Latest Health News

Ad urges public to get H1N1 vaccine

AHA News Now, January 11, 2010

In an ad this weekend in national publications, more than 30 health care organizations, including the AHA, urged the public to get vaccinated against H1N1 flu.

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CDC: Four in 10 office-based physicians use EHRs

AHA News Now, January 8, 2010

Nearly 44% of office-based physicians used electronic health records in 2009, according to preliminary estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Hospital employment climbs 0.02% in December

AHA News Now, January 8, 2010

Employment at the nation's hospitals rose 0.02% in December to a seasonally adjusted 4,741,300 people, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

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AHA shares health reform preferences with congressional leaders

AHA News Now, January 7, 2010

As House and Senate Democratic leaders begin work on merging the chambers' health reform bills, the AHA today offered lawmakers its recommendations on what should be included in the final bill..

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Guide seeks to help employers implement parity law

AHA News Now, January 6, 2010

The Partnership for Workplace Mental Health has issued a guide to help employers implement the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

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Report: Public health preparedness improved, but gaps remain

AHA News Now, December 15, 2009

Investments in pandemic and public health preparedness over the past several years dramatically improved U.S. readiness for the H1N1 outbreak, according to a report released today by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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CMS: Health spending grows at slowest rate since 1960

AHA News Now, January 5, 2010

U.S. health spending grew 4.4% in 2008, its slowest rate in nearly 50 years, according to data released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Spending for hospital care grew 4.5%, down from 5.9% in 2007 and the smallest increase since 1998..

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Report: Public health preparedness improved, but gaps remain

AHA News Now, December 15, 2009

Investments in pandemic and public health preparedness over the past several years dramatically improved U.S. readiness for the H1N1 outbreak, according to a report released today by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Hospital prices decline 0.5% in November

AHA News Now, December 15, 2009

Overall hospital prices decreased by 0.5% in November, and were 2.3% higher than a year ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

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Medicare buy-in proposal not true reform, AHA states

AHA News Now, December 14, 2009

Hospitals are committed to expanding health coverage and building a better delivery system, but swelling the rolls of the underfunded Medicare program is not the way to achieve this goal, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said in a USA Today opinion piece.

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Maine health system receives patient safety leadership award

AHA News Now, December 14, 2009

The VHA Foundation and National Business Group on Health today presented their Patient Safety Leadership Award  to Eastern Maine Healthcare System in Brewer.

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Study: Recession not stopping many states from expanding health coverage

AHA News Now, December 10, 2009

Despite the recession, 26 states this year made it easier for low-income children, parents or pregnant women to get health coverage, according to a report  released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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Survey: 26 states expand access to health coverage in 2009

AHA News Now, December 8, 2009

Twenty-six states expanded access to health coverage for low-income children, parents or pregnant women in 2009, according to a survey released today by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

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New nurse union meets in Phoenix

AHA News Now, December 7, 2009

The California Nurses Association, United American Nurses, and Massachusetts Nurses Association today convened a convention of their new merged union, National Nurses United, in Phoenix.

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WHO reports drug-resistant flu in immunocompromised patients

AHA News Now, December 4, 2009

Four patients hospitalized in North Carolina with severely compromised immune systems had H1N1 flu viruses resistant to the antiviral drug oseltamivir, the World Health Organization reported this week.

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More applicants than space for nursing schools

AHA News Now, December 3, 2009

Enrollment in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs increased for the ninth straight year in 2009, climbing 3.5%, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported yesterday.

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HHS announces health IT grant program

AHA News Now, November 19, 2009

The Department of Health and Human Services today released $235 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants for a program to accelerate health information technology in 15 communities.

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HHS to review medical countermeasures process

AHA News Now, December 1, 2009

The Department of Health and Human Services will review in first-quarter 2010 how the nation can more quickly develop and produce medical countermeasures for public health emergencies, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today.

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CMS further delays Medicaid benefits rule

AHA News Now, November 30, 2009

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today delayed until July 1, 2010 the effective date of a final rule giving states more flexibility in defining the benefits covered by their Medicaid programs.

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Presidential order targets improper federal payments

AHA News Now, November 25, 2009

President Obama Monday issued an executive order aimed at reducing improper payments in federal programs.

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Reid releases merged Senate health reform bill

AHA News Now, November 19, 2009

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last night unveiled the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (H.R. 3590), which merges health reform bills approved by the Senate Finance and Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committees.

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House passes bill to reform Medicare physician payment

AHA News Now, November 19, 2009

The House voted 243-183 late today to approve the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act (H.R. 3961), which would permanently reform Medicare's physician payment formula. 

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Report highlights prevention strategies for adults aged 50-64

AHA News Now, November 19, 2009

Only about one in four Americans aged 50-64 regularly takes advantage of preventive health services such as screenings and immunizations, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Report: Physician, medical student supply varies by state

AHA News Now, November 17, 2009

The U.S. had 254 working physicians for every 100,000 residents in 2008, according to a new report from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Physician supply varied from a high of 405 per 100,000 residents in Massachusetts to a low of 174 in Mississippi.

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Hospitals outline progress since IOM report on patient safety

AHA News Now, November 16, 2009

Hospitals have made great strides over the past 10 years in patient safety, transparency and the way they work, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said during a panel discussion today.

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Study finds higher mortality for uninsured trauma patients

AHA News Now, November 16, 2009

Patients hospitalized for trauma injuries may be more likely to die if they are uninsured, according to a study in the November Archives of Surgery. Researchers from Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School analyzed records for 687,091 adults admitted to more than 900 U.S. trauma centers between 2002 and 2006. .

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Report: Inpatient satisfaction continues to rise

AHA News Now, November 13, 2009

 Hospital patient satisfaction reached a new peak last year, according a new report from Press Ganey Associates. In October 2008, the company reported an unprecedented 1.5% jump in overall inpatient satisfaction and a 2% increase in the likelihood patients would recommend their hospital to family and friends.

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AHRQ awards nearly $7 million to HRET to fight bloodstream infections

AHA News Now, October 23, 2009

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality today awarded nearly $7 million to the AHA's Health Research & Educational Trust affiliate to allow hospitals in all 50 states to participate in a project to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections.

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New nurse union meets in Phoenix

AHA News Now, December 7, 2009

The California Nurses Association, United American Nurses, and Massachusetts Nurses Association today convened a convention of their new merged union, National Nurses United, in Phoenix.

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Hospital prices climb 0.2% in September

AHA News Now, October 22, 2009

Overall hospital prices increased 0.2% in September, and were 3.0% higher than a year ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.

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Democrats urge Reid to include public option in health reform bill

AHA News Now, October 12, 2009

Thirty Senators Thursday urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to include a public insurance option in health reform legislation. In a letter to Reid organized by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), 29 Democrats and one Independent wrote, "Opponents of health reform argue that a public option presents unfair competition to the private insurance companies.

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Hospitals bolster NJ economy

AHA News Now, October 12, 2009

New Jersey's 73 acute-care hospitals contributed 145,000 jobs and $18 billion in spending to local and state economies in 2008, according to a new report from the New Jersey Hospital Association.

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Senate Finance bill to move forward

AHA News Now, October 8, 2009

The Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan agency that "scores" the costs and effects of legislation, yesterday announced that the Senate Finance Committee's health care reform legislation would cost $829 billion over 10 years, is fully paid for, and reduces the federal deficit by $81 billion.
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NIH awards $170 million for stem cell research

AHA News Now, October 8, 2009

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute today awarded 18 research teams $170 million over seven years to develop stem and progenitor cell tools and therapies.

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States begin H1N1 flu vaccinations

AHA News Now, October 6, 2009

States yesterday began administering up to 2.2 million doses of the nasal spray version of H1N1 flu vaccine, giving priority to health care workers, children and people who care for infants, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., said today.

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CMS awards $6.3 million to Medicare counseling programs

AHA News Now, October 5, 2009

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Friday distributed $6.3 million to State Health Insurance Assistance Programs to help Medicare beneficiaries get information about health and prescription drug plan choices.

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Medicare billing policy for surgical errors starts Monday

AHA News Now, October 2, 2009

Effective Monday, hospitals must submit two claims to Medicare whenever a surgical error is reported along with a covered service: one claim for covered services unrelated to the error and another no-pay claim with the error coded on it.

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NY health system to subsidize physician EHR system

AHA News Now, September 28, 2009

North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System today announced it will subsidize up to 85% of the cost of implementing and operating an electronic health records system in the offices of its more than 7,000 affiliated physicians in New York City and Long Island.

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Transparency amendment added to House health reform bill

AHA News Now, September 28, 2009

The House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday voted 28-22 along party lines to approve a package of amendments to the House health reform bill (H.R. 3200).

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Health disparities are costly, studies find

AHA News Now, September 24, 2009

The higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, stroke and renal disease among African Americans and Latinos compared to whites added $15.6 billion to Medicare spending in 2009, according to a new study by the Urban Institute.

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IL Supreme Court hears arguments in hospital tax exemption case

AHA News Now, September 23, 2009

The Illinois Supreme Court today heard arguments on whether Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana, IL, should be awarded tax exemption.

