Hospitals the worst…

Today’s Datapoint

AIS’s Health Business Daily, February 1, 2011

$3,459 … per patient in Miami-Dade County was paid in 2009 by Medicare for outpatient therapy services, three times more than the national average of $1,078.

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Strategies To Improve Care Include Targeting Hospital Spending, Reducing Hospital Infections (excerpt)

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, February 1, 2011

Reuters:  Program Reduces Serious Hospital Infections

A U.S. program to help make sure hospital staff maintain strict hygiene standards lowered death rates in intensive care units by 10 percent, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.  Their study, published in the British Medical Journal, adds to a growing body of evidence that changing the hospital culture, including using checklists modeled on those employed by pilots, can reduce errors, saving lives and costs (Fox, 1/31).

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NY Times: New Take On Concierge Medicine

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, February 1, 2011

The New York Times:  Concierge Medical Care With A Smaller Price Tag

When Jennifer Contreras went to see her new physician, she had hardly arrived in the waiting room before she was called in – by the doctor herself.  Ms. Contreras is a patient at One Medical Group, a new model for primary care that aims to set a nationwide example.  With 31 physicians in San Francisco and New York, it offers most of the same services provided by personalized “concierge” medical practices, but at a much lower price: $150 to $200 a year (Hafner, 1/31).

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Employers and Workers Expecting Increases in Health Benefit Costs (excerpt)

HFMA Weekly News Highlights, February 4, 2011

More than 40 percent of employers say they are likely to pass along any health benefit cost increases to workers and about half of workers are expecting such cost increases, according to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.  Read more here.

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Why Are Hospitals The Worst Place To Be When You Are Sick?

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, February 10, 2011

Huffington Post:  Looking over the bills for my mother’s last six month hospitalization and home care, over 90 percent of her medical expenses were attributable to infections that she shouldn’t have gotten in the first place. … My mother had entered the hospital with a head injury from a fall that healed beautifully.  She remained in the hospital due to the barrage of infections that bombarded, ravaged and debilitated her.  The complacency about hospitals being breeding grounds for infection was painfully evident in the written remarks of my mother’s primary care physician in her discharge papers.  He wrote such statements as, “Patient had an uneventful hospital course,” and “Patients stay at the hospital was unremarkable.”  What does it take to be eventful and remarkable? (Judith Johnson, 2/6).

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Fraud-Prevention

AIS’s HEALTH REFORM WEEK, January 31, 2011 (excerpt)

The final rules that HHS issued on Jan. 24 to implement fraud-prevention provisions in the health reform law include some “very scary tools” the department will have that could wind up hurting honest providers, according to a health care fraud attorney.  She doesn’t question the intent of the rules, but says they may have unintended effects in creating new and not challengeable barriers to entry at a time when the reform law is encouraging providers to engage in new kinds of transactions and forms of care.  In particular, says Carrie Valiant, a partner in law firm Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., the rules make no distinction between those providers starting out and those already existing, “and I think there should be” a distinction.  They also leave big questions, according to Valiant, such as how a “credible allegation” of fraud that triggers actions under the rules will be defined.

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About Boyd & Nicholas
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