HealthLeaders Media Finance - August 23, 2010 | Does Healthcare Pricing Matter? View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Does Healthcare Pricing Matter?
Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media

Most patients don't really care about the costs of their healthcare. Or, more to the point: Most insured patients don't directly bear the cost of care, and even if they did, it's nearly impossible to find and compare the price of a given procedure. So most don't bother. This unfortunate reality is one of the reasons consumer-directed care never really took hold as a primary means for reforming the system. [Read More]
  August 23, 2010

Editor's Picks
Hospital CPI Drops in July
Consumer prices for hospital services dropped 0.5% in July, compared with a 0.7% increase a year ago and a 0.6% increase in June. The July decline is the first decline since August 2005, when the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for hospital services fell 0.2%. The one-month drop in July is the largest since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began publishing comparable data in 1997. The CPI for physician services rose 0.4% in July, up from 0.2% a year ago and down from a 0.5% increase in June. [Read More]
Trauma Center Care Costs Warranted, Study Suggests
Trauma center treatment costs more when compared with non-trauma centers, but the overall benefits in terms of lives saved and quality of life-years gained represents a more cost-effective way of treating patients with major trauma, according to a study. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study found that the added cost of treatment at a trauma center—versus a non-trauma center—is $36,319 for every life-year gained or $790,931 per life saved. This is despite the fact that initial care in trauma centers is 71% higher than in non-trauma centers. [Read More]
Medical Error Disclosure Program Found to Reduce Lawsuits
When the University of Michigan Health System launched a program to inform patients of harmful medical errors and offer compensation, legal claims dropped more than 25%. The numbers of lawsuits decreased along with liability costs, also the remaining legal issues were resolved much faster. "The monthly rate of new claims decreased from 7.03 per 100,000 patient encounters before initial program implementation to 4.52 after," the researchers wrote. [Read More]
GAO: HRA Healthcare Spending Less than Other Health Plans
Enrollees in a health reimbursement arrangement—a consumer-directed health plan that combines a high-deductible health plan with a tax advantaged account—were found in both public and private plans to spend less on healthcare annually than those enrolled in other types of health plans, according to the Government Accountability Office. One of the reasons may be that enrollees in HRAs tended to be healthier?and therefore kept costs down, according to the report. This pattern was evident even before enrollees signed up for the HRA. [Read More]
Join the HealthLeaders Media Council
If you want even better insight into what your peers are doing as healthcare experiences seismic changes, this is an opportunity you can't afford to pass up. The HealthLeaders Media Council is comprised of the nation's leading healthcare executives who collectively provide the most unbiased industry intelligence available. As a HealthLeaders reader, we invite you to qualify to become a member by completing a brief survey.
Join fellow Council members to:
  • Share your knowledge of the industry by contributing to brief online surveys
  • Access survey results and research reports in advance
  • Pose questions to solicit colleagues' opinions on your organization's most pressing challenges
  • Receive quarterly HealthLeaders Media Webcasts ($1,500 annual value) as a thank you for your participation on the Council
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Finance Forum
Medicare Fraud and Abuse Provisions Under the PPACA
President Obama recently signed off on legislation that very likely will result in a substantial increase in lawsuits against health care providers. Intended to combat fraud in the Medicare & Medicaid programs, several amendments in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act significantly change the status quo, and will require greater vigilance by healthcare providers in their dealings with the federal government.

[Read More]
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Finance Headlines
Jackson Health System struggles to balance budget
Miami Herald, August 23, 2010
MGMA: Salaries Static, Responsibilities Rise
HealthLeaders Media, August 19, 2010
99% of CA UTIs Incorrectly Coded, Study Says
HealthLeaders Media, August 17, 2010
CMS: 2011 Medicare Prescription Premiums Stable
HealthLeaders Media, August 19, 2010
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Money Talk

A look at one hospital's struggles to improve

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Rating: AA-
Outlook: Positive
Affected Debt: $1.7 billion
Agency: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
Remarks: S&P revised its rating outlook to positive from stable and affirmed its AA- rating on various issuers' debt issued for Mayo Clinic. At the same time, S&P affirmed its various other ratings on numerous bonds issued on behalf of Mayo Clinic. Offsetting credit factors include liquidity levels that are still below similarly rated organizations. S&P also considers Mayo Clinic's asset allocation aggressive, with approximately 50% of Mayo's long-term fund in alternative assets. S&P also cites its potential exposure to future Medicare and Medicare physician reimbursement reductions.
[Read More]
Audio Feature

Create Extra Capacity, Without Extra Expense: Wayne Keathley, president of New York's Mt. Sinai Medical Center, discusses adding 10,000 patient discharges per year by working on accountability and efficiency in patient throughput. [Listen Now]
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