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Program seeks to improve the environment, health

AHA News Now, September 23, 2009

Health Care Without Harm today announced the "Balanced Menus Challenge," a voluntary program for health care organizations aimed at improving health and the environment.

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NIH: Children under 9 likely to need 2 doses of H1N1 vaccine

AHA News Now, September 21, 2009

A single dose of H1N1 flu vaccine is likely to produce a protective immune response in most healthy children over age 9, while younger children may require two doses of the vaccine, the National Institutes of Health announced today.

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White House announces patient safety/medical liability grants

AHA News Now, September 18, 2009

The White House yesterday announced a $25-million demonstration program to help states and health systems test new models for patient safety and medical liability.

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HHS announces ARRA wellness initiative

AHA News Now, September 17, 2009

The Department of Health and Human Services today announced $650 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants to promote community health and prevent chronic disease.

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Study: Uninsured have higher risk of death

AHA News Now, September 17, 2009

Lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 45,000 deaths annually, according to a study published online today by the American Journal of Public Health. 

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Baucus issues health care reform bill

AHA News Now, September 16, 2009

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) this morning released his long-awaited version of a health care reform bill.

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Employer-sponsored coverage more costly

AHA News Now, September 15, 2009

The average premium for employer-based family health coverage rose 5% in 2009 to $13,375, according to a survey released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation and AHA Health Research & Educational Trust.

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GAO calls for Medicaid preventive services guidance

AHA News Now, September 14, 2009

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should expedite policy guidance on Medicaid coverage of obesity-related services for children, and consider the need for similar guidance regarding coverage of recommended preventive services for adults, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

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HRSA awards ARRA grants to train health professionals

AHA News Now, September 11, 2009

The Health Resources and Services Administration today awarded $33 million in  American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants to help train health professionals.

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Survey: WI hospitals investing in health IT

AHA News Now, September 11, 2009

More than one-quarter of Wisconsin hospitals have implemented electronic medical records and a similar proportion are in the process of doing so, according to a new survey by the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

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Census: 46.3 million Americans uninsured in 2008

AHA News Now, September 11, 2009

An estimated 46.3 million Americans, 15.4% of the population, lacked health insurance in 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. That's 600,000 more people than in 2007.

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Joint Commission launches patient safety center

AHA News Now, September 10, 2009

The Joint Commission today launched the Center for Transforming Healthcare, which will team with hospitals to develop innovative ways to improve patient safety and share them with the field.

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Study: Savings from Medicare non-payment policy small

AHA News Now, September 9, 2009

Medicare saves an estimated $1.1 million to $2.7 million annually by not paying for six hospital-acquired conditions, according to a study in the September/October issue of Health Affairs.

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13 states receive grants to expand health coverage

AHA News Now, September 4, 2009

The Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded $70.9 million in grants to 13 states to expand access to affordable health coverage for the uninsured.

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Report: Hospitals boost Louisiana economy

AHA News Now, September 2, 2009

Louisiana hospitals generate more than $27 billion annually in economic activity and directly employ more than 95,352 people, according to a report released today by the Louisiana Hospital Association.

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NJ prohibits billing for certain 'hospital-acquired conditions'

AHA News Now, September 1, 2009

Under legislation signed yesterday by Gov. Jon Corzine, New Jersey will prohibit hospitals and physicians from billing for certain events identified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as "hospital-acquired conditions."

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AHRQ: More patients leaving the hospital against medical advice

AHA News Now, August 21, 2009

The number of patients leaving the hospital against the advice of medical staff increased 39% between 1997 and 2007, to 368,000, according to a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

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Hospitals committed to improving care, efficiency, AHA panelist says

AHA News Now, August 20, 2009

Hospitals are committed to improving health care quality and efficiency through "comprehensive, meaningful reform," AHA Senior Vice President of Research Maulik Joshi told participants at a Health Affairs panel discussion today on "key issues in health reform and the implications of slowing Medicare spending."

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U.S. life expectancy reaches new high

AHA News Now, August 19, 2009

U.S. life expectancy reached a record high 77.9 years in 2007, according to preliminary data released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Hospital prices climb 0.1% in July

AHA News Now, August 18, 2009

Overall hospital prices increased 0.1% in July, and were 2.5% higher than a year ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

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Study: Hospital mortality rates for heart attack on decline

AHA News Now, August 18, 2009

The 30-day mortality rate for Medicare patients hospitalized for heart attack decreased an average 3% between 1995 to 2006, while variability between hospitals also declined, according to a study in the Aug. 19 Journal of the American Medical Association.

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HHS forum to focus on H1N1 preparedness

AHA News Now, August 14, 2009

The Department of Health and Human Services on Aug. 20 will host a teleconference on H1N1 flu preparedness for hospitals and other health care providers.

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ARRA funds released to ease nurse shortage

AHA News Now, August 12, 2009

The Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration today released $13.4 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to combat the national nurse shortage.

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Maine hospitals, physicians launch health information exchange

AHA News Now, August 11, 2009

More than 2,000 Maine physicians and hospitals will soon begin exchanging electronic health information under the HealthInfoNet demonstration project.

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Hospital employment climbs 0.09% in July

AHA News Now, August 7, 2009

Employment at the nation's hospitals rose 0.09% in July to a seasonally adjusted 4,726,300 people, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

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Governors encourage states to prepare for EHR adoption

AHA News Now, August 5, 2009

A National Governors Association alliance yesterday issued a guide to help states implement the federal HITECH Act, which expands the role of states in fostering health information exchange and adoption of electronic health records over the next five years.

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Employers see value in workplace wellness programs

AHA News Now, July 28, 2009

Perks matter, according to a new Health2Resources’ survey of workplace wellness incentive programs.

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School wellness policies failing to provide healthy environment for kids

AHA News Now, July 28, 2009

Most school districts are failing to provide children with the healthy foods and physical activity they need, says a study released today by Bridging the Gap and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Medical spending on obesity doubled in past decade

AHA News Now, July 27, 2009

Medical spending on obesity has doubled in the past decade and could reach $147 million a year, according to a study published today on the Health Affairs Web site. U.S. obesity rates grew 37% between 1998 and 2006, said researchers from RTI International, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

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Hospital leaders discuss reform on YouTube; Post features AHA

AHA News Now, July 27, 2009

The AHA today posted YouTube videos of hospital leaders discussing the need for health care reform, and how reform might affect the communities they serve. 

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ARRA grants available for rural hospital facilities

AHA News Now, July 24, 2009

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service will award $1.19 billion in loans and grants to build or improve hospitals and other essential facilities in low-income rural communities.

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AHA applauds Senate focus on health plan competition

AHA News Now, July 23, 2009

Protecting health care providers from anticompetitive practices by health plans "must be a mainstay of any successful health reform effort," the AHA today told Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) in a letter applauding his recent hearings on competition in the health care market.  

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Study: Expenditures are 'imperfect measure of community benefit'

AHA News Now, July 23, 2009

Policy makers should hesitate to impose new charitable expectations on tax-exempt hospitals, according to a study published online today by Health Affairs. 

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More initiatives exchanging electronic health information

AHA News Now, July 22, 2009

Fifty-seven health information exchange initiatives report transmitting data, according to a new survey by the eHealth Initiative.  

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AHRQ: Family premium cost average worker $3,400

AHA News Now, July 22, 2009

Workers enrolled in family health coverage through their employer contributed an average of $3,394 toward the cost of their premiums last year, according to a new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 

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$220 million in DOL grants available for health careers

AHA News Now, July 23, 2009

The Department of Labor is accepting applications through Oct. 5 for $220 million in competitive grants to prepare workers for careers in health care and other high-growth fields.. 

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FDA approves 2009-10 seasonal flu vaccine

AHA News Now, July 21, 2009

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a seasonal flu vaccine for 2009-2010.

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Web site to handle expedited COBRA assistance reviews

AHA News Now, July 20, 2009

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Friday launched a Web site (www.ContinuationCoverage.net) and helpline (1-866-400-6689) where certain unemployed workers may request expedited review when denied eligibility for COBRA premium assistance under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 

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President earmarks $1.8 billion for H1N1 flu preparedness

AHA News Now, July 17, 2009

President Obama yesterday designated $1.825 billion in emergency funding for H1N1 flu preparedness.

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Half of Americans oppose House's health reform bill

AHA News Now, July 16, 2009

Fifty percent of Americans oppose the America's Affordable Health Choice Act, the health reform bill introduced this week by House Democratic leaders, according to a new University of Texas/Zogby Intl. poll on American attitudes on health care reform. 

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AHRQ: 1 in 5 patients visiting the ED are uninsured

AHA News Now, July 15, 2009

Uninsured patients accounted for nearly one-fifth of the 120 million visits to U.S. community hospital emergency departments in 2006, according to data released today by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 

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HHS report highlights program to prevent heart disease

AHA News Now, July 15, 2009

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today called a federally funded program to prevent heart disease and stroke in low-income women "a great example of a community-based prevention program that can help keep Americans healthy and out of the hospital." 

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HHS awards contract for new way to make flu vaccine

AHA News Now, June 23, 2009

The Department of Health and Human Services today announced a $35 million contract to pursue advanced development of a new and faster way to make flu vaccine. 

