HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - March 3, 2010
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Four Rival Texas Hospitals Bond For Meaningful Use And To Improve Care
Cheryl Clark, Editor, Community Hospitals
Here's a tale about the unlikely collaboration among hospitals in four fiercely competitive and very rural towns in Central West Texas. Territorial pride didn't stand in the way of these hospitals forming a regional heath information system to grapple with issues like meaningful use. Through their alliance they selected and bought an electronic medical record system that they all could share to benefit their patients—and the hospitals' bottom lines. [Read More]
March 3, 2010
Editor's Picks

HHS Releases Proposed Rule for EHR Certification
So this is how it will work, at least at first. David Blumenthal, national coordinator for HIT, announced a temporary, government run certification program to assure technology systems are credible. But eventually, the private sector will take over this function. [Read More]

Storm of Controversy Follows Nurse Firings in DC Hospital
Nurses at a Washington, DC, hospital who called in to say they couldn't come to work before the snow hit the ground, or declined transportation that was offered, might have had other issues, such as childcare, that kept them from their jobs. Maybe so, but maybe this incident is another wakeup call about the healthcare system's workforce vulnerability. [Read More]

Experts Call for Better Oversight of Radiological Procedures
Recent incidents in which patients have received excessive doses of radiation during imaging procedures may soon provoke greater government oversight of these treatments. My colleague, Senior Editor Janice Simmons, writes about a Congressional hearing in which it was revealed that despite licensing and training requirements for most other levels of health provider, apparently none exist for machine operators. [Read More]

Four Precautions to Prevent ED Violence
Emotion and mental illness often converge in the emergency department, and sometimes result in violence toward hospital workers or other patients. Scott Wallask, our senior editor for Hospital Safety, gives some tips on prevention. [Read More]

AMA leader disappointed that pay cut issue still unresolved
American Medical Association President-Elect Dr. Cecil Wilson talked this week with C-SPAN about the Medicare and Medicaid budgets, the proposed 21.2% Medicare physician payment cut, and his quotes that were in a recent HealthLeaders Media article. The House approved pushing back the payment cut scheduled for March 1 by one month, but the Senate has yet to take up the issue. Instead, CMS announced this week that it is asking contractors to hold claims for 10 days, which temporarily shelves the Medicare pay cut. CMS expects that provider cash flow will not be interrupted. [Read More]

Mission Driven, Financially Strong
Why is it that in times of economic stress, some hospitals manage through with strength to spare while others fall? While it may be tempting to say that those hospitals that thrive have the best payer mix or the most profitable service lines, often the deciding factor is the leadership's commitment to core principles of sound financial management. In this free HealthLeaders Media Breakthroughs report, four leading hospital systems—Banner Health, Southwest General Health Center, The University of Kansas Hospital, and Parkland Health & Hospital System—share the lessons they have learned to help them identify cost-cutting measures that also add value to care efficiency, make strategic investments in areas under your control, and refocus on the fundamentals of financial discipline. [Read More]
Leaders Forum

The New Sheriff in Town: The Unique Role of an Interim Manager
Charles Van Sluyter has served as an interim healthcare executive for 15 hospitals in nine states. Interim management positions offer a "test drive" period for both the person hired and the client hospital for potentially converting to a permanent role, he says. In part one of his column, Van Sluyter addresses the interim manager's lifestyle, how to find interim work, and how to best assess a potential client hospital before signing on. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

Lawmakers expand investigation into health insurance rate hikes
Los Angeles Times ? March 3, 2010
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania sued over failure to admit patient
Philadelphia Inquirer ? March 3, 2010
Rising threat of infections unfazed by antibiotics
New York Times ? March 1, 2010
New Jersey hospital breaks new ground in luxury
Philadelphia Inquirer ? March 3, 2010

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

Physician Compensation Models in a Strained Economy (March 8)
Cancer Service Line Success: Better Coordination, Better Outcomes (March 30)
Beyond ROI: Prove the Success of Your Marketing Efforts (March 31)

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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Beyond Meaningful Use
Technology can help the healthcare industry achieve better outcomes and cost savings, but only if providers incorporate decision-support tools and a coordinated approach to delivering care. [Read More]
Service Line Management
Imaging After the Recession
After freezing capital spending during the recession, hospitals are investing in imaging again. But reimbursement cuts and reform have changed the focus of the service line. [Read More]
Audio Feature
Nurse Anesthetists Necessary In Rural Areas: Richard Rawson, President and CEO of three small Adventist hospitals in rural areas of California's Central Valley, says retaining the ability of nurse anesthetists to practice without physician supervision is essential for his hospitals' financial viability. The alternative would be "devastating," he says. [Listen Now]
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