Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Week in Review - April 2, 2009

A look back at some of the best news stories (and some entertaining diversions) from the week in health care.

All Things Considered reports on Governor Kathleen Sebelius as her HHS nomination faces Senate questioning. Is it a preview to the "looming debate" over health care reform?

The Struggle for Reform - Challenges and Hopes for Comprehensive Health Care Legislation.

The "Right Hospital for You" reports on the top 125 hospitals, with comparative data by region with information on death rate for high risk cases, rate of major complications in cases, % of cases with proper tests and procedures, and ratings by consumers and physicians.

"A new study casts doubt on a hospital safety rating conducted by the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit business coalition."

Drs. Mandl and Kohane argue that health care information systems should be modular, platform-based and interoperable, rather than monolithic.

In the third such suit against payers, the AMA and state medical associations allege that WellPoint "colluded with database firm Ingenix to fix prices in a multistate scheme to underpay doctors for so-called out-of-network medical care."

Kaiser reports reducing cardiac deaths by 73 percent using an integrated clinical team "connected by technology tools that help them deliver care proven to improve health outcomes. Activities such as lifestyle modification, medication management, patient education, laboratory results monitoring, and management of adverse events."

Wireless technology is used to "remotely monitor heart arrhythmia through personal mobile devices."

Study finds that 1/3 of patient bad debt should have been classified as charity care. "With self-pay portfolio balances rising, regulatory authorities are scrutinizing hospitals’ charity care practices and provisions of community benefit in exchange for tax exemptions. "

An ASQ study finds that "53 percent of hospitals report some level ("minor," "moderate" or "full") of lean deployment, and 42 percent of hospitals report some level of Six Sigma deployment".

DOD and VA partnering on lifetime longitudinal medical record.

Geisinger introduces warranties on heart surgery and "reduces bypass surgery costs by 15%".

The Save $4 Billion campaign is launched using benchmarking to improve visibility of hospitals' relative performance.

Would you pay $60 per year to e-mail your physician?

Budgeting for Change - Obama's Down Payment on Health Care Reform.

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