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HHS highlights 'hidden costs' of health coverage

AHA News Now, June 23, 2009

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today released a report documenting the rising out-of-pocket expenses for Americans with employer-based health coverage.

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Baucus announces health reform deal with drug companies

AHA News Now, June 22, 2009

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) Saturday announced an $80 billion commitment from the pharmaceutical industry to reduce Medicare Part D prescription drug costs for seniors as part of health care reform.

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HHS begins releasing additional CHIP funds to states

AHA News Now, June 22, 2009

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Friday announced plans to release $6 billion in federal funding for fiscal year 2009 under the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act.

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House Democrats release reform outline

AHA News Now, June 19, 2009

The chairmen of the House committees with jurisdiction over health issues today released a “discussion draft” of proposed health reform legislation. 

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HHS extends legal protections for the treatment of H1N1

AHA News Now, June 19, 2009

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today extended legal immunity to health care providers who administer the antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza to treat patients for the 2009 H1N1 flu.

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White House enlists state legislators to promote health care reform

AHA News Now, June 18, 2009

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle yesterday met with 22 Democratic state legislators from 18 states and announced the formation of “State Legislators for Health Reform.”

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CMS warns of scam targeting physicians

AHA News Now, June 18, 2009

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today warned of a scam in which physicians’ offices are receiving faxes instructing them to provide an account information update within 48 hours in order to prevent a gap in Medicare payments.

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Report: Medical costs to rise 9% in 2010

AHA News Now, June 18, 2009

Medical costs for employers and their workers are expected to increase 9% in 2010, slightly slower than in previous years, according to a report released today by the PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute.

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Senate panel launches mark up of health reform bill

AHA News Now, June 17, 2009

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions today began marking up its draft health care reform bill, the Affordable Health Care Choices Act.

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AHA president talks to NPR about proposed hospital payment cuts

AHA News Now, June 17, 2009

In an interview yesterday with National Public Radio, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock discussed the association's deep concern with the president's proposal to cut an additional $220 billion in hospital payments over 10 years to help pay for health care reform.

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House Republicans issue health care reform proposal

AHA News Now, June 17, 2009

House Republicans today outlined their plan for making health care more affordable while reducing the number of uninsured Americans and increasing health care quality.

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Former Senate leaders issue health reform proposal

AHA News Now, June 17, 2009

In a report issued today by the Bipartisan Policy Center, former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker (R-TN), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Bob Dole (R-KS) and George Mitchell (D-ME) propose a 10-year plan for improving health care quality and value while reducing spending and promoting personal responsibility.

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Hospital prices climb 0.2% in May

AHA News Now, June 16, 2009

Overall hospital prices increased 0.2% in May, and were 2.6% higher than a year ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday.

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CBO: Senate bill would have limited impact on uninsured

AHA News Now, June 16, 2009

The health coverage provisions of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee health reform bill would reduce the number of uninsured people by 16 million, according to a preliminary analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

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Group calls for health reform to adequately fund safety net

AHA News Now, June 16, 2009

A new report by the American Public Health Association calls for Congress and the administration to adequately fund the health care safety net, including hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of poor and uninsured patients.

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AHA: Proposed cuts could cripple hospitals' ability to care for patients

AHA News Now, June 15, 2009

The AHA today expressed "deep disappointment" over the administration's proposal to cut an additional $220 billion in hospital payments over the next 10 years, noting that hospitals already face as much as $38 billion in previously announced reform-related cuts and $41 billion in payment cuts under the proposed Medicare inpatient prospective payment system rule

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Obama addresses health/liability reform with physicians

AHA News Now, June 15, 2009

Addressing physicians today at the American Medical Association's annual policy meeting in Chicago, President Obama acknowledged the fear among some that "we may lose what works about our health care system while trying to fix what doesn't.

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Senate committee examines approaches to health reform

AHA News Now, June 12, 2009

The current shortage of registered nurses will temporarily ease and could even end in many areas of the country as a result of the continuing recession, but longer-term shortages loom, concludes a study published online today by Health Affairs. 

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Studies: RN shortage easing; patient satisfaction related to RNs' work environment

AHA News Now, June 12, 2009

The current shortage of registered nurses will temporarily ease and could even end in many areas of the country as a result of the continuing recession, but longer-term shortages loom, concludes a study published online today by Health Affairs. 

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Panel estimates health reform savings for consumers

AHA News Now, June 11, 2009

A new report by the Commonwealth Fund concludes that health reforms proposed by its Commission on a High Performance Health System would ensure access to affordable health insurance and high-quality care.

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MO hospitals benefit communities, economy

AHA News Now, June 10, 2009

Missouri hospitals provided more than $1.8 billion in community benefit in 2007, $200 million more than the previous year, according to a new report from the Missouri Hospital Association.

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Study: Disparities in women's health, access to care vary by state

AHA News Now, June 10, 2009

Racial and ethnic disparities in women's health and access to health care vary substantially by state, according to a study released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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HHS report, forum call for health reform to reduce disparities

AHA News Now, June 9, 2009

Low-income Americans and racial and ethnic minorities experience disproportionately higher rates of disease, fewer treatment options and reduced access to care, according to a report released today by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that calls for reducing disparities as part of health reform.

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House leaders issue draft health reform proposal

AHA News Now, June 9, 2009

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), and Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) today released a four-page outline of draft health reform legislation.

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Senate panel announces health reform legislation

AHA News Now, June 9, 2009

Democrats on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions today released health reform legislation, saying they will continue to discuss key outstanding issues, including a public plan option and coverage requirement for employers, with Republicans on the committee

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Health centers, VA medical centers to receive ARRA funding

AHA News Now, June 8, 2009

President Obama and Vice President Biden today released a plan to create or save more than 600,000 jobs over the next 100 days by accelerating implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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WY governor cuts health budget, Medicaid

AHA News Now, June 5, 2009

Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal yesterday announced $43 million in cuts to the state health department’s fiscal year 2010 budget.

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Bill would promote training of health care professionals

AHA News Now, June 5, 2009

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) this week introduced legislation to promote training unemployed workers for jobs as health care professionals.

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FL governor signs law expanding kids' coverage

AHA News Now, June 2, 2009

An additional 54,000 children will be eligible for the Florida KidCare program, that state’s health insurance program for children in low-income families, under legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Charlie Crist.

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Obama declares support for specific health reform principles in letter

AHA News Now, June 4, 2009

President Obama yesterday expressed his support for key health reform details in a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-MA)

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Ad calls on president, Congress to address disparities in health reform

AHA News Now, June 4, 2009

In an advertisement today in the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call, members of the AHA’s Special Advisory Group on Improving Hospital Care for Minorities called on the president and Congress to ensure that health care reform addresses the persistent disparities in care for racial and ethnic minorities.

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Study: Insured adults' out-of-pocket health care spending rises

AHA News Now, June 3, 2009

Insured adults spent an average of $729 out-of-pocket on health care, 34% more than in 2004, according to a study published online yesterday by Health Affairs.

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AHA, AzHHA host Health for Life community forum

AHA News Now, June 2, 2009

Arizona health care leaders yesterday met with business, consumer, religious and community representatives to discuss ways to improve America’s health care at the AHA’s sixth Health for Life: Better Health. Better Health Care. community forum.

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White House economists predict 'large economic impacts' of health reform

AHA News Now, June 2, 2009

Slowing the annual growth rate of health care spending by 1.5 percentage points would improve Americans’ standard of living, reduce the federal budget deficit and the unemployment rate, concludes a report released today by the White House Council of Economic Advisors.

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Study: Higher Medicaid and CHIP cost-sharing burdensome

AHA News Now, June 2, 2009

Adding even modest cost-sharing requirements for children insured through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program could significantly increase the health spending burden faced by families enrolled in those programs, according to a study  published today on the Health Affairs Web site.

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AHA, others submit cost containment strategies to White House

AHA News Now, June 1, 2009

In fulfillment of their May 11 commitment to work toward the Obama administration’s goal of reducing health care spending growth, the AHA, American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Advanced Medical Technology Association, and Service Employees International Union Healthcare today submitted their individual strategies  for reducing the rate of growth in health care spending.

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Report recommends ways to increase coverage among children

AHA News Now, June 1, 2009

The Center for Children and Families in a May 29 report recommended expanding Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program eligibility to help cover the nearly 9 million remaining uninsured children in the U.S.

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CBO outlines treatment of health reform options in federal budget

AHA News Now, May 29, 2009

The Congressional Budget Office in a May 27 brief  outlined how health reform options with varying degrees of government involvement should be applied to the federal budget.

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HHS releases community health center grants

AHA News Now, May 29, 2009

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius yesterday announced the release of $81.7 million in grants to expand services at federally qualified community health centers.

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Guidelines recommend discussing patients' financial obligation prior to care

AHA News Now, May 29, 2009

The Patient Friendly Billing project has developed new guidelines  to help hospitals better communicate with patients about their financial obligation at the earliest point possible in the care experience.

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Report: Uncompensated care reached $42.7 billion in 2008

AHA News Now, May 28, 2009

Hospitals and physicians in 2008 provided an estimated $116 billion in care to the uninsured, of which approximately $42.7 billion was uncompensated, according to a report  released today by Families USA.

