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Four Reasons for Optimism About the Future of Healthcare
Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

There are plenty of reasons to be pessimistic about the future of healthcare, and I've heard many of them this week. I have been in Denver at the MGMA annual conference, and almost every general session I attended started with a similar litany of statistics about the major problems with the U.S. healthcare system. Yet, William F. Jessee, president and CEO of MGMA, told attendees during his keynote address earlier this week that despite all of the challenges, he remained optimistic about the future of healthcare. Here are a few of his reasons for optimism, and a few of mine. [Read More]
  October 15, 2009

Editor's Picks
What do physician leaders think?
The 2010 edition of the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey for Physician Leaders is now open online at Included this year are new questions that seek your thoughts on service lines, the HIT stimulus package, and healthcare reform efforts, among others. Plus, we build on key benchmark questions from last year, checking on your top priorities and your assessment of key healthcare initiatives. This comprehensive survey should take about 14 minutes to complete. Be sure to provide contact information and we'll enter your name in a drawing for a $1,000 gift card. [Take the Survey Now]
Debate over public option begins
The Senate Finance Committee's passing of its version of the healthcare reform bill marks just the beginning of a long debate that will likely center on whether to establish a government-run competitor to the insurance industry, notes this story from the New York Times. One day after the Senate Finance Committee approved their measure that did not include a public option, the question on Capitol Hill was how President Obama could reconcile the deep divisions within his party on the issue, the Times reports. [Read More]
Surgery Tomorrow? Get Some Rest
Hospitals seeking to reduce their operative complication rates should make sure their attending surgeons get at least six hours of sleep between operations, according to a team of researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. In a study, the researchers found a 2.7-fold increase in complications among post-nighttime surgical procedures performed by attending physicians with sleep opportunities of less than six hours compared with those performed by attending surgeons who got more rest the night before. [Read More]
MGMA Roundup
As noted above, I spent earlier this week in Denver at the Medical Group Management Association's annual conference, where the MGMA released a satisfaction survey that ranked Medicare Part B higher than any other payer. During the opening address, Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD, advocated redefining the physician-patient relationship toward more "high-touch" healthcare, or spending more time with patients and focusing on potentially avoidable complications that represent nearly 15 cents of every healthcare dollar. In another interesting presentation, David Gans, MGMA vice president of innovation and research, gave some advice on how medical practices should prepare for potential changes surrounding healthcare reform. And speaking of reform, MGMA officials and conference attendees provided me with some thoughts on how healthcare reform could save billions being wasted on administration if approved.
Business Rx
Document Disruptive Behavior
Disruptive employees aren't commonplace in most healthcare settings. But they aren't so rare that you shouldn't have a plan in place for how to deal with them. Unfortunately, that's a message a lot of medical groups and hospitals aren't getting. [Read More]
Physician News
Why Nurses Are Rising Up Against a Shot in the Arm
Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media - October 13, 2009
Doctors Sue California for Raiding Their Licensing Fees
Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media - October 15, 2009
Blue Cross warns doctors about stolen identification data
Chicago Tribune - October 15, 2009
Four patients say Cedars-Sinai did not tell them they received radiation overdose
Los Angeles Times - October 15, 2009
New conflict rules at medical journals
Wall Street Journal - October 14, 2009

Audio Conferences/Webcasts
November 17, 2009: Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Stroke Care
November 10, 2009: RAC Strategy: Preserve Margin, Prevent Take-backs, Promote Alignment
October 29, 2009: Flexible Medical Staff Models of the Future
October 22, 2009: Marketing to Physicians: Build Relationships to Increase Referrals

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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Care Team Architecture
HealthLeaders October 2009
Creativity and flexibility count, sure. But underlying the successful care team design is a foundation of essential and lasting values. [Read More]
Service Line Management
State of Emergency
The nation's emergency departments are feeling the effects of the economic downturn, but innovations in patient throughput and other strategies offer hope for a beleaguered system. [Read More]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

International Medical Graduates Key to Solving the Physician Shortage: Contributor Carl Shusterman argues that it is time to consider opening U.S. medical practice to physicians who have trained elsewhere if we want to solve the physician shortage. [Read More]
Audio Features

A Health IT Partnership: Kevin Fickenscher, MD, executive VP of International Healthcare for Perot Systems, discusses a partnership between Perot, AMGA, and MGMA to improve regional extension centers. [Listen Now]
Medical Home Accreditation: Jim Pavletich, senior director and COO for the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, discusses the AAAHC's new accreditation standards for medical homes. [Listen Now]
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