Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

This week a national survey reported that gas prices surged nearly 7 cents over the past two weeks to reach an all-time inflation-adjusted high of $3.26 per gallon of self-serve regular. The Lundberg Survey found that average prices in Newark, New Jersey, were the nation's lowest at $3.03 per gallon, while drivers in San Francisco, California, where the average price was $3.66, paid the most. While we are all a little more conservative in our gas consumption these days, home health caregivers don't always have that option. This week we report on a request from the Pennsylvania Homecare Association to increase Medicaid reimbursement to $100 per home visit for skilled services. The organization says it spent an additional $6.7 million in 2007 to help cover rising gas costs.

Meanwhile, home visits by Community Care of North Carolina case managers contributed to improved compliance levels and clinical outcomes for their Medicaid patients with diabetes. A new video from the Healthcare Intelligence Network profiles the payoffs from pilots in the medical home model aimed at this chronic illness.

Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Patricia Donovan
Editor, Healthcare Business Weekly Update

Please pass this along to any of your colleagues or, better yet, have them sign up to receive their own copy at http://www.hin.com/freenews2.html where you can also learn about our other news services.


Healthcare Business Weekly Update
Volume X, No. 2
March 31, 2008

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Table of Contents
  1. National Health Information Exchange Gateway for Sharing Patient Records Underway
  2. Moving from High-Tech to High-Touch: How Health Plans Are Providing Robust Personalized Web-Based Services
  3. Creating a Culture of Safety to Prevent Medical Errors
  4. Medication Reconciliation Strategies to Reduce Hospital Adverse Drug Events
  5. Featured Healthcare Podcast: Building a Diabetes Medical Home: The Impact on Practice Work Flow, Patient Outcomes and Healthcare Costs
  6. Oregon Improves Children’s Mental Healthcare
  7. Healthcare Performance Improvement: Plans, Procedures & Policies
  8. Skyrocketing Fuel Prices Force Budget Crunch for Many Home Health Caregivers
  9. Documentation and Reimbursement for Home Care and Hospice Programs
  10. Medicare Trustees Report Shows Serious Financial Status of Medicare Program
  11. Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2008: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry
  12. Featured White Paper: Medical Tourism: Implications for Participants in the US Health Care System


1. National Health Information Exchange Gateway for Sharing Patient Records Underway

Harris Corporation, an international communications and information technology company, has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop and integrate an open-source, National Health Information Exchange Gateway solution. The gateway, part of the larger National Health Information Network initiative, will enable federal healthcare agencies and healthcare providers to more quickly and easily share patient information — improving the quality of care and reducing costs.

To read this story in its entirety, go to:
http://www.hin.com/sw/Hindustry_MC033108.html



2. Moving from High-Tech to High-Touch: How Health Plans Are Providing Robust Personalized Web-Based Services

During Moving from High-Tech to High-Touch: How Health Plans Are Providing Robust Personalized Web-Based Services, an audio conference on CD-ROM, you learn about the self-service applications at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and the impact these initiatives have had.

For more information, please visit:
http://store.hin.com/product.asp?itemid=3031



3. Creating a Culture of Safety to Prevent Medical Errors

Leanne Huminski, chief nursing officer of McLeod Regional Medical Center, discusses how to create a successful culture of safety for hospitals.

There are many steps to follow when creating a culture of safety to reduce hospital adverse drug events. The first thing that McLeod Regional Medical Center did in creating their culture of safety was to develop a vision for medication safety. Their vision was, “We are perfecting the medication delivery system to be safe for every patient, every time, while making it easy for the caregiver to do the right thing, and impossible to do the wrong thing.”

To read this story in its entirety, go to:
http://www.hin.com/sw/hospital_HSmanagement033108.html



4. Medication Reconciliation Strategies to Reduce Hospital Adverse Drug Events

In this special report, you will discover the inside details on McLeod Regional Medical Center’s medication management program, which has a goal of eliminating adverse drug events.