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AHA comments on Senate panel's reform financing options paper

AHA News Now, May 26, 2009

The AHA today submitted formal comments to the Senate Finance Committee on its proposed options for financing comprehensive health care reform. .

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Study: Physicians over-utilize imaging for lower back pain

AHA News Now, May 26, 2009

Nearly one in three Medicare patients with uncomplicated, acute low back pain received imaging within 28 days of diagnosis despite a lack of evidence that such scans are beneficial in the absence of specific complications or comorbid conditions, according to a study published  yesterday in Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Bill would ease nurse visa shortage, bolster nurse education

AHA News Now, May 22, 2009

AHA-backed legislation introduced Wednesday by Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) would set aside 20,000 employment-based visas in each of the next three years for foreign-educated registered nurses and physical therapists.

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AHA comments on Senate panel's reform financing options paper

AHA News Now, May 21, 2009

The AHA today submitted formal comments  to the Senate Finance Committee on its proposed options for expanding affordable health care coverage..

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Report: Nearly 66 million could be uninsured by 2019 without reform

AHA News Now, May 21, 2009

The number of uninsured Americans could reach 65.7 million by 2019 if Congress does not enact comprehensive health care reform, according to a report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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AHA applauds bill adding Medicare-supported residency slots

AHA News Now, May 20, 2009

The AHA today expressed "strong support" for the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (S. 973/H.R. 2251), which would add roughly 15,000 Medicare-supported positions to residency training programs. Preference for the additional.

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Recession prompting patients to delay care, physicians say

AHA News Now, May 20, 2009

Many patients are deferring physician visits due to cost concerns during the economic recession, according to a new survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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Report: Family of four will spend $16,771 on health care in 2009

AHA News Now, May 15, 2009

Health care coverage for a typical American family of four covered by an employer-sponsored preferred provider organization will cost $16,771 in 2009, 7.4% more than in 2008, according to a report  released yesterday by Milliman, Inc.

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Groups voice support for health care reform

AHA News Now, May 11, 2009

The AHA, American Medical Association, America's Health Insurance Plans, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Advanced Medical Technology Association, and Service Employees International Union Healthcare today stated their commitment to work toward the Obama administration's goal of reducing health care spending growth by 1.5 percentage points over 10 years, for an estimated $2 trillion in savings.

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Coalition urges Senate to oppose card-check 'compromise'

AHA News Now, May 8, 2009

In a letter this week to U.S. senators, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace expressed "strong opposition to all efforts to pass any provision included in the Employee Free Choice Act" and "any related legislation presented under the guise of 'compromise.
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Senate roundtable participants debate public health plan option

AHA News Now, May 5, 2009

At a Senate Finance Committee roundtable today on expanding health care coverage, participants debated the impact a public plan option could have on access to care.
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FTC delays enforcement of Red Flags Rule

AHA News Now, May 1, 2009

The Federal Trade Commission yesterday delayed until Aug. 1 its enforcement of the Red Flags Rule to give creditors and financial institutions more time to write and implement programs to prevent identify theft.
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AHA urges flexible definition of 'meaningful use' for health IT funding

AHA News Now, May 1, 2009

The concept of "meaningful use" of health information technology, which will determine what health information technology is eligible for funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, should be flexibly defined, the AHA said in a statement submitted yesterday to the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics.
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Senate panel issues health care delivery reform options

AHA News Now, April 30, 2009

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking
Member Charles Grassley (R-IA) have released for public comment a set of policy options for reforming the health care delivery system.
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Recession taking toll on patients, communities

AHA News Now, April 27, 2009

Six in 10 U.S. community hospitals are seeing a greater proportion of uninsured patients in their emergency departments during the economic downturn, according to a survey released today by the AHA.
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Umbdenstock: 'Real reform' will come from hospital leaders

AHA News Now, April 27, 2009

While Congress debates health reform legislation in Washington, "real reform" will come from hospital leaders and the example they set back home, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock today told hospital leaders at the AHA annual meeting.
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Baucus sees broad bipartisan support for reforming delivery system

AHA News Now, April 24, 2009

Speaking to reporters today at a briefing hosted by Health Affairs, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) said he sees broad bipartisan support for reforming the health care delivery system to reward quality, focus on prevention and strengthen the role of primary care.
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AHA urges Congress to support funding for health care programs

AHA News Now, April 24, 2009

The AHA today urged congressional appropriators to support its fiscal year 2010 funding requests for federal programs that help hospitals combat the health care workforce crisis, maintain quality health care services for patients and prepare for disasters, among other efforts.
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Swine flu cases reported in CA, TX

AHA News Now, April 24, 2009

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking clinicians to test for swine flu in patients with flu-like symptoms who live in or recently had contact with people in the San Diego or San Antonio areas, where eight case of the illness have been confirmed.
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CT hospitals target health care disparities, diversity

AHA News Now, April 24, 2009

The Connecticut Hospital Association has launched an initiative to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes and promote diversity in hospital governance.
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Study: Hospitals better prepared for disasters

AHA News Now, April 23, 2009

U.S. hospitals are significantly better prepared for disasters and public health emergencies now than they were seven years ago, according to an evaluation released today by the Department of Health and Human Service's Hospital Preparedness Program.
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AHRQ seeks hospitals for study of patient safety indicators

AHA News Now, April 23, 2009

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality seeks hospitals to participate in the second phase of a pilot study to validate the agency's patient safety indicators. Read full article

CO enacts hospital fee to increase Medicaid funding, coverage

AHA News Now, April 22, 2009

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter yesterday signed legislation that will levy a fee on hospitals to increase federal Medicaid matching funds and expand eligibility for Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program. 
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Study: Fewer Medicare patients seeing primary care doctor in hospital

AHA News Now, April 22, 2009

Fewer Medicare patients are seeing a familiar primary care or outpatient physician while they're hospitalized, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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Survey: 1 in 5 Americans putting off care

AHA News Now, April 21, 2009

About 20% of U.S. households have postponed or cancelled treatment over the past year, according to a new national survey by Thomson Reuters. Among those who postponed or cancelled care, 24% cited cost as the primary reason. The majority of postponed services were for physician visits (55%), followed by imaging (8%), non-elective procedures (6.2%) and lab/diagnostic tests (5.7%).
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Senate panel hears hospital views on health reform

AHA News Now, April 21, 2009

At a Senate Finance Committee roundtable today on reforming the U.S. health care delivery system, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock addressed a number of reform initiatives, including graduate medical education, readmission and payment bundling..
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Moody's: Recession hurting hospital finances

AHA News Now, April 21, 2009

The economic recession continues to have a negative impact on credit ratings for not-for-profit hospitals, with ratings downgrades outpacing upgrades by nearly four-to-one in first-quarter 2009, according to a new report by Moody's Investors Service.
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U.S. chief technology officer to tackle health care costs

AHA News Now, April 20, 2009

President Obama Saturday named as the nation's chief technology officer Virginia Secretary of Technology Aneesh Chopra.
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HHS issues guidance on securing protected health information

AHA News Now, April 20, 2009

The Department of Health and Human Services Friday issued guidance specifying technologies and methodologies that can be used to secure protected health information from unauthorized individuals under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act.
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AHA voices support for Quality FIRST Act

AHA News Now, April 17, 2009

The AHA this week voiced support for the Quality FIRST Act (H.R. 1776), legislation recently introduced by Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA) that would reward excellence and improvements in inpatient care under Medicare.
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Council issues health care career guide

AHA News Now, April 16, 2009

The Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council has published a guide on health care careers and their educational requirements
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Hospital prices climb 0.1% in March

AHA News Now, April 16, 2009

Overall hospital prices increased 0.1% in March, and were 2.1% higher than a year ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.
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Medicaid cuts would hurt economy, FL study shows

AHA News Now, April 16, 2009

Every $1 cut in state Medicaid funding to Florida hospitals would reduce statewide revenue and income by an estimated $4, according to a study released today by the Florida Hospital Association.
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Joint Commission issues guide on hand hygiene compliance

AHA News Now, April 15, 2009

The Joint Commission yesterday released a guide to help health care practitioners assess compliance with hand hygiene guidelines.
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NRC will not ban CsCl radiation devices

AHA News Now, April 15 2009

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission today announced it will not ban the use of cesium-137 chloride (CsCl) radiation devices, such as those used by hospitals to irradiate blood, before a replacement technology is available.
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HFMA: More than half of hospitals losing money

AHA News Now, April 15, 2009

Fifty-four percent of hospitals had negative total margins during the first-quarter of fiscal year 2009, including 80% of hospitals with 500 or more beds, according to a nationally representative survey by the Healthcare Financial Management Association..
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CA launches partnership to train more health professionals

AHA News Now, April 14, 2009

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday announced a $32 million public-private partnership with the state's hospitals and colleges to train more allied health professionals.
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FTC issues advisory opinion on clinical integration arrangement

AHA News Now, April 14, 2009

The Federal Trade Commission today released an advisory opinion saying it would not challenge a clinical integration arrangement between a hospital in Washington County, MD, and its more than 200 physician members.
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Study: Many patients lack access to outpatient mental health care

