Mad Magazine" for doctors. [Read More]

Four Lessons: Grand Junction Stands Out in the Healthcare Reform Debate
What's so special about Grand Junction, CO, where low costs are at the opposite of the Dartmouth Atlas spectrum pilloried by a June article in the New Yorker magazine? Four lessons help others see how they keep costs low while maximizing inefficiency. One hint: Primary care is essential for patient care coordination. [Read More]

Expect Greater Focus on Safe Patient Handling from D.C.
Protecting the fragile hospital and physician practice workforce from injuries may get a legislative boost with a bill from U.S. Rep. Dan Conyers, who wants to require safe patient handling standards in healthcare settings. It's the third time around for this bill, but this time insiders think it might pass. Lifting patients safely, even if it means purchasing appropriate equipment to do it, is a top priority. [Read More]
Leaders Forum

PBMs: An Unexpected Ally in Patient Care
Contributor Brian K. Solow, MD, explains how pharmacy benefit managers can alleviate physicians' administrative burdens and ensure quality care for patients. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

Lack of Medicare appointee puzzles Congress
New York Times ? August 18, 2009
Cedars-Sinai offers a model for fighting some diseases where they start
Los Angeles Times ? August 17, 2009
Cooperatives being pushed as an alternative to a government plan
Washington Post ? August 18, 2009
Illegal immigration enters the healthcare debate
Wall Street Journal ? August 17, 2009

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Gastroenterology (Live)
Advanced Service Line Marketing: New Orthopedics Growth Strategies (On Demand)
Service Line Strategies Workshop 2009: Spine Care (On Demand)
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Hang On
  Get ready for the failure of the HIT stimulus dream, episode of care contracting, the end of easy credit, and a public plan. [Read More]
Service Line Management
Making Wellness Work
  Wellness and weight loss programs aren't major revenue generators, but healthcare reformers know they cannot effectively control costs without focusing more on prevention. [Read More]
Community Call
Discussion Board
What impact do you think sweeping healthcare reform will have on community and rural hospitals?