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In Politics and Leadership, Declaring Victory Often Means the Opposite
Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Leadership

I have often read or heard the phrase "declare victory and move on" lately, especially regarding the fight to reform the healthcare system. I hate that phrase, because it seems to me that it illustrates a primary misunderstanding of the job voters elect our representatives to do—not only regarding healthcare, but regarding leadership in general.
[Read More]
  September 11, 2009

Editor's Picks
Nine Health Leaders Respond to Obama's Health Reform Speech
We have an excellent quick journalism piece here from my colleague Les Masterson. He got nine healthcare leaders to respond to President Obama's Wednesday night speech. The 45-minute speech was Obama's first in-depth national speech about healthcare reform after spending the past few months on the sidelines as Congress worked on multiple reform proposals. So, after finally hearing directly from the president, what do health leaders think? Here are thoughts from nine. [Read More]
Public option would add $1 trillion to deficit
We've all heard this figure before, but what's interesting is that much political capital is being expended on covering the uninsured, with comparatively little attention being paid to the skyrocketing cost of healthcare. Why? Because adding entitlements is politically much easier than taking them away, and that is essentially what the choices are under healthcare reform. The lesson I take from this data is: Don't trust politicians when they tell you they'll take care of the contentious stuff later, as they seem to be doing with healthcare cost inflation. [Read More]
What was missing in Obama's speech
Similar to Les' article above, the New York Times took the pulse of several leading economists and healthcare power brokers in an attempt to identify what important considerations President Obama left out of his speech. Included are former Clinton administration labor secretary and economist Robert Reich and Bush administration CMS head Mark McClellan. Reich, to my delight, focused on the cost issue, on which precious little of the national debate has been focused. [Read More]
Hospital CEOs manage staff time, inventory to cut costs
Pretty interesting piece here on how hospital and health system leadership is working to cut costs through some pretty basic business principles adopted by other industries long ago. We write about this stuff all the time for an inside-industry audience and we often profile the best and brightest, but it's nice to see it coming into the public consciousness through a mainstream publication. [Read More]

This Week's Headlines
Indiana Program Shows Health Reform Without Individual Mandate is Costly
Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media - September 9, 2009
Virginia hospital dispute: Inova fears HCA will try to shift beds and services
Washington Post - September 10, 2009
Atlanta-based Piedmont Hospital drops opposition to Gwinnett's open-heart surgery program
Atlanta Journal-Constitution - September 8, 2009
Framingham, MA, hospital ends Beth Israel affiliation plan
Boston Globe - September 9, 2009
Blue Island, IL, hospital to cut 120 jobs
Chicago Tribune - September 10, 2009
Retail health clinics move to treat complex illnesses, rankling doctors
Wall Street Journal - September 10, 2009
Medicare Spent $1.8 Billion for Improperly Filed Nursing Home Care
Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media - September 9, 2009
Study estimates hospital penalties generate few savings for Medicare
Wall Street Journal - September 9, 2009

Webcasts/Audio conferences
Flexible Medical Staff Models of the Future (October 29, 2009)
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Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Gastroenterology (On Demand)

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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]
View from the Top

Getting Rid of "Friction" in Healthcare Friction occurs when an object moving through space, encounters resistance, slows down, and has its forward energy diverted, says contributor Fletcher Lance. In the world of healthcare, friction is a term that has become synonymous with paperwork, he says. [Read More]
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]
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