AHA News Now, April 14, 2009

Two-thirds of primary care physicians in 2004-05 could not get outpatient mental health services for their patients, according to a study published online today by Health Affairs.
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AHA quality initiative helps hospitals pursue excellence

AHA News Now, April 14, 2009

The AHA has launched "Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence a platform to help hospital leaders improve patient experiences and outcomes based on the Institute of Medicine's six aims for improvement.
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Moody's: Recession hurting hospital finances

AHA News Now, April 13, 2009

Sharp declines in the stock market and broader economic pressures have quickly weakened many hospitals' financial performance, according to a report released today by Moody's Investors Service. .
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CMS announces sites for project to reduce hospital readmissions

AHA News Now, April 13, 2009

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today announced 14 regions that will participate in a pilot project to reduce preventable hospital readmissions through improved care coordination.
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Groups partner to improve nurse-physician relationships

AHA News Now, April 13, 2009

The American Organization of Nurse Executives has partnered with the American College of Physician Executives to produce Web-based classes, on-line articles, sample policies and other resources to help health care organizations foster excellence in nurse-physician relationships.
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DoD, Veterans Affairs to create joint electronic health record

AHA News Now, April 10, 2009

President Obama yesterday announced plans to create a joint electronic health record to smooth the flow of medical records between the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments.
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SAMHSA seeks health reform ideas

AHA News Now, April 10, 2009

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has launched a Web site (www.samhsa.gov/healthreform) to foster national discussion on how health system reform might enhance mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services.
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White House establishes health reform office

AHA News Now, April 9, 2009

President Obama yesterday issued an executive order establishing a White House Office of Health Reform to provide leadership to the executive branch on federal health reform efforts.
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IRS, DOL issue COBRA subsidy guidance for employers

AHA News Now, April 9, 2009

The Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor have issued guidance on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's employer subsidy for COBRA premium assistance.
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CA ordered to suspend Medicaid payment cut to hospitals

AHA News Now, April 8, 2009

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Monday ordered the state of California to suspend a Medicaid payment cut while the court considers an appeal by the California Hospital Association and individual hospitals to prevent the cut.
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Coalition issues toolkit for fighting card-check bill

AHA News Now, April 7, 2009

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, whose members include the AHA, has issued a toolkit for fighting the Employee Free Choice Act during the congressional recess.
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CMS issues 'fact sheet' on ICD-10 implementation tool

AHA News Now, April 7, 2009

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a "fact sheet " on the General Equivalence Mappings, a tool to help health care providers and others identify equivalent codes in the ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding systems.
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FTC issues guidance on Red Flags rule

AHA News Now, April 7, 2009

The Federal Trade Commission has published a guide to help businesses and other creditors comply with its Red Flags Rule.
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CMS announces Medicare Advantage growth rate

AHA News Now, April 7, 2009

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services yesterday announced the national average fee-for-service growth rate on which 2010 Medicare Advantage payment rates will be based.
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HHS releases software linking health IT systems to national network

AHA News Now, April 6, 2009

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology today released free software to help public and private organizations connect to the Nationwide Health Information Network, a federal initiative to facilitate the electronic exchange of health information. .
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Survey: Americans worried about health care costs

AHA News Now, April 6, 2009

More U.S. adults are concerned about the cost of health care (69%) than losing their jobs (37%), according to a survey released today by Catholic Healthcare West.
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Recession hurting OH hospitals

AHA News Now, April 6, 2009

The worst economy in decades threatens the financial health of Ohio hospitals, with many projecting cuts in staffing, programs and construction projects, according to a survey released today by the Ohio Hospital Association.
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Guide helps hospitals prepare for National Hospital Week

AHA News Now, April 6, 2009

Hospitals will celebrate National Hospital Week May 10-16 with the theme "A Healthy Commitment in Changing Times." The annual celebration began in 1921 and has grown to become the nation's largest health care event, with activities ranging from health fairs to hospital tours and employee recognition programs.
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GAO names 13 members of health IT policy panel

AHA News Now, April 3, 2009

Acting U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro today announced 13 members of an advisory panel that will recommend policies and standards for a nationwide health information technology infrastructure.
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Group calls for flexible approach to pay-as-you-go for health reform

AHA News Now, March 10, 2009

A coalition of 30 organizations, including the AHA, yesterday urged House and Senate budget leaders to develop a more flexible approach to pay-as-you-go for health care reform that reaffirms the importance of spending or revenue offsets, but accommodates the need for significant short-term expenditures.
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Hospital CEO testifies on impact of declining health coverage

AHA News Now, March 10, 2009

A decline in health care coverage and increase in uninsured and underinsured patients have taken a serious toll on New Jersey hospitals, more than half of which are operating in the red, Cooper University Hospital CEO John Sheridan told a House subcommittee today at a hearing on strengthening employer-based health care.
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CDC: 17% of privately insured have high-deductible health plan

AHA News Now, March 4, 2009

An estimated 17% of Americans under age 65 with private health insurance had a high-deductible health plan in 2007, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Facilities prepare for Medical Fitness Week

AHA News Now, March 3, 2009

The Medical Fitness Association will sponsor its 5th Annual Medical Fitness Week April 20-26.
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Aligning Forces for Quality seeks hospitals for two collaboratives

AHA News Now, March 3, 2009

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation seeks hospitals to participate in a project to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care for heart attack and heart failure patients, and a project to improve language services and care for patients with limited-English proficiency.
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Study: Segregation may contribute to racial disparities in care

AHA News Now, March 3, 2009

African-American heart attack patients who live in highly segregated areas are more likely than whites to be admitted to hospitals with lower survival rates, according to a study published online today by Health Affairs.
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Waxman, Baucus: Congress determined to enact health reform

AHA News Now, March 3, 2009

House and Senate leaders are determined to send health reform legislation to the president this year, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) told hospital leaders at a conference today in Washington, D.C.
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President releases $155 million for new health centers

AHA News Now, March 2, 2009

President Obama today released $155 million authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for 126 new health centers to offer primary and preventive care services.
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Hospitals encouraged to review 'dry run' reports on AHRQ quality measures

AHA News Now, March 2, 2009

Beginning today, hospitals participating in the hospital quality reporting program can access hospital-specific reports from the national "dry run" of nine Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality measures to be added to the Hospital Compare Web site in December.
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Obama names Sebelius, DeParle to key health posts

AHA News Now, February 27, 2009

President Obama today nominated Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an appointment that must be confirmed by the Senate.
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Durbin introduces bill to increase nursing school capacity

AHA News Now, February 27, 2009

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) yesterday introduced legislation (S. 497) backed by the American Organization of Nurse Executives and other nursing groups that would provide grants to nursing schools for faculty and other resources to increase enrollment
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AHA: Medical device ID system would facilitate safe, efficient care

AHA News Now, February 26, 2009

The AHA and its Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management affiliate today voiced support for a standardized system to uniquely identify medical devices.
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Journal accepting papers on payment reform

AHA News Now, February 26, 2009

Health Services Research journal and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality seek papers for possible inclusion in an August 2010 theme issue of the journal that will focus on payment reform.
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AHRQ: Outpatient visits for certain conditions on rise

AHA News Now, February 26, 2009

Outpatient visits to hospitals and other medical providers for high cholesterol grew 300% between 1996 and 2006 to 44 million, according to a new analysis from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
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White House 2010 budget outline includes hospital provisions

AHA News Now, February 26, 2009

President Obama today submitted to Congress a fiscal year 2010 budget outline that would create a reserve fund of more than $630 billion over 10 years to help pay for health care reform.
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Obama: Budget will commit to health reform

AHA News Now, February 25, 2009

Addressing a joint session of Congress last night, President Obama said his budget proposal to Congress Thursday will address "the crushing cost of health care" by building on reforms included in the recently passed Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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Poll: Many families delaying, skipping medical care due to cost

AHA News Now, February 25, 2009

Fifty-three percent of Americans say their household cut back on health care in the past year due to cost concerns, according to a new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll.

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Governors announce health reform task force

AHA News Now, February 24, 2009

The nation's governors have formed a task force to define their priorities for health reform and work with Congress and the administration on the issue, the National Governors Association announced yesterday.

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IOM urges president, Congress to solve uninsured crisis

AHA News Now, February 24, 2009

In a report today, the Institute of Medicine urged the president to immediately work with Congress and other leaders to achieve health coverage for all Americans.
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Obama: Medicaid relief headed to states

AHA News Now, February 24, 2009

States tomorrow can begin accessing the first two quarters of fiscal year 2009 federal Medicaid matching funds included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, President Obama announced yesterday.
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CMS: Spending on hospital services expected to slow

AHA News Now, February 24, 2009

Growth in U.S. spending on hospital services is expected to slow to 5.7% in 2009 from 7.2% in 2008 as use of services slows along with personal income as a result of the recession, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported today.
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Coalition: Ending nurse shortage crucial to health reform

AHA News Now, February 23, 2009

The Center to Champion Nursing in America today launched the Champion Nursing Coalition, a diverse group of health care consumer, payer and provider organizations that will work to educate Americans about the nation's severe nursing shortage and its impact on health care quality, access and cost.