For more information, please visit:
http://store.hin.com/product.asp?itemid=3765



TALK TO THE HIN COMMUNITY: Share your reaction to a story or a strategy that's working at your organization. Send an email to editor@hin.com or post a comment to the HIN blog at:
http://blog.hin.com/

5. Featured Healthcare Podcast: Building a Diabetes Medical Home: The Impact on Practice Work Flow, Patient Outcomes and Healthcare Costs

In another validation of the benefits of the patient-centered medical home model, a unique data exchange between the largest insurer in New Jersey and an 850-physician organization resulted in a member-specific profile for each diabetes patient accessible at the point of care. Partners in Care Medical Director Dr. James Barr describes the fine points of the one-year pilot that joined the disease management efforts of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey with those of Partners in Care physicians to dramatically improve compliance levels and clinical outcomes for patients with diabetes.

To listen to this podcast in its entirety, please visit:
http://www.hin.com/podcasts/podcast.htm#56



6. Oregon Improves Children’s Mental Healthcare

More children in the state are receiving mental healthcare because of changes that were initiated several years ago by the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), according to the National Center for Children in Poverty, which calls the changes "innovative."

To read this story in its entirety, go to:
http://www.hin.com/sw/behavioral_health033108.html



7. Healthcare Performance Improvement: Plans, Procedures & Policies

Healthcare Performance Improvement: Plans, Procedures & Policies includes 141 pages of strategies, example programs, forms, tools, and resources needed for an effective performance improvement program in a medical group, hospital or health plan.

For more information, please visit:
http://store.hin.com/product.asp?itemid=3519



8. Skyrocketing Fuel Prices Force Budget Crunch for Many Home Health Caregivers

In 2003, the last time Pennsylvania increased its reimbursement to home healthcare providers, gasoline was selling for $1.35 a gallon. Today, with gasoline at $3.30 and more in many parts of Pennsylvania, homecare agencies are still getting the same $77 per home visit and eating the skyrocketing cost of fuel or cutting corners in other areas. And, according to the Pennsylvania Homecare Association, providers are fresh out of corners to cut.

To read this story in its entirety, go to:
http://www.hin.com/sw/long_term_care033108.html


There are other free email newsletters available from HIN!

Healthcare Daily Data Bytes put at your fingertips each day a "Data Byte" from the healthcare industry — facts, figures, statistics and percentages on healthcare spending, costs, utilization and performance. You can also register for free access to Healthcare Daily Data Byte archives.

HealthSounds Podcasts delivers a free weekly audio interview with a healthcare innovator to your e-mailbox. Listen to thought leaders answer key questions about the most pressing issues and trends in healthcare — impact of retail clinics, implications of Web 2.0 for healthcare, medical home models, and much more.

To sign up for our free email newsletters, please visit
http://www.hin.com/freenews2.html


9. Documentation and Reimbursement for Home Care and Hospice Programs

This report gives you real-world, practical insight targeted at all levels of professional HIM expertise in home care and hospice service.

For more information, please visit:
http://store.hin.com/product.asp?itemid=2940



10. Medicare Trustees Report Shows Serious Financial Status of Medicare Program

In their annual report, the Medicare trustees announced that both the Medicare Hospital Trust Fund and the Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund expenditures are growing faster than the rest of the economy. The trustees report expenditures were $432 billion in 2007, or 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and are projected to increase to nearly 11 percent of GDP in 75 years.

To read this story in its entirety, go to:
http://www.hin.com/sw/healthLaw_regulation033108.html



11. Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2008: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry

In this special report, four key thought leaders deliver a sector-by-sector analysis of emerging trends and their impacts and debate the direction of the industry.

For more information, please visit:
http://store.hin.com/product.asp?itemid=3750



12. Featured White Paper: Medical Tourism: Implications for Participants in the US Health Care System

Medical tourism presents opportunities and threats for health plans, employers, pharmaceutical and device companies, providers, payers and patients. Those who understand the emerging market will be well-positioned to take the initiative and to benefit as the field evolves. The industry is still in a very early stage — and significant changes will transpire over the next few years. The purpose of this white paper is to lay out the issues that US players should begin addressing now and to provide the context in which to evaluate them.

To download this complimentary white paper, please visit:
http://www.hin.com/library/registermti.html


Contact HIN:

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