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Doctor Shortage Sends Hospitals to War
Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

Timothy Crowley, MD, told the Boston Globe that he was joking when he left a voicemail for a physician recruiter at a rival hospital: "You don't want to go to war with me. I'll take everything you got and everything you love and kill it." Crowley's jest, which cost him his job when executives at Caritas Christi Health Care got wind of it, may have revealed more truth about the competitiveness of physician recruitment today than he realized. [Read More]
  August 20, 2009

Editor's Picks
Jersey hospitals test gainsharing
One reason controlling healthcare costs is so difficult is because hospitals tend to see the benefits of physicians' cost-reduction efforts. There is often no financial incentive for the doctor. The concept of gainsharing is simple: If physicians work with a hospital to reduce costs (without sacrificing quality), the physicians are paid a portion of the saved costs. There are still a lot of questions about the legality of these programs, so hospitals and physicians are holding off, but this pilot program in New Jersey could answer some questions about the effectiveness of gainsharing and potentially alleviate some of the OIG's concerns about the programs. [Read More]
Millions wasted on physician preference items
Speaking of costs, ECRI Institute, a non-profit patient care research organization, released a report this week criticizing the millions of dollars spent on physician preference items, medical supplies ordered primarily because they are preferred by the medical staff. Hospitals often overlook inefficiencies or excessive costs in order to keep physicians happy, the report claims. "In order to attain the savings associated with acquisition of physician preference items, hospital leaders need to win the cooperation of the physicians through an evidence-based, value-focused process," said Anthony Montagnolo, chief operating officer for ECRI Institute. [Read More]
Reform bill would reward states that pass tort reform
A lot of physicians are critical of the absence of tort reform in the current healthcare debate, but that is perhaps because a provision in the House reform package hasn't been publicized. If the provision ends up in the final version that becomes law, each state would be eligible for a federal incentive payment if it produces an alternative medical liability law that meets the secretary of HHS' approval. To get approval, the state laws would have to focus on prompt resolution of disputes, disclosure of errors, and maintaining access to liability insurance. Caps on damages or limits to attorney fees would not be allowed, however. [Read More]
Physician groups earned $25 million for quality improvements
All 10 of the physician groups participating in the CMS' Physician Group Practice (PGP) Demonstration achieved benchmark performance on at least 28 of the 32 measures reported in the third year of the pilot demonstration. As a result of their efforts to reduce the growth rate in Medicare expenditures, five of those physician groups are receiving performance payments totaling $25.3 million as part of their share of $32.3 million of savings generated for the Medicare Trust Funds for the year. [Read More]
Business Rx
RAC Inoculation
Hospitals and other healthcare organizations interested in preserving their Medicare revenue—including already billed and collected funds—would do well to study the RAC demonstration and learn as much as they can to prepare for a future where RAC audits will soon become an unavoidable reality. [Read More]
Physician News
Docs Say Goodbye to Bureaucracy, Hello Health
Cynthia Johnson, for HealthLeaders Media - August 19, 2009
Doctors in Cuba start over in the U.S.
New York Times - August 4, 2009
Medical groups promoted HPV vaccine using drug company money
Washington Post - August 19, 2009
Senator moves to block medical ghostwriting
New York Times - August 20, 2009

Audio Conferences/Webcasts
August 20: Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Gastroenterology
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Hang On
HealthLeaders August 2009
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]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

A Massachusetts Physician Offers a View of Healthcare Reform: Mario Motta, MD, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, offers thoughts on national healthcare reform based on his experience with the Massachusetts model. [Read More]
Audio Features

Picking the Right Cancer Program: Suzanne Borgos, a senior consultant with Health Strategies & Solutions, discusses ROI components to consider when picking a tumor-site-specific program for an oncology service line. Hear more at the Service Lines Strategies Virtual Workshop. [Listen Now]
The Wired: Dr. Kurt Kastendieck, a family practice physician in New Mexico, talks about his experiences in a high-tech practice and offers advice to physicians considering adopting an EHR system. [Listen Now]
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Resources From HealthLeaders Media

Improve patient satisfaction, CAHPS scores, and quality with the strategies and tools in Physician Entrepreneurs: The Quality Patient Experience.
Learn how to harness the power of a large organization, either by expanding the practice or partnering with hospitals, private investors, or other physician groups, with Physician Entrepreneurs: Strength in Numbers.
Read about the latest business strategies to help you grow beyond traditional practice models in Physician Entrepreneurs: Going Retail.
Start marketing your practice or refine your existing marketing program with Physician Entrepreneurs: Marketing Toolkit, a new HealthLeaders Media book that combines expert tips with marketing samples, tools, forms, and checklists that will help grow your practice.
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