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AHA president attends White House summit

AHA News Now, February 23, 2009

AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock today was one of 100 leaders from the administration, Congress, health care, business and labor to attend a Fiscal Responsibility Summit at the White House..

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Webinar to help hospitals prepare for Cover the Uninsured Week

AHA News Now, February 20, 2009

The AHA, Catholic Health Association of the United States, and Federation of American Hospitals on Feb. 26 will host a Webinar for hospitals interested in participating in Cover the Uninsured Week, March 22-28.
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MO Medicaid study offers warning as states face tight budgets

AHA News Now, February 19, 2009

More than 100,000 Missouri residents lost Medicaid coverage after the state implemented sweeping cuts to the program in 2005 to address a state budget deficit, according to a study published online yesterday by Health Affairs.
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Study: Coordinating care for Medicare patients a challenge

AHA News Now, February 19, 2009

A typical primary care physician who treats elderly Medicare patients has to interact with 229 other physicians working in 117 different practices to coordinate care for those patients, according to a study in the Feb. 17 Annals of Internal Medicine.

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10 states to participate in project to reduce ICU infections

AHA News Now, February 19, 2009

Hospital associations in 10 states will participate in a project to reduce central-line associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced today.
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Uninsured hospital stays climb 34% over decade

AHA News Now, February 19, 2009

The number of uninsured hospital stays increased 34% between 1997 and 2006 to more than 2.2 million per year, according to a new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
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Commonwealth Fund panel proposes health system reforms

AHA News Now, February 19, 2009

In a report today, the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System called for broad, comprehensive reforms to extend affordable health coverage to all, improve health outcomes and slow spending growth by an estimated $3 trillion by 2020.
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Project to help 8 states enroll kids for public coverage

AHA News Now, February 18, 2009

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation yesterday announced a $15-million initiative to help eight states enroll and retain eligible children in public health insurance programs.

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Three labor unions for nurses to merge

AHA News Now, February 18, 2009

The United American Nurses, California Nurses Association and Massachusetts Nurses Association will merge to form a new labor union for registered nurses, called the United American Nurses-National Nurses Organizing Committee (AFL-CIO), the groups announced today.

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Study: Some MRSA infections decreasing in ICU patients

AHA News Now, February 18, 2009

The incidence of central-line associated bloodstream infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus declined by nearly 50% among intensive-care-unit patients from 1997 to 2007, according to a study in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.

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President signs economic recovery package

AHA News Now, February 17, 2009

President Obama today signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at a ceremony in Denver. Representing the AHA at the signing ceremony was former AHA Board Chairman Kevin Lofton, president and CEO of Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives.

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Center issues report on competency-based governance

AHA News Now,February 17, 2009

The Center for Healthcare Governance, an AHA affiliate, today released a report to help hospitals select, evaluate and develop board members based on core competencies for trustees.

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Report: KY hospitals strong source of jobs, economic growth

AHA News Now,February 17, 2009

Kentucky hospitals paid roughly $3.3 billion in employee wages and salaries in 2007, which had a "ripple effect" on the economy by generating additional jobs and spending in the community, according to a new report by the Kentucky Hospital Association.

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House passes final economic recovery bill

AHA News Now,February 13, 2009

The House today voted 246-183 to approve a final version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1), a compromise between the House- and Senate-passed versions.

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House passes, president signs SCHIP bill

AHA News Now,February 4, 2009

President Obama this afternoon signed into law the 2009 Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2), which passed the House earlier today by a vote of 290-135.

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AHA urges court to uphold hospital's property tax exemption

AHA News Now, February 4, 2009

The AHA today urged the Illinois Supreme Court to reverse an appellate court decision and reject the state Department of Revenue's denial of the property-tax exemption of Provena Covenant Medical Center in Champaign.

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State teams share strategies to prepare more nurses

AHA News Now, February 4, 2009

At a summit today in Baltimore, stakeholders from across the country shared their strategies to expand nursing school enrollment and bring more nurses into the workforce.

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Study urges action to help unemployed keep health coverage

AHA News Now, January 23, 2009

Extending COBRA eligibility, providing premium assistance to make such coverage affordable, and opening public programs to unemployed adults with low incomes would provide critical support to workers who lose their jobs, according to a study released today by the Commonwealth Fund.

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House panels OK stimulus bill's health coverage, IT provisions

AHA News Now, January 23, 2009

The House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce committees yesterday approved a number of AHA-backed provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

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AHA voices support for stimulus bill's health IT provisions

AHA News Now, January 22, 2009

The AHA today expressed support for the health information technology provisions in the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 598), which would require the federal government to develop technical standards for an interoperable HIT system.

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Umbdenstock slated to appear on CBS Evening News

AHA News Now, January 22, 2009

CBS Evening News is slated to air a report tonight that examines the growing number of Americans who have inadequate health coverage.

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AHA responds to editorial on health care spending

AHA News Now, January 16, 2009

In a letter to the editor of the New York Times, published online today, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock responds to a Jan. 8 editorial calling for "deep-seated reform in the delivery of health services" to reduce health care spending.

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Hospitals key to nation's economic health, House members tell Obama

AHA News Now, January 16, 2009

In a letter today, 130 members of the House of Representatives urged President-elect Obama to "keep in mind the necessity of maintaining the economic health of our nation's hospitals as a very real and viable part of the solution" to the current economic crisis.

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Senate SCHIP bill clears committee; excludes self-referral provision

AHA News Now, January 16, 2009

The Senate Finance Committee yesterday voted 12-7 to approve a bill reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program through 2013.

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AHA urges congressional action on economic pressures

AHA News Now, January 6, 2009

In a legislative proposal sent today to Congress, the AHA calls for swift action to alleviate the economic pressures threatening hospitals as a result of the recession. “This pressure, coupled with other payment pressures, is leading to a decline in hospitals’ financial health at a time when demand for health care services is growing,” the proposal states.

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FL selects 'affordable' insurance options for uninsured

AHA News Now, December 12, 2008

Beginning Jan. 5, six insurance companies will offer "affordable" health plans to uninsured Floridians under the Cover Florida Health Care Access Program, Gov. Charlie Crist announced Wednesday.

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Obama team offers opportunities to shape health reform

AHA News Now, December 12, 2008

In keeping with techniques it initiated during the campaign, President-elect Barack Obama's transition team is encouraging wide participation in the development of its health care reform agenda. Hospital employees and others can "join the discussion" at www.change.gov to lead a health care discussion this month in their community.

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Report identifies key operational issues for medical home model

AHA News Now, December 11, 2008

As policymakers focus more attention on the concept of patient-centered medical homes as a means of improving health care quality and spurring more efficient and effective care, a policy brief released today by the Center for Studying Health System Change and Mathematica Policy Research identifies four key operational issues that can make or break these initiatives.

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AHRQ: Hospitals' costs to treat cardiovascular conditions on the rise

AHA News Now, December 11, 2008

Treatment for cardiovascular conditions accounted for $57.9 billion of the $329 billion hospitals spent to care for patients in 2006, about 40% more than was spent on the same conditions in 1997, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. In its latest News and Numbers report, AHRQ notes that most of the growth in the cost for treating patients with six common cardiovascular conditions occurred between 1997 and 2003.

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Obama introduces health care reform team

AHA News Now, December 11, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama today officially introduced former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as his nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, an appointment that must be confirmed by the Senate.

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Study: Privately insured hit with Medicare, Medicaid underpayments

AHA News Now, December 9, 2008

Medicare and Medicaid annually underpay hospitals and physicians by an estimated $88.8 billion, effectively shifting those costs to the privately insured, according to a study released today by Milliman Inc.

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Obama team seeks input on health reform recommendations

AHA News Now, December 8, 2008

President-elect Obama's health policy team plans to host community discussions around the country this month to help finalize health care reform recommendations for the new administration.

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Study finds no sign of ethnic disparities in trauma treatment

AHA News Now, November 17, 2008

In a new national study, researchers found no significant difference in the way white, African American and Hispanic patients are assessed, monitored and treated for injuries in the emergency department.

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CMS allows all hospitals to participate in outpatient quality reporting

AHA News Now, November 14, 2008

Critical access hospitals and other hospitals previously not able to submit quality of care data under the hospital outpatient quality data reporting program will be allowed to do so voluntarily beginning with patient encounters in first-quarter 2009, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced today.

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Leavitt sees value in personalized health care

AHA News Now, November 14, 2008

Any plan to reform the U.S. health care system should consider the potential for personalized health care to improve care and increase value, Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt said in a report today from HHS' Initiative on Personalized Health Care.

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Chronically ill in U.S. more likely to report cost barriers to care

AHA News Now, November 13, 2008

Chronically ill adults in the U.S. are far more likely to forgo care because of cost than their counterparts in seven other countries, according to a survey published online today by Health Affairs.

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NJHA launches perinatal care collaborative

AHA News Now, November 13, 2008

The New Jersey Hospital Association yesterday announced a statewide quality collaborative to improve perinatal care.

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Baucus unveils health reform plan

AHA News Now, November 12, 2008

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) today unveiled his vision for achieving universal health care coverage while improving health care quality and efficiency.

