HealthLeaders Media Finance - March 29, 2010 | Healthcare Reform: You've Got Questions; We'll Get Answers View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Healthcare Reform: You've Got Questions; We'll Get Answers
Karen Minich-Pourshadi, Senior Editor-Finance

President Obama signed the healthcare reform bill into law on March 23 and now financial leaders are left to deal with the ramifications of that legislation in the years to come. I know many healthcare leaders are filled with mixed emotions as well as questions about this new law. Now is your opportunity to sound off about this legislation—good or bad. I'll address your question in future columns and offer you my insights as we go along. [Read More]
  March 29, 2010

Editor's Picks
Lobbyists Are Health Reform Winners
In healthcare reform, there will be winners and there will be losers. HealthLeaders Media Senior Editor John Commins takes a look at how the armies of healthcare lobbyists from all sides of the debate led a stampede on the Capitol, and will come out ahead by raking in record amounts of cash to influence the legislation. [Read More]
Last-Minute Heath Reform Change Gives New Life to Quality-Based Payments
For years, many healthcare providers in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and various rural areas complained that the Medicare payment system short-changed them because they were providing equal or even better care at lower costs than elsewhere around the country. Under new last-minute provisions agreed to in the healthcare reconciliation bill approved by the House, this argument may become moot. Senior Editor Janice Simmons takes a look at how these changes may give new life to quality-based payments. [Read More]
AMA Blasts House for Not Voting on Doc Pay Cut
As Congress left the Capitol for a two-week holiday over the weekend, the American Medical Association took the occasion to blast lawmakers for the "unconscionable" action of not acting on the "doc fix"—slated to expire on April 1. Editor Joe Cantlupe takes a look at how earlier this month the Senate voted to delay the physician pay cut of 21.2% in Medicare reimbursement until Oct. 1. Yet the House did not take up the action. The result, the previous decisions by both chambers still stand. [Read More]
Finance Forums
Healthcare Reform: What Will Happen to Property Tax Exemptions?
Under the new federal health care legislation, in 2014 Medicaid coverage will be extended to households with income up to 133% of the federal poverty level in 2014. In addition, the new federal health care legislation will subsidize the purchase of insurance from state insurance exchanges for those below 400% of the federal poverty level. At that point, the extended coverage offered under Medicaid and the insurance exchanges will displace much of the charitable patient care that hospitals have traditionally dispensed. As hospital charitable patient care ebbs, so too may ebb the state and local grants of exemption for hospital properties. [Read More]
Five Strategies for Strategic Debt Recovery of Self-Pay Patient Accounts
Ninety-seven percent of hospitals surveyed in the Healthcare Financial Management Association 2009 study, "The Changing Face of Self-Payment in Hospitals," have experienced an increase in self-pay accounts receivable compared with the prior fiscal year. In nearly 33% of respondent hospitals, receivables are growing faster than patient revenue. Implementing a strategic debt recovery process begins by analyzing the cost and return on investment of your current payment collection system. The next step is to maximize that ROI while working to improve the way you communicate with your patients. Here are five tips for doing just that. [Read More]
Project Tests Direct Contracting for Surgery
A little-noticed announcement in February may be a watershed event affecting who, what, and how complex surgery is provided throughout the United States. That announcement discussed a new relationship between Lowe?s, the nation?s second-largest home improvement retailer, and the Cleveland Clinic to direct all heart surgeries for Lowe's employees and dependents to the Clinic. This three-year deal is to provide heart surgery to all Lowe's employees and dependents. To encourage participation, Lowe's is prepared to pay for the travel of the patient and one family member and to discount the employee's co-pay and deductible. If self-insured companies, insurance companies, and/or PHA firms, are able to direct complex surgeries to providers with the lowest cost and best outcomes, this creates significant challenges for hospitals. [Read More]
Finance Headlines
Primary Care Docs Concerned About How to Care for 32 Million Newly Insured
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media - March 25, 2010
Brokers worry about erosion of employer-sponsored plans - March 29, 2010
Medicare nominee would face big changes
Wall Street Journal - March 29, 2010
Doctors divided on how new healthcare law will affect them
Washington Post - March 29, 2010
Reacting to reform
CFO - March 29, 2010
Healthcare reform fallout: Which states could lose financially?
Christian Science Monitor - March 29, 2010
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Medical Breakthroughs That Will Change Healthcare
HealthLeaders March 2010 Here are the devices, treatments, and procedures that will change the delivery—and the business—of healthcare. [Read More]
Service Line Management
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Money Talk

Newport (RI) Hospital
Rating: A
Outlook: Negative
Affected Debt: $24.9 million
Agency: Standard and Poor's
Remarks: The hospital's rating remains an A; however, the outlook revision from stable to negative is based on concerns over an unexpected 50% increase in operating losses in 2009 to $5.6 million from $3.8 million and negative net income. Factors supporting the A rating include the assessment of the hospital's strong balance sheet characterized by excellent liquidity and low leverage, which declined further this year with Newport's repayment of its $6 million series 2004 bonds. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Using Claims Transparency to Reduce Waste: Richard Igram, vice president for contracting at St. Joseph Health System, and Juan Davila, senior vice president for network management at Blue Shield of California, discuss the Partnership in Operational Excellence and Transparency. The program offers transparency around claims data in an effort to reduce waste in the system. [Listen Now]

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April 22: Neuroscience Service Lines Strategies
May 13: Integrated Compensation Plans to Enhance Physician Performance
May 19: Five Proven Steps to Improve Patient Satisfaction Scores
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