HealthLeaders Media Corner Office - August 28, 2009 | Some Hospital Leaders Making Big Strides in Value View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Some Hospital Leaders Making Big Strides in Value
Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Leadership

Last week, I said in this space that hospital leaders were the only folks showing leadership on healthcare reform. Several of you pointed out that payers have forced the changes I noted in that column on hospitals and that they deserve no reward for being forced to do something. Of course, nothing much is achieved in business of any kind without some outside force pushing for it. I still maintain that many hospital leaders aren't focusing on quality because someone else is forcing them to. Here are two good examples of that focus.
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  August 28, 2009

Editor's Picks
Announcing The Top Leadership Teams in Healthcare
An inner-city health system that has become a model for safety-net hospitals, and a small, rural hospital that has set its own high bar for quality are among the winners in the 6th annual HealthLeaders Media Top Leadership Teams in Healthcare program, sponsored by Cejka Search, GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare, and Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis. Winners and scores of other healthcare leaders will join us for the HealthLeaders Media '09, The Hospital of the Future Now conference in October, to learn from healthcare's top leadership performers. The conference is designed to celebrate the outstanding teamwork that occurs in healthcare organizations each day, to share what makes top leadership teams successful, and to encourage other healthcare leaders to learn from the best practices of top leadership teams. [Read More]
Americans Doubt Healthcare Reform Will Improve Quality, Cost
A new poll echoes my concerns about the direction of healthcare reform. Everyone knew the Obama administration wants coverage for all with any healthcare reform package, but we were also told any new legislation needed to address cost and quality. I don't know about you, but I have seen precious little in what's getting attention on this issue that would address healthcare costs in any meaningful way, other than the so-called public option plan, which appears dead on arrival. The poll, by Thomson Reuters, shows consumers feel pretty much the same way. This can't be good news for getting any substantial healthcare reform legislation passed this fall. [Read More]
Competition lacking among private health insurers
There's nice irony in this story. A public option for health insurance under health reform would crush competition, its opponents say. But private health plans, through consistent mergers and acquisitions in recent years, seem to be doing a great job of crushing competition on their own. In most areas, one or two insurers dominate the market. Critics say this lack of competition is in effect a monopoly. I tend to agree, but it will be difficult, if not impossible, to find some mechanism to induce competition that will get enough support to pass Congressional muster. [Read More]
$10 billion buried in healthcare reform legislation for union retirees
Buried in healthcare reform legislation is yet another reason why people don't trust government to reform healthcare. In the form of a $10-billion provision, many bills are providing political payback for UAW and other union-backed "VEBA" plans. It would see the government—at least temporarily—pay 80 cents on the dollar to corporate and union insurance plans for claims between $15,000 and $90,000 for retirees age 55 to 64. Watch out when government says something is temporary, but aside from that, my feeling is that the unions made a business deal with automakers that were failing at least in part to union intractability with wages and health benefits. Now, they want government to bail them out of a bad decision. Of course, advocates of the "free market" say it's political payback for Democrats and their allies. It smells, but no worse than the bank bailouts of less than a year ago. Or has everyone forgotten that? [Read More]
This Week's Headlines
New Efforts to Insure Young Adults May Beat Reform Proposals to the Punch
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media - August 26, 2009
Millions May Be Overspent on Purchases Based on Physician Preference
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media - August 26, 2009
Care costs for illegal immigrants rise sharply at Miami's Jackson Health
Miami Herald - August 26, 2009
Half of healthcare workers reject swine flu shot
The Boston Globe/Associated Press - August 26, 2009
Swine flu could infect half of U.S.
Wall Street Journal - August 25, 2009
Hospitals own up to errors
Wall Street Journal - August 25, 2009
GOP tees up Medicare manifesto
Wall Street Journal - August 25, 2009
Webcasts/Audio Conferences
Advanced Service Line Marketing: New Orthopedics Growth Strategies (On Demand)
Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Gastroenterology (On Demand)
Service Line Strategies Workshop 2009: Spine Care (On Demand)
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Hang On

HealthLeaders August 2009
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Service Line Management
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Audio Feature

A 'Quality' Contract: I spoke recently with Ralph de la Torre, MD, CEO of Boston's Caritas Christi Health Care, New England's second largest hospital chain. We talked briefly about healthcare reform, but we spent more time on the problem with procedure-based reimbursement, which many argue is bankrupting us as a nation. That's why I was so interested in talking to de la Torre about his system's "alternative quality contract" with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts which rewards hospitals not just for the number of procedures it performs on a patient, but also, and most importantly, allows caregivers and the hospital to earn bonuses for meeting quality targets. [Listen Now]