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Study: MRI, CT procedures surge over decade

AHA News Now, November 11, 2008

The number of magnetic resonance imaging procedures performed on Medicare patients more than tripled between 1995 and 2005, while the number of computer tomography procedures more than doubled, according to a study published in the November-December issue of Health Affairs. .

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Survey: 52% of U.S. adults plan to get flu vaccine

AHA News Now, November 11, 2008

An estimated 52% of U.S. adults plan to get vaccinated against the flu this year, including 15% who said they were vaccinated before mid-October, according to a new survey by Consumer Reports Health. Adults over age 55 were much more likely to get vaccinated than those under 35 (70% versus 41%).

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Optometrists, others join effort to improve care for returning troops

AHA News Now, November 4, 2008

The American Optometric Association is the latest organization to sign on to Joining Forces, a national initiative to educate medical professionals about the common health challenges facing returning U.S. troops.

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HHS preliminarily approves waiver for WI Medicaid expansion

AHA News Now, November 3, 2008

The Department of Health and Human Services has preliminarily agreed to a five-year waiver allowing Wisconsin to expand its Medicaid-funded BadgerCare Plus program to cover low-income childless adults, Gov. Jim Doyle announced Friday.

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Survey: Health care leaders dissatisfied with current system

AHA News Now, November 3, 2008

A majority of health care leaders believe the U.S. “fee-for-service” system of paying for health care needs to be overhauled because it doesn’t encourage high-quality, efficient care, according to survey findings released today by the Commonwealth Fund.

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SAMHSA program dramatically reduces illicit drug use

AHA News Now, November 3, 2008

A Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration program that screens patients for substance abuse, followed up by steps to deal with the problem, has shown success in reducing alcohol and drug use, SAMHSA anounced Friday.

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Online network issues first drug alert to physicians

AHA News Now, October 31, 2008

The Health Care Notification Network recently issued its first email and online drug alert to physicians, which warns of increased risk from tendinitis and tendon rupture associated with certain antibiotics made by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals.

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MA insurer to require e-prescribing in physician P4P programs

AHA News Now, October 31, 2008

Beginning in 2011, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will require physicians to electronically prescribe medications to qualify for its physician incentive programs, the insurer announced Tuesday.

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AHA, others urge Congress to support move to ICD-10

AHA News Now, October 29, 2008

The AHA, Advanced Medical Technology Association, and American Health Information Management Association yesterday voiced strong support for the ICD-10 coding system in a letter to Congress.

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AHA, others join forces to improve care for returning troops

AHA News Now, October 29, 2008

HealthPartners Institute for Medical Education and the AHA have partnered with more than a dozen national organizations to educate medical professionals about the common health challenges facing returning U.S. troops.

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Study: Patient satisfaction associated with quality

AHA News Now, October 29, 2008

Hospitals performing in the top quartile on the HCAHPS survey of patients’ perception of care had slightly higher average scores for clinical quality than hospitals performing in the bottom quartile, according to a study in the Oct. 30 New England Journal of Medicine.

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CMS clarifies guidance on hospital standing orders

AHA News Now, October 28, 2008

At the urging of the AHA and others, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last week issued revised interpretive guidelines clarifying that standing orders and written protocols for drugs or biologicals may be used in hospitals. .

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MA reforms have not caused businesses to drop coverage, studies find

AHA News Now, October 28, 2008

New public subsidies for health insurance enacted as part of health reform in Massachusetts have not caused businesses to drop coverage for their employees, according to studies published online today by Health Affairs.

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Fifth 'Health for Life' forum convenes in Miami

AHA News Now, October 22, 2008

Miami Community Forum

Florida hospital and health care groups joined the AHA in Miami today to discuss strategies for reforming the nation’s health care system in the context of “Health for Life,” a reform framework developed by the AHA with input from more than 100 stakeholder groups.

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Panel shares healthcare goals at University of Miami forum

Miami Herald, October 22, 2008, John Dorschner

Saying she still had ''marks on my back from healthcare reform,'' University of Miami President Donna Shalala told 100 South Florida healthcare leaders Wednesday that the key to making major changes was getting a consensus. She noted the country had never ''taken a giant leap'' in any large social change without first getting agreement that there was a problem and then getting agreement on what the solution should be.

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Area Health Leaders Step Up Efforts for Health Reform

KCUR News, October 16, 2008, Elana Gordon

Leaders from regional hospitals, insurance companies, and other health care organizations are stepping up their efforts to improve the nation's health care system. Bill Bruning of the Mid-America Coalition on Health Care says area stakeholders share a general goal when it comes to health reform.

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Health for Life forums continue in Kansas City

AHA News Now, October 14, 2008

Kansas City Community Forum

The AHA, Kansas Hospital Association and Missouri Hospital Association today hosted a national dialogue on health care reform in Overland Park, KS. More than 150 business, health care, government and consumer representatives participated in the event, the fourth of five national discussions to be held on the Health for Life reform guidelines developed by the AHA with stakeholder groups.

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AHRQ announces process for approving patient safety organizations

AHA News Now, October 9, 2008

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality yesterday issued interim guidance allowing organizations to immediately apply for listing as a patient safety organization.

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Census issues health coverage estimates by county

AHA News Now, October 9, 2008

The U.S. Census Bureau today released new state and county estimates of health insurance coverage by demographic characteristics.

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Groups release evidence-based strategies to fight infection

AHA News Now, October 8, 2008

The AHA and four other health care organizations today released a compendium of strategies to help prevent the most dangerous infections that hospitals face.

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Groups issue e-prescribing guide for physicians

AHA News Now, October 7, 2008

The eHealth Initiative and other groups today issued a guide to help office-based physicians transition from paper to electronic prescribing systems.

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Panel revises colorectal-cancer screening recommendations

AHA News Now, October 7, 2008

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force yesterday recommended screening adults aged 50-75 for colorectal cancer using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.

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Grants to support suicide prevention in children

AHA News Now, October 6, 2008

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration today awarded almost $27 million in grants to support state efforts to prevent suicide in children and young adults.

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President signs mental health parity measure

AHA News Now, October 3, 2008

President Bush today signed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, which earlier today cleared the House by a 263-171 vote after passing the Senate Wednesday.

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Health information exchange found to lower health care costs

AHA News Now, September 11, 2008

Sixty-nine percent of fully operational health information exchange efforts report reductions in health care costs, according to the latest survey by eHealth Initiative.

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Poll: Americans support funding for chronic disease prevention

AHA News Now, September 4, 2008

More than two-thirds of Americans believe the U.S. health care system should place more emphasis on preventive care for chronic diseases, according to a new survey by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.

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CDC reports on tobacco-related cancers

AHA News Now, September 4, 2008

About 2.4 million tobacco-related cancers were diagnosed in the U.S. from 1999 to 2004, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Health Care: Seeking solutions

The Patriot-News, August 28, 2008, David Wenner

Alice Yoder had a pointed question after listening to a panel that gathered Wednesday to push for solutions to the nation's health care crisis.

"We are bleeding to death out there," said Yoder, a nurse and director of community health at Lancaster General Hospital. "How are we ever going to find a solution when everybody has their own interests?"

The forum in Harrisburg was sponsored by the American Hospital Association. It included representatives of hospitals, doctors, business and labor unions, senior citizens and state government.

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Health for Life forums continue in PA

AHA News Now, August 27, 2008

Harrisburg Community Forum

Health care, business, government and consumer representatives gathered today in Harrisburg, PA, for the third AHA-cosponsored discussion of comprehensive health care reform. Co-hosted by the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and Pennsylvania Cable Network, the event focused on ways to make health care more accessible and less expensive, in keeping with the hospital field’s Health for Life framework.

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Joint Commission project to explore cultural competency standards

AHA News Now, August 25, 2008

The Joint Commission seeks nominations to an expert advisory panel that will review evidence-based practices and identify principles that can provide the basis for new and revised accreditation standards for culturally competent, patient-centered care in hospitals.

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Study: Covering uninsured would increase U.S. health spending by 5%

AHA News Now, August 25, 2008

Americans who lack health insurance for any part of 2008 will spend $30 billion out of pocket for health services and receive $56 billion in uncompensated care while uninsured, estimates a study published online today by Health Affairs.

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Report: Working families burdened by lack of adequate insurance

AHA News Now, August 20, 2008

More working-age adults are delaying medical care or having problems paying medical bills because they are uninsured or paying more out of pocket for health care, according to a new report by the Commonwealth Fund.

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Health coverage climbs in MA

AHA News Now, August 20, 2008

More than 439,000 Massachusetts residents have enrolled in private or subsidized health insurance programs since the state implemented reforms to expand health coverage in 2006, according to a new report by the state’s Division of Health Care Finance and Policy.

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Study: MFA reports increase in medical fitness centers

AHA News Now, August 20, 2008

The latest survey by the Medical Fitness Association identifies more than 950 medical fitness and wellness centers in the U.S. and internationally, up from 875 in 2006.

