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From the editor

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

HIN Managing Editor Patricia Donovan

Momentum for healthcare reform in Washington continued to build with last week's White House Forum on Health Reform. The event brought together more than 100 doctors, patients, business leaders and insurers to discuss ideas on how to bring down healthcare costs and increase coverage. I watched some coverage of a breakout session — one of five — moderated by Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes and Dr. Bob Kocher of the National Economic Council. Session participants — a mix of legislators, providers and community stakeholders — had a chance to present their constituencies' major concerns, which included a larger role for preventive care, provider reimbursement, health IT, quality improvement and care access. You can follow healthcare reform on a new HHS Web site, healthreform.gov, where you can also read more about the top five concerns of 30,000 Americans who participated in healthcare community discussions late last year:

  • Cost of health insurance (31 percent)
  • Cost of healthcare services (24 percent)
  • Lack of emphasis on prevention (20 percent)
  • Difficulty of finding health insurance due to pre-existing conditions (13 percent)
  • Quality of care (12 percent)

Seems like reformers and consumers are on the same page, at least for now. As reform moves forward, it will be interesting to see whether this alignment continues.

And in case you missed the CNN report last week, Dr. David Chin, who said healthcare is “no longer recession-proof” during our Healthcare Trends 2009 webinar, described factors contributing to rising healthcare costs.

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

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

Associate Editor:
Jessica Papay, jpapay@hin.com

Publisher:
Melanie Matthews, mmatthews@hin.com

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March 9, 2009
Vol. XI, No. 9

Sponsored by:
Physician Quality Reporting Initiative in 2009 — How To Avoid Submission Errors and Improve Reimbursement

This week's industry news:

  1. The Tipping Point in Benefit-Based Incentives
  2. Benchmarks in Health & Wellness Incentives: Utilization and Effectiveness Data to Drive Health Promotion, Compliance and ROI
  3. Hospital Executives Rate Best and Worst Health Insurance Companies
  4. Essential Keys To Success for Consumer-Directed Health Plans
  5. Featured Healthcare Business White Paper: Treating Emergency Room Overcrowding — An Emergency in Urgent Care
  6. Combination of Genes and Prenatal Exposure to Smoking Increases Teens’ Risk of Disruptive Behavior
  7. Drugs, the Brain and Behavior: The Pharmacology of Abuse and Dependence
  8. Caregiving for A Sick Spouse May Increase Lifespan
  9. Elderly Health Services Letter
  10. Track Healthcare Reform on HHS Web Site
  11. Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2009: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry
  12. Featured HealthSounds Podcast: Emergency Room Utilization — Developing a Team Approach to Address Overcrowding Factors That Increase Wait Time
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.) The Tipping Point in Benefit-Based Incentives

Many employers use a benefits-integrated incentive strategy, explains Gregg Lehman, HealthFitness president and CEO. “This means if you agree to participate in a program, you get an incentive. It may be a $20 to $30 reduction in your co-pay or deductible. If you decide you’re not going to participate, you pay $20 to $30 a month more for your health benefits," he explains.

Get the full story.

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2.) Benchmarks in Health & Wellness Incentives: Utilization and Effectiveness Data to Drive Health Promotion, Compliance and ROI

Benchmarks in Health & Wellness Incentives For maximum returns, incentives must be carefully matched to the population, health improvement activity and the desired behaviors. This exclusive 30-page report combines the responses of more than 200 organizations to HIN's 2009 Health and Wellness Incentives Utilization Survey with recommendations and advice on incentives use from 25 thought leaders in health and wellness.

Learn more about this resource.

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3.) Hospital Executives Rate Best and Worst Health Insurance Companies

The DAVIES third annual National Payor Survey of hospital executives revealed two outliers in the health insurance community. For the first time, hospitals identified a preferred business partner in Aetna. And for the third straight year, UnitedHealthcare stood out dramatically as a bad actor in its ratings.

Get the full story.

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4.) Essential Keys To Success for Consumer-Directed Health Plans

Essential Keys To Success for Consumer-Directed Health Plans During Essential Keys To Success for Consumer-Directed Health Plans, industry experts describe the essential elements needed for a consumer-directed health plan to successfully engage consumers in their health and control healthcare costs, and how the elements translate to a consumer-directed benefit strategy for health plans and employers.

Learn more about this resource.

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5.) Featured Healthcare Business White Paper: Treating Emergency Room Overcrowding — An Emergency in Urgent Care

NEW! An ED’s overcrowding can create a myriad of problems — from an increase in wait times to a decline in the quality of care being given to patients in need. In a January 2009 e-survey from the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN), 73 healthcare professionals told us how they are responding to ED overcrowding and its effect on their organizations.

Download this complimentary white paper.

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6.) Combination of Genes and Prenatal Exposure to Smoking Increases Teens' Risk of Disruptive Behavior

A study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that prenatal exposure to smoking combined with a specific genetic variant, places children at greatest risk for behavioral problems.

Get the full story.

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7.) Drugs, the Brain and Behavior: The Pharmacology of Abuse and Dependence

Drugs, the Brain and Behavior Filled with an array of useful definitions and amazing historic discoveries about the nervous system, this book will bring you up to speed on the brain/behavior relationship, basic neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and the mechanistic actions of mood-altering drugs, including alcohol, marijuana, anxiolytics, antidepressants, antipsychotics, cocaine and opiates.

Learn more about this resource.

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8.) Caregiving for A Sick Spouse May Increase Lifespan

Older adults who care for an ill spouse for at least 14 hours each week have a longer lifespan, according to a study from the University of Michigan (UM). Researchers used data from the UM Health and Retirement study. They analyzed seven years of information on 1,688 Americans over the age of 70 who live independently.

Get the full story.

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9.) Elderly Health Services Letter

Elderly Health Services Letter An essential tool for senior services professionals, Elderly Health Services Letter stays on top of the most current challenges facing senior services professionals, including financing and funding senior services, marketing, positioning senior services for managed care, getting administrative support, forging partnerships to participate in the continuum of care, developing new programs and services, advancing health promotion and wellness initiatives, and measuring outcomes and performance.

Learn more about this resource.

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10.) Track Healthcare Reform on HHS Web Site

A new HHS report, Americans Speak on Health Reform: Report on Health Care Community Discussions, summarizes comments from the thousands of Americans who hosted and participated in healthcare community discussions across the country and highlights the need for immediate action to reform healthcare.

Get the full story.

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11.) Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2009: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2009 In Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2009: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry, Dr. David Chin and Perry Hanson reflect upon the volatile economic climate and historical election results to frame an industry outlook for 2009.

Learn more about this resource.

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12.) Featured HealthSounds Podcast: Emergency Room Utilization — Developing a Team Approach to Address Overcrowding Factors That Increase Wait Time

Cindy Rentsch At Edward Hospital in Naperville, Il., a "culture of certification" that includes cash bonuses for certification and peer support during exam preparation helps to raise the caliber of the ER staff and maintain patient satisfaction levels. Cindy Rentsch, Edward Hospital's clinical director of emergency services, describes the culture of certification that has raised the caliber of Edward's ER staff, a marketing campaign to divert mental health patients from the ER and protocols for treatment of pediatric ER patients.

Listen to this podcast.

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