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From the editor

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

HIN Managing Editor Patricia Donovan

With five confirmed cases of swine flu in New Jersey — and one in our own county — it's hard not to feel a little anxious. Rather than overreact, common sense should prevail while we consider the nonpharmaceutical community mitigation measures recommended by the CDC for states with at least one confirmed case of swine flu. These measures include home isolation of cases, frequent handwashing, and certain "social distancing interventions" — such as the cancelling of large gatherings linked to settings or institutions with laboratory-confirmed cases. For a kid-friendly lesson on handwashing, families might want to visit NSF International's Scrub Club, a Web site that uses "Soaper Heros" like "Gel-Mo" to teach the benefits of clean hands.

For healthcare organizations, education of staff and patients may be the best medicine. A look back at the hospital reaction to the rising number of MRSA cases offers some lessons to consider during the current level 5 influenza pandemic alert. In a recent HIN e-survey, reported strategies included: “proper hand hygiene campaign among staff and physicians; reminders and education materials placed strategically throughout the medical center; and asking patients to ask their healthcare provider if he or she washed up before providing care.” Along with these basics, one hospital also implemented programs to educate patients, providers and staff members about MRSA; established protocols for the identification of patients at risk; and established protocols for the treatment of patients with MRSA.

Be healthy!

Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Patricia Donovan
Editor, Healthcare Business Weekly Update March 2009 Mathematica Policy Research report

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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May 4, 2009
Vol. XI, No. 17

Sponsored by:
Reducing Acute and Chronic Care Costs Through an Effective Health Risk Stratification Model

This week's industry news:

  1. Satisfaction with Health Plans Lower Among Individual Purchasers
  2. Health Plan Week
  3. Why a Hospital Should Develop a Medical Home Network
  4. Hospitals in a Medical Home: Partners in Enhancing Access, Health Status and Cost Avoidance
  5. Featured Healthcare Business White Paper: Epidemic Proportions — Lessons Learned from MRSA Prevention and Control Programs
  6. National Institute on Drug Abuse Launches Drug Use Screening Tools for Physicians
  7. Designing, Implementing, and Managing Treatment Services for Individuals with Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: Blueprints for Action
  8. Recession Severely Destabilizing Skilled Nursing Sector, Constricting Access to Investment Capital
  9. Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2009: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry
  10. Free Clinician Swine Flu Templates Include Latest CDC Guidelines for Diagnosis and Treatment
  11. Pandemic Influenza: Preparedness and Response in the Healthcare Facility — Inservice Program
  12. Featured HealthSounds Podcast: Health Risk Stratification Trends — Same Data Points, Different Focus
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.) Satisfaction with Health Plans Lower Among Individual Purchasers

Health plan members who individually purchase their plans or work for small employers are considerably less satisfied with their health plan experience, compared with health plan members who work for larger organizations, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 National Health Insurance Plan Study.

Get the full story.

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2.) Health Plan Week

Health Plan Week The profitability of many health plans is threatened by costly medical conditions, a flood of new insurance products, high-priced injectable and biologic medications, aggressive new competitors for individual customers, and large regional and national accounts pushing back against premium hikes. If you're like thousands of your peers in healthcare management, you'll turn to this resource for reliable marketplace news and data that will help you navigate this brave new world for insurers.

Learn more about this resource.

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3.) Why a Hospital Should Develop a Medical Home Network

Marcus Barnes, director of Palmetto Health's Richland Care, a network of 12 medical homes, describes how benefits from hospital participation in a medical home network go beyond improving the quality of health in a community.

How do you convince a hospital to help in developing a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) network and that it is there to show a cost avoidance to the hospitals? The PCMH network will also help create a healthier community, which is beneficial to the hospital in many ways, such as volume control and financial implications.

Get the full story.

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4.) Hospitals in a Medical Home: Partners in Enhancing Access, Health Status and Cost Avoidance

Hospitals in a Medical Home In Hospitals in a Medical Home: Partners in Enhancing Access, Health Status and Cost Avoidance, the director of a medical home network demonstrates how hospitals can partner with medical homes to deliver patient-centered care to uninsured and low-income patients while reaping the financial benefits associated with decreased utilization and duplication of services.

Learn more about this resource.

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5.) Featured Healthcare Business White Paper: Epidemic Proportions — Lessons Learned from MRSA Prevention and Control Programs

As the number of confirmed swine flu cases around the country continues to rise, there are lessons to be learned from MRSA education and prevention efforts. In "Healthcare Organizations React to MRSA Outbreak," healthcare organizations share the guidelines and policies they have implemented to reduce and prevent the spread of hospital-acquired MRSA.

Download this complimentary white paper.

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6.) National Institute on Drug Abuse Launches Drug Use Screening Tools for Physicians

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, has unveiled its first physicians' outreach initiative, NIDAMED, which gives medical professionals tools and resources to screen their patients for tobacco, alcohol, illicit and non-medical prescription drug use.

Get the full story.

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7.) Designing, Implementing, and Managing Treatment Services for Individuals with Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: Blueprints for Action

Designing, Implementing, and Managing Treatment Services Sequential or parallel treatments for co-occurring disorders are much less effective than a quality co-occurring treatment program. Most mental health and substance abuse professionals know how to provide an effective program for individuals with a substance use or mental health disorder, but few are aware of the issues involved in providing services for those with dual diagnosis. This book gives you the tools you need to develop an effective program specific to co-occurring treatment as well as to implement and manage the program's services.

Learn more about this resource.

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8.) Recession Severely Destabilizing Skilled Nursing Sector, Constricting Access to Investment Capital

A new analysis assessing how the deepening national recession is affecting the long-term care sector found that cash flow is being used to simply fund operations rather than making critical infrastructure improvements. This comes at a time when demographic trends show a growing need for skilled nursing facility services and additional staff.

Get the full story.

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9.) 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, two key thought leaders 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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10.) Free Clinician Swine Flu Templates Include Latest CDC Guidelines for Diagnosis and Treatment

In response to the 2009 swine flu outbreak, T-System, Inc., the nation’s largest provider of emergency department (ED) clinical documentation solutions, has released free downloadable charting templates with updated information from CDC guidelines for testing and treatment of swine flu.

Get the full story.

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11.) Pandemic Influenza: Preparedness and Response in the Healthcare Facility — Inservice Program

Pandemic Influenza This presentation educates healthcare staff on preparedness and emergency response in the event of an influenza pandemic. It gives an overview of the influenza virus, the causes of a pandemic, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Influenza Pandemic Phases and the conditions that would exist at each phase.

Learn more about this resource.

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12.) Featured HealthSounds Podcast: Health Risk Stratification Trends — Same Data Points, Different Focus

John Harris Health claims are still scrutinized during risk stratification, but today's analysts examine these data points through a slightly different lens, explains John Harris, chief wellness officer and senior vice president for Healthways. Harris explains why the focus has shifted from ICD-9 coding patterns to the financial trends evident in the claims, and what accelerating or decelerating costs reveal about an individual's health status.

Listen to this podcast.

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