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Study: Insured kids far more likely to get needed care

AHA News Now, August 14, 2008

Uninsured children, especially those with chronic health needs, are more likely to postpone or skip needed care than children enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicaid and other public insurance programs, according to a study released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Survey: Majority of Americans want health care reform

AHA News Now, August 7, 2008

Eight in 10 Americans believe that the U.S. health care system needs to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt, according to survey results released today by the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System.

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Denver forum deals straight talk on fixing nation’s health care problems

AHA News Now, August 4, 2008, Lucy Ament

Denver Community Forum

Health reform advocates came together last week at an AHA cosponsored forum in Denver to encourage health care, business, payer and community development organizations to unite behind reform principles for policymakers to implement at the national, state and local levels.

“If we magically had an insurance card that took care of America’s 47 million uninsured, that would still not solve the problem,” said panelist Kevin Lofton, president and CEO of Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) and the immediate past chairman of the AHA. “We can take care of children when they come to our hospitals, but if they go home and they live in an apartment that has no heat in the winter, then it’s a vicious cycle.”

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Forum backs principles for health care reform

The Denver Post, July 30, 2008, John Ingold

A roomful of health care experts and advocates grappled Wednesday inside a University of Denver hall with how to fix a system just about everyone agreed is broken.

"My jaw drops every day when I understand how irrational our system is," said Maureen Tarrant, chief executive of Sky Ridge Medical Center.

The meeting, attended by Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien, was part of a series of forums being put on nationwide by the American Hospital Association. The idea is to bring together health care, community and government leaders to talk about how to fix the health care system. By the end of the forum, participants had agreed on a set of guiding principles: increasing health care access and coverage, ensuring that costs are shared fairly by all, improving efficiency within the system and providing for greater sharing of information among providers.

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Denver gives nod to smoking ban near hospitals

AHA News Now, July 24, 2008

The Denver City Council Monday preliminarily passed an ordinance prohibiting smoking on sidewalks and other public areas around the city’s hospitals. Smokers in violation of the ordinance could be fined $300.

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House panel holds hearing on how to spur health IT adoption

AHA News Now, July 24, 2008

The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee today heard testimony from private and public officials on ways Congress might act to speed adoption of health information technology.

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Ruling prohibits Senate panel from marking up SCHIP legislation

AHA News Now, July 23, 2008

The Senate Finance Committee today could not mark up legislation (S. J. RES. 44) that would nullify a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services directive limiting enrollment in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, due to a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian that the legislation was not introduced within the required timeframe.

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House panel approves health IT bill; AHA urges changes

AHA News Now, July 23, 2008

The House Energy and Commerce Committee today approved H.R. 6357, legislation intended to promote the adoption of health information technology while protecting patient privacy.

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Health for Life sparks a dialogue on improving health care at Iowa forum

AHA News Now, July 21, 2008, Lucy Ament

Des Moines Community Forum

The AHA last week kicked off an ambitious national discussion on health care reform, bringing together in Des Moines, IA, diverse but ardent proponents of meaningful and immediate change from across the Hawkeye state.  The event was the first of several community forums to be hosted across the country.

Under the banner Health for Life: Better Health. Better Health Care, the AHA and the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) gathered representatives of consumer, health care, and business organizations at Iowa Methodist Medical Center on July 16 to talk about how disparate groups can forge a consensus around reform and present a common agenda for action to policymakers at the start of the new administration. Health for Life is a reform framework developed by the AHA in conjunction with community and faith-based leaders, elected officials, local, state and federal policymakers, consumer and health advocacy groups, educators, the business community, and others.

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Survey: Large employers offering wellness programs, incentives

AHA News Now, July 1, 2008

Seventy-seven percent of large employers offer health and wellness programs, and 48% offer disease management programs, according to a new survey by the ERISA Industry Council and National Association of Manufacturers.

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Two e-prescribing networks merge

AHA News Now, July 1, 2008

RxHub and SureScripts have merged their electronic prescribing networks, the groups announced today. They said the merger will offer vendors of electronic medical records software a single process for testing and certifying their products’ connection to an electronic prescribing network, among other benefits.

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Study finds little change in payment for chronic disease

AHA News Now, June 30, 2008

Barriers to reforming payment for chronic disease to foster high-quality, efficient care include a fragmented health care delivery system, the potential for lower revenues and a lack of insurance coverage for non-physician services, according to a new study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC).

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Florida project to focus on reducing hospital readmissions

AHA News Now, June 26, 2008

The Florida Hospital Association will launch a "collaborative" this summer to explore opportunities for reducing hospital readmission rates. Using new state data on potentially preventable readmissions, among other tools, the year-long initiative will explore why patients are readmitted to the hospital, and identify and share ways to reduce readmissions, including strategies to increase patient compliance with discharge instructions and follow-up care.

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Americans report declining access to medical care

AHA News Now, June 26, 2008

One in five Americans reported forgoing or delaying medical care in 2007, up from one in seven in 2003, according to a new survey by the Center for Studying Health System Change. Cost was the most frequently cited obstacle to care. More than 23 million people reported going without needed care, while roughly 36 million delayed seeking care, the survey found.

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CDC: 43.1 million Americans uninsured in 2007

AHA News Now, June 25, 2008

An estimated 43.1 million Americans, 14.5% of the population, lacked health insurance when surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2007. That’s down from 43.6 million, or 14.8%, in 2006, based on 2007 data released today from the CDC’s latest National Health Interview Survey .

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Cities report growing demand for health services, coverage costs

AHA News Now, June 24, 2008

Cities are struggling to meet the demand for health services as the number of uninsured increases, according to a new Families USA survey of mayors in 13 cities. Mayors in 11 cities reported that demand for health services had increased over the past year, resulting in hospital and emergency department crowding, while mayors in four cities reported hospital closings in their areas.

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Commission approves 2008 certification criteria for EHR products

AHA News Now, June 23, 2008

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology Friday published its final 2008 certification criteria for inpatient and emergency department electronic health record products. 

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States strive to cover uninsured as revenues decline

AHA News Now, June 23, 2008

Despite declining fiscal conditions, about half of governors have proposed expanding health coverage for the uninsured in their fiscal 2009 budgets, according to a state fiscal survey released Friday.

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Study: Few physicians have EHR systems

AHA News Now, June 19, 2008

Few U.S. physicians have adopted electronic health records in their practices, according to a study published yesterday by the New England Journal of Medicine. Only 4% of physicians had a “fully functional” EHR system, which includes order entry and clinical decision support, while 13% had a more basic system, the national survey found.

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Fewer small businesses offer health coverage

AHA News Now, June 17, 2008

More than 65% of businesses with 10 or fewer employees say high cost is the most significant barrier to their offering health insurance, according to a survey released today by the National Association for the Self-Employed. Only 19% of businesses with 10 or fewer employees currently offer coverage for full-time employees, down from 46% in 2005. One in 10 respondents spent 25% or more of their gross revenue on health insurance, up from 10.1% in 2005. NASE called access to health care the single biggest barrier to people joining and remaining in the ranks of the self-employed.

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Study: 25 million adults underinsured

AHA News Now, June 10, 2008

The number of underinsured U.S. adults under age 65 increased 60% in the past four years to more than 25 million, according to a study released today by the Commonwealth Fund. Based on a nationally representative survey, the study found that 42% of the nation’s 75 million adults were either uninsured or underinsured in 2007, up from one-third in 2003. The study defined underinsured adults as insured adults who spent 5%-10% or more of their income on out-of-pocket medical expenses, or whose deductible equaled 5% or more of their annual family income. Underinsured and uninsured adults were more likely than other adults to go without needed care and less confident in their ability to access high-quality care when needed, the study found. They also were more likely to report care coordination problems and difficulty paying medical bills.

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AHA leaders tell hospitals they can help set the stage for health reform

AHA News Now, April 14, 2008

Hospitals that lead by example in their communities can help set the stage for meaningful national health reform, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock told hospital leaders.

Kicking off the annual meeting’s Federal Forum, Umbdenstock called on hospitals to embrace the six aims of the Institute of Medicine: achieving care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective, equitable and patient centered. “We must show the public and policymakers that we are facing the cost, quality and safety issues head on,” he said.

By improving performance and “making great strides forward in the work we do for our patients,” he said hospitals can bring to the reform debate “not only a vision of better health and better health care, but an unparalleled level of credibility to influence the outcome.” He also urged hospital leaders to tell their legislators “it is no longer acceptable to give lip service to health care reform.”

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Let us join together in unity to turn our passion into better health care for all Americans

AHA News Now, April 14, 2008

Bill Petasnick, president and CEO of Froedtert & Community Health in Milwaukee, was invested as AHA chairman on April 6. The following is an excerpt from his prepared investiture address.

Vince Lombardi, that legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, once said, “The measure of who we are is what we do when given a chance.”  The upcoming election allows us that chance to use the political process to build a powerful coalition to dramatically improve our nation’s health and health care.

Health for Life. As a result of our Health for Life framework, we now have the ability to play a major leadership role in forging a broad-based national coalition to bring about meaningful change in the way health care is organized, financed and delivered. 

By incorporating the Institute of Medicine’s Six Aims into our reform agenda, we are sending a message that hospitals are doing more than talking about reform. We are committed to making health care safer, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and patient focused.

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