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From the editor

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

HIN Managing Editor Patricia Donovan

In spite of President Obama's plea for a renewed commitment to healthcare reform during last week's State of the Union address, the nation's priorities appear to be gravitating more toward job creation and budget deficit reduction. Meanwhile, a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that even after a yearlong media blitz, many Americans remain unfamiliar with key elements of the two major healthcare reform bills passed in the House and the Senate. The poll, a featured story this week, also found that while Americans are divided over health reform proposals, many become more supportive after being told about many of the major provisions in the bills.

We also present new data that could help control healthcare costs and utilization among Medicare beneficiaries. Contrary to popular thought, Brown University researchers now believe that increasing co-pays for outpatient visits — at least for senior citizens — may make care far more expensive. They determined that patients faced with higher co-payments did cut back on doctor visits, but ultimately required expensive hospital care because their illnesses worsened. Aetna hopes to avoid this with its user-friendly strategy for heading off high-risk complications among its elderly. Listen to the details in this week’s HealthSounds podcast.

New month, new survey. We're taking another look this year at the way healthcare uses economic incentives to drive participation and results in health and prevention programs. Complete the survey by February 28 and get a summary of the results.

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

Please send comments, questions and replies to pdonovan@hin.com.

HIN Associate Editor Jessica Papay
Associate Editor:
Jessica Papay, jpapay@hin.com

Publisher:
Melanie Matthews, mmatthews@hin.com

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February 1, 2010
Vol. XII, No. 5

Sponsored by:
Assessing and Predicting Health Risk in the Elderly

This week's industry news:

  1. Despite Reimbursement Barriers, Two-Thirds of Healthcare Organizations Use Telehealth
  2. 2010 Healthcare Benchmarks Yearbook
  3. Top Hospitals Have 29 Percent Lower Mortality
  4. Reducing Readmissions
  5. Healthcare Business White Paper: Healthcare Trends for 2010
  6. Employees Have Mixed Feelings about Seeking Mental Health Treatment
  7. Employee Health Promotion Strategies
  8. Increased Co-pays Boost Healthcare Costs, Admissions for Elderly
  9. Retooling Care Transitions to Reduce Hospitalizations
  10. Divided Over Health Reform Proposals, Americans Become More Supportive When Told of Key Provisions
  11. Medical Home Reimbursement ABCs
  12. HealthSounds Podcast: Offering HRAs for the Elderly
Please pass this along to any of your colleagues or, better yet, have them sign up to receive their own copy and learn about our other news services.

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This week's industry news

1.) Despite Reimbursement Barriers, Two-Thirds of Healthcare Organizations Use Telehealth

Two-thirds of healthcare organizations use telehealth for clinical or non-clinical purposes, according to a 2009 Healthcare Intelligence Network survey. The September 2009 survey also identified the most common applications for telehealth, the prevalence of remote monitoring, benefits and ROI, the greatest barriers to implementation and other telehealth trends among survey respondents.

Get the full story.

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2.) 2010 Healthcare Benchmarks Yearbook: Metrics, Measurements and Innovations

2010 Healthcare Benchmarks Yearbook This comprehensive collection of benchmarks documents key areas of healthcare activity and growth — from the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) to reduction of hospital readmissions to the use of health coaching, patient outreach, financial incentives and telehealth to foster behavior change and reverse healthcare spend. This 200-page resource delivers more than 200,000 data points in more than 140 graphs from 1,370 responding healthcare organizations in an easy-to-use binder format.

Learn more about this resource.

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3.) Top Hospitals Have 29 Percent Lower Mortality

Hospitals rated in the top 5 percent in the nation by HealthGrades have a 29 percent lower risk-adjusted mortality rate and are improving their clinical quality at a faster pace than other hospitals, according to a new study issued by HealthGrades.

Get the full story.

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4.) Reducing Readmissions: Interventions, Incentives and Infrastructure

Reducing Readmissions When healthcare organizations cut even a minority of avoidable readmissions, the cost savings can be considerable and the quality impact even greater. This resource presents case studies from three healthcare organizations whose efforts have significantly reduced avoidable hospital readmissions in high-risk populations and include the alignment of financial incentives to readmission rates.

Learn more about this resource.

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5.) Healthcare Business White Paper: Healthcare Trends for 2010 — Reform, Revenue & Resources Top of Mind

Looking ahead, are healthcare organizations more or less optimistic about 2010? Which aspect of healthcare reform will have the greatest impact on their business? This executive summary of responses from 100 healthcare organizations to HIN's Healthcare Trends for 2010 e-survey identifies reform priorities, top-of-mind concerns for 2010 and best and worst business decisions in 2009.

Download this complimentary white paper.

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6.) Employees Have Mixed Feelings about Seeking Mental Health Treatment

More than 40 percent of employees identified their employers as supportive or extremely supportive in seeking care for health issues, according to a survey by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The national survey also showed that barriers still exist for those employees who said their workplace is unsupportive of employees seeking treatment, especially for mental health treatment.

Get the full story.

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7.) Employee Health Promotion Strategies: Effecting Change through a Culture of Health

Employee Health Promotion This resource describes the payoffs of creating a corporate culture of health and the improved worker health and safety that can result. Learn how one company overcame a "benefit entitlement mentality," and a second developed a culture of health that improved the health and welfare of the company's 3,000 shift workers. This case study of employee health promotion in a manufacturing setting addresses the specific challenges of fostering health when employees work 12-hour rotating shifts among several locations.

Learn more about this resource.

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8.) Increased Co-pays Boost Healthcare Costs, Admissions for Elderly

For years many health experts believed that increasing insurance co-payments for routine doctor visits helped control costs. Patients faced with the higher price tag, they theorized, would simply cut back unnecessary visits, saving themselves and insurers money. Brown University researchers now believe that the practice of increasing co-payments for outpatient visits — at least for senior citizens — may make care far more expensive.

Get the full story.

>>Return to this week's industry news


9.) Retooling Care Transitions to Reduce Hospitalizations in Medicare Patients

Retooling Care Transitions This resource is an essential resource for healthcare organizations wishing to evaluate their care transition efforts against best practices in the industry. This 40-page resource delivers current trends in care transition programs as well as advice and guidance from industry thought leaders on key elements of care transition programs — from enhancements to the hospital discharge process to medication reconciliation ideas to better utilization of home visits during care transitions.

Learn more about this resource.

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10.) Divided Over Health Reform Proposals, Americans Become More Supportive When Told of Key Provisions

A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that while Americans are divided over congressional health reform proposals, large shares of people, including skeptics, become more supportive after being told about many of the major provisions in the bills.

Get the full story.

>>Return to this week's industry news


11.) Medical Home Reimbursement ABCs: Funding Care Delivery through ACOs, Bundled Payments and Concrete Contracts

Medical Home Reimbursement ABCs This resource provides a primer on emerging reimbursement models that are getting payors’ and providers’ attention while delivering cost savings. This 50-page report profiles three healthcare organizations that are redefining healthcare reimbursement with their pilots of new payment models and contracting strategies.

Learn more about this resource.

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12.) HealthSounds Podcast: Offering HRAs for the Elderly

HRAs for Elderly Even though more than a third of the elderly are online, they're not necessarily using the Internet to seek health assistance, explains Marcia Wade, M.D., F.C.C.P., M.M.M., senior medical director at Aetna Medicare. That's why Aetna delivers its health risk assessment for the elderly in an alternate format while making available other Web-based tools to Web-savvy boomer beneficiaries. Dr. Wade also describes Aetna's user-friendly strategy for heading off high-risk complications among its elderly and how this contributes to an overall reduction in hospital readmissions.

Listen to this podcast.

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