HealthLeaders Media Corner Office - August 21, 2009 | Hospitals are Providing the Only Leadership in Healthcare Reform View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Hospitals are Providing the Only Leadership in Healthcare Reform
Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Leadership

After years of paying lip service to improving quality and delivering value for healthcare services and supplies, hospitals are starting to get the message that healthcare providers will no longer be issued free passes for low quality and high costs. Too bad they're the only ones providing leadership through example on the goals of healthcare reform.
[Read More]
  August 21, 2009

Editor's Picks
Co-opting Public Plans
Great story here by my colleague John Commins about the death of the public option in healthcare reform. One of the options that's coming forward as a possible replacement is insurance co-ops, but John looks into the future if such an option is included in any legislation, and sees lots of potential problems. The folks he talked to speculate that even if co-ops were to flourish, the end product would at best very much resemble the scores of community-based, not-for-profit health plans—including many Blue Cross Blue Shield plans—that already control more than half of the under-age-65 market in the United States. [Read More]
Many Hospitalized Patients Leave Facilities Against Medical Advice
A new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that up to 39% more of patients leave the hospital against medical advice than 10 years ago, which is alarming to quality advocates and hospitals as well, my colleague Cheryl Clark reports. Given the fact that many are predicting that CMS will implement so called "bundled payments" at some point going forward, which would penalize hospitals financially for having to readmit patients within 30 days for the same condition, hospitals must be concerned about these statistics. What are you going to do, strap patients in? [Read More]
Hospital Finances Rebounding
Things looked bleak at the beginning of the year, but hospitals appear to have made a pretty stunning financial turnaround since then, according to a new report from Thomson Reuters. Much of the recovery can be attributed to the performance of investment portfolios, which have risen along with the stock market in recent months, since the March low. But the study's authors say that hospitals have done a pretty solid job in managing and cutting expenses since January, which is perhaps a more sustainable long-term trend. [Read More]
Lack of Medicare appointee puzzles Congress
What's taking so long? Is it so tough to find a CMS head who actually pays his or her taxes like the rest of us? Not that paying your taxes really mattered for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, but it did derail Tom Daschle’s nomination as head of Health and Human Services. Never mind that healthcare reform is a stated chief goal of the president, but whatever the reason, President Obama hasn’t named anyone to lead Medicare and Medicaid, arguably two of the most important, and expensive programs in the nation. If it had an administrator, that person would be working with Congress on legislation and could be preparing the agency for a new, expanded role. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines
Grassley urges scaling back on healthcare reform
Washington Post - August 19, 2009
Physician Groups Earn More Than $25 Million for Quality Improvements
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media - August 19, 2009
OIG Audits Find More Providers Overcharging Medicare
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media - August 19, 2009
In New Jersey, testing a new doctor-pay method
Philadelphia Inquirer - August 20, 2009
Doctors group to close Chicago hospital, join NorthShore University Health System
Chicago Tribune - August 20, 2009
HCA proposes building hospital in Virginia
Washington Post - August 20, 2009
Medical groups promoted HPV vaccine using drug company money
Washington Post - August 19, 2009
The next healthcare battle: Cutting Medicare Advantage
Los Angeles Times - August 19, 2009
Health co-ops' fans like cost and care, but successful models still rare
Los Angeles Times - August 20, 2009
Medicare Distributes $12 Million in Bonuses for Hospital Quality Initiative
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media - August 18, 2009
Webcasts/Audio Conferences
Advanced Service Line Marketing: New Orthopedics Growth Strategies (On Demand)
Service Line Strategies Workshop 2009: Spine Care (On Demand)
Sponsored Headlines
What you need to know in planning and budgeting for healthcare digital signage, Vericom.

Calculate your hospital's annual labor waste in seconds. FREE. FULLY AUTOMATED. NO REGISTRATION REQ'D.

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]
View from the Top

Seven Strategies to Solve Healthcare’s Cost Problem: As the White House and Congress pursue comprehensive healthcare reform, one fact remains clear: The status quo is unsustainable and the growth of healthcare spending must be slowed. Misaligned financial incentives discourage collaboration, efficiency, and improved quality. Gifts and financial incentives can result in marketing trumping sound science. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Measuring Wellness: With all the attention being paid to wellness and healthy living as key to reforming healthcare, it's interesting to view what Americans themselves consider a healthy life, not just what so-called "experts" think. We spoke with Anne Wilkins, executive vice president of marketing and strategy with Healthways, which works with employers to enhance well-being, improve business performance, and reduce healthcare costs. One of Anne's chief projects is the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a surveying tool introduced in 2008 that attempts to measure what Americans consider a healthy life. [Listen Now]